Best eSIM for Travel

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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.

As you sift through this guide, you’ll find the following information:

Let’s find you an eSIM card.

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.

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].

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.

What Is an eSIM? #

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.

eSIM vs. Physical SIM Cards #

Pros & cons for eSIM cards include:

Pros:

  • Can support more than 1 phone number
  • Immediate activation

Cons:

  • No support for older phones
  • Not all carriers & countries support eSIM
  • May find it harder to retrieve data from an old SIM card

Pros and cons for physical SIM cards include:

Pros:

  • Easily transferable between devices
  • Easier to find prepaid cellular plans

Cons:

  • Easy to lose
  • They’re apparently easy to hack
  • Easily to damage

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
Note20Samsung
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
NUU X5NUU
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
WatchOppo
Mi WatchXiaomi
Nubia AlphaZTE
Wear 3100Xiaomi
Summit 2+Montblanc
Forerunner 945 LTEGamin
WatchMeizu
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

I’ll do my best to keep this list updated. If you’re buying a 2022 and 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 3
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:

ModelManufacturer
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
LINKHUB LTE CAT6 Home Station HH63TCL
LINKZONE LTE CAT6 Mobile Wi-Fi MW63TCL
G6 mountain bikeGreyp
Spexor mobile security deviceBosch
JobSite SecurityRing

FAQs: eSIMs

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.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ve found an eSIM to use when you’re abroad. Now you likely understand this technology, you should have an easier time finding the best provider.

If you’re traveling or moving abroad, I have other resources to help you save money, travel in luxury (kind of), and reduce stress. Check them out.

person standing on top of Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan City, Taiwan

About Tee

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