International roaming charges on your regular phone plan for your home country can get pricey really quickly which is where eSIM data plans come in.
The best travel eSIM apps and services should allow you to travel seamlessly, switching to your eSIM in your destination and providing you with mobile data the same as if you had a local SIM card.
In this guide I’m going to share the best eSIM for international travel, the best eSIM app that I personally use and have used now in over 10 countries, as well as the best global eSIM plans to save you money on your phone bill so you can actually enjoy your trip!
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How do eSIM cards work?
Most modern smartphones are now eSIM enabled, meaning you can download a digital SIM card rather than having to insert a physical SIM card into your phone.
The most common way to do this is to download an eSIM app onto your phone, purchase an eSIM for the country or region you require, and then activate the eSIM once you arrive in the country.
eSIM apps like the Airalo app make this process super easy and straightforward to setup, with a guide on how to use Airalo when you visit the website and download the app.
Why should you use an eSIM for travel?
How many times have you heard of people getting surprised with a huge phone bill in the hundreds or even thousands after they return from a trip?
It’s pretty common to hear these stories and that’s because your home plan provider has usage fees and charges when you use your phone abroad. This is especially tricky if you go abroad a lot, perhaps you travel for work, maybe you’re a digital nomad, or maybe you’re going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip for several months.
An eSIM provider gives you access to mobile data providers in the country or region you’re visiting, meaning you can access lower prices - meaning no unexpected phone bills on your return!
You might even find that the best eSIM data plans are cheaper than add-on data packages you can buy from your normal provider.
Staying connected while you travel is essential for most people these days, from checking Google Maps or looking up restaurants and attractions to being able to message friends and family back home over messaging apps.
The best eSIM for international travel
The best eSIMs for travel should be affordable, and easy to use - both for accessing and top up.
I’m a big fan of using eSIMs and I use the Airalo app which offers eSIMs for 200+ countries so you can use data locally.
Other eSIM options include:
I personally prefer Airalo because I think it’s the best eSIM for travel based on the competitive pricing and ease of use in the app.
I’ve now used Airalo in the USA, Croatia, Germany, Montenegro, Slovenia, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Netherlands. My partner uses Airalo in the UK and we’re both planning to use it extensively in Southeast Asia.
How to use Airalo Guide:
Make sure your phone is eSIM enabled (you may need to check with your network provider)
Sign up to Airalo here (you can use code “HELENA2610” to sign up)
download the Airalo app from the App Store or Google Play Store
select your country and the amount of data you need
Pay in the app and use code “HELENA10” for 10% discount
Top up in the app as and when you need and use “HELENA10” each time for a discount
SIGN UP HEREand download the app to start purchasing and managing your eSIM. Use ‘HELENA10’ at checkout for 10% discount on your eSIM (can use multiple times)
But what’s the best global roaming eSIM?
Well you might be surprised to know that Airalo offers 3 types of eSIM:
Single country eSIM
This means you can also get global eSIMs and regional specific eSIMs if you’re hopping around a few countries during your travel. So for the best European eSIM or the best global roaming eSIM, you can get a single eSIM that covers up to 84 countries!
We’re about to purchase a regional eSIM for Asia as we embark on our trip around Southeast Asia in the coming month!
Summary: the best international eSIM plans
For ease of use and affordability, I highly recommend using Airalo for the best eSIM plans for travel - whether you’re looking for a single country eSIM, regional eSIM or global eSIM.
eSIMs take the stress out of staying connected during your travels and you always know what you’re paying - no surprise phone bills when you get home!