Best eSIM For Europe Travel (2022)

Best eSIM For Europe Travel (2022)

When most individuals need high-speed cellular information for his or her cellphone whereas touring to Europe they’ve historically purchased a bodily SIM card. However, many more moderen telephones have an embedded digital SIM (i.e. eSIM) that lets you hook up with European cellular carriers while not having to put in a bodily SIM card. These new eSIM information plans supply vacationers a ton of comfort however there are just a few quirks as effectively. That’s why on this article I’m going to cowl all the things it’s essential to learn about eSIM information plans in Europe—together with suggestions for locating the most effective eSIM for Europe journey.

What You’ll See In This eSIM Guide

Do I Even Need Mobile Data In Europe?

Honestly, sure, you want cellular information in your cellphone when touring to Europe. Sure, you’ll be able to typically discover free wifi hotspots however that’s far more troublesome than you’d assume (I do know from expertise).

And a lot of recent European life requires a high-speed cellular information—practice tickets are digital, sporting occasion tickets are digital, restaurant menus are accessed by way of QR codes, many eating places need you to pay by way of your cellphone, accessing real-time public transportation data depends on cellular information, and the listing goes on.

Can I Just Use My Mobile Plan’s Internation Data Plan?

US home plans usually supply a global information plan (both free or for an additional cost) however they’re all horrible—even the costly paid plans.

We’re speaking like 2G speeds (3G in case you’re fortunate) so even opening a primary webpage may take ceaselessly to load (if it even masses in any respect). Many apps gained’t perform. Google maps gained’t work. Forget about social media.

So do your self a favor and purchase a European cellular information plan.

What Is An eSIM?

In brief, an eSIM is an embedded/digital model of the standard bodily SIM card. So as a substitute of putting in a bodily SIM card to vary your cellular supplier, you merely hook up with a brand new cellular information service supplier utilizing an app.

This is nice for worldwide journey since you now not should search out a brand new SIM card while you change international locations. You merely activate the eSIM service and also you’re on-line in seconds.

And most new telephones are twin SIM so you’ll be able to nonetheless use your bodily home SIM card whereas additionally utilizing the eSIM so you’ll be able to change forwards and backwards between your cellular information suppliers.

Some telephones are additionally transferring to eSIM solely—the brand new iPhone 14 now not incorporates a SIM card slot however does help twin eSIM.

The Benefits of eSIM Mobile Data Plans

Below are a number of the many advantages of utilizing an eSIM information plan whereas touring.

No Searching For SIM Cards

The largest good thing about an eSIMis not having to trace down a bodily SIM card. All you need to do is set up the cellular supplier’s app to activate the eSIM information service. This means you’ll be able to order your eSIM, and obtain the app earlier than you allow. after which activate the service while you arrive at your vacation spot.

Instant Delivery (No Shipping Fees)

Since eSIM playing cards are all digital you don’t should pay transport charges if you wish to pre-purchase a European information plan earlier than arriving in Europe. For instance, you should purchase a plan from SimOptions or Holafly they usually’ll electronic mail you a QR code or hyperlink to activate the service.

Dual SIM Cards So You Can Use Two Data Plans At Once

Another large profit to utilizing an eSIM is that you could seamlessly change between your home plan (by way of the bodily SIM) and the journey plan (by way of your eSIM). In truth, most telephones let you’ve as much as 5 eSIM information plans on a single cellphone—which is overkill for most individuals but it surely’s nonetheless an choice.

Another large profit to having twin SIM playing cards is that many providers will ship you texts for issues like two-factor identification or your financial institution would possibly textual content you with fraud alerts and these gained’t come by means of in case you don’t have your private home plan’s bodily SIM card put in.

Not Having to Remove Your SIM Card

Removing the bodily SIM card is a problem. First, you want the little device to pop the SIM out of the cellphone (which is simple to lose). Then you additionally should take away your cellphone case. You additionally should maintain observe of your unique SIM card so that you don’t lose or harm it (you’ll must reinstall it to get your service again).

Easier To Add Credit To Your Account

All eSIM information plans require you to obtain the service supplier’s app to activate the service and most will let you simply add credit score to your account by way of the app.

What iPhones Use eSIM Cards?

Not all iPhones have built-in eSIM compatibility however basically all iPhones made since 2019 must be eSIM appropriate—i.e. they’re Dual SIM so that they have each a bodily SIM and an eSIM. For instance:

  • iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR beneath iOS 12.2 a minimum of
    • (The base iPhone X and something older is just not eSIM appropriate)
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, 12 Mini & iPhone SE 2020
  • iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Mini

What Android Phones Use eSIM Cards?

