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How to Get High-Speed Wi-Fi When Traveling

Looking for reliable, fast wi-fi when traveling?

If you’re having trouble getting affordable, reliable internet on the road, we feel your pain. In almost 20 years of traveling together, we’ve suffered through weak wi-fi signals at hotels, cafes, and in more restaurants than we can count. Sure, sometimes we luck out and get reliable internet, but that’s not always the case.

At this point, we’ve used almost every kind of internet connection available when we travel, whether overseas or domestically.

The Best Options for Wi-Fi When Traveling

In this post, we’ll guide you through your options for getting reliable, fast wi-fi when traveling, and the pros and cons of each type.

Whether you’re looking for temporary internet for a vacation home, internet for a laptop or phone while you travel, or even internet while traveling in an RV on a road trip, here are some of your best options.

Beg, Borrow, or Steal Free Wi-Fi

When we first started traveling together, we spent a lot of time and hassle trying to find free internet for travelers. Over the years, I swear we’ve used the free wi-fi at every hotel chain and fast food chain around.

Sometimes the wi-fi is fast and reliable, but most of the time it’s spotty and unreliable. We’ve had more than our share of times where the internet was completely down, or where we couldn’t get the wi-fi signal in our room.

Pros : It’s free. Most hotel, restaurant, and public place wi-fi is free (though there are exceptions). It’s also easy to access.

Cons : Security is a major issue here, as it’s relatively easy to intercept your data. A password manager and a VPN can help with security, but you’re always taking your chances with free wi-fi. If you use a VPN, be sure to pick one that has a no logs policy, like the reputable Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN .

Use Roaming from Your Mobile Provider

Likely the easiest way to get wi-fi on the road is to simply use roaming data from your existing cell phone provider.

The danger of this is that you’ll get slammed with outrageously expensive roaming fees when you get home. To avoid the price shock, contact your cell provider and see if they offer a more affordable roaming plan.

Pro : Easy, instant and generally reliable and secure.

Con : May be prohibitively expensive. To share your cell’s data with a computer or other mobile, you’ll need share your connection via wi-fi, USB, or Bluetooth. This is called tethering, and can result in slowing down the data connection, and may drain your phone’s battery quickly.

Get a Mobile Hotspot

In the last five years, we’ve become huge fans of mobile hotspots for internet access.

A mobile hotspot is a small device (usually the size of a deck of cards) that gets you internet access wherever you go, whether that’s on a road trip near home, or in a country half way around the world.

You’ll pay a fee to rent the portable wi-fi hotspot for travel (or you can buy it outright), and then pay for a data plan. Depending on where you are in the world, data plans can run from $8 a day internationally, or $49 for unlimited internet in the USA for up to a week.

Most hotspots let you connect up to 10 devices, so they’re great for groups or families, but they don’t offer SMS texts or voice phone calls (though you can always use an app like Fongo or Google Voice to call).

  • GlocalMe portable Wi-Fi hotspot review
  • Skyroam Solis portable Wi-Fi review
  • Keepgo MiFi device review .

Pros : Convenient, easy to use, reliable connection in most countries and fast speeds, some with unlimited data. Great for groups.

Cons : More expensive than free hotel Wi-Fi.

Buy a SIM Card at Your Destination

Buying a local SIM card at your destination can be a great way to save money, and save you from expensive roaming charges or scrounging free wi-fi.

Companies like Orange Travel can offer great savings, when compared to roaming or paying for a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Right now they have an Orange Holiday Europe 20GB deal on, which includes includes unlimited calls and texts in Europe.

However, depending on your destination country, tracking down a local SIM card can be tricky. Occasionally, you can find a kiosk selling SIMs in the airport, but we’ve often had to schlep around a new city to find a cell provider. You can usually get a local SIM at convenience stores, news stands, and vending machines.

The biggest negative with a SIM card is that if you’re traveling to multiple countries, a local SIM may not work in all of the countries you visit. It’s also harder to share your connection with other members of your family or group.

Some countries may also require that you’re a citizen, or need a local address, to get a local SIM card, so a local SIM isn’t an option everywhere.

You’ll also have to physically remove your mobile phone’s old SIM card, store it somewhere, and insert the new SIM card, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Pros : Generally affordable, and speeds are usually good.

Cons : Finding a local SIM can be inconvenient, and it may not work in more than one country. You’ll also need an unlocked phone for this to work. To share your connection, you’ll need to create an internet tethering connection or a hotspot on your phone to share the internet connection to a laptop, tablet, or other phones.

Buy a Roaming SIM Card at Home

You can buy a local SIM card when you get to your destination, but that can be inconvenient, especially if you’re short on time.

Some companies simplify travel internet by letting you buy a SIM card at home for use as you travel. The SIM comes with a data plan, and also usually lets you make phone calls and get SMS messages while abroad. To use it, you’ll just need to remove your old SIM card, and insert the travel SIM once you arrive in your destination country.

Pros : Affordable (generally under $50).

Cons : Same as the previous one. To use internet on computers or other phones, you’ll need to create a mobile hotspot connection (called tethering). You’ll also need an unlocked phone.

Internet Cafe

We’re really showing our age here, but when we first started traveling together back in 2001, we relied almost exclusively on Internet cafes (also called cyber cafés) for how to get internet away from home.

Their rows of boxy monitors and beat up desktop computers used to mean an instant connection to the internet, for the cost of a small hourly fee. In 2001, internet cafes were used by almost all travelers as a place to get together, and get good internet. Today, cell phones and free wi-fi have all but obliterated the good old internet café.

While you’d be hard pressed to find an internet café in most tourist spots today, they do exist in much less developed areas. If you’re looking for one as you travel, also look out for gaming centers or gaming cafes since many have gone that route, however their gaming computers can still be used to browse the web, print things off and chat with loved ones back home.

BTW, the last time we used a dedicated internet café was in the Philippines back in 2008, and we used it to access a printer, not for the internet connection, though we have jumped into a few gaming centers over the years to cool down with their aircon and let the kids game for a while.

Pros: No computer or mobile phone needed, affordably hourly cost, generally high connection speeds.

Cons : Security issues with using a shared computer, often noisy environment and overall lack of privacy.

What’s your preferred method of internet access when you travel? Let us know in the comments.

Finding reliable wifi when traveling is always a concern. Free wifi always has security concerns. I like your idea about purchasing a local SIM card to avoid roaming charges.

Getting high speed Wi-Fi when travelling is such a blessing! Sometime the connection at your hotel is weak and I completely understand the security threat. Great to learn a few options on having Wi-Fi on the go. Thanks for this informative post.

We have been begging, borrowing and stealing while on the go when it comes to Wi-Fi connection. A local sim card is a great option to get affordable and uninterrupted connection I feel. Besides it is easy to contact the provider and promptly get things sorted in case of technical glitches. Wonderful post!

Informative Post. I think buying a sim card at the destination is always a good choice, however its best to do your own research since there are many vendors at airports looking to get your on their most expensive plan which is overpriced.

My favorite part of this article is a password manager and a VPN can assist with security, but with free wi-fi, you’re constantly taking chances. Someone recently told me about this and it is different from what I understand. Thanks for helping me understand internet service plans.

Loved your blog, thanks for the information, I find it really interesting.

My favorite hotspot is the local library. Most towns even small have one and they are free to hook up to their WiFi as a guest.

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8 Best Ways to Get Internet for Travel

Home | Travel | 8 Best Ways to Get Internet for Travel

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Having Internet for travel has become essential, either to use apps while you’re away from home or to stay in touch with family and friends.

When you travel internationally, you may still be able to use your provider’s data plan. However, the cost of roaming is usually pretty high, so it’s better to find an alternative when planning a trip that won’t result in a huge phone bill when you get back home.

To help you know all your options, this guide includes the best ways to get Internet on the road and abroad.

But before we begin, I’ll tell you that we almost always use the Holafly eSIM card , which is ideal if you only need Internet on your phone. We even have a complete guide to Holafly so you can learn more about this service.

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5% OFF your international eSIM card

For wireless Internet for travel on your phone and laptop, we recommend the other options below. So, keep reading to see which is the best method for you.

How to get Internet for travel

There are several ways to get travel Internet , so this article will explain the different methods, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. After reading through the options, you’ll be able to make the best choice for your trip!

In a nutshell, these are the 8 best ways to get Internet for travelers :

  • Local SIM card
  • Holafly eSIM card
  • International SIM card
  • Unlocked portable router
  • Solis portable router
  • Pocket Wi-Fi rental
  • Public Wi-Fi network

1. Local SIM card, a traditional way to get Internet for travel

A local SIM card is one affordable way to get travel Internet . That said, you may end up spending a lot of time looking for a suitable SIM card once you get to your destination, so it’s an option I don’t consider on my trips unless I’m traveling for more than a month.

Local SIM card, Internet for travellers

In most countries, you can find a local SIM card at various points of entry, including airports, train stations, and bus terminals. I recommend asking around at different kiosks to find the SIM card with the most data for the price.

Also, make sure that the SIM card is compatible with your phone and also allows you to share data with other devices. This last bit is important if you’re traveling as a couple or family and don’t want to get stuck having to buy multiple SIM cards.

2. Holafly eSIM card, the simplest way to get travelling Internet

The Holafly eSIM card is my favorite option for traveling Internet . You can purchase it even if you’re already abroad since the eSIM arrives via email. This is, by far, the most convenient option, and it can even be cheaper than some local SIM cards.

Holafly is the eSIM card we use when we’re on the go and need a secure Internet connection while traveling , and we have a Holafly discount code for you if you choose this option.

To activate your global eSIM card , scan the QR code sent to you by email. I usually take a screenshot of the QR code on my phone, then send it over to Dan so I can scan the code off his phone, but if you’re traveling alone, you can print it out.

Holafly eSIM card, Internet to travel

Installing and activating this eSIM is as quick and easy as using a physical card, with the convenience of not needing a smartphone with a dual SIM card slot. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you won’t lose your normal SIM card. However, not all devices support eSIMs, so I recommend checking this link to make sure your phone is compatible.

Again, Holafly is the option we always turn to when we want Internet to travel , and we’ve never had any problems. Except for in extremely remote areas, we’ve always had very good service.

3. International SIM card, another good way to get travel Internet

Another travel Internet option is to use an international SIM card . Rather than buying a local SIM card at your destination, you can purchase an international SIM before your trip and get it delivered to your home or even to the airport, depending on where you’re traveling to.

We like SimOptions , which partners with several well-known mobile providers like AT&T, Orange, and Three UK. They offer prepaid standard, micro, and nano-SIMs, so any mobile device should be compatible.

International SIM card, Internet for travel

These international SIM cards work in over 200 countries across Asia, North and South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia. As for the data plans, you can choose a package for the country you’re visiting (a European SIM card is also available.)

This is the best mobile Internet for traveling if you only want to use your phone abroad, and activating your SIM is as easy as unlocking your device and popping in the card.

4. Unlocked portable router, the cheapest travelers Internet

An unlocked portable router is another simple and useful way to get Internet for travel . Its primary benefit is that it allows you to connect several devices at once, including laptops. This makes it an ideal option for traveling with family or friends, as well as for work trips.

