Are you planning a trip to Tirana and wondering if you can buy a sim card for traveling in Albania on arrival at Tirana International Airport? The short answer is yes. Don't waste money on high roaming charges or slow overseas data roaming plans!

This is a complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card at Tirana Airport. Find out where to buy a prepaid sim card, up to date prices as per April 2024, my recommendation, info about EU data roaming, the best e-sim cards for Albania and everything else you need to know before buying a sim card at Tirana Airport.

Traveling with a working data connection on your phone is so much more convenient and it makes your trip to Tirana much more fun.

One of the first things I do when planning my next trip abroad is finding out what is the best way to stay connected. It is a vital part of my travel planning. To save money on high roaming costs you can buy a prepaid sim card at Tirana Airport on arrival, but you can also order a sim card for Albania on the internet and arrive prepared.

Especially e-sim cards are recommend and super convenient. In fact e-sims are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Tirana and it also turns out to be cheaper than buying a sim card at Tirana Airport.

Traveltomtom also wrote a guide for finding the best e-sim card for your trip to Albania in 2024.

Traveltomtom is on a journey to travel to every country in the world and everywhere I go I write sim card guides. That is why on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: RomaniaBucharest, Prague, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and many more.

Traveltomtom also wrote an extensive guide for the best prepaid sim card for tourists in Albania, including 4G/5G coverage maps.

Is Tirana one of your stops in Europe and are you visiting multiple countries then you probably want to check out Traveltomtom's guide for the best sim cards for visiting Europe in 2024.

Traveltomtom is the most complete sim card blog on the internet. Next time you are planning your trip abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination. Bookmark me and leet me help you save money!

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends buying a One sim card at Tirana Airport, simply because it is cheapest. A physical prepaid sim card with 10 GB data is around $19 USD.

Albania is a cheap country to travel, surprisingly prepaid sim cards for tourists are not so cheap as expected.

Want to be online as soon as the plane lands? Then look into ordering an e-sim card for Albania online. Albania e-sim cards already start from just $4.5 USD. For more info check out Traveltomtom's Albania e-sim card guide for 2024.

If you are traveling onwards to other continents on this trip, for example to Turkey then there are also international prepaid sim cards in the form of physical sim cards as well as e-sim cards which are valid in up to 141 countries around the world.

Be aware that the local prepaid sim cards you buy in Tirana, as well as e-sim cards and international sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If your phone is locked make sure to unlock your phone before your trip to Tirana. Contact your mobile internet provider in your home country if you are not sure about this.

Best e-sim cards for Albania

Local prepaid sim cards are not the only way to stay connected when traveling to the Tirana. The easiest way to get data on your phone when visiting Tirana is by ordering an e-sim card for Albania on the internet.

No need to visit a sim card store anymore on arrival at Tirana Airport. With an e-sim you are online as soon as the plane lands.

You instal an e-sim on your phone in a couple simple steps. Then once installed the e-sim instantly connects to an available network as soon as the plane touches the ground.

You can order an e-sim card for Tirana directly on the internet, you process the payment, receive a QR code, scan it, follow the instructions and instal the e-sim card in a couple simple steps. You are all set in less than 2 minutes.

For more detailed info and an answer to all FAQ about using e-sims check out Traveltomtom's guide with everything you need to know before ordering an e-sim card for Albania in 2024.

Airalo

Airalo is a trusted e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used them in more than 50 countries around the world. Airalo has the following Albania e-sim card plans:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15.5 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD

Click here for more info or to order a Albania e-sim card via Airalo.

These data-only Hej Telecom e-sim cards from Airalo operate on the 4G/LTE network in Albania of Vodafone and ONE. Data is only valid in Albania. Incoming and outgoing calling and texting is not supported.

SimOptions

SimOptions is another trusted e-sim card provider which is specialized in international e-sim cards including calling and texting. However, for Albania they only have data-only e-sims valid in Albania only.

Here are the SimOptions e-sim cards for Albania:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 15 days = $10.90 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15.5 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $49.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for Albania via SimOptions.

Although Albania is in Europe, it is not part of the European Union and therefore the sim card for traveling to Europe are not valid in Albania.

There are many more e-sim cards available for Albania from for example: Holafly, Nomad, etc. Check out Traveltomtom's comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Albania in 2024.

Before ordering an e-sim card for Albania make sure your phone is first of all unlocked. E-sim cards only work in unlocked phones. Second, make sure your phone is e-sim compatible. Pretty much all newer smartphones are e-sim card compatible.

Arrival at Tirana International Airport

Tirana International Airport is not that big and arriving is pretty straight forward. From the plane you are guided to passport control and after passport control there is immediately the baggage claim hall. There are only 4 small luggage belts and at the end of the hall there is the last customs check before you walk through the sliding doors and end up in the arrival hall.

The arrival hall is pretty big and spacious. There is a car rental and shuttle service, a cafeteria and 2 sim card shops.

There is free WiFi at Tirana Airport but it is terribly slow, so don't rely on the WiFi on arrival. Sending WhatsApp messages is no problem though.

Where to buy a sim card at Tirana Airport

It is impossible to miss the sim card shops at Tirana Airport because when you walk out of the sliding doors into the arrival hall there is a Vodafone store and a store from One right in front of you. It is impossible to miss these sim card shops.

Of course, both phone stores sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. You have to provide your passport or any form of ID when buying a sim card at Tirana Airport.

Shops are open 24 hours and you can pay by credit card or with cash.

