Best eSIM for Travel

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Travel Writer

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Explore this guide to find the best global eSIM providers for traveling to Asia and when visiting North America.

I’ve used eSIM providers in the past and want to share this technology with travelers, digital nomads, and expats. So I’ve compiled some of the best eSIM providers in different regions.

An embeddable SIM card (eSIM) replaces physical SIM cards on your devices. Think of an eSIM as a digital SIM card.

eSIMs allow you to activate cellular companies on your devices remotely. And they support more than 1 cellular provider or phone number.

It’s useful for people who live in or visit countries with many carriers that offer eSIM support. Because you won’t have to worry about visiting carrier stores and activating SIM cards.

You also don’t need to wait for a SIM card to arrive in the mail.

Ensure you use an unlocked phone when getting an eSIM.

Let’s see all the differences between eSIM and physical SIMs.

Any traveler should get an eSIM over a physical SIM. So long as you have a compatible phone. They’ll save time otherwise wasted on seeking out SIM card booths at airports and don’t require you to hold on to a SIM card you may never use again once you leave your destination.

If you want calling and texting with your eSIM, read the fine print for listings. Many eSIM providers overseas may not offer such “features.”

Best International eSIM Card

Some of the best international eSIM cards include:

Provider# Of Countries SupportedBest ForPricingData Only?
Airalo (Global eSIM)87Heavy data usage$9.00–$89Yes
Google Fi200Travelers from the U.S.$40–$65/mo. per lineNo
International eSIM cards listed.

Many eSIM providers provide data-only eSIM cards. That means you won’t get a phone number. However, you’ll be fine if you use messaging apps for most communications.

People visiting another country for business may not accept this fact. You’ll need to find a cellular provider who doesn’t charge much for roaming.

Let’s begin with comparing providers.

1. Airalo


    • Instant connection upon arrival in a foreign country, eliminating the need to purchase a local SIM card.
    • Offers competitive local rates with local carriers, making it a cost-effective solution for travelers.
    • The ability to store multiple eSIMs in your account, which is convenient for frequent travelers or digital nomads.


    • Does not provide a local phone number, which can make it difficult for people to reach you through traditional phone calls.
    • The service is data-only in some countries, limiting its functionality for users who require voice services.
    • Compatibility issues with some devices, as not all phones support eSIMs.

Airalo offers 1, 3, 5, 10, and 20 gigabytes (GB) options for their prepaid international eSIM packages. Don’t stream video on this data. Otherwise, you’ll need to top up your data frequently.

In 2 hours of streaming 480p SD video, you’ll have used 1.40 GB [1].

2. Google Fi


    • Simple international travel benefits with high-speed data available in over 200 destinations.
    • Pay for the data you use, which can be cost-effective for users with low data usage.
    • Network switches your phone to the best network possible (5G, 4G LTE, 3G, or 2G) depending on your location, ensuring optimal coverage.


    • Google Fi is not the cheapest pay-by-the-gig plan available in the market.
    • The selection of phones specifically designed for Google Fi is limited.
    • Requires users to switch their own SIM card and possibly untangle themselves from their current carrier, which can be a hassle.

Google Fi is a stellar eSIM plan that’s only available to Americans. It gives you the means to send and receive calls while abroad. And to use unlimited data.But you can only use it on Google Pixel phones or iPhones [2].

Best eSIM for Asia Travel

eSIM providers that you’ll want to consider for trips to Asia include:

ProviderPricingBest ForData-only?
Airalo$5.00+ per dayHeavy data usageYes
Local ProvidersVariesAffordabilityVaries
Google Fi$40–$65/mo. per lineTravelers from the U.S.No
UPeSIM$9.98–$19.9712-day tripsYes
Travel SIM$23–$94/30 daysSMSData & SMS only
eSIM providers that work well for travelers in Asia.

Airalo offers travelers and digital nomads the most options. For instance, there are local, regional, and global eSIM.

Local works best for anyone visiting 1 country for up to 30 days.

Regional works best for anyone traveling to multiple countries in Asia within a set duration. Then global expands the regional eSIM to 87 countries.

Always check local providers before choosing one of the options I recommend. Here’s an example of how to find one if you’re visiting Vietnam. Type “Best eSIM in Vietnam.” Then see what shows up.

Only U.S. residents can get Google Fi. I’ve used the service and highly recommend it if you need unlimited data while abroad. The soft data caps aren’t bad, either.

These caps are when your data speeds slow after using “X” GB of data.

You have a 35 GB or 50 GB soft data cap with Google Fi’s Unlimited plans. But when traveling outside North America, you can only get the Unlimited Plus plan. And if you want to make calls, you’ll need to pay $0.20 per minute.

You get free SMS, though.

UPeSIM works well for anyone who wants 4G LTE speeds and will travel for up to 12 days. Most plans come with 6 gigabytes (GB) of data.