These portable routers are lightweight, so you can store them in a backpack or bag, and some are small enough for a pocket. Of course, if you choose to use one of these routers, remember that you’ll have to charge it every time you’re in your accommodation since the battery runs out after the day. It’s best to start the day with a full charge.

Unlocked portable router, Internet for travelers

Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to insert a compatible SIM card with network coverage for your destination, and not all SIM cards work with this type of device. You’ll have to purchase the SIM card once you reach your destination.

Once you insert the SIM card, simply connect your phone to the router, just as you would with your home Wi-Fi network. We recommend this router , which we’ve heard is very reliable from several travelers who have used it.

5. Solis portable router, an ideal way to get Internet during travel

Another travel Internet network option is buying a Solis portable router . This is the perfect option for frequent travelers who need Internet on their laptops and travel to multiple countries. Rather than having to buy a new SIM card at each destination, they can use their Internet travel router to work from their laptop.

Solis portable router, Internet to travel

With the Solis portable router, you can have mobile data, just like at home, all without the need for contracts, SIM cards, and added fees. Simply choose the plan you want here , which includes plans for the U.S., Europe, and over 130 countries worldwide.

To securely connect to the Internet while traveling , you just need to download the Solis Wi-Fi app, select your plan, and connect to the network, the same as you would do with your home router. If you don’t like any of the Solis plans, you can also opt to pay per GB. So, no matter what you choose, this is a quick and practical way to have internet on the go.

6. USB dongle, a good way to connect to the Internet when traveling

A USB dongle also offers Internet when traveling , although I specifically recommend this option for those who will need to connect with a laptop more often than with a mobile device.

One of the USB dongles that I recommend is this one . It’s one of the best and generates a shared Wi-Fi network that simultaneously works as a portable router. That said, it must be connected to a battery to work, either to the laptop’s battery or a USB plug. So, it’s not the ideal Internet travel solution , especially if you want Internet access while sightseeing in a city.

USB dongle, Internet for travel

Compared to the other options, this isn’t the best choice for travelers looking for a travel Internet package deal. USB dongles tend to be limited in speed and stability, plus you’ll also need to buy a SIM card at your destination.

On the other hand, if you travel for work and need Internet on your laptop, a USB dongle can be a suitable option, although I think the unlocked portable router or Solis plan is more practical.

7. Pocket Wi-Fi rental, a popular travel Internet option

Pocket Wi-Fi is nothing more than a portable router that you can rent for travel Internet . Some countries in Asia, such as Japan and Thailand, offer this option. In Japan, it’s against the law to buy a local SIM card if you’re not a Japanese resident, so your options are limited to an Holafly eSIM, the Solis router, or a pocket Wi-Fi rental at your destination.

Pocket Wi-Fi rental, best travel Internet

One of the main benefits of a pocket Wi-Fi router is that you can get it from the airport, so you can connect to the Internet as soon as you land. You can even rent it ahead of time and pick it up when you arrive.

We have a whole guide to portable Wi-Fi for travel , but I’ll mention here that this is a great option for a one-off trip since you can rent the device by the day, week, or per GB limit. Also, it allows you to connect different devices, including laptops. On the other hand, it’s not a great choice if you’re going to be making additional trips, as you’ll have to return the router, then rent a new one.

8. Public Wi-Fi network, another good way to get travelling Internet

Finally, another travel Internet option is to connect to a public Wi-Fi network . The main advantage here is that it’s totally free and compatible with any type of device. However, Internet access may not always be available since public Wi-Fi is only found in airports, hotels, and some restaurants. This means that you won’t have Internet access while on the go or sightseeing.

Public Wi-Fi network, travel Internet solution

Another drawback of a public Wi-Fi network is that it can be unstable regarding speed and connectivity, especially when many people are connected at once. There are also quite a few privacy and security concerns. However, if you’re taking a short trip that’s not going to require much Internet usage, it’s a decent option for staying in touch with friends or family, checking email, and browsing social media.

What is the best travel Internet option?

For occasional trips, and if you only want travel Internet on your mobile device, the best option is the Holafly eSIM card .

To be fair, this isn’t the cheapest Internet travel solution if you’re going to be at your destination long-term. In that case, it’s better to look for a local SIM card or, if you also need Internet on your laptop, an unlocked router like this one . A router is also a good idea for frequent travelers since it guarantees a strong connection, and you can create a stable Wi-Fi network to share data with others.

Travel Internet on a laptop, Internet for travelers

For those who need to work on a computer but are traveling to many countries in the short term, the Solis portable router is more convenient, as you don’t have to buy a local SIM card in each country you visit.

There are more specific options like the USB dongle, which are designed for those who want Internet access while traveling internationally , specifically on a laptop. The pocket Wi-Fi is good for occasional travelers who work from a laptop but aren’t allowed to purchase a local SIM card at their destination. Lastly, a public Wi-Fi network is suitable for people who don’t mind being off the Internet for most of the day.

Our experience with using Internet for travel

We use Holafly’s eSIM cards  to get Internet for international travel , and it’s always worked very well for us. It provides great coverage and allows me and Dan to access the web without any issues. Moreover, the eSIM arrives right in our email, so we can purchase it last minute.

When we travel in our van, we use the Solis portable router and pay by GB. I love that the data never expires, so we recharge it with more data any time we run out. We get good coverage, speed, and network stability. In fact, we’ll use this option when we travel to South America next year.

Caravan on the beach, secure Internet connection while traveling

It’s clear that your travel Internet options will depend on the type of trip you’re taking, as well as your Web accessibility needs, so I hope this guide helps you choose the best solution for you! If you have any questions, leave me a comment below and I’ll try to help you in any way I can.

Have a great trip!

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Ascen Aynat

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4 replies on “ 8 Best Ways to Get Internet for Travel ”

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My daughter is travelling to Japan 1 week London 1 week Europe 29 day TopDeck Tour then Dubai 1 week. She needs internet on her laptop to do uni assignments, what is the best recommendation please ? Thank you

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Hi Kim, We love using our Solis portable router to do remote work while abroad. Highly recommend it!

' src=

I only need the internet for travelling around England and maybe Scotland what is the best way to have the internet when traveling around these places.

Are you going to use the internet in the phone, computer or both? How long are you going to be in England?

With the info you provided, I can only recommend you check the Holafly SIM cards .

Let me know if you have any questions, Ascen

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Salt mobile is one of the three mobile operators that manage the network in Switzerland. The company, based in Renens, Switzerland, was founded in June 1999 and is part of the NJJ Capital Group. Since 2015, it has changed its name, adopting the current brand Salt to replace the previous one (Orange).

The company offers mobile and home internet plans on the market (including TV and landline telephony) and is renowned for the low monthly prices of its subscriptions.

These  swiss mobile operators  use the Salt network: Lycamobile , Das Abo, VTX , Lidl Connect, GoMo, iWay .

Top Salt deals and subscriptions 

In this section, you can find the current offers from Salt, along with a description of their key features and recommendations from the team at internet-offer.ch. Here are the top Salt offers:

Best Salt Fiber Plan

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Best Salt Internet and TV Offer

Salt home: salt internet, tv, and landline offers.

Salt is expanding its fixed network coverage across Switzerland with its fiber optic offering. Salt's home internet connection is simplified compared to competitors and stands out with significantly lower prices compared to the other two physical network operators (Swisscom and Sunrise).

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Ultra-Fast Internet : Enjoy a maximum speed of 10 Gbit/s through the fiber optic connection.

Salt Internet Box : Free delivery of the 6th generation Salt Fiber Box router with Wi-Fi extender to maximize network performance.

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Salt Mobile offers various types of mobile subscriptions and offers designed for different customer profiles: there are mobile internet plans , roaming offers , and prepaid sim cards .

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With its proprietary network, Salt provides services relying on its own mobile infrastructure, which means it can also include 5G in its subscriptions, although usage may be somewhat more limited compared to offers based on other Swiss networks. ​

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Salt Start Max

This Salt offer includes 5GB of high-speed data per month (4G+ and 5G). The monthly cost is permanently discounted to 9.95 CHF, from the original price of 39.95 CHF. It can be the right offer if you don't need to use a lot of data and mainly rely on messaging and emails. The SIM activation fee is 59.95 CHF.

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This Salt Mobile plan provides unlimited usage within Switzerland (calls, SMS, and high-speed data) and offers 1GB of data per month in Europe. It can be the right offer for those who use a lot of data on their smartphones but travel abroad infrequently. The SIM activation fee is 59.95 CHF but is currently discounted to 0 CHF (on Alao). The monthly price is permanently discounted to 23.95 CHF, from the original price of 69.95 CHF.

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With this Salt subscription, users can freely browse the internet both domestically and in the EU, as everything is unlimited. It can be the right offer for those who use a lot of data on their smartphones and frequently travel abroad. The SIM activation fee is 59.95 CHF. The monthly price is permanently discounted to 24.95 CHF, from the original price of 89.95 CHF.

Salt Europe Max

This mobile offer provides the freedom to browse in Switzerland and abroad, make calls and send SMS within Switzerland, as well as unlimited calls and SMS from Switzerland to abroad and within the country you are in (in the EU). It can be the right choice for individuals who have frequent business contacts with people residing within the European community. The SIM activation cost is 59.95 CHF, but it is currently discounted to 0 CHF (on Alao). The monthly price is 31.95 CHF permanently discounted from the original price of 79.95 CHF per month.

Salt Travel Max

This mobile plan guarantees unlimited usage in Switzerland and Europe, and also allows for 10 hours per month of calls to selected countries outside the EU. It can be the right choice for individuals residing in Switzerland who have family, friends, or relatives in a foreign country outside of Europe. The SIM activation cost is 59.95 CHF, but it is currently discounted to 0 CHF (on Alao). The monthly price is 49.95 CHF permanently discounted from the original price of 99.95 CHF per month.

Salt Mobile Surf Unlimited

This offer from Salt includes unlimited data (CH) for users who want to set up a stable WLAN network in their apartment or second home in the mountains where fiber installation is not available, by inserting the SIM card into an LTE router. It is also suitable for users who prefer to stay connected with their work laptop or tablet even when away from home Wi-Fi. The maximum download speed is limited to 256 Kbit/s if the monthly consumption exceeds 500 GB. It is subject to Salt mobile network coverage . The monthly cost is 35 CHF permanently, currently discounted by 50% for life, and there is a SIM activation cost of 59.90 CHF.

Salt Mobile Surf 50GB

This Salt deal includes 50 GB of data within Switzerland. There are no limits on the maximum speed, and the offer automatically stops if you travel abroad or exhaust the available data. Again, this is subject to mobile network coverage. The monthly cost is 24.95 CHF permanently, and there is a SIM activation cost of 59.90 CHF.

Salt Mobile Surf 5GB

This Salt plan includes 5GB of data (CH) to be used every month. This package is ideal for connected devices that do not require high bandwidth performance, such as wearables (e.g., smartwatches) or other IoT devices like Smart Homes. It even allows for SMS usage at a consumption cost of 0.49/SMS, making it ideal for home security systems. The monthly cost is 9.95 CHF forever, with a SIM activation cost of 59.90 CHF.

Salt Mobile PrePay

Salt has recently made prepaid offers available to provide a package with no constraints for users who do not want to be billed a fixed monthly cost or be bound by an annual contract. The prepaid SIM card can be ordered directly on the Salt website at no cost and includes a welcome credit of 10 CHF.

