If you plan to travel to the U.S. and want to avoid expensive roaming charges, getting a prepaid SIM Card for U.S. travelers and tourists is the way to go. As long as you own a GSM unlocked phone that’s compatible with local networks such as T-Mobile and AT&T, getting a SIM card online or at a local retailer is both easy and affordable.
So which prepaid SIM card should you get? Well, the options are several, which makes the choices quite confusing. However, we’ve exhaustively gone through a lot of the options to pick out the best prepaid SIM card for USA travel. This list includes some popular names, although we’ve made sure to talk about a couple of underrated offerings as well. So let’s have a look.
T-Mobile Simply Prepaid
T-Mobile not only offers some of the best cell phone plans you could get today, but it also has an excellent prepaid option that will suit most travelers and tourists needs when visiting the U.S. Because T-Mobile’s network has improved vastly over the past few years and its 5G network has some of the most expansive coverage and fastest speeds in the nation, you’ll likely get excellent service with T-Mobile when traveling to major cities during your stay.
There are four T-Mobile prepaid plans you can choose from, though the ideal plan for most visitors will be T-Mobile’s 10GB prepaid plan for $40 per month. This plan includes unlimited domestic talk and text, up to 10GB of high-speed data, free mobile hotspot data, and a music unlimited feature so that any music you stream won’t eat up your data. If you want to add international calling, you can do so for $15 extra, or if you’re traveling to Mexico or Canada for a few days, you can add talk, text, and 5GB of data to use over there for an extra $5.
Cricket Wireless Prepaid
One of America’s well known prepaid networks, Cricket Wireless also has its own BYOD (bring your own device) plan for traveling customers, with attractive plans to choose from. To get started, all you have to do is insert the SIM on your phone and follow the onscreen instructions. With Cricket Wireless with paid plans. This plan has no activation fees or additional overages, so what you see is what you pay.
For those unaware, Cricket Wireless uses AT&T’s 4G LTE networks in the U.S., so regardless of where you travel in the country, you should be able to find decent coverage. With Cricket’s International plan customers can place unlimited international calls to around 35 countries, while most of Cricket’s unlimited plans come included with unlimited calling and texting to Canada and Mexico. Since this doesn’t come with any plan, Cricket will let you choose the best plan during the activation process, allowing you to know fully well what you’re buying into. Be sure to check out Cricket Wireless’ prepaid SIM on Amazon.
Known for its great coverage, AT&T is also an excellent carrier to consider getting a SIM card from when visiting the U.S. and one of the best prepaid phone plans. It tends to have better coverage in rural areas than other carriers, so it’s also a great option if you plan to be on the road a lot. For $30 (plus taxes and fees), AT&T Prepaid will get you 5GB of high-speed data, which is then throttled to 128Kbps. As always, you should check your device’s compatibility with AT&T online before signing up.
On this plan, you’re able to use your mobile hotspot, and you can text to more than 100 countries. You’ll also be able to talk, text, and use data in Mexico and Canada (though data speeds may be slow). And if you think you’ll need more than 5GB of data, you can always upgrade to a 15GB prepaid plan for $40, which is a great deal and definitely worth considering.
This offering by Mint Mobile is recommended to users who plan to have an extended stay in the U.S. for about three months. The SIM comes with 3GB of 4G LTE data per month which can be used across the U.S. Since it has a 90-day validity, users theoretically get 9GB of usable data over the course of 3 months. Mint Mobile also offers a “test drive” feature which includes a 7-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the network’s performance.
Since this is a SIM-only offering, customers are free to bring their own device to the network. The SIM is available in Standard, micro or nano formats, although it is recommended to be careful before ascertaining which SIM fits your phone. Mint Mobile also offers some attractive long term plans if you’re looking to extend your stay in the U.S. This is definitely worth checking out as you can get more data for less each month. Options include 3GB, 8GB and 12GB per month with attractive pricing for data-hungry users.
Ultra Mobile Tourist
Ultra Mobile is an MVNO on T-Mobile’s network, meaning that you’ll get great T-Mobile coverage at a lower price. Though Ultra Mobile offers its own set of prepaid plans, the Ultra Mobile Tourist plan is a perfect fit for anyone visiting the U.S. for three weeks or less. After 21 days, this plan will expire, convenient for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of cancellation. On that same note, you won’t be able to recharge your Ultra Mobile SIM card, so make sure you’re not considering extending your stay.
For $30 with the SIM included, you’ll get unlimited talk, text, and up to 3GB of 4G LTE data. You’ll also have 100 minutes to use to 80+ international destinations, meaning you can call friends and family back home without having to use a third-party app.
One of the biggest networks in the U.S. also has a prepaid offering for traveling customers. Marketed under the popular GoPhone brand, this SIM card supports 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE devices, with no support for the archaic 2G networks. Further, this is a triple-cut SIM card which makes it compatible with a wide range of smartphones, including those that use nano and micro-SIM cards. This offering doesn’t have an annual contract, which makes it suitable for traveling customers.
The company only offers this prepaid SIM, and it doesn’t include data, voice or texts. This is an ideal choice for customers traveling to the U.S. for a few weeks, as you have the liberty to add data or voice minutes practically anytime. AT&T GoPhone has some attractive plans to choose from, offering something for everyone. This SIM card can also be used on data-only devices like tablets, making this a very versatile offering overall. AT&T mentions that this SIM will work with most iOS, Android, and Windows devices.
Lycamobile Sim Kit
Lycamobile is unique because it’s a global MVNO, and in the U.S., it’s an MVNO on T-Mobile’s network. To check whether your phone is compatible, the easiest thing to do is type in your IMEI number on Lycamobile’s website, but most GSM unlocked devices should work.
Lycamobile offers several plans to pick from and really caters to those who need unlimited nationwide talk and text and international calling and texting to 75+ countries. Each plan includes these features at no additional charge, making this the perfect plan if you’re someone who wants to be able to call abroad whenever you want.
When it comes to data, you have multiple options starting at 1GB and going up to unlimited. The cheapest 1GB plan costs $19, while the top unlimited data plan costs $50. Each plan includes slightly different bonus features, so you’ll have to pick what makes the most sense for you.
This is a pretty versatile offering and unlike any SIM card we’ve discussed so far. That’s because this is not just a SIM, but also a portable hotspot device meant for data use around the world, including the U.S. So if you’re looking to travel to the U.S. and want cheap data plans for multiple devices, the GlocalMe G3 is an excellent option to consider. It comes with its own battery along with the ability to charge other devices when they’re running low.
Data can be added or topped up directly using the G3 and its touchscreen display, which makes this a relatively smoother process. Each device comes with 8GB of high-speed data that can be used in the U.S. in addition to 1GB of global data. The company claims that customers can see download speeds of up to 150Mbps and 50Mbps upload speeds around the U.S. The 5,350 mAh battery ensures the device keeps running for up to 15 hours, making this one of the best data devices for USA travel. The device also comes with two SIM card slots, allowing you to use it as an unlocked Wi-Fi hotspot.
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