10 Best Phones for International Travel

Wally Nowinski
editor

International roaming rates with US phone carriers can be extremely high, so it’s often better to get a local SIM card at your destination to save money. Phones with dual SIM allow you to use both SIM cards simultaneously, making them a good choice for international travel. Good battery life is also an important feature when travelling, so you can be free to explore without having to worry about your battery running out. Our experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our phone database and find the best phone for international travel available in 2023. Here are our top picks.

Our criteria for the best phone for international travel:

  • Dual SIM: A dual SIM smartphone can be beneficial for international travelers as it allows them to use a local SIM card in their destination country for cheaper call, text, and data rates, while still keeping their home country's SIM card active. This provides flexibility and cost savings, making it a practical choice for frequent travelers.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized phone recommendation
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10 Best Phones for International Travel

1
Samsung

Galaxy S23

BEST RATING
Performance:
4.8
Size: Medium Android
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Samsung Galaxy S23 is positioned at an upper midrange price with 128GB of storage. Released in February 2023, it operates on Android, featuring a glass body and a 6.1-inch OLED screen without curved edges. The display offers excellent quality with a high refresh rate and is capable of high brightness. Its 3900mAh battery supports a reasonable length of battery life. The camera system is impressive with high-quality photo and video capabilities; it includes a 50MP main camera, 10MP telephoto with a 70mm focal length, and a 12MP ultrawide lens. Video recording goes up to 8K at 30fps and 4K at 60fps. The S23 has stereo speakers but lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card slot. It supports 5G, NFC, the latest WiFi 6e, and Bluetooth 5.3 standards, offers wireless charging, and has an IP68 dust and water resistance rating, making it a durable choice. The device has a punch-hole front camera, in-display fingerprint sensor, and supports Wireless DeX for desktop-like functionality.
Pros
  • High-quality OLED screen
  • Excellent camera performance
  • Wireless and reverse charging
  • Durable with IP68 rating
  • Supports 5G networks
Cons
  • Moderate battery life
  • No headphone jack
  • No SD card slot
  • No periscope camera
2
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.7
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max comes at an upper midrange price offering 128GB of storage and runs on iOS. It features glass on the back and houses a hefty 4352mAh battery. The display is a 6.7-inch OLED screen without curved edges but with a high refresh rate for smoother visuals. Its screen delivers peak brightness for visibility even in bright conditions. The A15 processor paired with 6GB of RAM ensures top-notch performance. Camera capabilities are very good for both stills and videos, supporting HDR video and RAW output. It has a 12MP main camera as well as telephoto and ultrawide lenses. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is capable of 4K video recording and supports 5G connectivity. Note that it lacks a headphone jack, but offers NFC and dual SIM capabilities. If you're looking for high performance, excellent camera quality, and long battery life with premium screen features, this phone is a strong choice, albeit at a higher price point.
Pros
  • Large, high-quality OLED screen
  • High refresh rate for smooth visuals
  • Exceptional camera with RAW and HDR video
  • Long battery life
  • Solid build with water and dust resistance
Cons
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No SD card slot for expandable storage
  • No always-on display feature
  • Heavy compared to some other phones
3
OnePlus

11

BEST RATING
Performance:
4.8
Size: Large Android
Camera: Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The OnePlus 11 is an Android phone with high performance at an upper midrange price. It has ample storage, and the battery life is respectable. The camera system offers very good still photo and video quality, with features like Auto HDR, and can handle advanced tasks such as RAW output and HDR video. It sports a large 6.7-inch curved OLED display with high brightness and a 120Hz refresh rate, promising a top-notch viewing experience. Note that there is no 3.5mm headphone jack, SD card slot, or wireless charging, which may be important considerations for some users. It's built with quality materials and includes a high-performance charger in the box.
Pros
  • High-performance fast charger included
  • Long battery life
  • High refresh rate OLED display
  • Very good camera quality
  • 5G enabled
Cons
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No wireless charging
  • No SD card expansion
  • No IP water or dust rating
4
BEST RATING
Performance:
4.9
Size: Medium iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 15 comes at a premium price with glass body and an OLED display of 6.1 inches. It operates on iOS with an A16 processor and 6 GB of RAM. It offers best-in-class camera quality for both still photos and videos, supported by a main camera of 48 megapixels and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. There is no telephoto or periscope camera, but it can shoot 4K video at 60fps and 1080p video at 240fps. Its battery capacity is substantial and it is rated for up to 8 hours of life per charge. With 128 GB of storage, wireless charging capabilities, and resistance to dust and water, this phone doesn't support 3.5mm headphones but does have front-facing stereo speakers and NFC for contactless transactions. If the high cost is within your budget and you're looking for excellent camera performance and quality features, the iPhone 15 is a strong contender.
Pros
  • Excellent overall camera quality
  • Very good screen quality
  • Supports 5G connectivity
  • Fast wireless charging available
  • Best performance in class
Cons
  • No headphone jack
  • Does not support SD Card
  • No reverse wireless charging
  • Limited to 60Hz refresh rate
5
BEST RATING
Performance:
4.8
Size: Large Android
Camera: Fair
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Motorola Edge+ (2023) offers a good balance of features for its midrange price. With a glass body and a large 5100mAh battery, it promises solid battery life, lasting over 9 hours. It sports a 6.67-inch curved OLED display with high brightness and high refresh rate, enhancing visuals. Its triple camera setup, including a 50MP main sensor, provides fair photo and video quality and versatility with HDR10+ video and RAW output. Performance is very good, thanks to 8GB of RAM and the latest Snapdragon chipset. Plus, it retains a 3.5mm headphone jack and supports 5G connectivity. However, if multiple, high-quality cameras are a top priority, you might look into other options as the camera quality is fair, not exceptional.
Pros
  • High storage capacity
  • Large battery size
  • High screen refresh rate
  • Includes headphone jack
  • Supports 5G connectivity
Cons
  • Average camera quality
  • Fair video quality
  • No SD card slot
  • No wireless charging
6
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.6
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 14 Plus comes with a high-end price tag and offers a large 6.7-inch OLED screen, which is great if you prefer a bigger display for streaming or gaming. It runs on iOS and has a strong glass build. You'll find a potent A15 chip inside, paired with ample storage for your apps and media. Camera capabilities are excellent, with a high-quality 12 MP main camera that supports advanced features like Dolby Vision video recording. The battery is robust, likely to last a full day on a single charge, and it supports wireless charging. However, if you're looking for a high refresh rate display, you should know this model is capped at 60Hz, which is lower than some competitors that offer smoother visuals. The phone lacks a headphone jack, which is common in newer smartphones, but it has a notably good sound system. For connectivity, it uses the proprietary Lightning port over the more widely used USB-C. Overall, if you're invested in the Apple ecosystem and prefer a larger screen and strong performance, this phone is a solid choice, though it comes at a premium price without some features found on competitors, like high refresh rate screens or USB-C ports.
Pros
  • Large 6.7-inch OLED screen
  • Excellent still photo and video quality
  • Long battery life up to 9.3 hours
  • Runs on the smooth iOS platform
  • Wireless charging capability
Cons
  • No high refresh rate display
  • No always-on display feature
  • Lacks a headphone jack
  • Maximum brightness could be higher
7
BEST RATING
Overall Camera:
5.0
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Best in Class
Battery: Excellent




