The Ultimate Guide to eSIMs: What is the Best eSIM to Stay Connected While You Travel

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Imagine a world where you no longer have to fumble with physical SIM cards or worry about outrageous roaming fees when you travel? In this day and age, staying connected while exploring the far corners of our beautiful planet has become a necessity – for most of us anyway! Whether you’re an adventurous backpacker, a savvy business traveler, or a digital nomad, having a reliable and hassle-free solution for mobile connectivity is crucial. And that’s where eSIMs come into play.


In this blog post, we’re diving deep into the world of eSIMs. We’ll explore how they work, their advantages over traditional SIM cards, and why they’re a game-changer for travelers like us.

What is an esim and how do they work

So, what exactly are eSIMs? Well, think of them as virtual SIM cards embedded directly into your device. Unlike traditional SIM cards that you physically insert and swap, eSIMs are built-in, eliminating the need for physical changes or replacements.


Giving you the ability to switch between different carriers seamlessly, without ever needing to handle a physical SIM card. Imagine the flexibility of choosing the best local plan while traveling, avoiding those dreaded international roaming charges – no more searching for local SIM cards or overpriced “deals” at the airport.

Photo by Silvie Lindermann

Alright, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how eSIMs actually work, and don’t worry, we’ll try and keep it simple!


Embedded SIMs

eSIM stands for embedded Subscriber Identity Module. In plain English, it’s a small chip that’s already built into your device, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, or in some cases even a laptop. Unlike traditional SIM cards that you physically insert and swap, eSIMs are pre-built into your device.


Digital Activation

When it comes to activation, eSIMs take a different approach compared to their physical counterparts. Instead of heading to a supermarket or sales counter to purchase and install a SIM card, the activation process for eSIMs all happens online. On compatible devices, you’ll usually find an option in your device’s settings menu to add a new cellular plan or activate an eSIM with a QR activation code.

eSIM setup in iPhone settings

eSIM Set-up on iPhone

Device Compatibility

Now, you might be wondering if your device supports eSIM technology. Well, the good news is that many modern devices are eSIM-compatible, including any iPhone from the iPhone XS, XR or later. From the latest smartphones to tablets and wearables, manufacturers are increasingly embracing this technology. Just make sure to check if your device supports eSIMs before diving into the world of virtual connectivity.

Photo by Julien Doclot

So, to sum it all up, eSIMs are essentially virtual SIM cards that are already embedded into your device. They offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to activate and switch between carriers and plans with just a few taps on your screen. No more SIM card swaps or hunting for a physical card. eSIMs are here to simplify and enhance your mobile connectivity experience.


In the next section, we’ll explore the fantastic benefits that eSIMs bring to the table. Get ready to discover how these little wonders can transform the way you stay connected while globetrotting or simply enjoying the perks of seamless connectivity. Let’s dive in!

What are the advantages of eSIMs

Flexibility and Convenience

eSIMs bring a new level of flexibility and convenience to mobile connectivity. With eSIMs, you’re no longer tied down to a specific carrier or data plan, you have the freedom to choose and switch between carriers and plans with ease, right from your device.

Photo by Bithin Raj

Cost Savings for Travelers

For travelers, eSIMs are a game-changer, with no more sky-high roaming charges or the hassle of buying local SIM cards in every new destination. With eSIMs, you can easily find and activate local plans at your destination, allowing you to stay connected at affordable rates. It’s a cost-effective solution that ensures you can enjoy your trip without breaking the bank.


Easy Switching Between Carriers

Gone are the days of fumbling with tiny SIM cards and dealing with the hassle of physically swapping them – plus, it’s one less thing to worry about misplacing or losing! eSIMs eliminate the need for physical changes and switching between carriers is as simple as selecting a new plan from your eSIM app or online account. It’s quick, seamless, and hassle-free and you can effortlessly compare the best network coverage or data plan to suit your needs.

What are the disadvantages of eSIMs

Limited Device Compatibility

One of the main drawbacks of eSIMs is limited device compatibility. While eSIM technology is becoming more common, not all devices support it. Before opting for an eSIM, ensure that your device is eSIM compatible. Otherwise, you may be restricted to traditional SIM cards.


Reliance on Carrier Support

The availability and range of eSIM plans can vary depending on the carrier and location While most popular providers like Airalo, offer a good range of options, some locations may be more expensive or restrictive than others. We would definitely recommend that you research the eSIM plans available in your destination before you travel.

Cost Considerations

While eSIMs offer more convenience and flexibility, in some cases, eSIM plans may be more expensive compared to purchasing local SIM cards in individual countries. Local SIM cards often offer competitive rates allowing for more cost-effective connectivity and if you’re a frequent traveller visiting multiple destinations, the cost of eSIM plans can add up over time.


However, during our 3 month trip around Europe, we decided that it was worth saving the hassle and purchasing a monthly European eSIM plan. This gave us unlimited data throughout almost every country in Europe without having to buy a new card every time we crossed a new border!


Remember, the cost factor is not universal and really depends on the destination and your own individual usage requirments. The best thing to do is research the pricing structure and availability of local SIM cards compared to eSIM plans before you travel to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

The best eSIM for travel

Airalo is our recommendation for the best eSIM for travel – it’s one of the largest and most popular travel eSIM providers, offering coverage in over 200 countries around the world, to over 1 million users!

Airalo best travel esim

With a wide range of eSIM plans from multiple different network carriers, they have you covered in popular tourist destinations as well as off-the-beaten-path locations. They even offer global and regional plans to save you money if you need to visit multiple countries in the same month!


They’re one of the best options right now for convenience and flexibility, allowing you to easily manage your eSIMs, activate or switch plans, and monitor your data usage through their super easy to use website and app.