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The best eSIM for international travel in 2023

The best eSIM for international travel in 2023

Believe it or not, when I first started travelling full-time more than a decade ago, I didn’t even have a phone with me.

After feeling like I had been a slave to my BlackBerry (yes, I’m that old!) in my previous job, I wanted to roam the world without a constant digital distraction. I thought being disconnected from technology during the day would mean a better connection with the people and places I was exploring.

I managed to get away with that for about a year before I finally bought an iPhone. Now, looking back on it, I don’t know how I survived.

While I still love the idea of distraction-free travel, having access to the internet on my phone has become such an important part of how I discover new destinations. Being able to find a bus timetable, get a restaurant recommendation, research a landmark I’m visiting – all of it enriches my days, keeps me safe, and introduces me to things I might otherwise have missed.

So, what’s the best way to get data on your phone when you travel?

Well, I used to buy local SIM cards when I arrived in a new destination, and that’s still a decent option (which I’ll discuss shortly). But these days, most of the time, I now use an eSIM for international travel.

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM is a connection to a phone provider that uses a chip built in to your phone, rather than a physical SIM that you need to insert. When you buy an eSIM, what you’re actually buying is a short contract with a telco that will use this permanent chip within your phone to connect you.

Should I get an eSIM?

There are advantages and disadvantages to eSIMs for travellers, and whether you should get one depends on your circumstances. The benefits of an eSIM include: you don’t need to visit a store, there’s a large range of plans, it works alongside your usual SIM card, and it can cover multiple countries.

Can you use an eSIM internationally?

While you can get an eSIM for your home country, the biggest benefits of an eSIM are for travellers. You can buy an eSIM for just one country, or you can get international ones that cover all the countries in a region – or even a global one for the whole world!

Can any phone use an eSIM?

Not every phone has the technology to use an eSIM, although most released in the past few years are compatible. Make sure you check your model first. Also, if your phone is locked to a single provider, then an eSIM probably won’t work (just as inserting a different physical SIM won’t…

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