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max has a premium price and is a high-end smartphone featuring 256GB of storage, released in September 2023. It runs on iOS and the back is made of glass. The battery capacity is large, offering long hours of use before needing to recharge. It has a large 6.7-inch OLED screen with high resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate for smooth visuals. Its camera system is top-of-the-line, with a main 48MP camera and additional 12MP ultrawide and telephoto lenses, supporting high-quality photo and video capture including 8K recording. The phone does not have a headphone jack but includes front-facing stereo speakers, 5G connectivity, NFC, and fast wireless charging capabilities. Additionally, it is water and dust-resistant, ensuring durability. This phone is best suited for users looking for the latest technology and best possible camera in a smartphone, prioritizing premium features and performance over cost.
Pros
  • Top-notch photo quality
  • Superb video capabilities
  • Long battery life
  • Bright and vivid OLED display
  • Fast A17 processor
Cons
  • Lacks 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No SD card slot
  • Expensive compared to rivals
  • Heavy at 7.8 ounces
8
BEST RATING
Videos:
4.6
Size: Medium iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 14 comes at an upper midrange price and offers a balance of features suitable for both casual and power users. If camera quality is a crucial factor for you, this phone provides excellent still photo and video quality with multiple cameras, including a 12-megapixel main and ultrawide camera, though it lacks a telephoto lens. It shines with its Dolby Vision HDR video capability and can record 4K videos at 60 fps. Looking at battery life, you'll get a satisfactory experience with up to 7.3 hours of usage time. The OLED display offers very good screen quality with a peak brightness suitable for most lighting conditions, but the refresh rate is standard at 60Hz, which is lower compared to some high-end models with smoother scrolling and animations. It's made with a glass body and doesn't support expandability via an SD card or a 3.5mm headphone jack, which are factors to consider if storage expansion and wired audio are important to you. The iPhone 14 runs iOS, providing a streamlined user experience and timely updates. If you need a phone that operates efficiently for daily tasks and has a reliable camera system, the iPhone 14 is a solid option. However, if you prioritize having the latest display technology or a periscope camera for long-distance zoom, you may want to consider other models.
Pros
  • Excellent still photo quality
  • Excellent video camera quality
  • Good battery life
  • Durable design
  • Water and dust resistance
Cons
  • No always-on display
  • No high refresh rate screen
  • No headphone jack
  • No SD card slot
9
BEST RATING
Overall Camera:
4.3
Size: Medium Android
Camera: Good
Battery: Fair




Pros
  • Great camera quality
  • High screen refresh rate
  • Supports wireless charging
Cons
  • No headphone jack
  • Moderate battery capacity
  • Released late in the year
10
Google

Pixel 8

BEST RATING
Photos:
4.6
Size: Medium Android
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Google Pixel 8 is a midrange-priced smartphone that offers good value, especially with its excellent still photo quality and very good video capabilities, thanks to the 50 MP main camera and additional features like HDR Video and Magic Eraser. With a 6.2-inch OLED screen and 120Hz refresh rate, it provides a smooth visual experience. While it operates on the latest Android version and uses Google's TensorG3 processor paired with 8GB of RAM for smooth performance, you will get a decent battery life of over 7 hours. This phone is designed with a glass body and has a fast under-display fingerprint sensor for security. It also provides durability with dust and water resistance. However, it lacks an SD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, and stylus support, so be ready to rely on wireless solutions for your audio and storage needs.
Pros
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent photo quality
  • Supports 5G connectivity
  • Offers wireless charging
  • USB-C main port
Cons
  • No front-facing stereo speakers
  • No headphone jack
  • Lacks SD card support
  • No desktop mode