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Comparing 2024 International ESIMs: Which One Is The Best For Travel?

Airalo eSIM: Ideal for travelers, providing extensive coverage in over 200 countries.
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Traveling the world just got a whole lot easier and lighter—no more juggling multiple SIM cards or worrying about exorbitant roaming fees. We’ve all been there: landing in a new country only to be hit by the hassle of finding a local SIM card or the shock of an astronomical phone bill post-vacation.

That’s where international eSIMs come into play, offering seamless connectivity at your fingertips.

Surprise fact: Did you know that one tiny eSIM can hold multiple profiles? This means you can switch carriers without swapping physical SIM cards—pretty slick for frequent flyers! This deep dive into the 5 most popular different eSIM apps and plans will clear the fog on which eSIM is your best travel buddy.

This blog breaks down everything from countries covered to customer support, ensuring that keeping connected abroad is as simple as sending a “wish you were here” postcard.

Comparison of 5 eSIM apps and plans

Below, we’ve condensed the key features of 5 eSIM apps and plans into a convenient table, providing a bird’s eye view for you to make an informed decision.

eSIM ProvidersCoveragePricingBest ForKey FeaturesRating
AiraloGlobal (190+ countries)Starting around $10-$15 for 5 GBMost travelers– Diverse plans – User-friendly app – Loyalty rewardsTop Choice: Ideal for its global coverage and ease of use.
SimlyOver 150 countriesAs low as $1.2/GBBudget-conscious travelers– Competitive pricing – Customizable plans – 24/7 customer supportBudget-Friendly: Great balance of cost and coverage.
HolaflyOver 180 countriesFrom €19.00 for various destinationsHeavy data users– Unlimited data plans – Easy QR code setup – 24/7 customer supportData-Intensive Use: Best for unlimited data needs.
Google FiGlobal (200+ countries), Strong in North America$20 per user/month and upTravelers in North America, with international coverage– Flexible plans – VPN and spam call blocking – Family-friendlyGlobal & North American Focus: Great for North American travelers and offers international coverage.
DrimsimOver 190 countriesPay-per-MB, higher per GB costFlexible, light users– Pay-as-you-go model – No contract/hidden feesFlexible Use: Suited for varied usage patterns with wide coverage.

This comparison table serves as your go-to guide, summarizing each provider’s key attributes across essential criteria for travelers. With this at your fingertips, selecting the right eSIM for your journey becomes a breeze.

typical travelers, data burners, and globetrotters

After thoroughly comparing numerous eSIM apps and plans, the suitability of various options for different mobile users becomes clear. Typical travelers often look for convenience and cost-effective solutions for their international trips. They are drawn to eSIM plans like Airalo, which strike a fine balance between affordability and comprehensive coverage in over 200 countries. The ease of activating these digital SIM cards with a simple QR code scan is a significant advantage, ensuring seamless connectivity without the need to swap physical SIM cards.

Data burners and globetrotters, on the other hand, require more robust eSIM solutions that cater to their high data usage. Data burners, who often consume substantial bandwidth for streaming, social media, or work, favor plans with generous data allowances. Holafly addresses this need by offering unlimited data packages in multiple countries, with pricing varying according to travel duration.

Globetrotters seeking a more versatile option gravitate towards Drimsim and Simly. Drimsim’s pay-as-you-go model, with coverage in over 197 regions and pricing around $10 for the SIM, offers flexibility and affordability, adapting rates to local prices. This makes it an ideal choice for those needing a reliable and adaptable connectivity solution without the constraints of country-specific data plans. Meanwhile, Simly caters to those in 120 countries, featuring hotspot capability and competitive pricing. Its support for flexible payment methods, including Apple Pay, makes it a reliable service for travelers who value convenience in transactions.

For those who frequently move between countries and need an unrestricted option covering both data usage and international calls, Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan at $65/month is unrivaled. This plan is particularly suited for adventurous travelers requiring seamless service across different destinations, ensuring they stay connected wherever their journey leads.

Factors for comparison:

Travelers of all stripes, from those hopping across continents to those burning through data, need to weigh several factors before selecting an eSIM. These criteria are crucial in determining which eSIM will provide the most seamless and efficient travel experience.