Salt Prepaid SIM cards can be used with the following rates:

National calls at a cost of 0.49 CHF per call, regardless of minutes (with a maximum limit of 60 minutes);

Calls from and to abroad are billed per minute, depending on the country in question. Roaming data packages also depend on the usage zone and start at 24.95 CHF for 1.5GB in Europe;

Individually paid SMS at 0.12 CHF; ​

Internet data consumption is possible by purchasing one of the following packages: 100MB for 3 CHF, 500MB for 9 CHF, 1GB for 15 CHF.

Salt Mobile deals with Smartphone and other Devices (PC, Smartwatch, Tablet, Gaming Console, and Smartphone)

Salt offers its customers attractive and heavily discounted deals when they already have a mobile subscription. For example, customers with an active Swiss Max subscription can receive a PlayStation 5 with 825GB of memory for free, saving 629 CHF (market price). Other exclusive offers are related to mobile phones, where customers can get the latest iPhone models for free when activating a premium subscription concurrently. The same applies to devices from other brands like Samsung, Oppo, and Xiaomi, or Lenovo tablets or MacBook Air laptops.

By activating a Surf-only mobile data subscription, customers can receive free Huawei Mobile Wi-Fi devices to utilize the shared hotspot of their offer on multiple connected devices simultaneously.

Salt Experience: Reviews, Personal Area, and Useful Information

Salt is one of the few Swiss providers to manage its own mobile network, making it a reliable provider. As of the end of 2022, Salt had approximately 1.4 million customers in the mobile segment and over 150,000 for home internet.

Which network does Salt use?

Salt uses its own mobile network to offer connectivity services to its customers. Salt Mobile boasts a robust 4G network , providing coverage to over 90% of the population. Salt also offers 5G, although this network is still in its early stages. Additionally, for Salt Fiber customers, Salt relies on locally managed fiber optic networks.

Salt 4G network co verage 

My Salt is the personal space where you can manage your Salt subscription. By visiting my.salt.ch, you can access your Salt Mobile and Salt Home customer account, find your Salt bills to pay and those already paid, manage your offer, find answers to frequently asked questions, and much more.

To go to Salt Login , visit the website login.salt.ch and enter your registration email address and your personal password. If this is your first time accessing, you will need to create your Salt account by providing your customer details, entering your email address, and creating a new password.

How to Check Your Salt Credit?

To check your mobile Salt credit, you can visit the page costcontrol.salt.ch/status or call the number #121#.

Making a Salt Mobile credit top-up can be done directly online or through the purchase of Salt Prepay vouchers.

If you are unsure whether the Salt network is right for you, you can check network coverage on the Internet-offer.ch network map or perform a Salt Speedtest in the "For You" section of our website. If you are still unsure whether Salt's offer is the best way to save money, visit internet-offer.ch's comparison pages and choose your new provider in just a few clicks.

Salt Customer Service: Customer Support Contacts

If you have questions, Salt Mobile 's customer service is available to its subscribers to resolve any doubts that may arise. To contact a Salt representative, you can use the toll-free number 0800 700 700 or use the contact form provided on the official website salt.ch in the HELP section.

[0800 700 700] Salt hotline: The toll-free Salt support number

For speaking with a Salt representative, the best choice is undoubtedly through the Salt hotline . This phone line can be reached for free by calling 0800 700 700 . This hotline is free for Salt customers calling from Switzerland and is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 20:00. On Saturdays, customer service is open from 9:00 to 18:00. From abroad, the Salt customer service can be reached at +41 78 700 70 00. However, this hotline is not free, and you will incur the cost of a call made while in roaming.

By calling the free Salt number, you can activate your SIM card purchased online.

How to speak with a Salt representative?

To speak with a Salt customer service representative, you can call the toll-free number 0800 700 700 from your Salt number while in Switzerland. Online reviews of customer service seem sufficient, and user requests are usually resolved quickly.

Managing Your Salt Subscription: Getting the Most Out of It

When spending a long time with a service provider, you may need to deal with various subscription management situations, and this also applies to Salt Mobile. One of the common scenarios is Salt cancellation or managing overdue bills for your Salt Home subscription. Other specific situations may arise when traveling abroad for work or tourism and needing to use your Salt subscription on your mobile. In all these cases, it's important to keep in mind the essential procedures and not panic.

How to Pay Salt Bills?

To view the bills to be paid for your Salt subscription, simply log in to My Salt in the "MY ACCOUNT" section. If you have a PostFinance account or an account with a Swiss bank, you can also use eBill by signing up for the service.

To pay the Salt bill, you can use TWINT, VISA, Mastercard, Diners Club, Samsung Pay, Postcard, Postfinance, E-finance, and Samsung Pay. Alternatively, you can also set up your E-Banking account as a payment method: Choose the eBill method and select "Salt Mobile SA Rue du Caudray 4" from the list of bill issuers. Another payment option is to make a transfer following the instructions on the QR code found in the PDF invoice document issued by Salt.

Can I Use Salt Mobile Abroad?

When traveling abroad, you can use your Salt Mobile subscription by purchasing add-ons or using the minutes, SMS, or data included in your subscription (if specified at the time of subscription). With Salt Mobile's roaming management, you can set and modify monthly usage limits while roaming without worrying about exceeding caps and having to pay a hefty bill at the end of the month. However, this feature is not available for Salt Mobile Prepay customers.

Compare Salt with Other Providers

Salt  can offer a wide variety of mobile tariffs and internet plans that you can look at in our dedicated sections. Remember, you can compare Salt and all the other Swiss Telco Providers easily in order to activate the perfect offer for your specific needs.

INTERNET PLANS

internet - internet-offer.ch

compare the offers

MOBILE PLANS

For more information visit  Salt website

Finding the Universe

Travel tales, photography and a dash of humor

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Internet Access when Traveling: How to Get Online On The Go

Last updated: November 4, 2023 . Written by Laurence Norah - 26 Comments

If you are planning an international trip, you might be wondering the best way to access the internet when traveling. High-speed internet access on the go is definitely achievable, and doesn’t have to cost a fortune either.

I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories from people who’ve gone away on an international trip and then returned home to a huge bill thanks to their mobile phone roaming on data networks when they’re away.

The good news is, this doesn’t have to be you. There are lots of options for getting on the internet when you travel, ranging from entirely free through to more premium options.

In today’s post I want to help guide you through the options available to you when you travel for getting online.

This will include options for getting internet on your phone whilst you are away from home, as well as on any other devices you might have with you, including tablets and laptops. I’ll cover options that work for a variety of travel styles, including options for getting online in an RV.

My guide will focus purely on internet access while traveling, rather than texting or calling, although some of the solutions below will also work for texting and calling.

These are based on our personal experiences travelling through multiple countries each year, and are listed in order of our personal preference for how we get online when travelling. We’ve also included any discount codes that we’ve been able to find from suppliers for you guys.

The Best Options for Internet Access when Traveling

Below are all the options you have for getting online when traveling abroad. These cover a wide range of options and we think at least one of these options should work for you!

1. Use Your Mobile Provider

The first thing to do is check with your mobile phone company if they offer any form of roaming as part of your package for the countries you are visiting – often referred to as an international plan. This might be the easiest and cheapest way to get online when you travel.

Internet access while traveling internationally

In the US, T-Mobile users on a qualifying plan have access to 2G speeds in over 140 countries with no additional charges.

Whilst 2G isn’t super-fast, it’s certainly good enough for the essentials like e-mail, messaging, and getting directions.

Google’s Fi offering is also excellent, letting you use your data allowance pretty much everywhere you go if you are on the appropriate plan.

Some mobile providers, like Three in the UK, also either include roaming data, or allow you to purchase overseas roaming packages on a day-to-day basis. These let you get online on the days you really need to.

This can be cost effective if you only need to get online on a small number of days, but can add up over a prolonged period, in which case you might want to investigate the other options below.

Note that if you aren’t planning on using your provider’s mobile data when you go abroad, it’s really important to disable data roaming before you leave, to avoid running up hefty charges when you arrive in your destination country. Here’s a guide on how to do that for Android , and one for iOS (Apple).

Advantages of using your mobile provider: If your provider supports roaming at no or minimal cost in the destination you are visiting, this can be the easiest and most cost-effective way to get online with minimum cost and effort.

Disadvantages of using your mobile provider: Even if your provider supports it, speeds may not be as fast as you would get with the other solutions below, due to throttling by your provider.

2. Buy a SIM Card for your trip

Depending on the country you are travelling to, you might find the most cost-effective way to get online when you travel is to purchase a SIM card for your device for the country you are travelling to. This is generally what we do if possible, although some countries make it hard to buy local SIM cards due to local regulations.

You can either do this on arrival, or in some cases, you can buy the SIM card before you leave – such as this option for travellers from the USA to Europe. You can see more options here .

Once you have the SIM card in your phone, you can just use this for your data needs.

For this to work you need an unlocked handset – you can check with your carrier if your handset is unlocked, and they should be able to assist you with unlocking it if you are allowed to.

If your device is unlocked, then you will be able to put any SIM card that you like into it. This has the advantage that you’ll be able to get the maximum speeds available in that country as the provider will be local, and you’ll also generally be able to do things like tether other devices to your handset.

Tethering allows you to set up your phone as a WiFi hotspot, meaning you can connect your laptop to the internet through your device connection. See this guide for instructions on setting up a WiFi hotspot on Android , and this guide for how to do it on Apple iOS devices.

HP stream 8 overhead shot

Depending on the country you’re visiting there will be different packages and providers available. We’re big fans of Three for visitors to the UK – their Pay as You Go SIMS are great value for visitors, and they can be picked up on arrival in many stores as well as airport kiosks.

If you are travelling from the USA, you can pick up a Three SIM card in advance of your trip here , which comes preloaded with data.

For full details on SIM cards for a wide range of countries across the globe, take a look at the Pre Paid Data SIM Card wiki site , which has all the advice you could ever need on the best SIM card options for the majority of countries in the world.

For short trips, or for trips where you are hopping across many countries, purchasing a SIM card everywhere you go might be more hassle than it is worth.

The exception is for travel in the EU – regulations introduced in June 2017 mean that providers can no longer charge for roaming in these countries, so a SIM card bought in one EU country should work across all other EU countries without additional charge.

Also be aware that some countries make it quite hard to purchase a SIM card, requiring you to have the equivalent of a social security number or other local government issued unique identifier in order to activate the service. In these countries, you’re probably better off investigating other options.

Advantages of buying a local SIM card : Buying a SIM card abroad will usually give you the fastest local speeds available at the most cost-effective price, and is a great option if you have an unlocked phone, and will be in the country for more than a day or two.

Disadvantages of buying a local SIM card : A local SIM card will take a bit of effort on your part to find, depending on the country you visit, and activation can sometimes be tricky. It also requires an unlocked handset to work. For short stays, or multiple country trips (excluding the EU), it’s probably not worth it. Also, when you take your home SIM card out, you won’t receive calls or texts to your home number.

3. Use a Mobile Hotspot

A mobile hotspot is a standalone device which connects to a cellular network for data, and creates a local WiFi hotspot that you can connect your devices to.