  • Samsung Galaxy Fold & Galaxy Fold 2 / Galaxy Z Flip & Z Flip 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra / Galaxy Note 20
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G, S21+ 5G, S21 Ultra 5G
  • Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4XL, Pixel 4a (4G), Pixel 5 (5G), and Pixel 6
  • Huawei P40 and P40 Pro & Mate 40 Pro

The Best eSIM Data Plans For Europe

How to buy a SIM card and data plan in Italy

A beauty of touring to Europe is that the EU outlawed cellular information roaming charges so any European information plan will work wherever in Europe—i.e. you should purchase a French eSIM and use it in Italy, Germany, Poland, and so forth.

That mentioned, I like to recommend sticking with the key European carriers since they’ll have essentially the most complete networks and the very best information speeds.

Orange Holiday Zen eSIM: $29.90

Orange Holiday Zen eSIM | Best eSIM For Visiting Europe
  • Price: $29.90 (Check SimOptions for particulars)
  • Data: 15GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited inside Europe and 30 min outdoors of Europe.
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited inside Europe and 200 outdoors of Europe.
  • Credit validity: 14 day
  • Data tethering allowed
  • Usable on any machine (telephones, tablets, hotspots…)
  • This eSIM card comes with a French cellphone quantity

The Orange Holiday Zen plan is a prime choose for vacationers for just a few totally different causes.

First, Orange is likely one of the largest cellular networks in Europe so that they have nice protection principally in all places in Europe and also you gained’t have to fret about gradual speeds.

Second, Orange Holiday eSIM plans offer you limitless calls and texts inside Europe and restricted (but nonetheless ample) credit score for calls/texts outdoors the EU. A majority of eSIM plans from different suppliers don’t offer you any (or very restricted) credit score for calls or texts.

This plan comes with 15GB of cellular information which ought to suffice for many vacationers who aren’t heavy information customers. Heavy customers ought to use the Orange Holiday Europe plan which has 30GB of cellular information.

Orange Holiday Europe eSIM: $49.90

  • Price: $49.90 (Check SimOptions for particulars)
  • Data: 30GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited inside Europe and 120 min outdoors of Europe.
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited inside Europe and 1000 outdoors of Europe.
  • Credit validity: 14 day
  • Data tethering allowed
  • Usable on any machine (telephones, tablets, hotspots…)
  • This eSIM card comes with a French cellphone quantity

The Orange Holiday Europe plan is a beefed-up model of Orange Holiday Zen (see above) so that you get double the info allowance (30GB vs 15GB), extra worldwide cellphone minutes, and 1000 non-EU texts.

If you’re a heavy information consumer then you may want this 30GB plan because you gained’t have to fret about hitting your information cap rapidly as you’d with the Orange Holiday Zen plan.

Holafly eSIM: Starting at $19.00

Holafly is a brand new data-only eSIM supplier that I lately utilized in Italy—the service was nice and I bought very quick information speeds (learn my Holafly eSIM Review to study extra). They promote each country-specific and Europe-wide information plans. Unlike different corporations, Holafly’s plans offer you limitless information and their plans run from 5 to 90 days (they’ll throttle your information in case you use extreme information).

  • Prices For Unlimited Data (Check Holafly for particulars)
    • 5 Days: $19
    • 10 Days: $34
    • 15 Days: $47
    • 20 Days: $54
    • 30 Days: $64
    • 60 Days: $84
    • 90 Days: $99
  • Service Speed: 5G/4G/LTE
  • Calls: None
  • Texts/SMS: None
  • Tethering: No

O2 Go Card eSIM: $24.90

  • Price: $24.90 (Check SimOptions for particulars)
  • Data: 10GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Includes $2 of credit score to make calls inside Europe
  • Texts/SMS: Includes $2 of credit score to ship/obtain texts inside Europe
  • Credit validity: 30 day
  • This eSIM card comes with a Czech cellphone quantity

The O2 Go Card Plan is on the O2 cellular community (the most important cellular community within the UK) so the service high quality might be good.

And whereas it’s barely cheaper than the Orange Holiday Zen plan, you get much less cellular information and also you don’t get the good thing about any worldwide calls/texts—you additionally get a really restricted quantity of EU calls/texts.

Smart Comfort X eSIM: $17.90

  • Price: $17.90 (Check SimOptions for particulars)
  • Data: 5GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: None
  • Texts/SMS: None
  • Credit validity: 30 day

The Smart Comfort X eSIM is a finances data-only eSIM plan choice that provides you 5GB of knowledge however no calls or texts (you’ll be able to nonetheless ship iMessage in case you’re sending messages between iPhones and make calls/texts by way of WhatsApp, and so forth).

Smart Comfort X eSIM can also be what’s thought of an “international eSIM” so it’s not backed by a particular information supplier (i.e Orange, O2, and so forth.). That means it would hook up with a particular accomplice supplier in every nation—for instance, France (Bouygues), Germany (O2), Italy (WIND), Spain (Telefonica), and so forth.

Because of its restricted information limits, the Smart Comfort X eSIM plan is greatest for mild information customers.

