Airalo Review 2023: The Best eSIM for International Travel

In today's interconnected world, staying connected while traveling is essential. Whether you're a frequent traveler, digital nomad, or simply someone who loves exploring new places, having a reliable and cost-effective way to access the internet is crucial. This is where Airalo eSIM comes in. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at Airalo and how it revolutionizes the way we stay connected while on the go.

What Is An ESIM?

Much like how email is a physical item transformed into an electronic one, the eSIM achieves the same thing.

Gone are the days of needing to collect many different SIM cards from all over the world.

Now all you need to do is either scan the QR code or manually enter the details given to you once you have purchased your International eSIM with Airalo.

The “e” in eSIM stands for embedded, which is what makes this piece of technology so convenient.

No more fumbling with those tiny pieces of plastic or getting lost in translation as you try to communicate to connect your phone to the Internet.

With an International eSIM, you can store your SIM card collection in one place.

This also doesn’t limit your device’s capabilities to have a physical SIM card too, so you still keep your service with your chosen home network.

Airalo review

What Is Airalo?

Launched in 2019, Airalo offers a one-stop shop for eSIMs. As of the time of writing, they offer eSIMs for over 200 countries around the world, allowing you to get online virtually anywhere you are likely to be travelling.

The creators of this first-ever eSIM store are travelers themselves, so they understand the struggles of staying connected while in a foreign land.

They strive to connect their customers with the best local rates and options so that you can find a package that is perfect for your needs.

If you haven’t arrived at your new destination yet, just got off the plane, or are there already and need a better data plan, you can log into your Airalo profile to purchase an eSIM plan that will start working immediately.

What is Airalo eSIM?

Airalo eSIM is a groundbreaking technology that allows you to stay connected globally without the need for physical SIM cards. It works by providing a virtual SIM card that can be downloaded and installed onto compatible devices, eliminating the hassle of dealing with physical SIM cards and the need to switch them when traveling.

What Products do Airalo Offer?

Airalo sells a range of eSIMs. These are available in three categories based on your travel destinations:

  • Local eSIMs. These cover one country, and are normally the most cost-effective option if you are only traveling to one or two countries on a trip
  • Regional eSIMs. These cover a region, such as Europe, the Caribbean Islands, or Latin America. They can be handy if you have a trip covering multiple countries in a short period of time
  • Global eSIM. The global eSIM allows you to connect in around 80 of the more popular countries covered by Airalo. It doesn’t cover every country though, so you will want to check exactly which countries are included if you are considering it.

As well as choosing the category you are interested in, you also need to choose the validity of the eSIM card and how much data it comes with. Airalo eSIMs are generally available for between 7 days and 30 days of validity, and with between 1GB and 20GB of data. This does vary by country though, with the Global SIM being available for up to a year.

Personally we find that we use around 1 – 2 GB of data a week when we travel. Normally this is more than enough for all our research, navigation, and communication needs.

If you plan to share (or watch) a lot of videos or photos, or share your data connection with other devices (using it as a personal hotspot) then you might need more data. If you are only using it for occasional e-mail checking and a bit of social media, you might need a bit less data.

One thing to note is that the majority of Airalo eSIMs (and most travel eSIMs) do not offer any voice minutes. They only offer data. We normally don’t mind this as we normally communicate with WhatsApp when traveling. If we really need to make a call, we use Skype over data.

Some of the Airalo eSIMs do offer voices and calls as well as data. A small number of local SIMs as well as the Discover+ version of the Global eSIM offer voice.

So if an eSIM for travel with voice and minutes is important to you that is an option to consider.

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How Much Does Airalo Cost?

The cost of Airalo varies greatly depending on where you are traveling in the world, and the cost of data in that destination. How much data you choose and the validity of the data package will also affect the price.

It is normally more cost-effective to buy more data for a longer period of time, although of course you should only buy what you need.

As a rough idea as of October 2023, some prices are as follows:

  • $15 for 5GB of data valid for 30 days in the UK
  • $11 for 3GB of data valid for 30 days in Tanzania
  • $20 for 5GB of data valid for 30 days in 39 countries in Europe, including the UK, Spain, France, and Italy
  •  $16 for 5GB of data valid for 30 days in the USA
  • $20 for 5GB of data valid for 30 days in 13 countries in Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China, and Cambodia

As you can see, prices are very reasonable for the most part. In our experience, the most expensive options are on the African continent, although these prices are coming down.

In our experience and research, Airalo tends to be more cost effective, or the same price, compared to other travel eSIMs. They also have a loyalty program which can save you more in the long term.

It is also worth pointing out that Airalo is normally slightly more expensive than buying a physical SIM card in a local destination, although it is generally a bit easier to set up and start using.

Airalo Loyalty Program

Airalo has a loyalty program where you can earn additional credit for every purchase you make.

When you start out, you will get 5% in Airalo credit whenever you buy data. So if you spend $20 on an eSIM package for example, you will get $1 towards a future eSIM purchase.

The percentage credit you earn increases as you purchase more credit, meaning that you start to save more. Currently it looks as follows:

  • Traveler (New User): 0 USD – 19.99 USD spent -> 5% Airmoney Reward
  • Silver Traveler: 20 USD – 69.99 USD spent -> 6% Airmoney Reward
  • Gold Traveler: 70 USD – 199.99 USD spent -> 7% Airmoney Reward
  • Platinum Traveler: 200 USD and above spent -> 10% Airmoney Reward

This can definitely make using Airalo even more cost effective the more you use it.

Airalo Discover Global

Airalo offers Discover Global eSIM.

