Roams Logo
Guides

International eSIM: The best way to get Internet when travelling

logo Roams
Last update: February 20, 2023
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK
4 people have read this post in the last 12 months
In a nutshell

An international eSIM is your best option to have Internet abroad. It’s a virtual card you receive in your mailbox when you pay for it and that you can activate with a simple code from your mobile phone. Without a doubt, an eSIM for travel is the best way to make the most of each of your adventures.

Sign up for your eSIM with Holafly and enjoy a 5% discount including the coupon ROAMS

What is an international eSIM?

An international eSIM is a digital card that allows you to connect to the Internet in a multitude of places, as they are categorized into specific areas, countries and continents. They provide mobile data through an agreement with local phone providers, making it ideal for travelling.

What is an eSIM card?

We recommend you to activate the eSIM as soon as you arrive at your destination, never before. Mainly, to take advantage of the days and data you have contracted to have Internet abroad. Think that you can do this as soon as you get off the plane, as it won't take you a minute.

The best example of a travel eSIM is Holafly. This company provides international eSIMs for more than 160 destinations with different time plans and a choice of data allowances.

Get your travel eSIM with Holafly and enjoy a 5% discount including the coupon ROAMS


eSIM for travel: How does it works?

The operation of international eSIMs is straightforward. The activation process may vary slightly depending on the carrier, but it will be pretty much the same. These are the steps to follow:

  1. Compare offers Depending on your destination, find the best data plan for you.
  2. Buy international eSIM You can buy it online or through the companies' app with a couple of clicks.
  3. Get your virtual SIM for travel You will receive a QR code in your email or app as soon as you pay for it.
  4. Install the travel eSIM Just go to your phone's settings and add your new data plan.
  5. Activate your new data plan When you arrive at your destination, activate the international eSIM with the QR code. Remember to also activate data roaming on your phone.

In any case, the company with which you sign up for your travel eSIM will tell you the simple steps you need to follow to activate your mobile data. And if you choose Holafly, you will have a 24/7 customer service that can assist you in up to 8 different languages.


Devices compatible with the international eSIM

One thing to keep in mind is that not all devices are compatible with an international eSIM. After all, it is a relatively new technology, so there are still models that are not yet ready for it.

Apple is the most advanced brand in this regard. Its iPhone 14 in the US does not even have a SIM card slot. The eSIM has been integrated into its devices for years.

Broadly speaking, these are the main brands that offer eSIM-enabled devices for travel:

  • Apple.
  • Huawei.
  • Samsung.
  • Xiaomi.
  • Oppo.

Which companies sell eSIM for travel?

The main UK phone operators already offer virtual eSIMs, so you can find them in Vodafone, Three, O2 or EE. But you should know that there are companies specialised in travel eSIMs, whose plans are adapted to all kinds of destinations.

Our expert opinion

Among all of them, we highlight the eSIM of Holafly, which offers more than 160 destinations. So wherever you travel to, you will be able to keep your Internet connection. And if you travel to one of the most popular countries or cities, such as the USA, Mexico, Japan or Turkey, among others, you will have unlimited data.

author's photo
Roams UK

We assure you that, at Holafly, you will find very good plans and prices. But if you want to check out other options, here are the most popular ones:

  • Airalo.
  • SimOptions.
  • Nomad eSIM.
  • Ubigi.
  • Yesdim.

How much does a travel eSIM cost?

The factors that determine the price of an international eSIM range from the company itself to the amount of data contracted and the length of the plan. That's why we believe that your best option is to do a good market research to find the ideal eSIM for you.

To give you an idea, here is a table with the prices of the most popular travel eSIM:

eSIM USA: prices
Product Price Caracteristics
Ubigi eSIM USA £25/30 days 10GB
Holafly eSIM USA £49/30 days Unlimited data
RedteaGO eSIM USA £23/30 days 5GB
Flexiroam eSIM USA £32/24 days 5GB

At first glance, you may consider Holafly's US card to be slightly more expensive than the others, but you will notice that it offers unlimited data, unlike the other operators. Other factors to consider when making this decision include service, coverage and quality of customer service.

Book now an eSIM with Holafly

eSIM for travel: advantages

It is true that travel eSIM have one major drawback: not all devices are compatible with them. But if that's not your case, you should know that this type of virtual card offers a lot of advantages when it comes to having Internet access abroad:

  • Immediate purchase: You can purchase your eSIM at any time and from anywhere. You will receive it immediately in your email, so the purchase will only take a couple of minutes.
  • Easy acivation: All these virtual cards have a simple activation code that you can use from your own phone.
  • Affordable price: Unlike other options for getting internet abroad, the international eSIM is relatively cheap.
  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative: By not needing a physical card, eSIM consumption is extremely environmentally friendly. After all, it does not generate any waste.
  • SIM card intact: You can keep your old SIM card in case you want to use it to make a call.

Other minor drawbacks include the inability to make calls from your home number. Most eSIM plans do not offer minutes from abroad. But keep in mind that this is something you can easily fix with apps like WhatsApp.

Even in cases where roaming is included in your tariff, you may still want an eSIM, for example, if you plan to be abroad for more than four months. Depending on the fair usage policy, operators may start charging you for roaming if you have spent more time abroad than in your home country during that period (1) .


Alternatives to international eSIM

If your mobile device is not compatible with an international eSIM or you are simply not convinced by this way of obtaining mobile data abroad, you have other alternatives. These are as follows:

  • Roaming: If it’s included in your fare or you are travelling to a destination supported by your airline, it is your best option. Otherwise, it will cost you an arm and a leg.
  • Pocket wifi network: These are devices that you can rent from a company and that you will have to carry with you to access the Internet. They can be very convenient, but the price you pay could ruin your travel budget.
  • SIM card: You can buy a regular SIM card from a local operator when you arrive at your destination. This is sometimes a cheap option, although you will have to spend time searching for it and you will rarely have unlimited data.
  • Public wifi network: Undoubtedly, the most convenient and cheapest option, as it is totally free. Its disadvantages: a connection speed that could be improved and a network that is not very secure when it comes to our personal data.

FAQs about international eSIM

Does international eSIM work on roaming?

Yes, eSIM are compatible with any roaming service. In fact, many international eSIM are intended to replace the costly services offered by phone companies to provide mobile data abroad.

Can I use eSIM internationally?

Of course, roaming plans work with virtual cards as well as with physical SIM cards. In fact, there are eSIM that are designed to work abroad.

Are international eSIM good for travel?

An international eSIM is probably your best option for travelling, as they are convenient, inexpensive and many offer unlimited data to connect to the Internet abroad.

Fuentes del artículo
  1. Roaming: what you pay to use your smartphone in another EU country. Your Europe. Consulted in https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/internet-telecoms/mobile-roaming-costs/index_en.htm
Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

Personas que han participado en este post:

Roams UKRoams
Actualizado por Roams UK

Roams offers its advice on recurring-use services to enhance consumer savings. Its expertise is already valued by thousands of users, who trust Roams comparisons in different sectors to hire the best option.

Laura Burón
Edited and revised por Laura Burón