Road Affair is reader-supported and may earn commission from purchases made through links in this article.
Staying connected on the road has become absolutely essential for the modern traveler. In addition to keeping in touch with friends and family and surfing the web, travelers in most cities in Europe will likely need to access digital train tickets, e-boarding passes, and QR code menus. Free Wi-Fi is good in theory, but it never seems to be there when you need it most. So if you think you’ll be messaging home, navigating with Google Maps, or surfing the web for the best places to grab a bite to eat, you’ll definitely want to get a local SIM card for travel in Europe.
Traditionally, travelers had to rely on physical cards purchased from local shops to connect to the local network. However, the relatively new convenience of the eSIM is here to replace the old-school physical prepaid SIM card for Europe. With a super-easy online purchase and a remote activation process, eSIMs from Holafly are a total game changer. Now you can connect to unlimited high-speed data from the second you land at your destination.
Exclusive Offer: Get a discount of 5% on any international eSim from Holafly with discount code: ROADAFFAIR.
What Is an eSIM?
An eSIM is simply a virtual SIM card. It works similarly to the small plastic SIM card in your phone, storing your information and providing access to your network, but it is digital rather than physical. Most new Smart devices support eSIMS, which can be purchased online and activated instantaneously, making them the perfect European SIM cards for travelers.
What Devices Support eSIM?
Most newer smartphones, wearables, tablets, and even some laptops support eSIM. You’ll likely have no issue installing a digital SIM if you have one of the following devices:
- iPhone XR or XS
- iPhone 11 or newer
- iPads with 4G connectivity made since 2019
- Samsung Galaxy S20 and newer
- Google Pixel 2 and newer
Check if your phone is compatible with Holafly eSIM here.
What Is Holafly?
Holafly is an online eSIM store that makes getting connected for your next adventure a breeze. The company offers eSIMS for over 120 countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. With an excellent score on Trustpilot and a highly competitive European plan, Holafly offers the best travel SIM cards for Europe.
The Holafly eSim for Europe offers unlimited data across 32 countries, with packages ranging from $19 for 5 days to $99 for 90 days. Holafly also offers 24/7 customer support services through live chat and WhatsApp, and the service connects you to the best network in each country as you bounce around different places in Europe.
What Are the Advantages to Using a Holafly eSIM?
1. You Can Easily Purchase and Activate the SIM Online
With Holafly, there is no need to go to a physical store in your destination country or pay for a SIM to be shipped to you. Simply choose a plan online and scan the QR code sent to your email to activate your eSIM.
2. You Can Buy in Advance and Get Connected Immediately
If you purchase and activate a plan prior to traveling, you can connect to the local network in your destination country from the moment you land. Check your email for your hotel confirmation, look up directions to the nearest restaurant, or call an Uber to your Airbnb. There is no need to seek out a store to purchase a SIM or find a Wi-Fi network to set anything up. Simply connect and go!
3. It Is Easier to Switch Between Networks
As one of the best SIM cards for Europe, the Holafly eSIM allows you to easily switch networks as you enter new countries. The European plan includes all countries in the region and automatically switches to the best network in each country. You can also easily purchase and activate a new plan if you leave the region without buying a new physical card.
Most newer devices have dual SIM capabilities, and some even allow you to install several eSIMs at a time, so there is no need to physically remove your regular SIM and replace it in each new country. This is especially useful for frequent travelers, and you can always switch back to your home network and check any important texts or missed calls.
4. You Can’t Lose It
Physical SIM cards are super tiny, and losing them is all too easy, especially when you’re constantly switching between your home and local cards. Holafly eSIMS eliminates the need for a physical chip, thereby eliminating the problems associated with lost SIM cards.
5. It Is More Affordable Than an International Data Plan
International data plans, especially those offered by US providers, are usually not worth the money. You’ll almost always need to pay exorbitantly for high-speed data or deal with painfully slow connections. Some plans charge as much as $10 per day for limited service, and any included service usually caps out at around 2G speed, which is hardly enough to open a QR code menu before the server gets to your table.
6. You Can Keep Your Regular WhatsApp Number
Holafly allows you to keep your local number when you’re using WhatsApp, so you’ll have all of your contacts and chats at your fingertips and your family and friends can reach you as normal.
What Are the Disadvantages to Using a Holafly eSIM?
1. Not All Devices Support eSIMS
Unfortunately, most Smart devices made before 2019 do not automatically support eSIMS, and there is currently no way to install one on an older device.
2. You Won’t Have a Local Phone Number
Holafly eSIMs provide high-speed data and great connectivity, but you will not be given a local phone number. Luckily, you can still make calls through WhatsApp and FaceTime, although you may have an issue if you need to provide a local number for an OTP verification.
3. No Data Sharing
The eSIMs provided by Holafly do not allow for data sharing, so you won’t be able to hotspot friends or other devices.
How Do I Set Up the Holafly eSIM on My Device?
1. Make sure your device is compatible and unlocked.
Newer Smartphones, tablets, and wearables automatically support eSIMS, so there should be no need to install any additional programs or software. If you have an iPhone, you will likely need to contact your carrier to unlock your device before you can get your eSIM.
2. Choose your plan and purchase your eSIM on the Holafly website.
Simply select the specific region or country where you’ll need service and choose a plan based on your length of travel. You can easily add a plan to your shopping cart and enter your payment details to check out online. There is nothing to physically ship and no need to contact anyone over the phone to complete your purchase. Don’t forget to use coupon code “ROADAFFAIR” to get 5% off your purchase.
3. Scan the QR code sent to your email to activate.
After you purchase your eSIM, Holafly will send you two emails: one with your receipt and one with a QR code for activation. Simply scan the QR code sent to your email and follow a brief set of instructions to activate your plan. The process should take less than five minutes, and installing the eSIM through the QR code does not automatically start counting down the length of your plan.
Then you can leave the eSIM switched off until you reach your destination. As long as you purchase your plan and install the SIM using the QR code before you leave for your trip, you’ll be able to activate your service and connect to a local network instantly and without connecting to Wi-Fi first.
Hopefully this guide makes it easy for you to secure the best virtual SIM card for Europe so that you can stay connected during your travels!