The Global eSIM covers 130 countries.

While the Discover Global eSIM is slightly more expensive, it is a great option to stay connected everywhere.

I’ve used Airalo Discover Global eSIM in North America, Europe, and Asia.

It’s been incredible because I don’t need to purchase a new eSIM every time I travel.

airalo discover global esim

There were six eSIM options when I signed up, as you can see in the image above. These are 1GB 7-day option for $9, 2GB option for 15 days for $17, 3GB option for 30 days for $24, 5GB option for 60 days for $35, 10GB option in 180 days for $59. USD and a 20GB 365-day option for $69. I decided that since we would likely have WiFi most of the time, the 3GB 30-day option would suit my needs.

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Can You Make Calls With Airalo?

Yes, you can make calls with Airalo using an application like Messenger, Skype, or WhatsApp.

You won’t be able to call directly from your phone otherwise.

When choosing a plan on Airalo, you can look at the Plan Type to confirm if the plan is for data only.

Sometimes, you’ll find plans that include texts and voice, like the global eSIM.

Does My Phone Need To Be Unlocked To Use Airalo?

Yes. Your phone needs to support eSIM and be unlocked to use Airalo.

Fortunately, most phones are unlocked nowadays.

 Does ESIM Drain Battery?

No. But, when uploading and setting up your eSIM, it will use your battery like it would if you tried to connect to a new Wi-Fi network.

Since using eSIM, I haven’t noticed any changes in my phone’s battery life. The eSIM will not consume more battery than a standard SIM card.


Alternatives to Airalo

Airalo is definitely an eSIM provider to consider, but it is not the only option. As well as the other options you have for getting online when you travel, there are a number of other eSIM providers out there.

In our experience, Airalo tends to offer some of the most competitive prices and covers the most countries of the eSIM providers we are aware of. However, some of these other providers might suit you better depending on your needs.

  • Nomad – this eSIM provider doesn’t cover as many countries as Airalo, but one thing it does offer is the option to buy a lot more data, including unlimited data options. So if you are a heavy data user, this is one to consider.
  • Alosim – another eSIM provider. They also cover fewer countries but in some cases their prices are a bit more competitive than Airalo. So it is worth comparing depending on your destination.

Airalo Pros

Using an Airalo eSIM makes it super easy to stay connected while traveling abroad.

On my recent trip to Europe, I was able to purchase my Airalo eSIM using the airport WiFi when I arrived in Germany.

After that, I never had to rely on WiFi to use my phone’s GPS, look up travel tips, or post on social media.

Airalo eSIMs are also really affordable. I purchased the 30-day, 3 GB Eurolink package for just $24 – this was perfect for my nearly 2-week trip.

I also loved that I didn’t have to worry about losing my regular SIM card from home.

While some phones now have multiple SIM slots, mine only has one, so it was nice to be able to leave it in there for when I got back in the US.

My traveling companion had international data through T-Mobile, his service provider back home, and my data through Airalo was much faster.

Another Airalo win: having an eSIM means that your phone doesn’t need to have a physical SIM slot.

Newer devices, like the newest iPhones, have eliminated the physical SIM slot.With an Airalo eSIM, you won’t have to worry about not being able to use your phone while abroad, as there isn’t anything that you have to physically insert into the SIM slot.

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Disadvantages of Airalo

The main downside of Airalo is the compatibility. To use the Airalo service, you need a phone which supports eSIM technology. Whilst this does cover most recent phones, and especially recent handsets from Google, Apple, and Samsung, many older smartphones do not support eSIM technology yet. In this situation, you simply can’t use Airalo.

Another disadvantage of Airalo is cost. In many cases, Airalo can work out to be more expensive than just buying a local SIM card and using that if your phone supports it. Of course, Airalo  is normally more convenient as you don’t have to worry about finding a SIM card, finding the right deal, and trying to navigate any language barriers when it comes to setting up the SIM and using it.

It’s also worth noting that whilst Airalo eSIMs cover your data needs, the majority of them do not support voice calls or SMS messaging. You can use voice services like Skype over data, as well as Whatsapp, but if you think you will need to make and receive a lot of local calls then a local SIM might be a better option.

Finally, eSIMs cannot be transferred between devices. This normally isn’t going to be an issue for most of us, but if you happen to travel with multiple smartphones and also happen to switch SIMs between them for some reason, this isn’t something you can do with an eSIM as they are locked to the device.

Benefits of Airalo eSIM:
1) Global Coverage: Airalo offers eSIM plans that provide coverage in multiple countries and regions, ensuring that you stay connected wherever you go.
2) Cost-effective: With Airalo, you can save money on expensive roaming charges by choosing affordable eSIM plans that suit your needs.
3) Convenience: The virtual nature of eSIM means that you don’t have to worry about losing or misplacing physical SIM cards. You can easily switch between different plans without the need to physically swap SIM cards.
4) Easy Activation: Airalo eSIM can be activated instantly, allowing you to start using the service right away without any complicated setup processes.
5) Flexibility: Airalo offers a variety of eSIM plans, including data-only plans and plans that include voice and messaging services, giving you the flexibility to choose the plan that best fits your requirements

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Airalo eSIM is a game-changer in the world of global connectivity. With its wide coverage, cost-effectiveness, and convenience, it offers a reliable and hassle-free solution for staying connected while traveling. Say goodbye to expensive roaming charges and the inconvenience of physical SIM cards. Embrace the future of connectivity with Airalo eSIM and enjoy seamless internet access wherever your adventures take you.