Imagine a funny trip to Europe. Train rides between London and Paris, delicious Greek food in Athens, a music festival in Berlin, and more historical sites than you can handle in Barcelona. It's like the stuff of dreams.
But it can quickly turn into a nightmare.
I ran into a big problem on my first big road trip across Europe many years ago. Quite big.
Everything I planned and booked was done on the internet. My phone was my only connection to the outside world. It was a map, a travel agent, a translator, and a currency converter, among other things. But it was costly and a massive waste of time to buy a local prepaid SIM card in each country to get a few days of necessary mobile internet. I didn't want to waste my precious time at a mobile store trying to figure out the frustratingly complicated prepaid plans for each carrier.
And it was just too expensive for me to depend on a single SIM card with roaming data.
So, I did something stupid. I said, "Screw it," and went without internet on my phone. Instead, I used public wifi hotspots at each stop. It was less expensive, but I ended up hurting all the time. The stress was too much to handle. Before offline maps, Google Maps crashed, and I lost my route. It was hard to find a place to stay at the last minute, I couldn't find the closest gas station when my tank was almost empty, and it was painful to read signs in a different language.
I almost pulled out all my hair.
Since then, the telecommunications industry has changed a lot, and there are now many exciting new options that will make your trip to Europe easier and smoother than ever.
The international eSIM for travel is the most important thing that has changed. Yes, you can use a single, cheap data plan to roam reliably in dozens of European countries without switching SIM cards.
Let me explain a bit more.
This is what a trip to Europe should be about. not worrying about cell phone service.
eSIM vs. SIM Card?
Since 1991, there have been physical SIM cards. This gold and plastic card that is getting smaller is put into your phone, so the carrier knows who you are and can send calls, texts, and data to your device.
On the other hand, eSIM just came out in 2017. This is an alternative to the old physical cards done through software. It does the same job, but you can't take a piece of plastic off it. The good thing? Now, you must do without switching carriers by pushing a button or scanning a QR code. Not only that, but it's better for the environment.
In Europe, there is a better choice than physical SIM cards.
Why Should I Get an eSIM for Europe?
I think you can see why it's not a good idea to buy a physical SIM card for each country you visit in Europe. There are now physical SIM cards that work in more than one region, but you might have to take out your "home" SIM card to use them.
With a travel-friendly eSIM, you can use a second active connection in Europe while keeping your "home" SIM active. This can help you get calls from your regular phone number even if you use a different carrier's Europe data plan.
It's important to note that data roaming charges from your home carrier may be very high if you travel from outside the European Union. An eSIM plan for Europe will automatically connect you to the best carriers at a low fixed price. Nothing terrible will happen.
Phones that can use an eSIM card from Europe
Google Pixel 2, iPhone XS/XR, and Samsung Galaxy S20 were the first phones that could use eSIM. The iPhone 13 can have two active eSIM simultaneously, while most other phones can only handle one.
Almost all of these devices support dual SIM, so you can either have multiple physical SIM cards or one physical SIM card and at least one eSIM.
Make sure your phone is unlocked before you switch SIM cards. Phones you buy from carriers for little or no money upfront are often locked to the network so that the carrier can keep making money off of you. To find out if your phone is locked, try calling your carrier's help desk or borrowing a SIM card from a friend on a different network. Here are some other ways to check whether or not your phone is locked to a network.
eSIM is used in some European countries.
At the moment, you can use an eSIM in the following European countries: Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Check with your chosen eSIM provider again to ensure which countries are supported. Some eSIM providers, for example, include micro-countries and non-continental regions/territories (like Martinique) or even the USA. If you're only going to be in continental Europe, you probably won't need that. But this is when it's best to plan your trip ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute.
Compare the best European eSIM plans.
Now that you're ready to buy a prepaid eSIM for your upcoming trip to Europe, which provider should you go with? eSIM providers are all trying to get your business, and their prices are very fair. I've compared the best ones to save you time. I read their fine print, scoured their websites for answers in FAQs, tried to buy something online, and read customer reviews.
The most important thing about each eSIM plan is the amount of data you can use (measured in gigabytes) and how long it is valid (in days). But don't forget to check the list of devices that work with it. I don't care if I don't have voice or text service on a short trip (less than a month) because I can get by with data and WhatsApp or Skype.Blogs Home