How to Choose an eSIM? 7 Recommended eSIM Options for International Travel 

How to Choose an eSIM? 7 Recommended eSIM Options for International Travel 

Think of your eSIM as your digital travel key. It unlocks seamless connectivity without the hassle of switching devices or numbers every time you cross borders. What’s more, eSIMs are easily accessible and serve as an economical alternative to traditional physical SIM cards.

For those who prioritise convenience and flexibility when travelling, investing in an optimal eSIM is a decision well worth making. An eSIM is a digitally embedded SIM card, eliminating the need for a physical card that must be replaced each time you change locations.

The eSIM market is packed with numerous providers, including Airalo, Nomads, and GlobleSIMs, vying for the attention of travellers. To enjoy the maximum benefits, it’s crucial to compare the best eSIM options for travel and choose the one that aligns perfectly with your requirements.


What do you need to know before buying an eSIM?

Before you purchase an eSIM, you should understand how an eSIM works. There are several questions to ask.

Is your device eSIM compatible?

Before you purchase an eSIM, you need to ensure your smartphone is up to the task. As a relatively new technology, not all devices support eSIM yet. For eSIM compatibility, there are two ways to check:

  • iPhone users can simply dial #06# on the iPhone app. If an ‘EID’ appears, you’re good to go.
  • Alternatively, through the settings app, applicable for both iPhones and Android devices. For iPhones, navigate to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘About’ to find the EID. If ‘Carrier Lock’ status indicates ‘No SIM restrictions’, your iPhone is eSIM ready.
  • For Android devices, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘About phone’ to find the EID. If your device is eSIM-friendly, you’re ready to roll!

Is your device suitable for your chosen eSIM provider?

Choosing an eSIM provider? Ensure your mobile device is compatible. Some eSIM providers may favour certain devices, such as the iPhone XR or the latest models.

So, if you’re tech-savvy with your brand new smartphone, make sure your eSIM provider can keep up with your device’s advanced features. This guarantees a smooth user experience while you’re travelling.

Do you have access to an active email account?

An active email address is essential to switch to your eSIM. This is where your eSIM profile will be delivered. If you’re a digital nomad, having your eSIM profile linked to your email is incredibly convenient. Whether you’re resting in your hotel room or exploring the city, you can access it effortlessly.

Do you have stable Internet connection?

Got a steady and strong connection to the internet? Perfect! You’ll have your eSIM downloaded in minutes. You’ll be back to sifting through emails, streaming your favourite shows, browsing social feeds, or whatever else you fancy doing online, faster than you can say ‘internet’.

Does your eSim provider need you to download a specific app?

Certain eSIM providers may require you to download their specific app to activate your eSIM. This app often serves as a control centre for managing your eSIM and related services. With the app, you can effortlessly monitor your data usage, top up your balance, or even switch plans, all at your fingertips.

If your smartphone isn’t quite suitable for eSIM technology, you always have the conventional option of using a physical SIM card from a local mobile operator.


Here are the 8 best eSIMs for international travel 

AirHub Esim

1) Airhub – for All Needs

Airhub boasts a variety of eSIM plans with up to 15 different plans per country, making it a fitting choice for a wide variety of users. It has strong local alliances offering cost-effective deals. They provide monthly subscriptions with unlimited voice and SMS options, ideal for those abroad for the short-term. These non-binding plans offer 4G network reliability.

Coverage: Covers 190+ countries, less so for Latin America.

Plan options: Provides prepaid, postpaid, and monthly plans. Regional plans include APAC, Africa, North America, Middle East, and Europe.

Pricing: Starts at $11/month for a 3GB Europe plan. Prices vary by country and plan.


  • Wide coverage
  • A variety of plan options to suit different needs
  • Clean and user-friendly app and website
  • Plans include data, voice minutes, and SMS for comprehensive communication needs


  • Payment service fees charged at checkout
  • Limited coverage in Latin America
  • Not many regional plans outside of Europe

Airalo: eSIM Travel & Internet - Apps on Google Play

2) Airalo – for Personalised Needs

Airalo stands out due to its capacity to provide tailor-made plans and extensive coverage. This service is particularly beneficial for users seeking flexibility and a wide range of options to cater to their specific needs. Whether users are data-hungry or prefer longer plan durations, Airalo’s flexible plans are able to cater to these preferences. 

Coverage: Airalo available in 200 countries.

Plan options: Offers flexible plans with 1GB-20GB data for 7-180 days. Includes 7 regional plans and a global plan for 84 countries.

Pricing: Begins at $4.5 for a 1GB, 7-day plan. Prices vary based on location, data cost, plan validity and limit.


  • Wide coverage in around 200 countries
  • Flexible, customisable plans for all users
  • Cost-effective
  • Loyalty feature that gives credit for every purchase


  • Most packages don’t offer voice minutes

aloSIM - eSIM Travel Sim Card - Apps on Google Play

3) AloSIM – for Effortless Installation

Distinguished by a unique data calculator, AloSIM allows users to gauge their data needs based on their internet habits. This shows the provider’s commitment to transparency and preventing spending on unnecessary data. Also, they allow users to preview and choose the partner networks to connect with before committing to a purchase.

