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Discover The Best SIM Card for UK and Spain

A single SIM for your UK-Spain trip

· 3 min read

Are you planning a trip to the United Kingdom and Spain? These two European countries are often visited together due to their proximity. If you're considering a journey to the UK and Spain, read on to discover how you can effortlessly stay connected during your travels!

Optimal Networks in the UK and Spain

First, let's take a look at the networks in the UK and Spain. It's essential to select a SIM card that offers reliable coverage in both bustling cities and more remote areas. This is especially crucial if you intend to explore off-the-beaten-path locations or rural regions. Search for providers that boast comprehensive coverage maps and robust partnerships with local networks. This ensures you remain connected and enjoy a seamless experience wherever you venture.

Man with phone on bridge

Networks in the UK

The primary network providers in the UK are Vodafone, EE (Everything Everywhere), Three and O2. All four providers offer prepaid data SIM cards with pretty similar prices and volumes, and you can get their SIM cards either from one of their many shops in the city centre or from a newsstand or tobacco shop.

Networks in Spain

In Spain, the prominent players include Telefónica (Movistar), Vodafone España, and Orange Spain. Movistar and Orange are known to have some of the best coverage within Spain, with Orange having slightly lower prices. Securing a SIM card in Spain is a breeze, with options ranging from major airports like Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, to local mobile phone shops, supermarkets, and electronics stores. Even newsstands in bustling tourist areas often offer SIM cards. Additionally, online avenues, including official network provider websites and reputable marketplaces, provide convenient alternatives.

While obtaining a SIM card in Spain and UK offers convenience, it's important to consider potential drawbacks. Purchasing a SIM card at airports or local shops might come with higher prices due to their tourist-focused nature. In some cases, the language barrier could complicate the purchase process, leading to confusion or misunderstandings. Furthermore, relying on SIM cards could mean dealing with the hassle of swapping them out and managing multiple cards as you move between different regions or countries. This could result in interrupted connectivity or missed communication opportunities. Careful consideration of these potential downsides can help you make an informed decision about the best communication solution for your needs while roaming in Spain and UK.

Staying Connected in the UK and Spain

Now that we have an overview of the networks in the UK and Spain, let's explore ways to stay connected.

Acquiring Local SIMs

One of the most popular methods to stay connected while traveling is obtaining a local SIM card. This approach is typically cost-effective and provides the convenience of a local phone number for any domestic calls you may need to make. In addition to physical SIM cards, Spanish and British telecom companies also offer eSIM options, providing the flexibility of having a local number.

Some telcos offer prepaid SIM cards with the option of roaming within the EU, which isn't exactly a surprise given how connected the EU is. However, do note that this service often comes with additional charges; and since the UK is no longer part of the EU, you should always check the fine print to confirm the coverage of the SIM card that you are getting.

Alternatively, you can choose to get different SIM cards from local providers when you reach your destination. However, this might be more complicated because you'd have to switch between multiple SIM cards as you move between countries. It could lead to inconvenience and disrupt your connectivity. On the other hand, using an international roaming plan could be easier, ensuring you stay connected without the hassle of changing SIM cards.

Activating eSIM

Enabling International Roaming

Naturally, the option of enabling international roaming is available. This eliminates the need for acquiring separate SIM cards as you move between destinations. However, international roaming can be expensive, and roaming charges can escalate.

If you decide to roam, check with your home telecom provider for bundled or multi-country plans or Europe plans that cover both destinations on your itinerary.

Utilizing Regional SIMs

Another option is to use regional SIM cards. These SIMs typically connect to local network providers as you travel between countries. With a single SIM, you can remain connected across various countries in the region, eliminating the hassle of switching SIM cards.

However, similar to the option of getting a local SIM with roaming capabilities, the UK is sometimes excluded from the coverage. Double-check and confirm the countries that are covered by the SIM card before purchasing it.

Man Traveling in Europe with a phone

Nomad's Regional Plans for Europe

If your device supports eSIM, consider Nomad's Regional Plans for Europe for your journey to the United Kingdom, Spain, and a whole lot of other countries! Nomad's Regional Plan for Europe provides extensive coverage for up to 35 countries, all at affordable prices starting from as low as $1.25 per GB.

With one plan, you can stay connected hassle-free as you traverse multiple countries during your upcoming trip. Simply visit the Shop page, select a plan suitable for your trip duration and data usage, and upon purchase, receive a QR code to activate your data plan.

If you are unsure how much data you need for your trip, our Data Calculator is here to help you find a plan that best fits your usage patterns.