What is Roaming and what other alternatives exist?

By: • Updated:

Most of the time, people wonder what is roaming, and it has become one of the most popular options among travelers who want to connect to the internet while they visit other countries. This service lets them use their cell phones with foreign networks to communicate and have internet connections. Even though activating and using roaming is easy, it is essential to know that it is not the cheapest or most efficient option.

If you want to know more about it and what other alternatives you may have to connect to the internet for a cheaper price, you are in the right place. In this article, we are going to tell you all you need to know about Roaming, and how to avoid it with other alternatives, such as Pocket Wifi or prepaid eSIM cards with mobile data.

Let’s begin!


What is Roaming?

Roaming is a service that lets travelers use their cell phones while they are outside their country, using the networks of local operators. It is like taking your mobile network with you while you travel abroad. One of the main advantages of roaming is its simplicity. Once you arrive in a foreign country, your cellphone automatically connects to a local network, letting you make and receive calls, send messages, and access mobile data, as if you were at home.

On the other hand, the activation of Roaming is a simple process, and, in many cases, it is done automatically when you leave your country of origin. You won’t have to worry about complicated settings or manual adjustments. Just turn on your phone in the destination country and you will be connected to a local network in some seconds. This means you don’t have to worry about looking for Pockets Wifi or buying a local SIM card to stay online.

Anyway, you know that by activating this service, a consumption rate will begin, and it will depend on your operator. This consumption rate will charge each MB you consume throughout your trip and it will be reflected on your bill at the end of the trip. This makes it difficult to know how much it will cost you to connect to the internet and, in most cases, ends in an unpleasant surprise.

Representation of roaming
Representation of Roaming. Source: Pexels.

How much does it cost to activate Roaming?

The cost of activating this service depends on many things. As we mentioned before, once you activate the Roaming service, it begins to charge a consumption rate per MB, minutes, and SMS. Depending on your operator and your destination, this consumption rate will be higher or lower.

In the case of American operators such as AT&T, connecting to the internet in Europe can cost $2.05 for every MB you consume. Take into account that just by viewing your Instagram, you can consume 48.6 MN per minute. This can be very expensive if we compare it with other options, such as the prepaid eSIM with data that offer data packages of several GBs at much lower prices.

What do I need to know before activating Roaming?

If you are planning to activate the Roaming service during your vacation, it is essential that you keep some details in mind to save money during your vacation or simply to find out everything about the rates offered by your mobile operator.

  1. Consider your operator’s consumption rate: Before activating Roaming, you can go to your operator’s website, and from the international roaming section, you will be able to learn more about the rates it charges for your destination.
  2. Take advantage of free Wi-Fi networks and avoid using Roaming: As we mentioned before, Roaming works through a consumption rate, so it is essential to avoid using Roaming whenever possible. Since, for example, watching TikTok or Instagram videos for an hour could easily cost you 1 GB of data
  3. Keep in mind the configuration of your mobile: Whether you want to activate this service or you prefer to use another alternative, make sure that Roaming is deactivated or activated on your mobile device before traveling to avoid surprises.
  4. Think of other alternatives: It is common to think that Roaming is the only option to connect to the Internet abroad comfortably and quickly. Fortunately, there are many other ways to do it!

How to activate Roaming?

Activating Roaming on your device is a simple process that can be done directly from your phone’s settings, whether you’re using an Android or iOS device. We will guide you through the steps to activate Roaming on both operating systems so that you can be prepared and connected during your international trips.

If you have an Android device, follow these simple steps. First, swipe down from the top of the screen to open the notification panel, and then tap the settings icon. There, find the Wireless or Networks and Connections option and select SIM Settings or SIM cards. You will find the Roaming option in this section. Activate it simply by sliding the corresponding switch to the on position. Some Android devices may have an additional option called Data Roaming which you must also activate if you want to use mobile data while you are abroad. Remember that the exact steps may vary a little depending on the model and version of Android you are using.

If you have an iOS device, such as an iPhone, the process is also easy to follow. Go to the Settings app on your home screen and tap on Cellular or Mobile data. Next, look for the option Cellular Data Options or Roaming and activate it. Just like on Android, you may see an additional option called Data roaming which you should also turn on if you want to use mobile data abroad. Note that the exact location of these options may vary depending on the version of iOS you’re using, but you should be able to easily find them by browsing your device’s settings.

What other alternatives are there to Roaming?