  • Number of Countries Supported: This is a primary consideration, as it dictates where you can use your eSIM without hassle. Broad global coverage ensures that you stay connected in most parts of the world. For example, Airalo impresses with support for over 200 countries, making it an excellent choice for globetrotters.
  • User Interface: The ease of navigating the app or website where the eSIM is managed plays a significant role. A user-friendly interface means you can easily purchase plans and get help when needed. Good design simplifies understanding how much data you have left and what services are available.
  • Ease of eSIM Installation: How quickly and effortlessly you can set up your eSIM on your device matters a lot. The process should involve straightforward steps like scanning a QR code to activate your esim profile without needing technical expertise.
  • Customer Support: Having reliable assistance readily available is essential if issues arise during installation or usage—whether that’s via chat, phone, or email. Prompt and knowledgeable support staff can mean the difference between being stranded offline and getting back online quickly.
  • Pricing: Affordability is always crucial; transparent pricing with no hidden fees gets top marks. It’s important to know how much you’re paying per gigabyte of data, so there are no surprises on your bill later on. Airalo’s competitive pricing at $10-$15 for 5 GB in many countries makes it popular among typical travelers looking for value.

AIRALO – Best eSIM for typical travelers

Global Reach, Effortless Connection
Airalo

For travelers seeking a balance of extensive coverage and ease of use, Airalo eSIM is a leading option. Offering coverage in over 190 countries, Airalo caters to those looking for a hassle-free way to stay connected across the globe.

More Info

Features & Description

Airalo stands out in the eSIM market with its wide range of plans suitable for typical travelers. The service provides three types of eSIMs: Local, Regional, and Global, covering over 190 countries and regions. Local eSIMs are perfect for single-country visits, while Regional eSIMs offer connectivity across continents like Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. For those journeying through multiple regions, Global eSIMs, covering 87 countries, are ideal.

Pricing for Global plans varies, with options like 1GB for 7 days at USD 9, and 5GB for 60 days at USD 35. It’s important to note that these plans typically offer 3G speeds, which might not suffice for high-data activities like streaming.

Airalo’s eSIM is compatible with a range of eSIM-capable and carrier-unlocked devices, including popular models from Apple, Samsung, and Google. The setup involves a straightforward QR code scan, and the Airalo mobile app aids in easy management and top-up of data plans.

ProsCons
Extensive Coverage: Over 190 countries and regions.Speed Limitations: Global plans typically provide 3G speeds, not ideal for streaming or high-data needs.
Diverse Plans: Local, Regional, and Global options to fit various travel needs.Device Compatibility: Limited to smartphones with eSIM capability.
Flexible Pricing: Varied data plans to suit different budgets and usage patterns.Regional Variability: Quality and pricing of regional plans can differ, with some areas like Africa and the Caribbean being less favorable.
User-Friendly App: Easy management of eSIMs and real-time data monitoring.Installation Challenges: Some users have reported issues with APN configuration during setup.
Loyalty Rewards Program: Offers credits for referrals and purchases, adding value for frequent users.Customer Support: Reports of varied responsiveness, which could be a concern for travelers needing immediate assistance.

Airalo’s eSIM service is highly regarded for its extensive global coverage and diverse plan options, making it a solid choice for many travelers. However, considerations like the potential need for 4G speeds, device compatibility, and customer support responsiveness are important when deciding if Airalo is the right fit for your travel connectivity needs.

For more detailed information, you can visit Airalo’s website

SIMLY – Second best eSIM for typical travelers

Features & Description

Simly offers a travel eSIM platform with coverage in over 150 countries. It’s known for its unbeatable prices, with data plans starting as low as $1.2/GB, making it an attractive choice for cost-conscious travelers. The platform provides instant activation, allowing travelers to access mobile data quickly and efficiently.

Simly’s eSIMs are available through a convenient app, facilitating easy management and top-up of data plans. The plans are customizable, catering to various needs with pay-as-you-go, short-term, and long-term options. Furthermore, Simly provides 24/7 customer support to ensure a smooth experience.

Some specific offerings include 10GB for France at $8 valid for 30 days, 3GB for Turkey at $5 valid for 30 days, and pricing per GB in countries like Malaysia ($8) and the United Kingdom ($7.5).

Simly has gained recognition for revolutionizing mobile connectivity, especially in the MENA region, by making the process more accessible, affordable, and convenient.

ProsCons
Affordable Data Plans: Competitive pricing starting at $1.2/GB.Variable Pricing by Country: Costs per GB can vary significantly between countries.
Extensive Coverage: Mobile data access in over 150 countries.Limited Speed Information: Specific details on data speed (e.g., 3G, 4G, 5G) are not clearly mentioned.
Easy Activation and Management: Instant eSIM activation and user-friendly app for managing plans.Dependence on App: Requires the use of their app for managing the eSIM.
Customizable Plans: Flexible options including pay-as-you-go and various term lengths.
Continuous Support: 24/7 customer support for a hassle-free experience.

