Airalo Review & Overview: eSIM for Travel

Airalo Review & Overview: eSIM for Travel
| 5 min read

Exploring a new country is always exciting! You get to see new places, try out strange but tasty food, and interact with different-looking but nevertheless friendly people. However, your supposedly wonderful experience can make a 180-degree turn if you aren’t well-prepared. Overlooking even the simple details, like securing your internet connection abroad, can make all the difference between a marvelous trip and a terrible one. With an Airalo eSIM, navigating busy streets or hidden spots becomes a breeze, looking for that highly recommended local restaurant takes but minutes, and making connections with natives that speak a different language is made possible. This is because Airalo allows you to connect to local internet providers—at near-local rates to boot! You only have to check if your destination is among the 100+ countries serviced by the company. To learn more, read this Airalo: product review before you make plans for your upcoming trip.

1. Introduction to Airalo

Where to go?
Source: Pixabay

Airalo is truly a pioneer in its field, being the first eSIM online store in the world, providing travelers access to 100+ carriers from all over the planet. In addition, since the rates are based on local prices and prepaid, you can stop dreading the thought of coming home to expensive roaming charges on your phone bill. You can use an Airalo eSIM with your smartphone, tablet, or PC. Just make sure that your gadgets are eSIM enabled, and you’re good to go. Note that Airalo offers data packs only, which means you are not assigned a number that can send or receive voice and text messages. However, what you can do is set your home SIM to take care of calls and texts, while your Airalo eSIM manages your mobile data use. You can also take advantage of popular software applications like FaceTime, Skype, Viber, and more to make calls and send messages while online. Download the Airalo app from the App Store or Google Play to begin the process of getting your first Airalo eSIM today.

2. What you need to know about eSIMs

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

An eSIM is a SIM card that comes pre-installed with newer mobile phone models, as well as some tablets and PCs. The name can mean either electronic SIM or embedded SIM. Either way, it is completely digital. Thus, you no longer have to acquire a physical SIM from a local carrier upon arrival in a new country and temporarily replace your existing SIM. In fact, with certain phone models, you can actually use an Airalo eSIM along with your existing physical SIM. This way, you can still receive calls and messages through your old number, so you can rest easy knowing that family or business associates still have a way to contact you, especially for emergencies, even when you’re on a holiday. Indeed this technology is fairly young and might require you to do a little research as to how it works. Fret not, as Airalo provides a comprehensive FAQ section on its website, which you can refer to every now and then for clarifications. Airalo’s customer support is also very helpful and offers prompt assistance. For sure, in no time, you’ll be using your eSIM as though you’ve not been using anything else prior.

3. Is your device compatible with eSIMs?

Source: Unsplash

Admittedly, the use of an eSIM is not yet as common as the traditional SIM. Also, the number of eSIM-enabled smartphones, tablets, and PCs are still considerably few, but it is rapidly increasing. You can bet your bottom dollar that one day, most gadgets, if not all of them, would be switching to using digital SIMs. For now, here are some products that you can use with an Airalo eSIM: iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, XS, XS Max, and XR, as well as iPad Mini (5th Generation). For PCs and tablets, the Google Pixel 3, Google Pixel 4, Windows 10 PCs, Lenovo Yoga 630, HP Spectre Folio, and Samsung Galaxy Fold work well with eSIMs. In addition, the new Motorola Razr, Samsung Galaxy S20 and Samsung Galaxy Z have just been recently released, they are also on the list. Remember that compatibility can differ from one country to the other. Take for example the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. These models when purchased in China, Macau, and HongKong don’t have the same specs as their counterparts in other locations. You can find the latest list of supported devices here.

4. Which countries do Airalo cover?

Source: Unsplash

Airalo offers data packs in 140+ countries, so chances are very high that the destination you have in mind is covered. You can check the Airalo website to make sure if a country is indeed included in the list. Note that the number of carriers and types of plans available can vary among different locations. Rest assured, whichever city you are in, you’ll be paying almost the same rates as the locals do. Here are some pricing examples:

Product Data Allotment Validity Price
USA eSIM 1GB 7 days $3
France eSIM 1GB 7 days $3
Japan eSIM 1GB 7 days $6
Mexico eSIM 1GB 7 days $6
Thailand eSIM Unlimited 8 days $9.9

Further, if you are travelling to multiple places, you have to take advantage of Airalo’s regional eSIMs. The company provides data packs for Africa, Asia, the Caribbean Islands, and Europe. To give you a glimpse of what’s in store for you, a European eSIM can give you access to a total of 34 countries. What’s more, there is also a World eSIM that you can use in 52 countries! For only 40 USD, you’ll get 20G of data valid for 90 days. Truly the world is now just waiting for you to conquer. Keep in mind though that you may have to manually choose local carriers when you hop countries. You can do this by going to the Settings menu of your device and turning off automatic network selection. Then proceed with manually selecting a network supported by your regional or world eSIM.

5. eSIM vs. regular SIM

IPhone sim slot
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Calerusnak used under CC BY-SA 3.0

In terms of the price of the SIMs themselves, there is not much difference between purchasing a regular prepaid SIM compared to activating an eSIM—both can be free of charge. Numerous carriers would offer complimentary tourist SIM cards upon your arrival at airports, and what you’ll be paying for are the call and messaging allocations and data packs. The same is true with the eSIM. Since it’s already on your phone, you won’t have to shell out a dime to procure one. It is only when you purchase data plans that you’ll start to incur expenses. Indeed the only significant distinction between the two types of SIMs is with regard to convenience. With the traditional SIM, unless your phone is capable of handling multiple SIM cards, you’d have to remove your old one and insert the new module. This might sound simple, that’s true, but the process also ushers in potential unwanted incidents—you can drop either SIM, you can lose the displaced SIM, or you can miss important calls and messages directed to your old number. All these risks are avoided when you go for an Airalo eSIM instead.

6. Activate your Airalo eSIM now!

Source: Airalo

There are two ways to activate your eSIM. Just follow the steps below for a smooth installation process.

Scan the QR code:

  1. Go to Settings > Cellular/Mobile > Add Cellular/Mobile Plan
  2. Scan your eSIM QR code
  3. Enter the four-digit confirmation code (if available)

Add eSIM manually:

In case issues come up with the QR code (or if you’re using only one device—e.g., the QR code is on your phone, which you need for scanning), you can do the following instead.

  1. Go to Settings > Cellular/Mobile > Add Cellular/Mobile Plan
  2. Enter SM-DP+ address, activation code, and confirmation code (if available)

Remember that your smartphone must be unlocked so that you can use it with other mobile carriers on top of your home carrier. If you require more information, you can read the confirmation message that comes with your purchase. Use the detailed instructions as a guide on adding the eSIM to your eSIM-compatible gadget. Another option is to head over to Airalo’s installation guide for speedy support.

The whole world is in the palm of your hands

Long gone are the days when world travel costs an arm and a leg. Nowadays, with early planning, you can explore your dream cities even on a budget. And with an Airalo eSIM, you can get even more from your adventures. After a quick search online for the best local deals, you can then navigate your way through the strange but fascinating streets with ease.

This article is sponsored by Airalo.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Laarni is a traveler by default, having left home at 12 to study in another city. Since then, she's been hopping islands in her country, the Philippines, to experience the different ways the locals...Read more

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