This lets you get all your devices online (handy if you have multiple people travelling together!), and means you don’t have to worry about unlocking your phone. Some even offer 5G speeds, meaning you’ll get super-fast speeds as well.

This is possibly the easiest way to get online when travelling. A mobile hotspot is also an option if you are trying to get online in an RV. Some mobile hotspots allow you to connect an external antenna to boost your signal, which you can mount on your RV for improved reception.

The downside to all this awesome is that for connecting a single device, a mobile hotspot will usually work out to be more expensive than the other options, and they don’t offer voice or text capabilities – just data. We would definitely advise checking with your carrier first to see if they offer data roaming packages for your phone, as these often work out cheaper if budget is a concern.

However, if data and ease of use is what you are after, and you have multiple devices that you want to connect (if you’re travelling as a couple or family for example), then these can be a cost effective and very easy to use option.

You have two main options for mobile hotspots. You can rent them for one-off trips, or you can buy one, and then pay as you go. We summarise these options below, and we also have a full guide to the best mobile hotspots for you to read if you are interested in one of these devices.

Option 1: Rent a mobile hotspot for travel

For rentals, prices vary depending on where you are travelling and how much data you want to use. In general you are looking at around $7 – $12 per day of travel for unlimited internet. Do check the terms and conditions on your rental though as many providers throttle speeds after a certain amount of usage each day (usually 1GB).

There are a number of providers we recommend you look at. Prices vary depending on the country or countries you are visiting, so we suggest taking a look at a few options before settling on one.

First, we recommend GlocalMe . They have a range of data plans supporting 4G speeds around the world, with prices starting from just over $5 a day.

Next up is TravelWiFi . They offer free delivery of their device to your home before you travel, as well as very competitive rates. For some countries you can pick up and drop off the device as well when you get to the destination, which can be convenient. These start at around $7 day for 4G.

We also have a discount code for TravelWifi, use discount code “findingtheuniverse” for a 5% discount on their prices. They also offer the option to purchase the device out right and then pay as you go for data.

Another option is mywebspot . They offer 4G data speeds in a number of countries around the world, with a daily fair usage policy of 1 GB in Europe and the USA, 2GB in Mexico, and unlimited 4G in SE Asia, Japan and China.

Prices for mywebspot are around $11 / day for fast 4G speeds, although this varies by destination, and they have a variety of ways you can get the device before your trip, many with free delivery.

Another option for visitors to Europe looking to rent a device is Hippocketwifi . They currently focus on Europe exclusively, and they have a number of competitive packages available, depending on how much data you need and for how long.

Speeds are at 4G, and prices start at around $7 a day if you rent for two weeks, with a 1GB data cap per day. They also offer more expensive unlimited plans. If you are just visiting France, they have a specific package at a very competitive price.

We have a discount code that will give you 5% off your Hippocketwifi rental – just enter coupon code “ TRAVELCATS5 ” at checkout in the coupon code section to claim.

Option 2: Buy a mobile hotspot for travel

If you think you are going to be taking a number of trips, or one longer trip, it will likely be more cost effective to buy a device that you can just add data to. This is also the case if you are planning on fitting a device with external antenna to an RV.

If you are looking to purchase a hotspot device for travel, prices for the device are generally in the region of $50 – $300. Prices vary, and some come with data.

First, we again recommend GlocalMe . They have a range of products, and we particularly like the GlocalMe DuoTurbo . This comes with a touchscreen and offers a range of reasonably priced data packages. You can also add your own SIM card if you prefer. This might be a better option for sporadic use where you want to pay as you go rather than by the day.

Another option to check out is My Webspot . They have a service where you can buy their device outright and get a pack of 20 1 day 4G passes (a value of around $220 at current prices). For regular users, this can be a good option. See that here .

There are also a number of other 4G wireless hotspots available, many of which you can add a local SIM to when you arrive in a destination.

We currently have and travel with this Netgear 4G capable wireless hotspot , which also works as a travel router and portable charger. Note that this doesn’t work with every SIM card in the world, so you will want to check with Netgear prior to travel to be sure.

Advantages of using a mobile hotspot: A mobile hotspot will let you connect multiple devices at high speeds, perfect for a family trip together.

Disadvantages of using a mobile hotspot: It’s another device to carry with you and keep charged. It’s also not the cheapest option. In addition, you obviously need to be in range of the hotspot for it to work, so if your group splits up this could cause issues!

4. Use a specialist roaming SIM

If your operator doesn’t offer good roaming prices and you don’t want the hassle of switching SIMs in and out of your phone as you travel, you might want to look into a solution that is designed for travellers – a travel SIM.

These can be a more expensive option than getting a local SIM card, depending on destination, but they can also be more convenient depending on your situation.

We have tried a few of these in our travels. We would recommend checking out Airalo , Alosim , Nomad , OneSim  or Holafly . Which will be best for you will depend on your destination, duration of trip and how much data you require.

Generally, we have found Airalo offers some of the better deals although a lot will depend on where you are traveling and how much data you want.

Airalo (get $3 credit with code LAUREN8516 ) offers an eSIM solution. This is a virtual SIM card which is supported by many phones including recent Android and iPhone models. If your phone is compatible, an eSIM works in parallel with your existing SIM, so you can still receive texts or calls when abroad on your existing number.

Airalo has data packs for over 190 countries worldwide. You can pick up an eSIM for a single country, a region (i,e, Europe, Africa) or for global use. Just be aware the global SIM only covers around 90 countries, so you will want to check your destinations are on the list.

Airalo offers some of the better value SIM cards for travel, even compared to buying a local SIM, so this would be our first port of call if you have a supported phone model. An eSim also has the advantage that your current phone number will continue to work. This is helpful if you receive codes for things like online banking as it will save you swapping out SIM cards. See our full review of Airalo to see if it might be right for you.

Alternative eSIM providers to check out include Nomad (good for heavy data users) and Alosim .

Free credit for eSIMs

if you want to try out one of my recommended eSIM providers you can get free credit with the following codes:

  • You can get $3 in free credit with Airalo if you use code LAUREN8516 when you sign up .
  • You can get $3 in free credit with Nomad if you use code LAUR82DF when you sign up .
  • You can get $3 in free credit with Alosim on your first data purchase (note purchase not sign up) with code: 5INUXOH

The OneSim prepaid international SIM card includes two phone numbers, as well as free incoming calls to an EU number in 162 countries. Mobile data is available from 1c/ MB, with bundles available offering up to 10GB of data.

They offer a universal sim card which can be used in over 200 countries, as well as an option that focuses on providing better value in Europe.

Like Airalo, Holafly offers an eSIM product. Holafly offers a range of data packages for destinations around the world. Their eSims can also be delivered instantly via e-mail, so you don’t have to wait for delivery if this is a last-minute purchase. Their pricing is reasonable for larger amounts of data.

Price Comparison

As a quick price comparison, here are some data packages. Prices are correct as of May 2022.

  • UK, 10GB, 30 days. Airalo: $22.50. Holafly: $49. OneSIM: $200
  • Europe, 10GB, 30 days. Airalo: $37. Holafly: $49. OneSIM: $200.
  • USA, 10GB, 30 days. Airalo: $26. Holafly: $67 (20GB). OneSIM: $200

Of course, you will want to plug in your own information in terms of destination, duration and data required, but this should give you a rough idea of cost.

In my research Airalo most often comes up with the best value plan but this can vary. It’s also one of the few travel focused SIMs that is competitive even against buying a local SIM in some scenarios.  You can also get a $3 credit with code LAUREN8516  when signing up for further savings.

HP Stream 8 review

Advantages of using a specialist SIM: A specialist travel SIM is usually a really simple option that will let you get online quickly and easily at high speeds, without having to worry about roaming fees. It’s perfect for travelling across multiple countries, and will just work as soon as you arrive in the country. If you’re looking for the easiest option, this is likely it.

Disadvantages of using a specialist SIM: A specialist SIM can be one of the more expensive options for getting online, and requires an unlocked mobile. In the case of an eSIM, you will need a handset which supports eSIM technology.

5. Consider Satellite Internet

This option is primarily for those of you who are looking for options for getting online when traveling in an RV, boat or other type of transport which offers space for larger devices.

In this situation, you have a bit more choice. This is because you have access to more physical space as well as a power source. Your average traveler is unlikely to want to travel with a satellite dish in their luggage, but an RV or boat owner can easily afford the space for such a setup.

Whilst many RV owners use a mobile hotspot device, these are not without their downsides. The main downside is that they require cellular coverage to work, and many remote locations just don’t have cellular service. Whilst you can boost the signal with an external antenna, if there’s no signal to boost this won’t help!

This is also the case with boat owners, as the open sea tends to be without cell towers!

The other issue relating to cellular coverage is that in very popular locations the cell networks can overload. You will notice this if you ever attend a large event with tens of thousands of people – the internet will slow to a crawl or stop working altogether. As many people attend large events in their RVs, this problem also affects their mobile hotspots which use the cell network to send and receive data.

The solution to all this is a satellite internet connection. This consists of a satellite receiver that you normally mount on or near your RV, which points to a satellite in the sky. This provides the internet.

This gets around the issue of not having a signal, because satellites can cover a vast area. As long as you have a clear view of the sky, you should be able to get connected in most locations (although you’ll want to check coverage of your provider of course).

Currently, satellite usage is also not very common, so there is a low chance of the signal being overloaded.

The downside to satellite internet is that it tends to be one of the more expensive options. Some options can be slower as well. However, costs are coming down and speeds are going up, and more companies are rolling out satellite options. The availability of satellite providers will vary depending on your country. In the US for example, consider Starlink , HughesNet , Viasat and DISH .

Starlink is the standout option as it uses satellites which are closer to earth and thus is able to offer faster speeds and more data. It’s also relatively cost-effective compared to the other satellite options. They also have an RV specific satellite service which offers pay as you go monthly billing, and the ability to pause and resume the service when you want.

Just be aware that Starlink has proven very popular so depending on the service you choose and your location you might have to join a waiting list. The good news is that other companies, including Amazon, are due to launch competing services in the coming years.

NC500 Caravan

6. Just use WiFi for Internet Access

If all the above sounds like a lot of work, and you don’t think you really need to be online every minute of the day, then our suggestion would be just to use free WiFi networks as you go.

In many countries around the world you can find free WiFi all over the place. In the UK for example, most restaurants, bars, museums and many public spaces as well as public transport operators offer easy, hassle free connections.

The same can be said for the US and much of Europe. Reliable locations to find WiFi include McDonalds, Starbucks, and many others. Your hotel or lodging will nearly always include free WiFi as well – thankfully we’re almost past the days when hotels feel they can charge for WiFi access.

Girl on laptop

You might also want to consider investing in a wireless range extender, also known as a travel router. This is a small device that can boost a weak wireless signal, allowing you to connect your devices from further away to something like a hotel or coffee shop that you might not have been able to previously connect to.

We’ve done a round up of the best travel routers to give you an idea of what these devices do and how they work. Our current suggestion is the this TP-Link Travel Router , which is well reviewed and very cost effective.

A travel router can also be used at home, but if you are trying to improve your home WiFi, check out our guide to the best home WiFi routers as well.