Simly has established itself as a viable option for travelers seeking an affordable and flexible way to stay connected globally. While it offers significant advantages in terms of cost and coverage, travelers should consider factors like variable pricing and the need for app usage when choosing Simly for their travels.

For more detailed information, you can visit Simly’s website

HOLAFLY – Best eSIM for data burners

Unlimited Data, Unlimited Adventures!
Holafly

Holafly stands out for travelers with high data usage needs, offering unlimited data plans in numerous destinations. This eSIM service is particularly advantageous for those engaging in activities like streaming, social media, and heavy internet use during their travels.

More Info

Features & Description

Holafly’s eSIM provides an easy and convenient way to stay connected, with unlimited data plans available in over 180 destinations. The service is compatible with many modern smartphones and allows users to maintain their local SIM card while using the eSIM for data.

The installation process is straightforward and can be completed in minutes, usually by scanning a QR code. Holafly’s eSIMs are especially beneficial for travelers seeking instant internet access upon arrival, eliminating the need to search for local SIM vendors.

Pricing for Holafly eSIMs starts at around €19.00 for various destinations, with specific pricing varying by country.

ProsCons
Unlimited Data: Ideal for heavy data usage without limitations.Potential Network Speed Variability: Speeds can fluctuate based on local network conditions.
Wide International Coverage: Accessible in over 180 countries.Tethering Limitations: In some countries, tethering or hotspotting might not be available.
Easy Installation: Quick setup via QR code scan.Higher Cost: May not be the most budget-friendly option compared to local SIM cards.
No Roaming Charges: Users can avoid unexpected bills.App Dependency: Requires using their app for managing the service.
24/7 Customer Support: Assistance is available anytime.
Refund Policy: Offers refunds for compatibility or connection issues.

Holafly’s eSIM is a top choice for travelers who prioritize hassle-free internet access and substantial data usage. While it offers a range of benefits like unlimited data and wide coverage, users should consider factors like tethering limitations and the potential higher cost compared to traditional SIM cards.

For more detailed information, you can visit Holafly’s website

GOOGLE FI – Best eSIM for globetrotters

Features & Description

Google Fi’s eSIM provides an array of plans suitable for different types of users, from those who need unlimited data to travelers who prefer a pay-as-you-go model. The service is notable for its extensive coverage, especially in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with options that include unlimited data (throttled after 35GB), calls, and texts. Additionally, Google Fi offers spam call blocking, a VPN, and tethered data options.

One of the distinctive features of Google Fi is its compatibility with various devices. Google Fi supports eSIM on a range of Samsung Galaxy models, in addition to its support across all Pixel devices and select iPhones. The service is also available on certain smartwatches, including the Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, enhancing its appeal for users with smart devices.

The plans are designed to cater to different needs, with the Simply Unlimited plan offering competitive rates starting as low as $20 per user per month, depending on the number of people included in the plan.

ProsCons
Extensive Coverage: Strong network presence in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.Data Throttling: Unlimited data is subject to throttling after 35GB.
Device Compatibility: Supports a wide range of smartphones and some smartwatches.Limited Global Reach: While strong in North America, global coverage might be less comprehensive compared to some competitors.
Flexible Plans: Options for unlimited data as well as pay-as-you-go plans.
Added Features: Includes spam call blocking and VPN services.
Family-Friendly: Recent updates focus on family plans and value.

Google Fi’s eSIM service stands out for its flexibility, making it an excellent choice for frequent travelers and families. Its compatibility with a wide range of devices and the inclusion of smartwatch connectivity add to its versatility. However, users should consider the data throttling after a certain usage and check the coverage in their specific travel destinations.

For more detailed information, you can visit Google-Fi’s website

DRIMSIM – A VERSATILE OPTION FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS

Your World, Your Terms!
Drimsim

Drimsim is recognized for its unique approach to international travel connectivity, offering a flexible pay-as-you-go model with comprehensive coverage in over 190 countries. It's designed for travelers who prefer to pay only for the data they use, without committing to a fixed plan.

