Are you planning a trip to Turkey and flying to Izmir and wondering if you can buy a sim card on arrival at the airport? This is a complete guide for buying a sim card for Turkey at Izmir Airport on arrival including up to date prices as per November 2023, my recommendation, the best e-sim cards for Turkey and everything else you need to know before buying a sim card for traveling to Izmir.
Traveling with a working data connection on your phone is so much more convenient. Therefore looking for the best way to stay connected when traveling abroad is one of the first things I do. To save money on high roaming costs you can order a sim card for Turkey on the internet and arrive prepared or buy a Turkey sim card at Izmir Airport on arrival.
From my experiences I can already tell you that it is worth looking into buying an e-sim card for traveling to Turkey.
Traveltomtom is on a journey to travel to every country in the world and everywhere I go I write sim card guides for other travelers to find the best way to stay connected. That is why on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: USA, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Europe, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore and many more.
Of course did Traveltomtom also write an extensive guide for buying a sim card for Turkey in 2023, including 4G/5G coverage maps, all about e-sim cards for Turkey and more info about the best Turkey prepaid sim cards for tourists.
Looking specifically for e-sim cards then check out my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Turkey in 2023.
So 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!
Traveltomtom recommends buying a Turk Telekom prepaid sim card for tourists at Izmir Airport. Turk Telekom gives you the best value for money. For 999 TL ($37 USD) you get a data-only sim card plan with 30 GB data.
However, in my complete guide for for buying a prepaid sim card in Turkey, a Turkcell sim card comes out as the best sim card for Turkey in 2023. In Izmir city center at a Turkcell store you can find better prepaid sim card deals than at the airport.
But what if I tell you that e-sim cards for Turkey already start from $4.5 USD and that for $26 USD you get 20 GB data. That makes it an easy conclusion that e-sim cards are the best way to stay connected when traveling to Izmir in 2023. See below for more info or check out my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Turkey in 2023.
If you are traveling to multiple countries in one trip then check out international prepaid sim cads. These sim cards are valid in multiple countries.
Best e-sim cards for Turkey
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Izmir in 2023 is an e-sim card. No need to visit a sim card store anymore or buy a sim card at Izmir Airport. As soon as the plane lands you are online with an e-sim.
You order an e-sim card for Turkey directly online, receive a QR code, scan it, instal the e-sim card in just a couple simple steps and you are done in less than 2 minutes.
Check out the following e-sim card plans for Turkey from Airalo:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $6.5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $8 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $18 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD
Click here to directly order a Turkey e-sim card from Airalo.
SimOptions also offers e-sim cards for Turkey, but they are much more expensive than Airalo. Click here to find all the Turkey e-sim card plans from SimOptions.
There is also Nomad and they are in general more expensive when it comes to their Turkey e-sim card plan, but they have 1 plan that is worth mentioning as it gives you 10 GB data for $15 USD. Click here to directly order a Turkey e-sim card from Nomad.
Before ordering a Turkey e-sim card make sure your phone is first of all unlocked and second, make sure your phone is e-sim card compatible. For more info about using e-sim card for traveling to Turkey check out my complete guide with everything you need to know before ordering an e-sim card for Turkey.
Arrival at Izmir International Airport
Although Izmir is one of the best places to visit in Turkey and a popular tourist destination the Izmir Airport is very easy going and pretty small. There is free WiFi at Izmir Airport but it wasn’t really working as fast as I hoped. But you are able to send WhatsApp messages and check your email.
After you get off the plane you will be guided to passport control and after you get stamped into Turkey you end up in the baggage claim hall. There are no facilities apart from toilets. The tourist information, car rentals, ATM’s money exchange and sim card shops at Izmir Airport are all located in the arrival hall.
Where to buy a sim card at Izmir Airport
It is very easy to find the sim card shops at Izmir Airport where you can buy a tourist sim card for Turkey. After you grabbed your luggage and walk into the Arrival Hall you will see on your left side a couple shops/kiosks.
One shop clearly says Turkcell, the other store has big signs from Vodafone, Turkcell and Turk Telekom. Basically there is an official Turkcell retail store and a phone shop that sells tourist sim cards from all the mobile internet providers.
The sim card shops are open from 08.00 am till 9.30 pm. May you arrive at Izmir Airport outside these hours you will have to either buy a sim card for Turkey on the internet or go to a sim card store in Izmir city center the next day.
Both sim card shops accept Turkish Liras as well as Visa and Mastercard. Do NOT pay in USD, the exchange rate from the stores is really bad.
Prices prepaid sim cards Izmir Airport
All the information below is updated in November 2023 and prices are in Turkish Lira. As you may have heard the Turkish Lira is very prone to inflation, but as per November 2023 $1 USD = 28.6 TL and 100 TL = $3.49 USD.