Advantages of using WiFi: This definitely one of the easiest option for internet access when traveling, because all you have to do is disable your phones data roaming and then just find WiFi as you go. It’s also the cheapest option, and WiFi is usually faster than mobile data in many cases. If you don’t urgently need the internet at every waking moment, this is a great option.

Disdvantages of using WiFi: WiFi is not yet ubiquitous, so you won’t be online all the time. There are also some security risks to using unsecured wireless networks, so you are likely still going to have to pay for a VPN.

Summary of Best Options for Getting Online When Traveling

Here’s a quick summary of your main options for getting online when traveling:

  • If your carrier supports data roaming, check out what packages are available and the prices in the country you are traveling to.
  • If your phone is unlocked or supports eSIM technology, look at either purchasing a local SIM card or using a travel SIM service. In our experience, Airalo offers good value in the eSIM space.
  • If you have multiple devices you want to connect, think about using a mobile hotspot . You can rent or buy these.
  • If you are trying to get online in an RV, consider a satellite internet service like Starlink
  • If you are not bothered about being always connected, save money by connecting to free WiFi hotspots when you travel

Don’t Forget the VPN!

However you choose to connect to the internet when travelling, we highly recommend you use a VPN to keep your data secure. This is especially the case when connecting to public WiFi networks, but it’s a good habit to get into regardless of how you connect to the internet.

You definitely don’t want your browsing data to be exploited as you browse, and a VPN will protect you from hackers looking to sniff out your sensitive data, from passwords to banking information.

We have a detailed guide to why you need a VPN and the best travel VPNs here . However, in brief, here are some VPN services we recommend you check out to keep your data safe when travelling.

  • Private Internet Access – PIA offers one of the most competitively priced VPN services on the market, and have all the features you need from a VPN – lots of servers to choose from, support for streaming platforms, and support for all the main devices and operating systems on the market, from smartphones to laptops and tablets. Check them out here .
  • NordVPN is o ne of the most highly reviewed and respected VPN services in the world . They offer competitive pricing, especially on their multi-year plans, and by connecting through their VPN software on your devices you’ll know your sensitive data is safe from prying eyes.  We also have a NordVPN discount code . If you enter “travelcats” at checkout you can save 65% on the 2 year plan.

We definitely recommend investing in a VPN, either one of the above, or one you find yourself, to protect your data when travelling and browsing the web.

Everything you need to know about getting connected to the internet and online when you're traveling the world, with options including travel SIM cards, roaming with your home provider and mobile hotspots, including the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Further Reading

And that sums up our guide to getting online when traveling! As you can see, there are plenty of options for you, ranging from free through to more premium solutions.

The best option for you will vary depending on your destination country, budget, and number of people travelling, but certainly we believe that one of the options above will help you get online and avoid nasty bill shock when you get home!

We’ve also got a lot of other resources you might find useful, including the following.

  • Depending on your travel plans, you might need a travel router. See our guide to travel routers  to help you decide which is right for you.
  • We also have a full guide to the best mobile hotspots for you to read if you are interested in one of these devices.
  • Fast internet access at home is also important! See our guide to the  best home wifi routers  for improving your home internet speeds.
  • Staying safe online when you travel is important. See our guide to the  best travel VPNs  for tips on keeping your personal data safe when you’re on the road.
  • You’re going to need to power all your devices when you travel – see our guide to the  best travel adapters
  • If you are heading out onto the road and looking for a laptop to get some work done, see our guide to the  best laptops for photo editing
  • Thinking of buying a new camera? See our guide to the  best cameras for travel

And that’s it! As always, if you have any feedback about the post, or questions for us, just pop them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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There are 26 comments on this post

Please scroll to the end to leave a comment

PATRICIA ANN GARLAND says

6th March 2023 at 1:00 am

Thanks so much for this info. I am technologically illiterate but I think I have a clearer picture of what I need for my trip to the UK. You provide such valuable info for someone like me.

Laurence Norah says

6th March 2023 at 3:54 pm

Thanks very much Patricia! If you have any questions about your trip, feel free to ask. Have a great time!

Gotheglobals says

31st October 2022 at 12:03 pm

Thank you for your outstanding article.

31st October 2022 at 2:37 pm

It’s my pleasure, I’m glad you found it helpful! Safe travels 🙂

Amy Saunders says

12th April 2022 at 1:58 am

Phew! You certainly managed to make me calm down the moment you specified that a mobile hotspot can be shared by numerous devices simultaneously, making it highly convenient. My son and his friends are going on a trip to Montana next weekend but they just received a last minute assignment which needs to be submitted online the day after the trip. I’ll make sure they’re aware about this option so they can select the right plan pretty soon.

12th April 2022 at 10:05 am

Thanks Amy, happy I was able to help, I hope your son has a great trip!

Chance Cook says

15th October 2021 at 4:18 pm

I’ll try and use my mobile provider for my trip. That way I don’t have to buy anything else. Well, unless they ask for me to pay more for out of Country service.

15th October 2021 at 4:24 pm

That is often the best option if they provide this as a service and it’s reasonably priced.

Bridgette says

8th September 2020 at 7:28 pm

Sorry, but other questions came to mind as I’m researching this topic. If I’m abroad, Europe or Asia and get a SIM card for that country for my unlocked phone for a month, would my personal data be protected if I’m not using WIFI? And if yes, then I would not need the use of a VPN? Also if I chose to get a SIM card for one family member in the group, then my husband or son can tether off me using my Mobile Hotspot? And would a VPN still be required for them?

9th September 2020 at 12:00 pm

Hi Bridgette,

No problem at all. So if you have an unlocked phone, then getting a local SIM will nearly always be the most cost effective way to get online. And yes, if you use that instead of WiFi your data will be much more secure because phone networks are much more secure than public WiFi. So a VPN is less necessary. In addition, if you get a SIM card you can then tether your other devices as you say, and as this is a secure local network that only your devices are accessing, again, a VPN isn’t really necessary either 🙂 You just need to be sure that the SIM card allows for tethering (most do, but worth checking).

Let me know if I can answer any more questions!

25th October 2020 at 2:14 pm

Hi Laurence and Jessica ,

This article is great and very informative. Specially for those who are traviling a lot. Any tips on how to make sure that when you are overseas you are using the free wifi and not your own data? There are some instances when the signal is weak my phone is auto switching to my data.

25th October 2020 at 2:47 pm

Thanks very much! So there are a few ways you can do this, depending on your phone.

On Android devices you can: – disable data roaming, so it won’t use data when the phone is not on your home network – enable airplane mode, which disables all the radios, and then just enable wifi – disable mobile data but leave wifi on

On iPhone you can do the same sort of thing. You can disable data roaming. You can also disable wi-fi assist, which will switch from WiFi to data if there’s a weak wifi signal.

Let me know if you need more detailed instructions – I’d need to know your device type to help further though 🙂

Taylor says

6th December 2019 at 5:58 pm

Thanks so much for this post. Sorry, but I’ve got a few techno-dunce questions for you. 1) if I got a “specialist SIM” would I need to worry about getting a VPN or would I be protected?

2) if I got a “specialist SIM,” would that mean I could get on the internet on my phone wherever I might be, in Europe?

3) With this specialist SIM, about how much does 1G give you? I don’t even know what “1G” means! So, for example, if I watched a YouTube video, would I burn through my daily allowance? Or checked email? Or streamed a movie?

Apologies for my lack of savvy and thanks in advance for any answers you’re willing to provide. I’m basically looking for something that will let me send occasional texts w/photos attached, back to the States, and to get on the internet during downtimes (like long bus rides). Thanks again.

7th December 2019 at 8:37 am

My pleasure 🙂 Let me try to help!

1 – While you are using the data on your phone through your SIM, you would be protected from most of the issues. However, if you switched to WiFi, which you might want to do to preserve your data allowance for something like streaming a movie, then you would likely want a VPN. Paying for a VPN and using free WiFi usually works out cheaper than buying data on a specialist SIM in the long run.

2 – Generally yes. In Europe especially, there are no roaming charges between EU countries. So as long as the provider you go for has service in the country you are in, and you have mobile reception, you should be good to go. However, if you are travelling to Europe I’d probably recommend buying a Pay as you go SIM instead of a specialist SIM. This will be a lot cheaper and give you much more data in most cases. If you are in the US and you have an unlocked phone, you can get one like this . If you are arriving in the UK, you can buy these from kiosks at most airports too.

3 – this is hard to quantify precisely, however streaming video is definitely the most data intensive task you can do. E-mail and web browsing will generally not use up much data, but as soon as you start watching video or backing up your photos (many phones do this automatically and it needs to be disabled) you can burn through your data quite quickly. In terms of data use specifically, a 1 hour Youtube video at 720p quality would use up around 0.9GB in one hour. A higher quality video, say 1080p, will use up 1.7G in an hour approximately.

I hope this helps!

8th December 2019 at 11:13 am

Thanks so much. Very helpful information!

8th December 2019 at 11:23 am

My pleasure – let me know if you have any more questions!

29th July 2019 at 6:42 am

I bought a knowroaming global SIM which worked fine in an iPhone (not tried in an android phone), but sadly does not work in the TPlink mobile 4G router I bought (currently visiting Canada).

Do you have any experience of using knowroaming SIMs on anything other than iPhone or Android?

29th July 2019 at 7:38 pm

Hey Matt – unfortunately I don’t, I’ve only ever used them in a phone rather than a data device. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t work, unless there is some odd band incompatibility – the best option would probably be to reach out directly to Knowroaming to see if they can help 🙂

24th May 2019 at 5:04 am

Hi, i have read several of your articles and the are great. Since we are going to spend 3 days in London and 9 more days in France, Italy and Amsterdam, which SIM would you recommend ? We think 1gb daily will be enough in our unlocked phones. Any advice will be appreciated!

24th May 2019 at 11:21 am

Thanks very much!

My suggestion for a SIM card would be Three. You can get 12GB of data for £20, which will also cover you in all the countries you are going to be visiting 🙂 You can get the Three SIM cards at many airports, as well as in Three stores across the UK.

Let me know if you have any questions!

8th May 2019 at 7:33 am

Thank you for this wonderful expose on traveling to access internet. It is very helpful.

8th May 2019 at 9:15 am

Our pleasure Jon, thanks for your kind comment 🙂

1st March 2019 at 10:03 am

Thank you guys for the tips, it was very useful. I am not a very technical person, so I am always struggling whit internet connection and similar stuff. My friend also recommended to get a NordVPN provider, so I am glad that you mentioned this app as well. It offers double encryption and works with Netflix, so for me it is more than enough.

1st March 2019 at 4:03 pm

Pleased we could help Jana!

Diana Maria says

9th August 2017 at 1:30 pm

A SIM card is always needed especially when I’m far like Europe! I try to use wifi and my phone when I feel the need to blog while traveling, but I love taking some time to disconnect and leave my phone at home while I explore. Lovely photos and tips! xx

Sending light & love your way.

Laurence says

9th August 2017 at 7:21 pm

I agree 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

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Best SIM Cards In Switzerland For Tourists

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When you first land in Switzerland as a tourist, you will want to get access to Swiss mobile data as soon as possible.

Sure, there is wifi in your hotel or Airbnb, and maybe even in the cafe, but if you want to be able to surf on the go, you need mobile data. That means you need a Swiss SIM Card.

