The Power of eSIMs

eSIMs are a big improvement from landlines

Frequent travellers have probably already recognised the power of eSIMs to allow easy, affordable access to data and/or cellular services while abroad. Some mobile phone plans have allowances for roaming using your normal sim. However, it is very expensive if the roaming is not already included. Unfortunately for those of us in the UK, this is now the case even while traveling to Europe. One can buy eSIMs from mobile providers, but the rates should be compared to other eSIM companies.

What is an eSIM? It is a digital SIM which allows you to activate a mobile plan from your network provider without having to use a different physical sim card. In the past, I bought a physical sim card as soon as I landed in a country that was not included in my mobile roaming plan. However, this could often take some time if there were queues, or they had to check identification etc. Nowadays, I buy an eSIM the day before I am going to a new country. It is relatively cheap and very easy.

My preferred eSIM company is Airalo, which has a website and an app. First, you search for the country and then you choose a plan to buy. Don’t worry if you run out of credit part way through your trip, you can always top it up. However, that usually costs slightly more so you should try to estimate the amount of data you might need. As an example, if I am using maps a lot then in 5-7 days I would need a 2GB package. In contrast, if I am not using maps then 1GB will be enough.

Another tip is that I usually install the eSIM before I leave, and then activate it as soon as I land. Then I can connect immediately without waiting to be connected to Wi-Fi to install the eSIM. Just make sure to read the small print, as some plans count the time period starting from purchase. Others count from the activation time.

There are many other eSIM companies, so I would suggest you check ratings and prices before you choose. So far, I have been very happy with Airalo. For UAE and Oman, I paid about $5 each for 1GB of data over a 7-day time period. However, in Oman I almost ran out of data in three days because I was using GoogleMaps a lot. There are also region and worldwide eSIMs if you are going to be in multiple countries during your travels.

For your next trip, consider taking advantage of the power of eSIMs, rather than relying on setting up a physical sim. It’s easy, cheap, and quick! Communication is a necessity and luckily, it is far advanced than a few years ago.

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