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Travel

What are The Best UK Sim-Only Deals For Travelling Europe and the World?

Fight Against Extortionate Global Roaming Charges for Sim Only Plans!

A lot of us have done it. That summer holiday, backpacking trip or ski holiday when you used your phone a little bit too much. Calling loved ones at home, using the internet or even just excessive compulsive texting. Getting home to a bill on your doorstep that looks like you have accidentally bought a car than a phone is never fun. A quick search for sim only deals for travelling could have prevented this, allowing you to use your phone abroad for less, or even free in some cases.
UK mobile providers have been keen to charge as much as possible in the past it seems for roaming charges abroad and even calls and texts. There have been extreme cases where plans have cost up to £3 per minute to take a call or even £5+ for a single MB of data! But it’s never been easier to pay less in Europe.

Travelling further than Europe? Check out the best sim-only deals for global travel further down the page.

EU Roaming Regulations Make Travel Roaming Much Easier

From June 2017, the EU changed the rules. Seeing that prices to roam abroad were getting ridiculous, a ban on these charges within EU states was introduced. But what does this mean for you?

It means that for any UK sim only deals or phone plans roaming minutes, text and data will come out of your inclusive allowance. The ban not only covers all 28 countries, it also stretches to Norway & Liechtenstein which aren’t in the EU, but do work with the union. This is fantastic news for anyone travelling around the EU. Be careful though! If you have an unlimited plan or high data usage tariff, check with your provider. There may be “fair usage” fees in place to use your whole allowance abroad!

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the very best sim only deals for travelling in the EU, that you can buy in the UK.

best sim only deals for travelling the EU and Globally

Because staying in touch is important, no matter where you are.

Sim Only Travel Plans for Europe with up to 1MB Data

ProviderMinutes, Texts & DataRatingPrice + Buy
Giffgaff (30 Day Plan) 150 minutes (EU), Unlimited Texts & 1GB Data 2 £7.50 per month
O2 (12 Month Plan) 1000 Minutes (EU), Unlimited Texts & 1GB Data. Access to O2 Priority for Priority Events & Tickets, Free Passes, Food Discounts & Competitions. 3 £13 per month
Vodaphone (PAYG) 200 EU minutes, Unlimited Texts, 1GB Data, 3 £10 Top-Up
Lebara Mobile (30 Day Plan) 500 (EU) + 500 International Minutes, 100 texts & 1GB Data, Unlimited texts & mins Lebara to Lebara 5 £5 per month introductory offer

If data isn’t as important to you, but other methods of communication are we’ve put together a list of low data packages above. Coming in at the top is Lebara Mobile. The network are specialists on international calls at discount rates and this package is great for that. The 500 “international minutes” covers you for 40 countries.

This is ideal for travelling Europe as you not only can use your existing 500-minute allowance to call home in the UK. You can also contact your backpacking friends, or family, in the US, Australia, New Zealand and many more places. Another added bonus is that Lebara to Lebara calls and texts are free! So, if your friends & family are on this network you will use no allowance at all to call or text.

But be wary, the package is low on texts to other networks, only 100, so if you like to send text messages whilst abroad another package may work better for you. The O2 or Giffgaff tariffs mentioned both offer unlimited texts at slightly higher expense.

Medium Data Use Sim Only Deals for Travelling Europe

ProviderMinutes, Texts & DataRatingPrice + Find out More
Lebara (30 day) Unlimited Minutes (EU) + 100 International Minutes, 100 texts & 4GB Data. Unlimited texts & mins Lebara to Lebara 5 £8 per month
GiffGaff (30 day) 750 Minutes (EU), Unlimited Texts & 4GB Data 4 £12 per month
O2 (12 month) Unlimited Minutes (EU), Unlimited Texts & 6GB Data. Access to O2 Priority for Priority Events & Tickets, Free Passes, Food Discounts & Competitions. 4 £15 per month

These plans are great for people that instant message and use the internet on occasion while travelling. Lebara again tops the pack for allowance and value for money.

At just £8 per month, you can have unlimited calls to any network whilst in the EU & 100 international minutes to 22 countries. There’s also unlimited texts to Lebara, and a full 4GB of data.
The only minor point that lets this great-for-travel sim only deal down is the text allowance to other networks; just 100. O2 and Giffgaff again provide strong offerings here but just can’t match on price. However, if you feel it is worth extra to have unlimited texts or even the O2 priority goodies then either the Giffgaff or O2 plans could work for you.

High Data Use Sim Only Deals for Travelling in the EU

ProviderMinutes, Texts & DataRatingPrice + Buy
GiffGaff (30 Day) Unlimited EU Minutes, Texts & Data (Fair usage policy applies after 9GB speed decreases) 5 £20 per month
Lebara (30 Day) Unlimited Minutes (EU) + 100 International Minutes, 100 texts & 10GB Data. Unlimited texts & mins Lebara to Lebara 5 £15 per month
O2 (12 months) Unlimited EU Minutes, Unlimited Texts, 15GB Data 5 £15 per month
Vodaphone (PAYG) 1000 EU minutes, Unlimited Texts, 6GB (+4GB Free) Data 3 £20 Top-Up

Like to use a monster amount of data? Maybe you need to upload Instagram snaps of your travels on the go, or even skype the dog on a regular basis. These are the sim only plans for you. Special mention to the Giffgaff unlimited plan here. If you want a plan you don’t have to worry about going over your allowance on then this is ideal. Always pay attention to the fair usage policy though available on their website.

What About Sim Only Deals for Travelling Outside of the EU?

World travel is getting easier and easier these days. You can now get flights from the UK to Australia non-stop in just 17 hours. Because of this, it is important that communication infrastructure and technology keeps up with the pace of the travel industry.

With that in mind we’ve brought you a list of some of the best sim only deals for travelling outside of the EU.

ProviderMinutes, Texts & DataRatingPrice + Buy
O2 Travel Bolt-On (Per day) 120 minutes, 120 texts, Unlimited Data (Subject to terms and destinations) 2 £4.99 Per Day
Three Go Roam Various. Data, minutes and texts inclusive of allowance in over 70 destinations worldwide 5 From £13 per month

It seems nobody can touch the power of the Three network when it comes to global roaming. Compare it with international call specialist Lebara for example. Their sim only deal for travelling globally is substandard. Travel outside of the EU and you will be subject to extra “roaming” charges. We feel this network is best used for EU and EEA countries only.

O2 provide a travel bolt on which allows you to control your global roaming charges by paying a daily flat fee of £4.99. Again though this is quite restrictive as it could get expensive very quickly for someone like a travel blogger!

This is why we rate the Three “Go Roam” ready plans 5 stars. All advanced sims are perfect deals for travelling globally in 71 destinations. From Costa Rica to Singapore, to Australia & New Zealand you can use your normal data, texts and minutes allowance. Quite remarkable.

Have you spotted a better deal out there than the ones listed above? Comment and let us know!

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