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Best Travel (e)SIMs for Staying Connected on Your India Trip

And where to purchase them

· 3 min read

Traveling to India is a truly enriching experience, offering a diverse mix of culture, heritage, and breathtaking landscapes. However, staying connected while exploring this vast and captivating country is crucial for navigation, communication, and sharing your adventures with loved ones. To help you make the most of your trip, we'll explore the best SIM card options for travelers to India.

Mosque in India

SIM Cards In India: Which Telco To Use?

If you will be traveling to India, one of the options to staying connected would be to pick up a local SIM card from a network operator in India. Here are the top 3 network operators in India which provide decent coverage across the country, which you can consider getting your India SIM card from.


Airtel is one of India's largest and most reliable telecom providers, making it an excellent choice for travelers. They offer a range of prepaid SIM card options tailored to the needs of tourists. Airtel's network coverage is extensive, covering urban and rural areas alike. Their prepaid plans often include data, local and international calling, and text messaging, ensuring you stay connected wherever your journey takes you.


Reliance Jio has revolutionized the Indian telecom industry with its affordable data plans. For travelers, Jio offers prepaid SIM cards with competitive data packages, including free voice calls within India and low-cost international calling rates. Jio's 4G network provides excellent coverage in most major cities and tourist destinations, ensuring a seamless connection for your entire trip.

VI (Vodafone Idea)

VI (Vodafone Idea) is another reputable option for travelers to India. They offer a variety of prepaid SIM card options that cater to different budgets and data needs. VI has a widespread 4G network, especially in urban areas, making it a reliable choice for tourists. Their international roaming packs are also handy if you plan to explore neighboring countries.

Where to buy SIM cards in India

Aside from the network provider, another consideration when deciding which local SIM card to purchase would be how convenient it might be for you to get them. There are a few options to purchasing travel SIM cards in India.

At the airports

The major telcos will have physical stores in some of the major international airports in India, including Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) in Bengaluru, Chennai International Airport (MAA) in Chennai, Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi, Goa International Airport (GOI) in Goa, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai. Smaller domestic airports might not always have a physical counter for you to get a tourist SIM, so it might be worth checking in advance.

Upon arrival, you can head to the physical stores at the airport to pick up a tourist SIM. Take note that you will need to provide identity documents and checks to complete the purchase.

At local stores

If you are unable to pick up a travel SIM at the airport, you can also head to local stores. There are many local stores in town that also offer SIM card purchases. However, you should be careful that you purchase your SIM card from a reputable store - otherwise, you risk having your SIM card deactivated mid-trip. While regulations have been tightened to improve the safety and security around SIM card purchases, it is still advisable to take necessary precautions and do your due diligence to confirm the legitimacy of the stores before purchase.

As a guideline, if the store does not request that you provide any forms of identity checks, you probably do not want to get a SIM card from them.

Get a travel eSIM from Nomad

If you find that getting a physical travel SIM for your India travels comes with too much uncertainties, or if you do not want to waste time at the airport or finding a local store to get an eSIM, perhaps consider getting a travel eSIM from Nomad instead.

Nomad offers affordable data eSIM plans for India, with data costing as low as $2.33 per GB. The plans that Nomad offers primarily hook onto the Airtel and VI networks, providing stable and extensive coverage in India.

Getting an eSIM is also a good way for you to get connected, all while reducing the anxiety that you might have around the possible uncertainties. With Nomad's eSIM for India, you can purchase your eSIM in advance. Before you even depart, you can already install and activate your eSIM, so you can hit the ground running once you arrive at your destination. You no longer have to worry about whether the airport has a counter, or if you will have to look for a legitimate local store. And if privacy is a concern, you also do not have to worry about having to submit your documents for identity checks.