Switzerland has three main providers: Swisscom, Sunrise, and Salt . And below I have collected all of the relevant information on their Prepaid SIM cards for Switzerland.

The best option for visitors or tourists though is to get your 4G data sorted out before you leave home!

Table of Contents

Have 4G Data As Soon As You Land In Switzerland

Maybe you want a SIM card before you leave to save on the hassle and ensure you have access to 4G as soon as you land.

There are two ways you can do that.

  • Buy a SIM card online and have it sent to you before you leave
  • Buy an eSIM card online and activate it on your phone (no physical sim card required!)

Data As Soon As You Arrive

Don’t waste time or money on SIM cards. Get an eSIM delivered electronically and save money at the same time.

Buy A eSIM Card for Switzerland

I prefer option 2 and I use eSIM cards all the time when I travel :> And actually have a whole post on eSims for Switzerland

Esims have a lot of positives:

  • They are easy to activate (via a QR code)
  • They run in parallel to your standard SIM (you get to keep your number) and use another eSIM in your phone. It’s great!

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There are lots of eSIM options for Switzerland, but my favorite hands down is Airalo . They have lots of data options for Switzerland and Europe in general, and their service is top-notch. (You can read a full review on Airalo )

You can get mobile data for as little as around $2 per GB and it is on the Sunrise network, one of Switzerland’s best mobile providers.

Buying A Swiss SIM Card Before You Travel

There are some great online providers that will send you a SIM for Switzerland before you leave home.

Here are some of the companies you can check out if that is the option you prefer:

Best Swiss Prepaid SIM Card Options

Swisscom shop

Swisscom Prepaid SIM Cards

Swisscom is the original telephone company in Switzerland, so they have the best network (more on that below). In my experience, you will find you get mobile reception almost anywhere you go in the country, even on hikes in the Alps.

So, they are probably one of the best options when it comes to getting a Switzerland SIM card if you want to always have 4G available.

When I asked the Swisscom attendant, he said the following are the options they have for prepaid SIM cards for Switzerland. It comes down to pay-per-use vs payment for unlimited everything for a specific timeframe.

Swisscom inOne Prepaid

inOne mobile prepaid SIM Card

  • Basic – Calls 0.29/min, SMS 0.15/SMS, Internet 2.−/day
  • go (5 CHF / 30 Days) – Calls 0.29/min, Unlimited SMS, Unlimited data with 128 kbit/s

Swisscom Flatrate Prepaid SIMs

Prepaid Flatrate (Unlimited Calls, Unlimited SMS, Unlimited data)

  • 7 days for 20 CHF
  • 30 days for 65 CHF
  • 90 days for 150 CHF

You can also maintain your data or add additional options via your Swisscom Cockpit . It’s way easier this way. I have done it before with many other mobile providers. You can do it from the web on your phone or laptop.

Or, if you just want to quickly add credit online, you can head to this page .

Related Reading

Best switzerland esims compared (for your next visit), sunrise prepaid sim cards.

Sunrise also has some worthwhile prepaid SIM card options you can check out. They have a one-time fee of 19.90 CHF or the SIM card, but keep in mind that includes 20 CHF credit, so in essence, it is free.

The two main options they have are a daily payment of CHF 2.5, or a per-use payment. They also have a Europe-wide data-only option too. Once you have a Sunrise card you also get access to free mobile data on SBB trains too.

Sunrise Prepaid SIM options

Prepaid Unlimited

  • 24 hours of Unlimited data, calls, SMS – 2.5 CHF

Prepaid Airbag

  • Data – 1.20 CHF a day for 100 MB of 4G
  • SMS – 0.20 CHF per SMS
  • Calls – 0.30 CHF/min (max 0.60)

Unlimited Europe

  • 40 GB data in Europe – CHF 49.90 30 days

Salt Prepaid SIM Card

Salt is a newer provider in Switzerland, so its network is not as good as Sunrise’s or Swisscom’s. However, it is still pretty good and it will cover you in most major destinations. Just not in more remote areas.

According to the shop attendant, the Prepaid SIM card from Salt is quite simple. You get a Prepaid sim card for FREE with 10 CHF credit included. After that, you have to top it up with credit.

Their rates are as follows:

  • Calls: 0.49/call (60 min max.)
  • SMS: 0.12/SMS
  • Unlimited data: 1.99 CHF/day
  • 100 MB for CHF 3
  • 500 MB for CHF 9
  • 1 GB for CHF 15

You can only use the data in Switzerland, like with all the other prepaid SIM cards from the competitors.

Buying A SIM Card at the Zurich Airport Or In A City

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When you land at Zurich Airport there are a whole bunch of shops as you exit the terminal and head towards public transport in the main building. Inside that building are quite a few places to get a SIM card, including all three major mobile network operators, and a mobile phone shop:

You can also find the same stores in most major towns and cities in Switzerland. That way, you can get firsthand advice on which SIM card is best for your situation and also get help with the activation process.

My Recommendation For Mobile Data

I travel a lot and am probably writing this while on the road. When I am abroad I use eSims 95% of the time instead of going through the hassle of getting a local SIM Card. That is the same for Switzerland (if I did not live there that is :>)

Instead of going through the hassle of getting a local sim, losing your number, having to register, etc., why not just get an electronic SIM (eSim) which is a code essentially you load into your phone? All newer phones (iPhone X or later – so 5 years or so for most manufacturers) have it built in.

You just buy an eSim when you land, on the plane, or before you leave, and activate it when you arrive. It takes a minute or two. And you have data ready to go!

Here is my complete review of all eSim options in Switzerland !

Plan Your Trip to Switzerland

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3 thoughts on “ Best SIM Cards In Switzerland For Tourists ”

It is very strange offer. On Monday, July 17th, 2023 at about 18:15, I went to Swisscom boutique at Geneve Cornavin railway station. I asked for this offer and they have refused to sell it to me as they required passport and they insisted that ID card is not enough. But most of the Europeans do not travel with passports across Europe because crossing borders and embarking planes or ships with ID card is accepted everywhere with few exceptions. So, this offer is for whom?

And what did you do next? Did you buy any sim card somewhere? Because i am travelling to Switzerland and I want to buy sim card

From my experience, eSIMs are a way better option – no lines, no shop visits, better deals, no id checks. check out my post on that https://switzerlanding.com/best-esims-mobile-data/

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Get Our Free Swiss Tips Guide

Popular destinations, important pages, on social media, travel planning, certified swiss travel expert.

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The New York Times

Technology | how the internet travels across oceans, how the internet travels across oceans.

MARCH 10, 2019

‘People think that data is in the cloud, but it’s not. It’s in the ocean.’

Internet cables in service by 2021

  • Undersea cables owned by Amazon , Facebook , Google or Microsoft
  • Other undersea cables

By ADAM SATARIANO Graphics by KARL RUSSELL, TROY GRIGGS and BLACKI MIGLIOZZI Photographs by CHANG W. LEE

The internet consists of tiny bits of code that move around the world, traveling along wires as thin as a strand of hair strung across the ocean floor. The data zips from New York to Sydney, from Hong Kong to London, in the time it takes you to read this word.

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Nearly 750,000 miles of cable already connect the continents to support our insatiable demand for communication and entertainment. Companies have typically pooled their resources to collaborate on undersea cable projects, like a freeway for them all to share.

But now Google is going its own way, in a first-of-its-kind project connecting the United States to Chile, home to the company’s largest data center in Latin America.

“People think that data is in the cloud, but it’s not,” said Jayne Stowell, who oversees construction of Google’s undersea cable projects. “It’s in the ocean.”

Getting it there is an exacting and time-intensive process. A 456-foot ship named Durable will eventually deliver the cable to sea. But first, the cable is assembled inside a sprawling factory a few hundred yards away, in Newington, N.H. The factory, owned by the company SubCom, is filled with specialized machinery used to maintain tension in the wire and encase it in protective skin.

The cables begin as a cluster of strands of tiny threads of glass fibers. Lasers propel data down the threads at nearly the speed of light, using fiber-optic technology. After reaching land and connecting with an existing network, the data needed to read an email or open a web page makes its way onto a person’s device.

While most of us now largely experience the internet through Wi-Fi and phone data plans, those systems eventually link up with physical cables that swiftly carry the information across continents or across oceans.

In the manufacturing process, the cables move through high-speed mills the size of jet engines, wrapping the wire in a copper casing that carries electricity across the line to keep the data moving. Depending on where the cable will be located, plastic, steel and tar are added later to help it withstand unpredictable ocean environments. When finished, the cables will end up the size of a thick garden hose.

A year of planning goes into charting a cable route that avoids underwater hazards, but the cables still have to withstand heavy currents, rock slides, earthquakes and interference from fishing trawlers. Each cable is expected to last up to 25 years.

A conveyor that staff members call “the Cable Highway” moves the cable directly into Durable, docked in the Piscataqua River. The ship will carry over 4,000 miles of cable weighing about 3,500 metric tons when fully loaded.

Inside the ship, workers spool the cable into cavernous tanks. One person walks the cable swiftly in a circle, as if laying out a massive garden hose, while others lie down to hold it in place to ensure it doesn’t snag or knot. Even with teams working around the clock, it takes about four weeks before the ship is loaded up with enough cable to hit the open sea.

The first trans-Atlantic cable was completed in 1858 to connect the United States and Britain. Queen Victoria commemorated the occasion with a message to President James Buchanan that took 16 hours to transmit .

While new wireless and satellite technologies have been invented in the decades since, cables remain the fastest, most efficient and least expensive way to send information across the ocean. And it is still far from cheap: Google would not disclose the cost of its project to Chile, but experts say subsea projects cost up to $350 million, depending on the length of the cable.

In the modern era, telecommunications companies laid most of the cable, but over the past decade American tech giants started taking more control. Google has backed at least 14 cables globally. Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft have invested in others, connecting data centers in North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa, according to TeleGeography, a research firm.

Countries view the undersea cables as critical infrastructure and the projects have been flash points in geopolitical disputes. Last year, Australia stepped in to block the Chinese technology giant Huawei from building a cable connecting Australia to the Solomon Islands, for fear it would give the Chinese government an entry point into its networks.

Content providers like Microsoft , Google , Facebook and Amazon now own or lease more than half of the undersea bandwidth

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Share of used international

undersea cable bandwidth

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Yann Durieux, a ship captain, said one of his most important responsibilities was keeping morale up among his crew during the weeks at sea. Building the infrastructure of our digital world is a labor-intensive job.

With 53 bedrooms and 60 bathrooms, the Durable can hold up to 80 crew members. The team splits into two 12-hour shifts. Signs warn to be quiet in the hallways because somebody is always sleeping.

The ship will carry enough supplies to last at least 60 days: roughly 200 loaves of bread, 100 gallons of milk, 500 cartons of a dozen eggs, 800 pounds of beef, 1,200 pounds of chicken and 1,800 pounds of rice. There are also 300 rolls of paper towels, 500 rolls of toilet paper, 700 bars of soap and almost 600 pounds of laundry detergent. No alcohol is allowed on board.

“I still get seasick,” said Walt Oswald, a technician who has been laying cables on ships for 20 years. He sticks a small patch behind his ear to hold back the nausea. “It’s not for everybody.”