Travel SIM offers their services in 17 Asian countries. It offers up to 5.0 GB of data, but you can also add credits for texting. The rates for texting will start off with you prepaying $10 or $25.

Each message or multimedia SMS you send will be deducted from your balance.

Best eSIM for North America Travel

When traveling to the USA, Canada, or Mexico, consider these eSIM providers:

ProviderPricingBest ForData Only?
Google Fi$20–$65 per lineTravelers from the U.S.No
Holafly$19–$99 Travelers Outside the U.S.Yes
eSIM providers for anyone traveling to North America.

Since you’re not outside the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, the Simply Unlimited Google Fi plan is available. It allows you to make free calls and access data in North American countries.

But it has a 35 GB soft data cap.

You can’t share data with Holafly. It’s not the best plan for creating hotspots. But they have a generous soft data cap of 90 GB. Then you’ll have reduced speeds.

Don’t know what an eSIM card is?

I’ll cover more details.

eSIM vs. Physical SIM Cards

Based on my experience, it was harder to find eSIM cards in different countries that offer talking minutes and SMS. If that doesn’t matter to you, eSIMs are the easiest to set up. And they’ll prevent you from having to search for stands to redeem physical SIM cards.


    • Make it easier to switch mobile networks without needing to physically change the SIM card.
    • Up to five virtual SIM cards can be stored on one eSIM.
      • Allowing quick network switching in areas with poor signal or when travelling abroad.
    • Save physical space in devices.
      • Potentially allowing for larger batteries or additional features in smartphones.


    • Transferring an eSIM from 1 device to another can be time-consuming.
      • Taking at least two hours & possibly causing a temporary disruption in receiving SMS/OTPs.
    • A select number of smartphone models currently support eSIM technology.
    • If a device with an eSIM stops working, it’s more difficult to quickly switch the SIM to another device compared to a traditional SIM card.

Most older phones only support regular SIM cards. However, it’s sometimes easier to set these up. Despite needing to spend time picking up or purchasing your cards in person. If you can have your SIM card mailed to you before traveling, that’s ideal.


    • Widely available and easy to find.
    • Compatible with any phone that supports it or is unlocked.
    • Allow you to make & receive calls without the need for an additional app.


    • Can easily get lost or damaged, rendering them unusable.
    • Sometimes difficult to top up with more credit.
    • For frequent travelers, needing a new SIM card for each country visited can be inconvenient.

What devices support eSIM cards? Let’s check them out.

What Android Devices Use eSIM Cards?

These Android (and Android-OS-based) devices support eSIM cards:

Galaxy FoldSamsung
Galaxy Z Fold3 5GSamsung
Galaxy Z Fold2 5GSamsung
Galaxy S21+ Ultra 5GSamsung
Galaxy S21+ 5GSamsung
Galaxy S21Samsung
Galaxy Z FlipSamsung
Galaxy S20 UltraSamsung
Galaxy S20+Samsung
Galaxy S20Samsung
Galaxy S22Samsung
Galaxy S22+Samsung
Galaxy S22 UltraSamsung
Galaxy BookSamsung
Galaxy Book 2Samsung
Note20 UltraSamsung
Galaxy Z Flip 3 5GSamsung
Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G FoldSamsung
Galaxy Watch4 LTESamsung
Galaxy Watch4 Classic LTESamsung
Galaxy Watch 3Samsung
Galaxy Watch Active2Samsung
Galaxy WatchSamsung
Gear S3 Frontier LTESamsung
Gear S3 Classic LTESamsung
Gear S2 3GSamsung
Gear S2 Classic 3GSamsung
Pixel 3a XLGoogle
Pixel 3aGoogle
Pixel 3 XLGoogle
Pixel 3Google
Pixel 4 XLGoogle
Pixel 4aGoogle
Pixel 4Google
Pixel 5Google
Pixel 6aGoogle
Pixel 6Google
Pixel 6 ProGoogle
Pixel 7Google
Pixel 7 ProGoogle
Fairphone 4Fairphone
HONOR Magic 3Huawei
HONOR Magic 3 ProHuawei
HONOR Magic 3 Pro+Huawei
HONOR 50Huawei
Huawei P40Huawei
Huawei P40 ProHuawei
Huawei Mate 40 ProHuawei
Oppo Find X3 ProOppo
Oppo Reno 6 Pro 5GOppo
Oppo A55sOppo
Oppo Reno 5 AOppo
Oppo Find X5 ProOppo
Oppo Find X5Oppo
Rakuten MiniRakuten
Rakuten BigRakuten
Rakuten Big‑SRakuten
Xiaomi 12T ProXiaomi
Vivo X80Sony
Xperia 10 III LiteSony
Xperia 1 IVSony
Xperia 5 IVSony
Xperia 10 IVSony
Sharp AQUOS sense4 liteSharp
PDA GeminiPlanet Computers
Moto Razr 2019Motorola
myPhone NOW eSIMmPTech
Hammer Blade 5GmPTech
Hammer Explorer PromPTech
Hammer Blade 3mPTech
Motorola RAZR 5G (2020)Motorola
Watch 3 ProHuawei
Watch 3Huawei
Watch 2 ProHuawei
Watch 2Huawei
Watch 2Oppo
Mi WatchXiaomi
Nubia AlphaZTE
Wear 3100Xiaomi
Summit 2+Montblanc
Forerunner 945 LTEGamin
Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch (Verizon only)Fossil
Amazfit NexoHuami
Amazfit GTR 2 LTEHuami
TITAN 4G EarbudsMymanu
X5 Play eSIMXplora