More Info

Features & Description

Drimsim operates on a pay-per-MB basis, charging users only for the data they consume, which is a distinctive feature compared to other eSIM providers that offer fixed data packages. This model can be particularly advantageous for travelers who have varying data needs or are visiting multiple countries. The service allows users to easily manage their usage and expenses through the Drimsim app, adding credits as needed.

Drimsim’s eSIM can be activated in any of the covered countries by scanning a QR code, making it a convenient option for immediate connectivity upon arrival. The service prides itself on offering local rates instead of typical tourist prices, which can lead to significant savings on roaming charges.

ProsCons
Wide Coverage: Available in over 190 countries, providing extensive global connectivity.Variable Rates: Data rates vary by country, which can lead to inconsistent costs.
Pay-As-You-Go Model: Users only pay for the data they use, offering flexibility and potential cost savings.Dependent on Local Networks: The service relies on local network quality, which might lead to connectivity issues in areas with poor coverage.
Ease of Use: Simple activation process via QR code scanning.Potentially Higher Per GB Cost: Compared to other providers, the per GB cost might be higher, especially for heavy data users.
No Hidden Fees: Transparent pricing with no monthly contracts.

Drimsim is a practical choice for travelers seeking a flexible, pay-as-you-go connectivity solution. Its global reach and user-friendly app make it an attractive option for those who prefer to control their data usage and costs. However, travelers should consider the variable rates and potential dependency on local network quality when choosing Drimsim for their journeys.

For more detailed information, you can visit Drimsim’s website

Conclusion and FAQ’s

In the ever-evolving landscape of international travel, staying connected has become not just a convenience but a necessity. Our comprehensive analysis of the top eSIM providers in 2024 reveals that there’s an ideal match for every type of traveler. Whether you’re a frequent flyer hopping across continents, a data-hungry globetrotter, or someone looking for cost-effective solutions, the perfect eSIM option is out there.

  • Airalo emerges as the top choice for most travelers, providing a balance of extensive coverage and user-friendly features. Its global reach, diverse plans, and loyalty rewards program make it ideal for those seeking seamless connectivity without the complexities.
  • Simly stands out for budget-conscious travelers with its competitive pricing and extensive coverage in over 150 countries, making it a smart choice for those who want to stay connected without overspending.
  • For those who prioritize data usage, Holafly offers unlimited data plans in numerous destinations, ensuring that heavy internet users don’t have to compromise on connectivity.
  • Google Fi caters specifically to North American travelers and those needing international coverage, combining the strengths of both local and global connectivity.
  • Drimsim, with its pay-as-you-go model, offers unparalleled flexibility, making it a perfect match for travelers who prefer a tailored approach to their data usage.

Our comparison table serves as a handy guide to help you decide the best fit for your travel needs. Remember, the key factors to consider include the number of countries supported, user interface, ease of eSIM installation, customer support quality, and transparent pricing.

In a world where digital connectivity is as essential as your passport, choosing the right eSIM can make all the difference in your travel experience. With our detailed breakdown, we aim to empower you to make an informed choice, so your next journey is as connected and hassle-free as possible. Safe travels and happy roaming!

What is an eSIM and how does it work for travel?

An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a cellular plan on your iPhone without using a physical SIM card. For travelers, this means they can easily switch between different carriers’ plans internationally without swapping out SIM cards.

Can I use my existing phone with an eSIM when traveling abroad?

If you have a new iPhone, such as the iPhone 14 or iPhone 15, which features eSIM technology, yes you can set up an eSIM and choose from various carriers that support eSIM for seamless international connectivity.

How do I switch from a physical sim to an ESIM in my device?

To convert your old sim card to an esim, scan a QR code provided by your carrier or use their app; it’s called remote sim provisioning and avoids needing any new physical sim tray.

Are all iPhones compatible with international ESIMs?

Newer models like the iPhone 14 lineup and upcoming iPhone 15 are designed to support both a physical SIM and an ESIM, making them ideal for travelers looking into using esim technology globally.

Is T-Mobile’s international ESIM the best option available?

T-Mobile offers competitive international plans but whether it’s the best depends on specific needs like coverage areas; compare different carrier options regarding virtual SIM cards before deciding.

Do I need both types of sims if my phone supports both?

Nope! If your device is esim compatible like many of the devices within the new iphone 14 series, there’s no need for a slot for a physical sim – the integrated virtual option handles everything.

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Matt New

Living off-grid since 2012 with my wife Amy and dog MJ in the jungles of Costa Rica. Co-creater of the award winning Fusion Home.

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