Poor weather is inevitable. Swells reach up to 20 feet, occasionally requiring the ship captain to order the subsea cable to be cut so the ship can seek safer waters. When conditions improve, the ship returns, retrieving the cut cable that has been left attached to a floating buoy, then splicing it back together before continuing.

Work on board is slow and plodding. The ship, at sea for months at a time, moves about six miles per hour, as the cables are pulled from the giant basins out through openings at the back of the ship. Closer to shore, where there’s more risk of damage, an underwater plow is used to bury the cable in the sea floor.

The Durable crew doesn’t expect the work to slow down anytime soon.

After the Latin America project, Google plans to build a new cable running from Virginia to France, set to be done by 2020. The company has 13 data centers open around the world, with eight more under construction — all needed to power the trillions of Google searches made each year and the more than 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube each minute.

“It really is management of a very complex multidimensional chess board,” said Ms. Stowell of Google, who wears an undersea cable as a necklace.

Demand for undersea cables will only grow as more businesses rely on cloud computing services. And technology expected around the corner, like more powerful artificial intelligence and driverless cars, will all require fast data speeds as well. Areas that didn’t have internet are now getting access, with the United Nations reporting that for the first time more than half the global population is now online.

“This is a huge part of the infrastructure that’s making that happen,” said Debbie Brask, the vice president at SubCom, who is managing the Google project. “All of that data is going in the undersea cables.”

Note: Cables shown in the map are ones that are currently in use, planned or being constructed. They do not show cables that were decommissioned. The content providers comprise cables publicly announced that Facebook, Google, Microsoft or Amazon partly own, solely own or are a major capacity buyer of a cable owned by another company. | Source: TeleGeography

More on NYTimes.com

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10 cities where you can fly for $100 round trip from Phoenix in February 2024

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Booking a trip for February 2024 might get you on a plane for cheap.

New data from  Hopper, the travel website that tracks airfares , found that February will be one of the best months this year to book domestic flights.

Domestic round-trip airfares are expected to average $276 in February, 8% below the same month in 2023 although slightly higher than January's round-trip average of $253, according to Hopper.

Data compiled by Hopper’s economists revealed the destinations with the cheapest February airfares from Phoenix. Ten domestic routes are available with roundtrip fares priced at $100 or less, depending on when you book. Here’s where you can find the best deals.

Is February the cheapest month to fly?

No − January was − but it's still inexpensive compared to other times of year.

Flyers can expect to pay an average round-trip fare of $276 in February 2024, one of the cheapest average costs for flights before prices increase with the spring break travel rush, according to Hopper's lead economist Hayley Berg.

Where is the cheapest place to fly right now?

Hopper’s data showed the lowest round-trip flights from Phoenix were $48 for trips to Ontario, California, and $60 to Salt Lake City and San Diego.

The Arizona Republic found the $48 Phoenix-Ontario round-trip fares via Frontier Airlines for a handful of flights near the end of the month, such as a Feb. 20-24 itinerary. If you fly with Frontier Airlines, be aware they charge low base fares with additional fees for seat assignments, carry-on and checked bags and other amenities.

We also found $58 round-trip base fares from Phoenix to Salt Lake City and Phoenix to San Diego via Frontier, $2 less than Hopper's forecast. The low fare was available for a Feb. 14-21 itinerary to Salt Lake City, and a Feb. 20-28 itinerary to San Diego.

Where you can fly from Phoenix for $100 or less round trip in February 2024

Hopper said these destinations are cheap from Phoenix in February:

  • Ontario, California: $48.
  • Salt Lake City: $60.
  • San Diego: $60.
  • Denver: $68.
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  • Seattle: $75.
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  • Houston: $85.
  • Minneapolis: $100.
  • Dallas: $100.

Mesa airport upgrades: Here's what awaits passengers at Gateway Airport's new $28M concourse

Michael Salerno is an award-winning journalist who’s covered travel and tourism since 2014. His work as The Arizona Republic’s consumer travel reporter aims to help readers navigate the stresses of traveling and get the best value for their money on their vacations. He can be reached at  [email protected] . Follow him on X, formerly Twitter:  @salerno_phx .

Support local journalism.   Subscribe to  azcentral.com  today.

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Buying a Sim Card for Switzerland in 2024

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Traveling to Switzerland and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Switzerland is already expensive enough so don't get stuck with high roaming charges or slow overseas data roaming plans. This is the ultimate guide for finding the best sim card for your trip to Switzerland in 2024.

Find out everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card for Switzerland, where to buy a sim card, a comparison of the mobile internet providers, the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland, up to date prices as per February 2024, the best e-sim cards for Switzerland, my recommendation, restrictions on EU roaming, a vlog with my experiences in Switzerland, info about international sim cards and more.

Being a  full time nomadic travel blogger  since 2012 I have been looking for the best ways to get connected for more than 10 years now. In the past I always used to buy a local prepaid sim card in every country  on arrival, nowadays I pretty much always use e-sim cards to stay connected.

Looking for the best way to stay connected is a vital part of my travel planning. Since I like to document all my travel tips and I am also trying to  visit every country in the world  you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Europe ,  France , Denmark , Germany , Netherlands , UK , Spain , Sweden ,  Paris , Rome , London , Amsterdam , Frankfurt , but also Hong Kong , Colombia , Brazil ,  South Africa , USA ,  Canada , Mexico ,  Turkey , Israel , Saudi Arabia , Malaysia and many more.

Are you flying to Geneva Airport and want to buy a Swiss sim card on arrival then check out my guide for buying a sim card in Geneva in 2024 . Traveltomtom also wrote a similar guide for buying a sim card at Zurich Airport in 2024 .

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your next destination. Bookmark me!

Why buying a sim card for Switzerland

Most hotels, bars and restaurants have free WiFi, yet Traveltomtom still recommends to get a sim card for Switzerland to stay connected and have a working data connection on your phone. Life is simply so much easier these days when you have internet on your phone. Think about ordering an Uber, get directions on Google Maps, finding a hotel, supermarket, restaurant and so on. Many reasons for you to get a sim card for Switzerland. And what about emergency situations or checking your banking apps?

Buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Switzerland is easy or simply order an e-sim card for Switzerland on the internet, even easier. It will make your trip to Switzerland much more fun.

Also simply don't rely on WiFi, some hotel WiFi's are slow, have little reach in your room and above all public WiFi is an UNSECURED network. Your data is not protected. The use of a VPN is recommended.

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends a Swisscom prepaid sim card for a trip to Switzerland. They have the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland and have a sim card for $21 USD that gives you unlimited max speed data for 10 days. Be aware that this sim card is only valid in Switzerland, not in the rest of Europe!

The cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Switzerland is actually an e-sim card as they already start from just $4.5 USD. You arrange everything on the internet within a couple clicks and as soon as the plane lands you are online.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland via Nomad , Airalo or SimOptions .

Keep in mind that Switzerland is NOT part of the EU, so as soon as you set foot outside of Switzerland, your Swiss prepaid sim card stops working!

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If you are traveling onwards in Europe then Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card for Europe that also works in Switzerland or one of the international travel sim cards with data .

Make sure your phone is unlocked because if your phone is locked a Switzerland prepaid sim card, an international sim card or an e-sim card will NOT work in your phone. If you are unsure about this then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country before your trip.

Is your phone locked or you wanna go old school? Then check out my article about getting WiFi on the road and I give you my HONEST review about a portable WiFi device.

Best e-sim cards for Switzerland

The easiest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Switzerland in 2024 is an e-sim card. No more visiting a phone store anymore and swapping physical sim cards. Within a couple clicks you can set up everything.

You order an e-sim card for Switzerland on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Switzerland e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in Switzerland it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland.

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Airalo is a reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo in more than 50 countries around the world and never faced an issue. Here are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Switzerland for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $14.5 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $24 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $38 USD

Click here to order a Switzerland e-sim card directly online .

The above data-only e-sim cards for Switzerland are from Pilatus Mobile. Calling and texting is not supported and data is only valid in Switzerland. Pilatus Mobile operates on the 4G/LTE network of Sunrise and Salt.

internet travel data salt

SimOptions is another reliable e-sim provider that sells e-sim cards from pretty much every country in the world. SimOptions has excellent international e-sim cards valid in multiple countries, including Switzerland.

These international e-sim cards also include calling and texting in all of Europe and they come with a phone number.

  • 12 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $29.90 USD
  • 30 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $49.90 USD
  • 50 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 28 days = $59.90 USD

Click here to order an international e-sim card for Switzerland including calls .

nomad esim card plans for switzerland 2024

Another trusted and reviewed e-sim provider is Nomad and Traveltomtom has used Nomad now in more than 10 countries. Nomad sometimes has amazing competitive e-sim card plans with cheap prices.

Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Switzerland in 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $6 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $14 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $19 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD

Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for Switzerland via Nomad .

With an e-sim card you keep your phone number from home, but make sure your phone is unlocked and your phone is e-sim card compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland.

If your phone is not e-sim compatible you can order a physical prepaid sim card for traveling in Switzerland on the internet. These pre-activated international sim cards with coverage in Switzerland will be delivered to your home address. For example a sim card with 30 GB data for $44.90 USD. Click here to order a physical sim card for Switzerland via SimOptions .

Swiss prepaid sim cards and EU data roaming

HEADS UP! Switzerland is a European country however, it is NOT PART OF THE EU!

That means that prepaid sim cards that you buy in Switzerland do NOT include free EU data roaming. Meaning if you buy a sim card in Switzerland, your data allowance is only valid in Switzerland and when you cross the border into Austria, Germany, France or Italy your sim card stops working!

Basically if you want to use your Swiss sim card for traveling in Europe you have to pay an extra daily fee. Totally NOT recommended!

For more info on EU data roaming check out my guide with tips and tricks for buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Europe .

Prepaid sim cards from Switzerland are the worst for traveling in Europe, but good news is that you can easily buy prepaid as well as e-sim cards for Europe online and they are even much cheaper than prepaid Switzerland sim cards.

Check out Traveltomtom's  comparison of the best (e)-sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2024 . Order online and arrive prepared for your trip to Europe.

Mobile internet operators Switzerland

swisscom shop

There are three main mobile internet operators in Switzerland: Sunrise, Swisscom and Salt. All the providers have multiple phone shops in central locations in big cities in Switzerland: Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern, Lausanne. Lugano. They all sell prepaid sim cards for tourists.

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Where to buy a sim card for Switzerland

International airport on arrival.

The most convenient place to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival in Switzerland is at the international airport. There are 2 main international airports in Switzerland: Geneva and Zurich.

At Geneva Airport there is a dedicated phone store and you can also buy a Swiss sim card at the currency exchange. At Geneva airport you also find sim cards from Lycamobile, Lebara and Yallo. So called MVNO's that operate on the network of the above mentioned main internet providers. Check out Traveltomtom's guide for buying a sim card at Geneva Airport in 2024  for more info.

Are you arriving at Zurich Airport then there is a small sim card shop in the duty free area opposite the luggage belts. As soon as you walk out in the arrival hall and cross the road you end up in a shopping mall where you can find a Swisscom and a Salt store that sells prepaid sim cards for tourists. For more info check out Traveltomtom's guide for buying a sim card at Zurich International Airport in 2024 .