How To Activate an eSIM Data Plan

Activating an eSIM is comparatively easy.

Step One: Purchase Your Data Plan

Start by buying an eSIM information plan (I like to recommend SimOptions or Holafly).

I extremely suggest doing this earlier than you allow since you’ll want information/wifi to finish the setup.

Step Two: Check Your Email For The QR Code

As quickly as you make your buy you’ll get an electronic mail from the vendor.

This electronic mail will embrace a QR code that you could scan so that you’ll need to be in entrance of your pc so you’ll be able to scan the QR code out of your display.

Step Three: Install The Carrier’s eSIM App

The QR code will lead you to obtain the service’s eSIM app. Just observe the instructions.

IMPORTANT: Don’t totally activate your eSIM information plan till you’re in Europe. Most information plans solely have a validity interval of 14-30 days and that countdown begins the second you activate the service.

So, for instance, in case you activate the service every week earlier than your journey then you definitely’ll have misplaced a full week out of your service size (even in case you haven’t used any information).

Step Four: Fully Activate Service Once in Europe

Finish the activation course of. Your cellphone ought to mechanically hook up with the native information community (it’d take a couple of minutes to get totally activated).

How Much Mobile Data Do I Need When Traveling Europe

Studies present that the typical American makes use of about 4-5GB of cellular information each week however your fee will clearly differ.

You can simply hit 15GB/week in case you’re a heavy consumer but it surely’s straightforward to maintain it beneath 1-2GB/week in case you keep on with primary internet searching, restrict your social media use, and maintain app utilization to a minimal (or save your heavy utilization for while you’re on wifi).

Buying an eSIM in Europe

You may also purchase an eSIM cellular information plan when you’re in Europe by visiting a cell phone store or SIM Card vendor. However, eSIM cellular packages aren’t fairly widespread but so not each cellular service may have choices—subsequently, not each retailer may have them (or they’ll have a really restricted choice).

Then you’ll nonetheless must discover a wifi connection to activate your service so that you would possibly as effectively skip the step of searching down the eSIM retailer and simply purchase it on-line.

What Countries in Europe Support eSIM?

While not each cellular service in Europe has an eSIM cellular plan, there are carriers in each European nation that settle for eSIM know-how—subsequently, your cellphone will mechanically hook up with a supplier (it doesn’t matter what eSIM plan you’re utilizing).

Simply put: Your eSIM information plan will work wherever in Europe.

Coverage Note About Switzerland (and Possibly the UK): Switzerland is an outlier as a result of they’re not technically a part of the EU so some suppliers don’t work there. For instance, the Orange Holiday plans work in Switzerland however the O2 and Smart Comfort X plans don’t work there. There are additionally rumors that the UK even have the identical points due to Brexit.

Learn extra on our Guide on How To Use Data Plans and Smartphone Phones Abroad

More Tips For Using An eSIM Data Plan in Europe

Here are just a few extra suggestions for getting essentially the most out of utilizing your high-speed eSIM cellular information plan whereas touring round Europe. If you need to study extra, try The Savvy Backpacker’s Guide to How To Use Data Plans and Smartphone Phones Abroad

You Need An Unlocked Phone

You want to ensure your cellphone is unlocked earlier than you’ll be able to set up each a SIM card or eSIM—many American cellular carriers use software program to “lock” their smartphones to their community so the cellphone gained’t work in case you set up a SIM card from one other firm.

However, you’ll be able to unlock your cellphone by calling your cellular service and asking them to unlock it since you’re going to journey overseas (you would possibly must go go to a retailer to get it unlocked).


Using apps like Google Maps and taking photographs kills your cellphone battery so a conveyable battery is a must have. I take advantage of Anker PowerCore 10000 as a result of it’s tiny and reasonably priced however there are a number of choices.

Save Heavy Data Usage For When You’re On Wifi

It’s extraordinarily straightforward to unknowingly burn by means of numerous information—particularly while you’re utilizing data-hungry apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTookay. Therefore it’s extremely really helpful to save lots of your heavy information utilization for while you’re related to wifi.


I’ll put my cellphone in Airplane Mode as a result of that disables all information (however GPS nonetheless works in Airplane Mode). You may also go into the settings and disable information entry to every particular person app.


Google Maps helps you to obtain complete metropolis maps to allow them to be used offline. As an added bonus, GPS doesn’t use information so offline Google Maps works pretty effectively (however not all performance works). Here is an effective YouTube video that explains all the things.

Download WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a wonderful app free of charge calling and textual content messages—I’ve discovered that many Europeans solely use WhatsApp to speak (together with many Airbnb hosts).

Get More Europe Travel Tips From The Savvy Backpacker

Heading to Europe quickly? Here are some extra useful articles I’ve written that will help you plan your European travels.

James Feess
Latest posts by James Feess (see all)

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