The 5 Best Unlocked Smartphones for International Travel

So you’re looking for a new smartphone to use on your upcoming international trip? We recommend the Blu Advance 5.2 HD as one of the best budget friendly and useful dual SIM unlocked smartphones on the market.

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BLU Advance 5.2 HD - GSM Unlocked Smartphone Android Oreo -Black
$59.99
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Moto G6 – 64 GB – Unlocked (AT&T/Sprint/T-Mobile/Verizon) – Black - (U.S. Warranty) - PAAE0009US
$319.99
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Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime (16GB) 5.0" 4G LTE GSM Dual SIM Factory Unlocked International Version, No Warranty G532M/DS (Black)
$134.99
$99.00Save 27% ($35.99)
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Huawei Mate SE Factory Unlocked 5.93” - 4GB/64GB Octa-core Processor| 16MP + 2MP Dual Camera| GSM Only |Grey (US Warranty)
$249.99
$219.99Save 12% ($30.00)
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Apple iPhone 7, GSM Unlocked, 128GB - Black (Refurbished)
$299.95
$309.99
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Best Unlocked Smartphones Reviews (International Compatible)

#1 – BLU Advance 5.2 HD

Blu Advance 5.2 HD is the best smartphone value when it comes to price, power and versatility.

Price: $60

Key Features

  • 5.2″ HD Curved Display
  • Dual SIM capability (holds US and International SIM Cards)
  • 1.3 Ghz Quad core Proccesor
  • Android 8.1 Oreo OS
  • 8GB Internal Memory (64GB SD Card Upgrade available)
  • 8MP Camera + 5MP selfie camera (both come with flash)
  • GSM Quad band 3G (850/1700/1900/2100)

My top ranked international smartphone is Blu Advance 5.2. It offers you all you need to call, text, take pictures and use the internet. Very durable phone at an affordable price. Download popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Twitter with ease as well.

Blu gives you 4G access in the United States and 3G when you travel overseas. It’s compatible with all GSM US cell phone carriers including:

  • MetroPS
  • T Mobile
  • AT&T

Unfornatuely, it doesn’t work with CDMA carriers like Verizon, Sprint and Boost.

It works in all major countries and continents, making it a great buy for international travel, too. Just buy a local SIM card and you are ready to go.

This GSM band phone works in all major continents and countries:

  • Europe (France, Italy, Spain, etc)
  • Middle East (Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc)
  • Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, etc)
  • Asian (Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, etc)
  • Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Panama, etc)

Click here to read Amazon user reviews on Blu Advance 5.2 HD

#2 – Moto G6 (Amazon Prime Exclusive)

A Beautiful 5.7 inch display smartphone for around $200 that packs a lot of power.

Price: $200

Key Features

  • 5.7″ HD Screen
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 1.8 GHz octa-core processor
  • 12 MP + 5 MP dual rear cameras and 8 MP front-facing selfie camera with LED flash
  • Fingerprint Sensor to unlock your phone
  • Compatible with US carriers and international SIM cards

The Moto G6 is more expensive but an extremely powerful smartphone that allows you to take super high quality photos and HD video (great for Instagram travel photos and Youtube travel vlogging).

We ranked this phone as #2 because of the higher price but it’s worth it if you need something more powerful.

This version is for Amazon Prime members only and the phone comes with all Amazon apps including:

  • Amazon Widget
  • Amazon Shopping
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Prime Music
  • Amazon Photos

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership, then you can purchase the standard Moto G6 version here.

Download popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Twitter with ease as well.

Motorola gives you 4G access in the United States and 3G when you travel overseas. It’s compatible with the following GSM US major cell phone carriers:

  • T Mobile
  • AT&T
  • MetroPCS

Unfornatuely, it doesn’t work with CDMA carriers like Verizon, Sprint and Boost.

This GSM band phone works in all major continents including:

  • Europe (France, Italy, Spain, etc)
  • Middle East (Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc)
  • Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, etc)
  • Asian (Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, etc)
  • Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Panama, etc)

Click here to read Amazon user reviews on Moto G6

#3 – Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime

The Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime is a powerful little smartphone with plenty of features for under $100.

Price: $100

Key Features

  • 5″ HD display
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmellow
  • 8 MP Main Camera f/2.2 with Flash, 5MP Rear Camera
  • Quadcore 1.4 GHz Processor
  • 4GB Interal Memory (64GB Memory Card available)

If you are a fan of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, then you can get this awesome smartphone at a nice discount. All you need is a local SIM card and you’re ready to travel.