Traveltomtom rated Turkcell as the best prepaid sim card in Turkey in 2023 because it has the best 4G network across Turkey and the fastest data speed.
They have 3 main prepaid sim card plans for tourists:
- 20 GB data + 200 minutes = 999 TL - $37USD
- 50 GB data + 200 minutes = 1,499 TL
- 100 GB data + 200 minutes = 2,299 TL
As you can see the prices for prepaid sim cards for tourists at Izmir Airport are not the cheapest. I told you buying an e-sim card for traveling in Turkey is a better idea.
The phone store at Izmir Airport is a reseller and they sell prepaid sim cards from all mobile internet providers in Turkey: Vodafone, Turk Telekom and also Turkcell.
They sell the same Turkcell prepaid sim cards and packages as at the Turkcell store next door, but then for a higher price and data-only.
- 20 GB data-only = 1,199 TL
- 40 GB data-only = 1,399 TL
- 50 GB data-only = 1,599 TL
So if you want to buy a sim card from Turkcell at Izmir Airport then buy it at the official Turkcell store next door, not in the phone store.
The phone store only sells data-only sim cards and these are the prices for Vodafone:
- 20 GB data-only = 999 TL - $37 USD
- 40 GB data-only = 1,249 TL
- 50 GB data-only = 1,499 TL
The Turk Telekom data-only prepaid sim card plans look very similar to Vodafone:
- 30 GB data-only = 999 TL - $37 USD
- 40 GB data-only = 1,249 TL
- 50 GB data-only = 1,499 TL
However, Turk Telekom gives you 30 GB data for the same price where Vodafone gives you 20 GB data for 999 TL.
Best sim card for tourists at Izmir Airport
It is a simple conclusion that Turk Telekom gives you the best value for money when you are looking at data-only sim cards.
If you also want to make phone calls in Turkey while visiting Izmir, for example to call a restaurant to make a reservation, then Traveltomtom recommend buying a sim card from the official Turkcell phone store at Izmir Airport.
That said, 999 TL is the cheapest sim card for tourists at Izmir Airport and that is a very steep price as it is around $37 USD. When you compare these local prepaid sim cards for Turkey with the e-sim cards for Turkey that you can order on the internet you instantly understand while in fact Traveltomtom does NOT recommend buying a sim card at Izmir Airport.
There are amazing Turkey e-sim card plans available. You order online and arrange everything within just 2 minutes, The price? Much cheaper than tourist sim cards you buy in Turkey. You can already get an e-sim card with 20 GB data for $26 USD.
The 4G/5G network coverage in Turkey differs per mobile internet operator. However, in all the popular tourist destinations in Turkey you will find a 4G signal, regardless if you have a Vodafone, Turk Telekom or Turkcell sim card. If you are on a road trip in Turkey or going to more off the beaten path places to see in Turkey then it is recommended to buy a Turkcell sim card.
For more info about the best 4G/5G network in Turkey check out my complete guide for buying a sim card in Turkey in 2023.
If you want a sim card for traveling in Asia that includes coverage in Turkey or a sim card for Europe that includes Turkey then click on the link and check out my list of the best sim cards for your trip.
Order a prepaid sim card for Izmir online
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 Turkey on the internet then you have to look into international prepaid sim cards for Turkey.
These pre-activated sim cards will be delivered to your home address. You put them in your phone during your flight and you are online as soon as the plane touches the ground in Izmir.
Arrive prepared in Izmir with an international prepaid sim card for Turkey:
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
My experiences buying a sim card at Izmir Airport
When I saw the prices for prepaid sim cards for tourists at Izmir Airport I was pretty shocked. I already checked the e-sim card plans for Turkey before my departure and it was an easy conclusion for me NOT to buy a sim card at Izmir Airport for my Turkey holiday.
Actually I used the hotspot of a Turkish friend to quickly order an e-sim card for Turkey online. It took me may be 3 minutes before I was connected and my e-sim card was activated.
Since I was only traveling to Izmir for about a week I only needed about 10 GB data. Nomad offers the cheapest e-sim card for Turkey with 10 GB data and I only paid $15 USD. It worked totally fine and I was happy with the data speed on my Turkey e-sim card. Check out my comparison of the best Turkey e-sim cards in 2023.
I am sure some of the above tips on how to stay connected when traveling to Izmir where helpful. If you have any additional questions then please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on social media.
Curious what the road to 197 / visiting every country in the world looks like then head to my Instagram @traveltomtom and follow along. As of November 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still more than 40 to go.
Enjoy your trip to Izmir!
Some links in this article about the best (e)-sim cards for Izmir are affiliate links. If you buy any product after clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!