While I have been finding many ways to keep my phone bills low while traveling around the world, there are a few services that I do not mind spending money on. I would like to share these products with you on this page.
If you are interested in starting your own successful blog, YouTube channel, or both, then you should check out my Starting a Business & YouTube channel resource page.
Keep in mind, however, that these products/services are not necessarily all the highest-end tools nor that I have tried all products/services in the same category, as there could be hundreds out there. My goal on this page is to recommend tools that are priced well while providing fantastic service. This is the stuff I use and tried.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links. At NO additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. If you are ready to enhance your travel experiences and would like to support what I am doing, using these links is one way to do that.
International SIM Cards & Travel SIM Cards
International SIM cards can be useful because you can use the same SIM card in multiple countries around the world without having to worry about roaming fees. However, most international SIM cards are expensive, charge ridiculous rates for the awful quality of service, and have slow internet speeds
Travel SIM cards are short-term SIM cards that can be used in one country or a region without the need of having to buy a local prepaid SIM card for each destination you visit. Below are my favorite international SIM cards and travel SIM cards.
If you have watched a video on my YouTube channel or read an article of mine, then you know that Surfroam is my FAVORITE international SIM card that I take with me on every trip. With rates starting as low as €0.01/MB and covering 200+ destinations around the world, Surfroam disrupts the old international SIM card business model with their pay-as-you-use strategy.
Although I always use local prepaid SIM cards (which I cover extensively on this site), I use my Surfroam SIM card as soon as I land until I can purchase a local prepaid SIM card (SIM cards sold at the airport are often overpriced, and it may take a few hours before I can head to a store that sells local prepaid SIM cards – I have to stay connected as a digital entrepreneur at all times).
SimOptions sells travel SIM cards to be used around the world, covering more than 200 destinations. Often, such a travel SIM card can be used in multiple destinations in a specific region (like Europe, South America, Asia, etc), which means you will not have to buy a local prepaid SIM card for each country you visit in a short period, such as the Orange Europe SIM card covering all of Europe.
Travel SIM cards are useful to those visiting multiple destinations in a short period and do not want to waste precious time finding and buying SIM cards. SimOptions sells travel SIM cards at unbelievable rates.
SimCorner is also in the business of selling travel SIM cards and want to do “away with expensive global roaming fees forever.” You SimCorner SIM card can often be used in multiple countries in the same region, or you can get country-specific travel SIM cards. SimCorner also sells useful travel accessories.
One thing that makes SimCorner so attractive is that they sometimes sell SIM cards from a local operator for less than the operator would charge you when visiting their stores.
SimCorner is Australia-based, and they offer free standard shipping to those living in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Shipping to other countries is possible too, for a small fee.
eSIMs are slowly becoming more prominent, so some companies have already created international eSIMs (yes, eSIMs do work abroad). As it is still a challenge to purchase prepaid eSIMs when traveling, international eSIMs are, for now, the easiest option to get a foreign eSIM. Below are some reputable eSIM providers.
I covered Surfroam under the International SIM Card section already, so I will keep it short here. But Surfroam also sells an eSIM variant with competitive rates. With several profiles, you can decide which operator you want to use in a particular country.
Airalo is the world’s first eSIM store that offers access to over 100 local eSIMs with affordable local rates from around the world. They recently added regional eSIMs, which are plans that can be used in multiple countries in a region instead of having to purchase a local eSIM for each country you visit (like a travel SIM card but in eSIM format).
Mobile hotspots are battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are excellent for those traveling in groups, like friends or family.
Travelwifi sells and rents a mobile hotspot, called Teppy, that can be used in more than 130 destinations around the world. Offering blazing-fast 4G/LTE speeds, using Teppy can be extremely useful for those who want to stay connected with multiple devices while traveling. Travelwifi sells packs for individual countries or regional packs (like Asia). They also have Tep+, which is their voice calling app (and it is offered for free when you rent Teppy – how awesome!)
Skyroam is the the ultimate mobile hotspot that allows you to use the 4G network in 130+ countries with no data cap. Up to 10 devices can connect to a Skyroam device that easily fits into your backpack. Perfect for groups or those visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Skyroam rental rates start from $8.99 (use code PHONETRAVELWIZ) or you can buy a Skyroam Solis X Smartspot in case you plan on using it more often.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Using a VPN is a MUST when traveling, as you may be connecting to WIFI hotspots that are unsecure, or you will be in countries where internet censorship is a thing. Moreover, you can hide your internet traffic from ISPs snooping and selling your browsing history to advertisers, and you can access region-blocked content (like Netflix USA when not in the USA). The VPNs I use are NordVPN and Surfshark (note: do not use multiple VPNs at the same time – it is unnecessary, and they will conflict with each other).
NordVPN is my primary VPN. With more than 5400+ servers in 59 countries, you can enjoy extremely fast VPN experiences (more servers means less load), especially with the new NordLynx protocol. Connect up to 6 devices at the same time on any device you can think of (even on a router). With a solid no-log policy, Onion Over VPN, double routing servers, built-in ad blocker, and being P2P friendly, NordVPN is the best VPN out there (and they often have deals going on where you can save up to 70% on your subscription!)
