Looking to ditch roaming charges AND SIM cards on your next trip?? Airalo just might be for you.
Staying connected while travelling has long moved past a “nice to have” and has become a necessity. Being able to navigate and communicate thanks to your smart device has removed so many of the stresses that come with travel. That said, how we keep connected has become a stressful endeavour of its own. From international SIM cards to high roaming fees to spotty mobile hotspots, I’ve had my share of fun when it comes to international data. With the introduction of eSIMS, these issues are a thing of the past. Here’s why.
What’s an eSIM?
Before diving into this Airalo eSIM review, let’s look at what an eSIM is and what it is not.
An electronic SIM (subscriber identification module) is, essentially, software that replaces the need for a physical and traditional SIM card in your phone or mobile device. This has several benefits including being able to order and install a new service on your phone without the need to physically go to a store to pick up a physical SIM card.
This technology particularly lends itself well to travel. Depending on your mobile device, you can also install multiple eSIMs meaning you can have separate services for different countries or locations.
What is Airalo?
Airalo has taken the benefits of eSIMs and applied them to travel. They are the world’s first eSIM store and offer data coverage in over 190 countries. Through their app you can purchase, download, and manage eSIMS for your destinations. Better yet, if you are visiting multiple countries on your trip, you can purchase packages that cover regions such as Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.
My Airalo Experience
On my first international trip since the pandemic started, I took Airalo with me and really put it to the test. I covered eight countries on three continents and used three different Airalo eSIMs along the way – all of them with ease and impressive results.
Ordering Airalo eSIMs
The first thing I did when ordering my eSIM through Airalo was a search for the countries I was visiting to ensure I could get coverage. This included;
- Mexico (3 days)
- Panama (1 day)
- Georgia (8 days)
- Azerbaijan (3 days)
- Turkey (5 days)
- UAE (5 Hours)
- Bahrain (1 day)
- Oman (4 days)
- UK (1 day)
I then found that all countries except Bahrain and Oman were covered on their Global eSIM package. Adding up the days visiting I opted for their 10 GB 30-day Global package for $59 USD.
This left Bahrain and Oman. Since I was only in Bahrain for the day I purchased their 1 GB package for $6 USD. Lastly, for Oman, I settled on 3GB for for $18 USD.
Installing an Airalo eSIM
Installing the Airalo eSIMs is very easy. It all starts with downloading their app. From there you can manage all of your eSIMs, top them up with data, and order new ones. There are easy-to-follow instructions to install and switch between SIMs.
For the bulk of my trip, the eSIMs worked flawlessly. I turned off my home service to avoid any roaming notifications and charges and updated my iMessage to work with my email address. After that, it was largely seamless between countries.
In Georgia, I did have an issue where the eSIM would only work on 3G. It would connect to 4G but data was not flowing. Turning on 3G only fixed this and was not intuitive to try. Knowing this in advance is a timesaver so a heads up there if you ever have issues.
Azerbaijan, however, provided very limited service. Through the app, I was able to remain in contact with their tech support but had to be connected to Wi-Fi which is counterproductive. That said, they were able to assist. They pointed to local carrier issues and service was restored on the last day.
Airalo eSIM vs. Roaming – Cost Savings
The simplicity of Airalo is one thing, but does it save you money?
Taking my trip as an example, my carrier charges a flat $15 CAD/day which would have toatled a whopping $450 CAD! On top of that, it would have burned through my plans data and likely would have opened up the possibility for further overage charges.
Airalo, on the other hand, cost me just $83 USD total for my month long trip. On top of the savings, my data at home was untouched. Win-win!
Minor issues aside, the simplicity and joy of taking your phone off of aeroplane mode in a new country and having it work instantly is a beautiful thing. In the past, I have used global SIMS and hotspots with varying success. Airalo really eliminates so many headaches and adds simplicity while removing stress from travel. I highly recommend it and will be using it on all of my trips going forward!
Get a head start on your next trip by searching Airalo’s coverage and packages here!
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NOTE: I was provided a complimentary eSIM for this Airalo review. I also use affiliate links for the products listed in this post. This helps me fund this site and continue to provide travel content.
As always the experience, opinions, and photos are my own.
Been using Airalo for a couple months now. It’s hit and miss in some countries but overall quite good. i believe a lot of customer complaints come from differing APN settings. Will keep using till i find a better esim deals as there are many competition out there.