eSIM vs Roaming: Avoid paying high bills on your trip

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We know that there’s nothing worse than ending up without an internet connection when we are far from home. Even more so when the place we are visiting is possibly hundreds of kilometers from our country. With this in mind, we want to show you the advantages, disadvantages, and differences between the two main options for travelers to get internet abroad. As you might have guessed, we are talking about eSIM vs. roaming.

If this is the first time you have heard about the international eSIM and you don’t have a very clear idea of what it is or how it works, don’t worry. In addition to showing you the advantages and disadvantages of these options, we will also show you what it is and how you can buy one for your trip.


What is an eSIM?

Before diving into the comparison between eSIM and roaming, the first thing you should consider is how the eSIM works and what is its main appeal. In short, eSIMs are the digital evolution of the classic SIM card. This means that with the eSIM you can do the same things as the traditional SIM. However, its main difference is that, instead of inserting a plastic card in your smartphone, all you have to do is scan a QR code.

What are the benefits of eSIM vs. Roaming?

As we said, eSIMs provide identical functionality to traditional SIM cards. That is, connect to the internet and other cellular services such as calls or text messages. The advantage is that you can do this digitally with a QR code and not with a plastic chip. The latter is, in fact, the eSIMs strongest feature.

Since it is a virtual product, the purchase process is much more comfortable and faster. You won’t have to wait for it to arrive at your house or walk to a store to buy it. You can request it from the comfort of your home and in a matter of minutes, it will arrive by email. Moreover, thanks to its technology, it optimizes the data much better, making it last longer.

Additionally, eSIMs have other advantages. With them, you can have more than one active data plan at the same time. Whereas, the roaming services from our provider can offer you just a single plan at a time.

(You may be interested in Best eSIM for the USA)

Advantages of Roaming over eSIM

Although the eSIM has many advantages, the roaming service, although expensive, also has interesting perks when connecting to the internet abroad. One of them is the convenience and simplicity that comes along. This is because you don’t need to scan, download or insert anything in your phone. You just have to activate your operator’s roaming service and that’s it.

However, remember that this service is very expensive. Therefore, even if it’s comfortable to use and provides you with internet from the moment you land at your destination, just like the eSIM does, it will end up costing you much more eventually.  

What do I need to buy an eSIM vs Roaming?

Official website of the eSIM provider Holafly
Official website of the eSIM provider Holafly. Source: Holafly

eSIMs are a user-friendly product to buy. No matter where you are, you can buy your eSIM instantly through their website that provides this product internationally. These types of providers are also known as international providers. Currently, there are a wide variety of international eSIM providers or eSIM stores. Yet, the only one that stands out is Holafly for its variety of destinations and excellent prices. Although there are also operators that offer eSIMs for their users.

On the other hand, roaming is also quite easy to obtain/activate. To use it, all we need is a cellular carrier that has this option available for the country we are going to travel to. To verify this, we invite you to check with your cellular provider in the countries where it has the roaming services available.

Compatibility between eSIM vs. Roaming

Despite the eSIM being a highly recommended product for connecting to the internet, its first drawback is compatibility. Unfortunately, not all cellular devices have the technology to support eSIM profiles. Hence, its compatibility is somewhat reduced to only the most modern cellphones. Still, in addition to being able to connect to smartphones, the eSIM can also be used in your wearables so that they work completely independently, such as the Apple Watch!

On the other hand, the roaming service is much more standard. That is, it only comes with data included, and it doesn’t guarantee that you can share it with other devices. This service doesn’t discriminate. So, if you have an old or obsolete device, this won’t be a problem.

Downsides of eSIM and Roaming

We know that both products have their advantages and that both options are quite good. However, we must not forget that they also have negative aspects that we must consider when choosing between one option or another. To start off, the eSIM, we can find its poor compatibility with smartphones. Also, we can’t install our eSIM in another cellphone as easily as we do with a SIM card.

On the other hand, roaming cards also have quite negative characteristics. This service can be quite pricey and have little variety in their plans. As a result, we are forced to almost literally pay the full rate for each Mb we use consume during our vacations. Consequently, we don’t have a clear idea of the total cost and ended up with a very unpleasant surprise after our holidays when seeing the hefty bill.

(You may be interested in Best eSIM for Turkey)

Which one to choose? What we recommend

Now that you know how it works and what are the advantages of these two options to have internet during your holidays abroad, you may be wondering which of these is the best alternative or which one you should choose. To recommend one of these two options, we must bear in mind the convenience and advantages of each of these alternatives. For this reason, we recommend that you choose the eSIM.

Why? Because it’s the most comfortable and easiest option to buy. You don’t need to go to any specific place or location, and you can have internet as soon as you land at your destination! And you won’t have to pay for shipping, much less wait for the product to arrive at your home.

FAQ about eSIM vs Roaming

If you have any doubts, then we will answer the most frequently asked questions that travelers usually have regarding the eSIM.

How long does it take to activate the eSIM and Roaming?

In both cases, the activation is done almost instantaneously. In the case of the eSIM, it will be activated automatically once you scan the QR code. In the case of roaming, it will be activated once you activate the option from your cellphones settings.

How many eSIMs can I have?

The amount of eSIM that you can have on your cellphone is unlimited.

Can I have an eSIM and a SIM card at the same time?

Yes, if you already have a SIM inserted in your cellphone you can activate an eSIM at the same time and turn your cellphone into a Dual SIM smartphone.

Can I also add a SIM to a smartwatch as eSIMs do?

Yes, although the process may vary depending on the smartwatch you have.


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