Here is my YouTube video about my arrival at Tirana Airport and showing you exactly where you can buy a prepaid sim card for your trip to Albania.

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Heads up the prices for prepaid sim cards at Tirana Airport are pretty much the same if you buy a prepaid sim card in a phone store in the city center of Tirana. For more info check out Traveltomtom's guide about the best prepaid sim cards for Albania

Prices prepaid sim cards Tirana Airport

All the information below is up to date as of April 2024 and prices are in Albanian Lek: $1 USD = 94.5 Lek and 100 Lek = $1.06 USD.

Vodafone

vodafone tourist sim card tirana airport

 Vodafone Albania sells two prepaid sim cards for tourists, so called tourist packs:

  • 40 GB data + 1,000 minutes for 15 days = 2,300 Lek - $24 USD
  • 100 GB data + unlimited minutes for 21 days = 2,900 Lek - $31 USD

There is no EU data roaming included, but data is valid in all Western Balkan countries: Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and North Macedonia.

When buying a Vodafone sim card at Tirana Airport you can choose to either get a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card. 

One

one tourist sim card tirana airport

At One they sell the exact same tourist sim cards:

  • 40 GB data + 1,000 minutes/sms for 15 days = 2,300 Lek - $24 USD
  • 100 GB data + unlimited minutes/sms for 21 days = 2,900 Lek - $31 USD

But they also have a couple other prepaid sim card plans.

one prepaid sim card plans tirana airport

  • 1 GB data + 400 minutes + 400 sms for 30 days = 1,000 Lek - $11 USD
  • 10 GB data + unlimited minutes + 1,000 sms for 30 days = 1,500 Lek - $16 USD
  • 25 GB data + unlimited minutes/sms for 30 days = 1,800 Lek - $19 USD
  • 34 GB data + unlimited minutes/sms for 30 days = 2,100 Lek - $21 USD

For these prepaid sim card plans you will be charged an extra 300 Lek ($4 USD) for the registration of your new One sim card.

That makes it that the cheapest sim card for tourists at Tirana Airport with 10 GB data is 1,500 + 300 = 1,800 Lek ($19 USD).

There is no EU data roaming included, but data is valid in all Western Balkan countries: Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and North Macedonia.

When buying a One sim card at Tirana Airport you can only get a physical prepaid sim card, One does not provide e-sim cards for tourists.

Best sim card for tourists at Tirana Airport

So which sim card is the best? Vodafone or One...

The tourist packs from Vodafone and One are the exact same, but One has a slightly cheaper option that will cost you $19 USD and you get a sim card with 10 GB data.

It depends on how long you are staying in Tirana, but who needs 40 GB data for a city trip. Even if you visit Albania for 2 weeks, then you would have almost 3 GB data per day on a sim card with 40 GB data.

Traveltomtom's conclusion is that prepaid sim cards for tourists are pretty expensive at Tirana Airport, especially given the fact that Albania is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. 

For my research for finding the best prepaid sim card in Albania I also compared the 4G/5G network coverage maps and found out that Vodafone has slightly better 4G/LTE network coverage around the country, but there is not much difference.

If you want to go for the cheapest option then get a One sim card, if you would like a tourist sim card then choose Vodafone.

But when we look at the e-sim cards for Albania you can order on the internet then we see that you can also just order an Airalo e-sim card with 3 GB data for $11 USD. That is for example what I did. Since I only spent a couple days in Tirana I did not need that many Gigabytes.

Order a prepaid sim card for Albania online

international prepaid sim card for albania

Remember that e-sim cards can only be used in e-sim compatible phones. If your phone is not e-sim compatible and you want to order a sim card for Albania on the internet then you have to look into buying a physical international prepaid sim card.

These pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards will be delivered to your home address before your trip. You put them in your phone during your flight and you are online as soon as the plane touches the ground in Tirana. An international sim card connects automatically to an available network.

Arrive prepared in Tirana with an international prepaid sim card for Albania from SimOptions:

  • 10 GB data valid in 124 countries for 14 days = $49.90 USD 

Click here for more info or to order an international physical prepaid sim card for Albania via SimOptions.

My experiences buying a sim card at Tirana Airport

vodafone sim card tirana airport

So did I buy a One or a Vodafone prepaid sim card at Tirana Airport? No! Why not?

First of all I think the tourist sim cards at Tirana Airport are overpriced. Yes, you get a lot of Gigabytes, but who needs 40 or 100 GB on their trip to Albania!?

It is a smart way of the mobile internet providers to keep the price for tourist sim cards high and on top of that they both offer the EXACT SAME.

Traveltomtom prefers e-sim cards for traveling abroad so that I am online as soon as the plane lands and I don't need to visit a sim card store on arrival.

As mentioned before I ordered an Airalo e-sim card with 3 GB data for just $11 USD. Much cheaper, faster and more convenient, as I prefer to be online instantly on arrival. I mostly used the WiFi of the hotel and the bars and restaurants and it worked fine in most places.

How much data do you need?

I consider myself a very heavy data user, but even on a crazy day I won’t use more than 5 GB per day. On average I use about 2-3 GB per day, mostly on social media apps like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.

Always make sure you don’t have Google Drive or iCloud enabled on data, but only on WiFi. As well as automatic updates. Turn it off on data, so you are not uploading all your Albania holiday photos and videos directly to the cloud and using all your data. 

I am sure some of the above tips on how to stay connected when traveling to Tirana were helpful. If you have any questions then please leave me a comment below and I will try to help you out.

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Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of April 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still about 40 to go, but no rush.

Enjoy your trip to Tirana!

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