I first started using eSIMs for traveling internationally back in 2021.
In countries including Canada, the USA, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, and more.
And honestly … they have been a game changer!
For a while, we got into the habit of buying new sim cards in each new country we traveled to.
But as you will see below, this isn’t always the most convenient thing to do.
Nor is it necessarily cheaper either!
Plus, with an eSIM you can actually just switch back between your home network (if you want to receive texts) and your eSIM network instantly.
Plus you can even get multiple eSIMs!
Woooah slow down, I’m getting ahead of myself …
Below I’m going to take you through:
Let’s get started …
An eSIM is basically the digital version of a traditional SIM card.
Instead of a physical SIM card, eSIMs are already embedded in your phone.
Which means all the information is digital.
You can activate it by purchasing and installing different eSIM plans, which then allow your device to connect to different mobile networks across the globe.
With this virtual technology, you don’t have to insert any physical card into your phone.
Compared to a mobile WiFi hotspot, or portable WiFi, an eSIM means your phone connects directly to internet access from the local cellular provider.
You don’t need any external device!
Below is a list of phones that can use eSIMS.
Note that this isn’t exhaustive (200+ devices currently support eSIM!) and it’s constantly growing as new phones enter the market.
All iPads with 4G connectivity that have come out since 2018 support eSIM:
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G or 5G is not compatible with eSIM.
The chances are, if it’s older than those on this list, then your phone will not be compatible with an eSIM. But if it's a new phone then it's likely an eSim will work!
Perhaps the main benefit of using an eSIM for travellers is its flexibility.
You can easily change between different call and data plans, according to what you need.
This also allows you to virtually change carriers when you reach your destination.
Not to mention unlimited data packages and global plans where you can stay connected throughout multiple countries without having to constantly buy a new plan!
You don’t have to deal with buying a new, physical SIM card whenever you arrive in a new country.
As the eSIM is already embedded in your phone, all you have to do is purchase and download a new plan, which can be done online and remotely.
It’s also super quick and you can get online as soon as your plane lands!
If you work online, this can be a huge advantage as you’ll be saving a lot of time.
You often have to buy a data package in addition to the physical SIM card itself.
Even roaming packages can be expensive.
Most eSIM data plans are much more affordable, especially if you’re a frequent traveller.
The fact that you don’t have to deal with physical SIM cards anymore is also a huge advantage.
In other words, there’s no risk of losing the card.
And no more fumbling with different SIM sizes too.
Although a lot of smartphones nowadays include a dual SIM card tray, having to constantly swap them in and out can be a hassle.
Plus, you might need two numbers anyway for business purposes.
With an eSIM, you can travel internationally, access internet, and still keep your number (or numbers)!
Our top pick of eSIMs for traveling today has got to be Maya Mobile.
Overall, I think Maya Mobile generally has better prices than most other eSIMs on the market.
For instance, we recently used them throughout South America and used their Latin America plan, which includes South America.
We paid £104 a month for unlimited local data, which might seem like a lot, but we work full-time on our laptops so this worked out perfectly.
Especially considering we were moving through three different countries in a month, so it was super useful to be able to connect easily from the van and get our work done.
Not to mention you can hot spot it, which is great as some eSIMs disable this feature!
(If you’re wondering, the LatAm+ plan works in 16 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Chile).
Maya Mobile currently operates in 194 countries, with both local and regional plans available.
Again, they also offer unlimited data plan options for those of you who work online a lot.
Another great thing about their eSIMs is the sheer range of plans you can choose from.
The plan is for 30 days, but there’s an auto-renew feature you can use if you’re travelling for longer periods of time.
All in all, this was the perfect digital nomad eSIM for us, namely when exploring South America!
We didn't have any issues with speed, and we generally got good connection. There are some places where it struggles, but that is simply down to being in areas with limited signal, but I was using another eSIM alongside Maya Mobile, and I can tell you that Maya Mobile got connection when the other eSIM struggled!
I've seen they also offer unlimited data plans for Europe too, for a simply excellent price of £40, so I think I'll be testing that out on my Iceland trip in October and will be reporting back with an update!
These are the included countries in Europe!
I also love just how quickly it was to set up. It literally took less than 5 minutes!
I know you might be thinking, "would it not just be cheaper to buy sims in each country in South America?".
I mean, you can go down this route, and I had bought a local sim in Peru, and almost lost my original sim card, which just can't happen with an eSIM and none of the data plans in South America were offering unlimited data, especially not for tourist sims, so this was without doubt the best price for us as digital nomads!
But overall Maya Mobiles rates for around the world are realllllyyy reasonable, and trust me I did a LOT of research and comparison before I settled on this one!
With 160+ destinations and long-term plans of up to 90 days, Holafly might be the best option if you’re travelling for months at a time.
There’s no need to keep renewing your eSIM plan!
While they have a wider range of plans in certain places like Europe, unfortunately some (like Thailand) have more limited options, whereas competitors might offer more.
But another plus is that they have unlimited data plans in multiple areas, including USA, Europe, Asia, and more.
One of the biggest drawbacks to Holafly is that many of their eSIM plans can’t be used for hotspotting. Namely the unlimited data plans.
This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re only using one device anyway, but could be a disadvantage if you need to use your laptop.
They also don’t give you a local phone number, so you can’t receive or make calls with your eSIM.
We’ve talked about using Holafly in Canada, so do check it out!
Looking for a convenient app that offers you accessible and affordable eSims with coverage across in over 60 countries?
Then let me introduce you to Eskimo!
We will be testing this eSim out on an upcoming trip, but I love it's features so much already, I wanted to share.
PLUS, there's an opportunity for you to try it for FREE!
Key features of Eskimo!
AND this is all done in one convenient app on your mobile that you can go ahead and download right here.
Want to test out Eskimo and see how awesome it is? Then simply click this link to download the app on your phone, and you'll get a free 1GB to test out :)
If you want an eSIM with the most destinations and global coverage, try Airalo.
They have a Discover Global plan which can be handy if you want to tackle multiple countries at a time.
It doesn’t literally cover all 200+ destinations, but does work in 85 countries, which is still fab!
As a company, they’ve been around since 2019 and have had 1 million+ user by August of 2022.
The Airalo App is easy to use and has a great interface, allowing you to change between multiple eSIMs seamlessly.
This is also where you can quickly browse through all your options without feeling overwhelmed.
Not to mention a pretty cool rewards system where you can collect points by purchasing new plans, topping up credit, and more.
Plus, their customer support is known to be especially impressive, with many users testifying to their quick and reliable responses.
Another eSIM we’ve tried is AloSIM, which has reasonable pricing and good connectivity.
They have an easy-to-use website and app, where you can compare different prepaid packages in one place.
AloSIM also offers both local and regional plans, which is great if you’re travelling through multiple countries at once.
The only issue from our experience was that when we switched back to our home network, it wouldn’t work again afterwards!
So perhaps don’t do this if you’re getting the eSIM, and for some reason I could only get it to work on my Android and not iPhone (but I do believe it was just my phone being difficult).
The great thing about AloSIM is the fact you CAN hotspot the data to your laptops!
Moreover, they’re super transparent about their connectivity.
You can see partnering networks and the speed of each plan (3G, 4G, 5G, or LTE).
They currently offer data in 150+ countries, which is not as many as some other eSIMs, but still very decent.
That’s all for our version of the best eSIMs for international travel!
Whether you’re searching for the best eSIM providers or simply wondering if your device supports eSIM, we hope this post has been useful for you…
Which eSIM do you think you’re getting for your next trip?
Do you have a particular brand that we haven’t included?
Comment below and let us know your thoughts!