Surfshark is a lightweight yet powerful VPN provider. They are probably the cheapest VPN provider out there, have no restrictions on how many devices can be connected at the same time, and seem to support the most Netflix libraries (15), Surfshark is amazing. With CleanWeb, their ad blocker, you do not have to worry about ads. They also have a strict no-logs policy, have a camouflage mode so that ISP cannot see that you are using a VPN, and have servers in some locations other VPN providers do not bother covering (1700+ servers in 63 countries), Surfshark is a great VPN, while being incredibly cheap (with discounts up to 83%).
YNAB, also known as “You Need a Budget,” is the best budgeting tool out there. I always hated having a budget because it made me feel restricted. However, if you travel a lot, or just in general, having a budget is vital for having an overview of your income and expenses. YNAB helps you with breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle,
gets you out of debt, and save more money. It really is the best budgeting tool (or income/expense tool) out there!
Many travelers use easy-to-guess passwords, which makes them easy victims for hackers. Dashlane creates complex passwords that are impossible to guess and takes computers AGES to guess as well. Dashlane is your digital vault for passwords, credit cards, private notes, and ID. All safely encrypted.
Not so much a travel-related software perse, but Grammarly has saved me from so many grammar and spelling mistakes. It is hands-down the best grammar and spellchecker out there. I use it for everything: my emails, this blog, even for this page!
Viruses, trojans, and malware scare me. I do not use a third-party virus scanner because they hog resources and try to upsell you constantly – Windows Defender does a good job nowadays. However, it does not detect certain malware as Malwarebytes does. Malwarebytes does not use a lot of your computer resources and does an excellent job with real-time protection. It even blocks shady websites before you can visit them!
It can get really disorienting when you are a member of many loyalty programs but do not have enough miles to do something useful with them. Points.com keeps track of all your loyalty points and allows you to convert them to miles of other loyalty programs or even cash (PayPal). You can also spend your miles on magazines or other stuff you like. Very useful and free!
Sometimes, your flight departs in the evening, but you have to check-out in the morning. Instead of carrying your suitcase with you all day, you can store it safely with Vertoe for a reasonable price. They even do short-term storage in case you wanna go on a short trip to another destination for a few days, while already traveling, and do not feel like bringing a big suitcase with you. Extremely convenient!
Many people think that travel insurance is a waste of money. Well, it is not, especially when you have to seek medical attention overseas (which can be much more expensive than back at home). World Nomads provides insurance coverage in over 130 countries. Their coverage is extensive while having low premiums. Overseas medical attention, lost luggage, and evacuations, World Nomads covers it all!
Nothing is worse than being charged with excessive foreign exchange fees. Travel cheques are ancient. Exchange currency shops charge outrages commissions, and so do banks with their debit- and credit cards. Transferwise gives you a Mastercard with your free Borderless Account that can hold more than 50 local currencies so that you can pay like a local instead of paying your bank. I have saved literally THOUSANDS of Euros with my Transferwise account. Winning!
Flight Search Engines
There are so many flight search engines out there, which help you find the lowest price for your trip. However, booking directly with the airline will come with more perks than through a flight search engine, but they may not always advertise their lowest rates. Plus, going through the sites of 10+ airlines is just tedious. Below are some of the best flight search engines out there, all with different purposes and for different target groups.
Instead of having to keep track of flight ticket prices manually to see when they drop, Google Flights does that for you. You set up flight alerts for your desired route(s), and Google will send you an email when prices go down – for free!
I usually select flights that have multiple layovers so that I can get some rest in between long-haul flights. What is even better is having a stopover in a destination I have never considered. AirWander looks for the best free or cheapest stopover(s) for your selected flights so that you can explore multiple destinations in one trip!
It can get a bit freaky with CheapFlightsFreak. They are awesome with finding the cheapest flights out there. Highly recommended when flying from North America or Europe to anywhere in the world.
StudentUniverse The best flight search engine for students. If you are under 26 or a student, you can often get discounts on flight tickets. StudentUniverse searches these tickets for you, as it can be a challenge to find youth tickets (airlines tend to hide this option sometimes).
Other Modes of Travel
Sometimes, flying to a destination does not make sense or is simply too expensive. That is where other modes of travel come in handy, like riding a bus or train. Below are some services I would recommend.
Sometimes, commuting to and from an airport may take longer than the flight itself. Let’s not forget about the time you waste at airports. Budbus, however, looks for the cheapest bus fares so that you can see the beauty of the destination you are visiting instead of looking at clouds for the 20th time.
Although low-cost carriers (airlines) are a big thing in Europe, they are not the best way to experience Europe. Everyone knows that the European railway system is awesome. Interrail makes it much easier to explore Europe by train by having one ticket for participating countries instead of having to buy multiple tickets per country. NOTE: Interrail can only be used by European citizens or European residents. Non-European citizens and residents have to use Eurail.
Eurail is the same as Interrail, but then for those who are not European citizens or residents. Skip low-cost plane travel and explore Europe by train. It will do you good! NOTE: Eurail can only be used by Non-European citizens and residents. European citizens and residents have to use Interrail.