We ranked this phone as #3 due to Samsung smartphones having some of the lowest radiation frequencies on the market. While this phone doesn’t possess a lot of powerful photo & video features, it’s a good buy for the health conscious tech consumer.

Download popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Twitter with ease as well.

Samsung gives you 4G access in the United States and 3G when you travel overseas. It’s compatible with the following GSM US cell phone carriers:

  • T Mobile
  • AT&T
  • MetroPCS

Unfornatuely, it doesn’t work with CDMA carriers like Verizon, Sprint and Boost.

This GSM band phone works in all major continents including:

  • Europe (France, Italy, Spain, etc)
  • Middle East (Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc)
  • Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, etc)
  • Asian (Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, etc)
  • Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Panama, etc)

Click here to read Amazon user reviews on Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime

#4 – Huawei Mate SE

The Huawei Mate SE is a premier smartphone for travelers with a bigger budget.

Price: $220

Key Features

  • 5.93” 18: 9 edge-to-edge all-screen
  • dual-lens 16MP front camra + 2MP rear camera
  • 2.36GHz octa-core processor
  • Android N+EMUI 5.1 OS

The Huawei Mate SE is a recent newcomer that rivals Apple’s iPhone.

We ranked this phone as #4 because although it offers a lot of powerful features, it comes at a premium price and has similar features as the Moto G6.

Download popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Twitter with ease as well.

Huawei gives you 4G access in the United States and 3G when you travel overseas. It’s compatible with the following GSM US cell phone carriers:

  • T Mobile
  • AT&T
  • MetroPCS

Unfornatuely, it doesn’t work with CDMA carriers like Verizon, Sprint and Boost.

This GSM band phone works in all major continents including:

  • Europe (France, Italy, Spain, etc)
  • Middle East (Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc)
  • Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, etc)
  • Asian (Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, etc)
  • Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Panama, etc)

#5 – Apple iPhone 7

For you Apple fanatics out there: iPhone 7 unlocked is the best smartphone for Apple users.

Price: $289

Key Features

  • 4 inch display
  • 16GB memory
  • 7MP FaceTime HD camera
  • 12MP rear camera

Apple always produces high quality products but this is a refurbished model. We ranked this phone #5 on the list due to it being an older Apple iPhone model and a previously owned product. Apple iPhones are so expensive that refurbished older models still cost more than up to date 2019 models from other smartphone makers.

Apple gives you 4G access in the United States and 3G when you travel overseas. It’s compatible with the following GSM US cell phone carriers:

  • T Mobile
  • AT&T
  • MetroPCS

Unfornatuely, it doesn’t work with CDMA carriers like Verizon, Sprint and Boost.

This GSM band phone works in all major continents including:

  • Europe (France, Italy, Spain, etc)
  • Middle East (Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc)
  • Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, etc)
  • Asian (Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, etc)
  • Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Panama, etc)

Click here to read Amazon user reviews on Apple iPhone 7

Buying a Smartphone for Your International Trip

Travelling to a different country is a great way to immerse yourself in a different culture and meet new friends. When you make new friends, it’s only natural to exchange phone numbers. However, there is one small problem: you will need a local phone number!

Don’t make the mistake of using your home number when travelling overseas. Not only are international roaming charges outrageously high, but most of your local friends won’t bother calling you.

You need to purchase a dual SIM smartphone so you can use your current phone along with a newly purchased local SIM card in your new country. That way, you add as many minutes as you need and get a local phone number.

Now, you’re probably wondering: Which Smartphone is Best for International Travel?

I wondered the same thing so I put together a list of the top 5 Unlocked Smartphones for international use. Each of these phones are dual SIM card and will let you call, text, and use apps in your new destination.

Why Use An Unlocked Smartphone?

An unlocked smartphone means you aren’t locked into any network. You can use this phone anywhere in the world. All you need to do is buy a local SIM card and add minutes to it.

Most countries outside the United States use GSM bands so all the phones in this article will work overseas. Refer to this World GSM band map to see a list of GSM bands by country.

Many countries have cell phone kiosk where you can add minutes and purchase feature upgrades like Data plans, Wifi and much more.

I recommend purchasing a 2nd phone to use just for travel if you own an expensive smartphone like an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. That way, if your travel smartphone gets damaged, stolen or lost, you can easily get another.

For a more in-depth explanation, check out Everything you need to know about using your Smartphone overseas.

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