AloSIM’s eSIM installation process is straightforward with three options: 

  • Immediate use via instant installation
  • Scanning the QR code 
  • Manual installation with a step-by-step guide 

Coverage: Global services for Android and iOS with AloSIM.

Plan options: Variety of plans available, including up to 11 regional options.

Pricing: Starts from £4.5 for 1GB, varying by plan and region.


  • Supports data sharing
  • Provides a data calculator to estimate data requirements
  • Reliable and transparent local network service


  • No phone or SMS plan
  • No unlimited period plan

BNESIM: eSIM card, Mobile Data - Apps on Google Play

4) BNESIM – for Cost-Effective Global Travel

BNESIM is a fantastic option when it comes to network coverage. This includes significant coverage in key regions like Europe and Asia, enveloping 30 countries in Europe, 29 in Asia, and a total of 200+ countries with the global eSIM.

Talking about cost, BNESIM shines with its affordability, especially for long-term international travel. The starting price is a mere $0.98 for 1GB of data for 30 days, making it a budget-friendly choice for travellers.

Coverage: 200+ countries, mainly Europe and Asia.

Plan options: Multiple plans: one-time, monthly, daily, prepaid, pay-as-you-go.

Pricing: From $0.98 for 30-day, 1GB plan.


  • 200+ countries
  • Supports 5G networks
  • Provides physical SIM cards, global calls, international phone numbers, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot router, and a VPN service
  • Comprehensive customer support


  • Does not offer data plans with phone numbers
  • Plans are on the pricier side

Holafly | International eSIM plans for travel abroad

5) Holafly – for Unlimited Roaming

If you’re looking for the liberty of unlimited data, Holafly will be your go-to. This is particularly useful for individuals who stream videos heavily, actively on social media, or require a hotspot for work calls. While their plans might come at a slightly higher cost, the unlimited data allocation significantly outweighs the price difference.

Regardless of the amount of data consumed, whether it’s streaming videos, browsing the web, using navigation apps, or constantly updating social media, users never have to worry about bursting their data limit. Most beneficial for digital nomads, frequent travellers, or people who rely heavily on data for their work or leisure activities on-the-go.

Coverage: Cover around 160 countries.

Plan options: Range from 5 to 90 days, providing flexibility.

Pricing: Starts at $19 for a 5-day unlimited plan.


  • Offers higher data limits in countries where it doesn’t provide unlimited data
  • Payment can be made in Euros, US dollars, or Mexican pesos
  • Great customer support with multi-language support
  • Easy installation process with QR code scanning
  • Provides regional plans


  • Does not support data sharing
  • One of the more expensive options on the market
  • No dedicated “Regional Plans” section on its website.

Instabridge: eSIM + Internet - Apps on Google Play

6) Instabridge – for Flexibility and Enhanced Online Security

Instabridge packs a punch with a number of standout features that might just catch your eye. First off, this provider takes online security up a notch with an in-built VPN to scramble your internet connection. Users can keep their online privacy intact and their digital footprint safe and sound. 

With VPN, you can shield your personal data from potential cyber bandits. It’ll be a safer alternative as compared to hooking onto public Wi-Fi networks, which are goldmines often for data breaches. 

Also, Instabridge presents wallet-friendly, flexible pay-as-you-go plans that are ideal for digital nomads who don’t constantly need a data lifeline with no-strings-attached.

Coverage: Instabridge eSIMs cover 190+ countries, primarily Europe and Latin America.

Plan options: Three plans available: 7 days (1GB), 15 days (3GB), 30 days (10GB), plus a flexible pay-as-you-go option. No-contract plans.

Pricing: Starts at $3 for a 7-day plan (1GB). Prices vary by country. Other companies offer more data for similar prices.


  • 190+ countries
  • Pay-as-you-go plan
  • Has local, regional, and global plans
  • Offer additional perks for online security
  • Monthly and yearly subscriptions


  • Zero plans for calls and messages
  • Less flexible plans

7) GlobaleSIM – For Most Extensive Coverage

GlobaleSIM is a premier choice for those seeking broad international coverage. It’s an invaluable resource for frequent travellers to less populous areas. In this case, you need as much signal as you can get. While other providers cover more countries (200+), GlobaleSIM boasts over 400+ network carriers, ensuring reliable and robust connectivity. 

Whether you’re backpacking across South America, Europe or Australia, GlobaleSIM guarantees great connection anytime anywhere – even in the most remote of small towns.

Coverage: GlobaleSIM eSIMs available in 150 countries.

Plan options: Ranges from “Most Popular Plan” in 63 countries to “Special + Plan” in 143 countries.

Pricing: Starts at $3.00 for 500MB for 5 days.


  • Coverage with over 400 carriers
  • No hidden costs
  • You can select among a US, UK or Canadian number in the global plan
  • Provides regional plans


  • Doesn’t have an app
  • The customer service could be better
  • No dedicated “Regional Plans” section on its website.

Wherever you find yourself, there’s an army of eSIM providers geared up to keep you in the loop with plans tailored to your needs. What’s the best eSIM to go for? Simply, it’s the one that meets all your needs.

However, it’s always good to have a Plan B for emergency purposes. Keeping a spare physical SIM card ensures you’re always connected, especially when there’s a network hiccup or a technical glitch (more likely to occur in developing countries/smaller towns).


Travelling soon? Send this article to your travel buddy!