Posted: 1/4/24 | January 4th, 2024
When I started backpacking around the world, there were no smartphones. If you needed to call home, you had to find a pay phone and if you needed to use a computer to look something up or send an email, you had to find an internet café.
But times have changed.
These days, travelers rely on their phones to find cheap flights, book accommodation, look up things to see and do, translate menus, get directions, and much more.
And while I think a lot of travelers maybe spend too much time on their phone, phones are a vital part of the savvy traveler’s arsenal.
That means travelers need reliable mobile data so they can find the information they need and keep in touch with friends and family back home.
For travelers around the world, the best way to ensure you have access to the internet and are able to stay connected is with an eSIM.
While it’s definitely possible to buy a SIM card on arrival to your destination, eSIMs are super easy to use and allow you to get prepared in advance so that you have mobile data the moment you land. They’re also cheaper and come with better support.
And if you’re visiting multiple countries, buying (and keeping track of) multiple SIM cards can be a hassle.
In this post, I’ll go over what exactly an eSIM is and how you can get one for your next trip so you can save money and stay connected during your next trip.
What is an eSIM?
A SIM card is a small memory card that you insert into your smartphone in order to make calls and use the mobile data. It has unique identifiers that ensure that when people call you, the call comes to your device. You generally get one from your phone provider when you sign your contract.
An eSIM is a digital version of this. Instead of a physical memory card, you’ll install software on your smartphone that replicates the same functions as the physical card.
Most smartphones only have a single port for a SIM card so the benefit of eSIMs is that you can have multiple eSIMs on a single device.
For example, if you’re from Australia and are visiting the United States, you’ll need to physically remove your Australian SIM card on arrival and install a US SIM card if you want to avoid paying excessive roaming fees. But once you swap SIM cards, you won’t be able to receive calls or texts to your Australian phone number unless you physically remove the US SIM card and put the Australian SIM card back into your phone.
This is a tedious process if you need to access multiple numbers during your trip. Hence the convenience of eSIMs. They make it super easy to visit multiple countries each year without having to juggle SIM cards. And since they let you get set up before you arrive, they provide more peace of mind.
The Best eSIM for Travelers
The best eSIM on the market is Holafly. They have a ton of plans with unlimited data and they’re connected to the best networks so you’re covered no matter where you travel. They current offer plans to 160 destinations, including plans with unlimited data in Europe, the United States, Mexico, China, Turkey, and Japan.
Holafly’s eSIMs are super easy to install and Holafly offers 24/7 support so if you have an issue getting setup (or during your trip) you can reach out to them directly.
Here’s a quick overview of the Holafly eSIM:
- No data sharing in some destinations so you can’t hotspot
- No local phone number/SMS (data only)
With Holafly, hotspotting is available in North America, but not others. While not being able to hotspot might be an issue for digital nomads, it’s likely not an issue for most travelers. And while not having a local number means you can’t receive calls or send texts, you’ll still be able to take calls over Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, and other online platforms.
Overall, the pros vastly outweigh the cons, making Holafly the best choice for eSIMs no matter where you travel.
How to Install a Holafly eSIM
To buy and setup your eSIM, simply visit holafly.com or download Holafly’s app (via the App Store or Play store). Once you’re there, you just need to follow these super simple steps:
Once you order your eSIM you’ll get instructions sent to you with more details:
While you can download your eSIM on arrival, it’s best to get everything set up in advance. Install your eSIM once you get it so that everything is ready. That way, if there’s an issue you can talk to support before you depart.
While it may seem complicated, activating an eSIM only takes a couple minutes. And since Holafly has 24/7 customer support, if you need assistance they can walk you through it.
Again, while you could do all of this on arrival, it’s best to prepare your eSIM in advance. That way you’ll have access to it when you land so that you can look up transportation, call an Uber, contact your accommodation, or do whatever else you need to do on arrival.
It’s never been easier to stay connected during your travels. No matter where you’re going in the world, having access to mobile data is a must. By getting a Holafly eSIM for your next trip, you’ll be able to stay connected, stay safe, and ensure you make the most of your time in this massive, diverse country!
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip?
Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.