All these devices don’t use Android operating systems.

Here are some examples:

  • Surface uses Microsoft
  • Huawei uses Harmony OS
  • Some Xiaomi devices use MIUI (sounds like “me, you, I”)

I’ll do my best to keep this list updated. If you’re buying a newer smartphone, check out the device’s sale’s page. See whether it supports eSIM.

If it’s vague, contact the company’s customer service. Or if you’re using a site like Amazon, check the frequently asked questions.

Not an Android fan?

Let’s talk about your true love, then. Apple.

What iPhones & Apple Devices Use eSIM Cards?

The following iPhones and Apple devices use eSIM cards:

iPhone 14iPhone 14 PlusiPhone Pro
iPhone Pro MaxiPhone XSiPhone XS Max
iPhone SE (2020)iPhone 13iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 Pro MaxiPhone 13 MiniiPhone 12
iPhone 12 MaxiPhone 12 Max ProiPhone 12 Mini
iPhone 11iPhone 11 ProiPhone 11 Pro Max
iPad Air (3rd Gen.)iPad Pro (3rd Gen.)iPad Mini (5th Gen.)
iPhone XRApple Watch Series 7Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series 5Apple Watch Series 4
Apple Watch Series 3Apple Watch Series 8
Apple devices that support eSIM.

iPhones sold in Hong Kong, China, and Macau do not have eSIM support.

Not only smartphones and smartwatches support eSIM. The next section will cover other devices that support this feature.

PCs & Other Devices That Support eSIM Cards

Here are Windows-OS-based PCs and many random devices that support eSIM:

Surface Pro 8Microsoft
Surface Pro 5 LTE Advanced (Ubigi is already preinstalled)Microsoft
Surface Pro XMicrosoft
Surface Pro LTEMicrosoft
Surface Go 2Microsoft
Surface DuoMicrosoft
Surface Go 3Microsoft
Surface Pro 7+Microsoft
Surface Pro 8Microsoft
Microsoft Surface NeoMicrosoft
Swift 7Acer
Swift 3Acer
TravelMate P2Acer
TravelMate P6Acer
TravelMate Spin P6Acer
TravelMate Spin P4Acer
NovoGo TP370QLAsus
Transformer Mini T103Asus
VivoBook Flip 14 TP401NAAsus
Elite x2 G2, G3HP
Envy x2HP
EliteBook G4, G5 Notebook PCHP
Probook G3, G4, G5 Notebook PCHP
Spectre Folio 13HP
Zbook G4, G5 Mobile WorkstationHP
Zbook Studio G5HP
mt32 Mobile Thin ClientHP
ThinkPad T16Lenovo
ThinkPad T14 Gen 3, T14s Gen 3Lenovo
Yoga 720 convertible laptopsLenovo
Yoga 520Lenovo
Miix 630Lenovo
Yoga C630Lenovo
Flex 5GLenovo
ThinkPad X12 DetachableLenovo
ThinkPad X1 NanoLenovo
ThinkPad X1 FoldLenovo
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9Lenovo
ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga 2 in 1Lenovo
ThinkPad P16s iLenovo
Galaxy BookSamsung
Galaxy Book 2Samsung
Latitude 7210 2-in-1Dell
Latitude 5511Dell
Latitude 5411Dell
Latitude 5410Dell
Latitude 9510Dell
Latitude 7410Dell
Latitude 7310Dell
Latitude 9410Dell
Toughbook 20Panasonic
Toughbook 55Panasonic
Toughbook G2Panasonic
Toughbook 33Panasonic
Alarm ProRing
G6 mountain bikeGreyp
Spexor mobile security deviceBosch
JobSite SecurityRing


Check out the following sections to find answers to commonly asked questions about digital SIM cards.

Can eSIMs Be Activated Abroad?

Whether you can activate your eSIM abroad depends on your provider. For instance, Google Fi doesn’t let you activate eSIMs abroad.

Does eSIM Work in All Countries?

eSIMs do not work in all countries. Many mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and some large carriers don’t support eSIM. Check what providers your eSIM supports before getting one.

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About Theo

Theodore began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Theo