Phone store in the city center

sunrise switzerland shop

If you missed the chance to buy a Switzerland prepaid sim card at the airport your best bid is to go to any of the official retail stores in the city center. They are in every big city or shopping mall. Just go to Google Maps and type in the by you preferred store and locate the nearest one to your hotel.

Convenience stores and gas stations

They also sell Swiss sim cards at gas stations and convenience stores, but you will have to do the activation and registration process all by yourself and there is of course no service or help from the staff. Therefore Traveltomtom does not recommend this in general for tourists.

Prepaid Swiss sim cards can only be bought in Switzerland, but as mentioned before there are multiple options of ordering a sim card for Switzerland online.

If your phone is e-sim compatible then the easiest way is ordering a Switzerland e-sim card on the internet. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland via Nomad , Airalo or SimOptions .

If your phone is not e-sim compatible you can order a physical prepaid sim card for Switzerland via SimOptions .

Registration process prepaid sim card in Switzerland

When buying a prepaid sim card in Switzerland you will need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the store and your new Switzerland sim card will be registered on your name and passport number. You receive a physical prepaid sim card that comes with a phone number that starts with +41.

If you want to avoid this registration process for some reason then you can order an international prepaid sim card for Switzerland or get yourself an e-sim card for Switzerland. If you order a sim card for Switzerland on the internet you only need your email address, there is not ID-verification required.

Best 4G/5G mobile network in Switzerland in 2024

Like most things in Switzerland the mobile data network is also very well organized. Basically everywhere in the country apart from very remote places in the mountains are covered with a 4G/LTE or 5G signal.

Switzerland has a very good 5G network as of 2024. Below we compare the  Switzerland network coverage maps of Sunrise, Swisscom and Salt to find the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland in 2024.

Sunrise Switzerland 4G/5G network coverage

sunrise 4g 5g network coverage map switzerland 2024

Salt Switzerland 4G/5G network coverage

salt 4g 5g network coverage map switzerland 2024

Swisscom 4G/5G network coverage

swisscom 4g 5g network coverage map switzerland 2024

Although the above mobile data network coverage maps are updated for 2024 they are not 100% accurate. However, they are a great reference to compare the 4G/5G networks of the mobile internet providers in Switzerland in 2024.

What we can see from the above 4G/5G network coverage maps from the Swiss mobile internet operators is that every tourist destination in Switzerland is covered with an excellent 4G/LTE and even a 5G signal.

Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that Swisscom has the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland in 2024 with Sunrise being a good runner up and Salt has the smallest 4G/5G network in Switzerland.

Prices prepaid Switzerland sim cards in 2024

Based on the network coverage it doesn’t really matter which prepaid Switzerland sim card you buy as all tourist destinations are covered with a good phone signal by Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom. Let’s have a look at the prices and the prepaid data packages and plans that the Swiss mobile internet operators offer.

Prices and info below are updated in February 2024 and prices are in CHF: 1 USD = 0.86 CHF and 1 CHF = $1.16 USD.

Swisscom prepaid sim card

swisscom prepaid sim card

A Swisscom prepaid sim card cost 19.9 CHF and comes with 20 CHF credit. A data connection cost 2 CHF per day, calling is 29c per minute and sms is 15c per text. Data is only valid in Swiss, not in other countries in the EU!

Data roaming in nearby France cost for example 5 CHF per day. These were the prices in 2020 and they did NOT change in 2024! Very Swiss.

swisscom prepaid sim card plans 2024

Swissom also offers the above prepaid sim card data plan, but they are useless compared to unlimited data for 2 CHF per day.

  • 500 MB data for 30 days = 6.90 CHF
  • 2 GB data for 30 days = 19.90 CHF
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = 45 CHF

Roaming charges outside of Switzerland apply on all prepaid data plans. There is no EU roaming included. For more info see the Swisscom website .

Salt Switzerland prepaid sim card

salt switzerland prepaid sim card plans 2024

You can get a FREE Salt Mobile sim card, but you can only start using it when you top up with one of their many prepaid data/voice plans.

Salt offers free EU data roaming on some of their prepaid sim card plans, which are all valid for 1 month.

  • unlimited data on 4G network + unlimited calls/sms - only valid in Switzerland = 59.95 CHF
  • unlimited data on 4G network in all of Europe + unlimited calls/sms in Switzerland = 89.95 CHF
  • unlimited data in Switzerland on 4G = 35 CHF
  • 5 GB data in Switzerland on 5G + unlimited calls/sms in Switzerland = 39.95 CHF

You are allowed to use a hotspot regarding the fair-use policy. For more detailed info see the Salt Mobile website .

Sunrise Switzerland prepaid sim card

sunrise switzerland prepaid sim card plans 2024

Just like Swisscom a Sunrise prepaid sim card for Switzerland also cost 19.90 CHF and comes with 20 CHF credit.

Sunrise offers unlimited data + chat per day in Switzerland for 2.5 CHF per 24 hours. There is no limit, but data is only available in Switzerland.

Roaming charges are expensive! These are the set fares as per February 2024. More info on the Sunrise website .

Best sim card for Switzerland in 2024

Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. However, prepaid sim card plans are not too bad and for 20 CHF ($21 USD) you basically get 10 days unlimited high speed data in Switzerland.

The main issue with Switzerland prepaid sim cards is that they are only valid in Switzerland and NOT in the rest of Europe. If you only visit Switzerland on your trip to Europe then never mind, otherwise it is worth checking the my comparison of the best Europe travel (e)-sim cards with data in 2024 .

When you are traveling to Switzerland for a week I recommend you getting a prepaid sim card from Swisscom as they offer unlimited data 2 CHF for per day at the fastest mobile network in Switzerland. Therefore Swisscom is the best prepaid sim card in Switzerland in 2024.

From my comparison of the prepaid Switzerland sim cards I came to the following conclusions:

  • Swisscom has the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland in 2024
  • all tourist destinations in Switzerland are covered with a good 4G/5G signal by all mobile internet providers
  • Salt and Swisscom offer unlimited high speed data per day
  • All data allowance is ONLY valid in Switzerland, EU data roaming with Swiss prepaid sim cards is at extra costs

If 20 CHF ($21 USD) sounds like too much money to stay connected in Switzerland then check out the Airalo e-sim cards for Switzerland that already start from just $4.5 USD.

E-sim cards in general are very much recommended as you arrange everything online and you don't need to go to a phone store in Switzerland and buy a local prepaid sim card. Nomad has an e-sim card plan for Switzerland with 20 GB data for $33 USD.

And if you are a heavy data user just like me then have a look at the following e-sim.

orange 5g esim card for switzerland 2024

You can order this 5G ready e-sim from Orange with 50 GB data directly via SimOptions .

Order a prepaid sim card for Switzerland online

international prepaid sim cards for switzerland 2024

Does buying a sim card on arrival in Switzerland sounds like too much hassle and is your phone not e-sim card compatible then don't worry, I got you covered!

Check out the international sim cards for Switzerland below and choose the one that suits you the most. These pre-activated sim cards will  be shipped to your home address before your trip to Switzerland and the BEST thing, they include FREE EU roaming AND phone unlimited calling in Europe:

Three Data Pack 10GB - $24.90

  • 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
  • Valid in 56 countries, including USA, Canada, Australia, etc.
  • Unlimited calls/sms in 56 countries
  • Valid 30 days

Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 12 GB data in all of Europe and UK
  • Valid in 34 countries in Europe
  • Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
  • Valid 14 days

Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 30 GB data in all of Europe and UK
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • 1,000 sms worldwide

Orange Holiday World - $49.90

  • Valid in 124 countries
  • No calls/sms

Click here for more info or to order an international prepaid sim card for Switzerland via SimOptions .

Personally Traveltomtom recommends the Orange prepaid sim card with 30 GB data. I have used these sim cards a lot in the past and never had an issue.

But as mentioned many times before nowadays when traveling to Europe or Switzerland I always use an e-sim card. It is just so easy and done fast and as soon as the plane lands you are online.

Last but not least here is my vlog about buying a prepaid sim card in Switzerland with all my tips. Check out my YouTube video above.

I am sure some of the tips for buying a prepaid sim card or e-sim card for Switzerland were helpful. If you have any questions please leave me a comment below. I am more than happy to help you out with questions related to sim cards as well as other travel tips for Switzerland.

Looking for some serious travel inspiration? Have a look at my Instagram account @traveltomtom and find out what it is like to travel to every country in the world . As of February 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries!

      View this post on Instagram       A post shared by Adventure Traveler & Blogger (@traveltomtom)

Enjoy your trip to Switzerland!

Some links in this article about the best ways to stay connected when traveling to Switzerland are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you!

  • switzerland

Salt, the best fixed Internet performances

Contact us

Barometer of fixed​ Internet connections in Switzerland

internet travel data salt

Between January 1st, 2021 and December 31st, 2021 , nPerf users  have made  83 593 connection tests on Switzerland’s largest ISPs​. 

🏆 Salt provided the best fixed Internet performances in 2021 🏆

internet travel data salt

The summary image is available in French, German and English.​ Image EN png2000  & png500   / Image FR   png2000  &  png500   / Image DE   png2000  &  png500

Our analysis

In 2021, Swiss have enjoyed an average download speed of 195 Mb/s, and 120 Mb/s when it comes to the upload speed. Thanks to these broadband performances, Swiss households are among the best-connected ones in Europe. Please note that data from Sunrise and UPC operators have been merged.

Salt has offered to its subscribers the country’s best Internet performances

internet travel data salt

Salt led the market in terms of performances on fixed networks with its top spot in download and upload speeds, as well as excellent network latency. Its speeds of several hundred Mbps, almost symmetrical, are the result of a predominantly fiber network but also of a particularly good choice of technology by equipping its network with 10 Gbps compatible equipment. Other Internet providers are penalized by a marketing segmentation. Indeed, Salt is the only provider who delivers symmetric 10 Gbps broadband. Note also that, if the performance is below the theorical one, it’s because customers don’t have yet the equipment (powerful chipset, ethernet cable, new generation of Wi-Fi…) that allows them to reach 10 Gbps.

Swisscom, a nice second place

Thanks to good speeds and above all good latency, Swisscom obtained a deserved second place in the general ranking, all technologies combined.

Sunrise UPC, in third place

Despite its nice download speed, which is close to 200 Mb/s, the new group fails to keep up with the good progress of Swisscom

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🏆 Salt, the best 2021 Internet performance on fiber networks 🏆

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    Salt. | additional data Always be reachable when abroad. It is important to us that you can surf and make calls when you are travelling abroad. For this reason, we offer you a range of Add-Ons and Data Packs. Internet Add-Ons Upgrade your subscription and keep surfing abroad. Data Packs Get more data and keep surfing with full cost control!

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    Options & Services Abroad When I'm abroad options. Everything you need when you're outside of Switzerland. Important if you travel to USA, click here for more details Important! New Roaming information. Internet. Add-Ons & Data Packs abroad. Talk & Text. Call anytime wherever you are. WiFi-Calling. Make calls abroad as if you were at home.

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  25. Buying a Sim Card for Switzerland in 2024

    Here are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Switzerland for 2024: 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD. 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD. 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD. 5 GB data for 30 days = $14.5 USD. 10 GB data for 30 days = $24 USD. 20 GB data for 30 days = $38 USD. Click here to order a Switzerland e-sim card directly online.

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