Currently, there are many alternatives that travelers can choose to connect to the internet abroad and avoid paying for expensive International Roaming. Each of these alternatives has its series of advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them will depend on the needs and preferences you have when looking for a comfortable option to have internet during your trip.

From pockets Wifi for large groups of people to international prepaid eSIM cards that will let you connect instantly and without complications. We will tell you more about them below:

Roaming vs Alternatives

As we mentioned before, each option has its advantages and disadvantages. You will find a comparative table of the advantages and disadvantages of Roaming vs. other options such as pockets Wifis and eSIM cards.

FeaturesPocket WifiInternational RoamingeSIM card
Share data with other devicesYesNoIn some cases
Limited dataYesDepending on the planDepending on the plan
Constant battery loadYesNoNo
Keep your usual numberNoYesNo
Possible hidden chargesNoYesNo
Depends on the network of the original mobile operatorNoYesNo
Easy to set upNoYesYes
Wide CoverageDepends on the modelDepends on the operatorYes
Needs a compatible deviceNoNoYes
Comparative table 1.

Even though each option has its advantages and disadvantages, the eSIM card is the best alternative with many advantages, including accessible price, easy usage, wide coverage, and more. Anyway, other alternatives like Pocket Wifi can be a great idea if you are going to travel with a big group of people.

The eSIM card is the best alternative.

If you are looking for a convenient and accessible alternative, international eSIM cards are your best option. They’re accessible, easy to install, and provide wide coverage to keep you connected. The best part is that you don’t need to worry about an unpleasant surprise at the end of your trip, since both their plans and their rates are clear from the beginning, giving you the security of having the best connection at the best price. Anyway, it is important to note that not all online stores offer the same benefits and prices.

Representation of eSIM card
Representation of an eSIM card. Source: Pexels.

A great option is the Holafly eSIM card. It offers a wide variety of international eSIM at quite competitive prices. To purchase one of these eSIM cards, all you have to do is go to their official website, select your destination, fill out the purchase form, scan the QR code that comes to your email instantly after making the purchase and that’s it! Now you will be connected to the internet anywhere!

Pocket Wi-Fi

Like international Roaming, Pocket Wifi is an alternative that is known for its high price. It is a small router that gives you access to the Internet through a private mobile network that only you and the devices you want can have access to. This private network is one of the main and only advantages that it offers its users, so it is usually not a good idea if you cannot take advantage of it with a large group of people.

International SIM cards

Another alternative that can be great to avoid high Roaming rates are the international SIM cards that you can find once you land at your destination airport.

Representation of SIM card
Representation of a SIM card. Source: Pexels.

Anyway, these SIM cards have a much more extensive and tedious purchase process than eSIM cards, starting with the fact that, to buy them, you need to go directly to a store and carry out the entire activation process there, which is usually longer than the one of the eSIM and, it usually requires certain documents such as your identity card or ID.

What is the best alternative to Roaming?

After reading all the information about the alternatives you have to avoid Roaming, you may be wondering which is the best one. Well, because of its accessible price, easy usage, and great coverage, we recommend you the eSIM card. Anyway, the final choice will depend on your needs and preferences.

For example, even though pocket Wi-Fi does not have so many advantages and is a little bit uncomfortable, it can be a great option if you are traveling with a large group of people. On the other hand, those who travel alone or are looking for the cheapest and most efficient option may prefer eSIM.

Anyway, if you are choosing a convenient and cheaper option such as the international eSIM, we recommend you take a look at the list of compatible eSIM devices and the Holafly provider. This eSIM provider is one of the best thanks to the many advantages it offers.

Frequent questions

Can I use Roaming in any country?

Roaming compatibility depends on your operator’s relationships with the mobile operators that operate at your destination. So, you can activate this service in some countries, while in others, you cannot.

Do I need a special device to use an eSIM?

Yes, you need an eSIM-compatible device. Most modern smartphones support eSIM, but it’s important to make sure before buying one. If your device does not support eSIM cards, you can consider other options, such as international SIM cards or Pocket Wifi.

Can I use my regular phone number with an eSIM?

No, when you use an eSIM, you will be assigned a temporary phone number. Anyway, you will still be able to use messaging and calling apps like WhatsApp with your regular phone number. This can be an advantage for those who want to keep their phone number private or for those who want to avoid unwanted calls.

How do I install an eSIM?

Installing an eSIM is a simple process that can be done in just a few steps. First, you need to buy the eSIM from a trusted provider, like Holafly. You will then receive a QR code that you must scan with your device to install the eSIM. Once installed, you can manage your eSIM through your device settings.

5/5 - (1 vote)