Airalo eSIM Review: An Honest Opinion

Last Updated: May 16th, 2024

Disclosure: WayToStay is reader-supported. If you buy a product we link to, we may earn a commission. Learn More

Trying to find a local SIM card used to put a stressful shadow over the excitement of landing in a new destination.

I’d have to track down a local provider, make sure I’m not getting ripped off, and communicate exactly what I require, often while navigating language barriers.

This often left the first couple of hours of my trip scrambling to find a way to get connected so that I could communicate with my family back home. And that was the best-case scenario. Sometimes it took me days, or even weeks, to find a local SIM card.

This is the primary reason why I started using eSIMs.

With an easy-to-set-up process and no physical product required, I am now able to ensure I stay connected for the entire length of my trip, all before I even leave my house.

There are dozens of eSIM providers on the market. And while I tend to jump between companies depending on my destination, Airalo is always one of my go-to when comparing plans.

In this Airalo eSIM review, I will highlight some of the premium features that have made Airalo one of the top-selling eSIMs currently on the market while also offering a few alternative providers should you want to compare.

Things to Consider Before Buying an eSIM Card

A-Person-Holding-An-Iphone

An eSIM allows you to stay connected from the instant you leave your home to the moment you return back from your international trip. There’s no scrambling to find a local SIM card, no need to pay hefty roaming fees, and no unnecessary stress of being unable to contact your loved ones back home.

With an eSIM, local data plans can be set up at a moment’s notice simply by downloading the associated mobile application and choosing the plan that best suits your travel destination and data needs.

On top of that, an eSIM is also more secure than a physical SIM card. If a phone is lost or stolen, one of the first things that a potential thief does is remove the SIM card so that you can’t track it. With an eSIM, they simply can’t remove it because there is nothing to remove.

With that said, there are a few reasons why a physical SIM may be a better option. For starters, not all phones are eSIM compatible. While most newer models do allow the service, certain phones simply don’t. As such, the first thing you need to do is check your phone’s compatibility.

Additionally, eSIMs tend to be slightly more expensive than local physical SIM cards in certain destinations. However, the price difference is typically very minimal, especially when you consider the convenience eSIM provides.

There are dozens of eSIM providers currently on the market, each offering its own unique packages and plans serving various destinations. Before purchasing an eSIM, there are a few things you should consider;

  • Does the plan offer sufficient data to meet your needs?
  • Does the plan’s validity period match your travel plans?
  • Does the plan’s coverage area include all countries and destinations you are visiting?
  • Can the plan be activated upon installation or only after connecting to local networks?
  • How does the price compare to other plans for your destination?

Airalo eSIM

The-Airalo-App-In-Smartphone
The Airalo App for Buying eSIMs Image by: Alpha Photo – Flickr

Airalo is one of the leading eSIM providers, with some of the most cost-effective data plans currently available on the market. Offering coverage in over 200 countries around the world, it has one of the widest-reaching global networks, ensuring you stay connected no matter how remote your destination is.

Along with its single-country plans, Airalo offers its networks within its signature regional and global packages, perfect for those trips spanning multiple countries and even entire continents.

Unfortunately, Airalo isn’t for everybody. Like all eSIMs, Arailo only works on devices that have eSIM compatibility. It is important to check your phone’s specs before purchasing. Additionally, most Airalo eSIMS don’t provide SMS services, which can be a major drawback if you require a local phone number.

Pros

  • Affordable data plans to 200+ countries worldwide
  • Offers local single-country, regional, and global data packages
  • Easy installation and setup process
  • In-app rewards program
  • Intuitive plan management through the mobile app

Cons

  • Requires an eSIM-compatible device
  • Most plans are data-only (lack SMS)
  • No live chat support

Airalo eSIM Features & Benefits

Airalo-App-On-A-Mobile-Screen

Data Plans Available in 200+ Countries

Where Airalo truly separates itself as the leading eSIM on the market is the extensive reach of its global network. With data plans available in over 200 countries and regions, Airalo keeps you connected whether walking the streets of Paris or trekking the remote deserts of Morocco.

Special Regional and Global Rates for Trips Spanning Multiple Countries

Another huge advantage Airalo offers is its regional and global data plans. Regional plans group together coverage within a single plan for a collection of countries that are often traveled together, typically separated by continents. Airalo currently offers regional plans for seven different areas;

  • Africa
  • Caribbean Islands
  • Latin America
  • North America
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Middle East and North Africa

Taking it a step further are Airalo’s global plans. These are specifically designed for digital nomads, gap years, and simply those who spend a lot of time traveling. Offering coverage within 126 countries around the world, global plans are available in data-only packages along with data, calls, and text bundles.

Flexible Prepaid Data Packages

For each of its coverage areas, be it a single country or a global package, Airalo offers a variety of different plans to meet each person’s specific data needs. While most eSIMs offer a plan selection, Airalo in particular offers one of the most extensive catalog of options, offering a variety of data limits and validity periods in each of its coverage areas.

While it does vary between countries and regions, Arailo typically offers its plans with validity periods of 7 days, 15 days, and 30-day milestones. Similarly, data limits tend to be offered in 1 GB, 2 GB, 3 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB, and 20 GB packages, with certain destinations even offering unlimited data.

Dual SIM Capabilities

For me, one of the biggest appeals of using an eSIM is the Dual SIM capabilities it provides. In the days of having to buy physical local cards upon arrival, travelers were confronted with the dilemma of safely storing any other SIM card they may have.

For me, this was my primary SIM, which contained the phone number I used for all my online accounts, including my online banking. When I lost this SIM card while road-tripping the Greek Peloponnese, I had no way to receive a verification code from my bank, leaving me locked out of my account and unable to access my funds.

With eSIMs I no longer have this problem. Since it’s all virtual, I can leave my physical SIM on my device, allowing me to access my phone number in case of emergency. In other words, an Airalo eSIM doesn’t take over your current plan but only adds to its current capabilities.

Hotspot Support

You would think most eSIMS would allow users to tether their data to all of their devices. In reality, this isn’t the case. In fact, few eSIMs actually offer hotspot support.

Luckily, Airalo is one of the few to allow this service.

Now, this may not seem like a particularly big deal, but if you are someone who likes to work or requires a laptop or tablet while traveling, then you will know how hugely advantageous this feature can be.

Just keep in mind that the more devices you connect to the network, the quicker you will burn through your data limits. So be sure to plan accordingly and purchase packages with sufficient data limits.

Easy eSIM Setup Process

Another massive benefit that comes with using an Airalo eSIM is its easy and intuitive setup process. It takes only minutes to set up, and it definitely beats scrambling around an airport to track down a physical SIM upon your arrival in a new country.

It all starts with downloading the Airalo app on your mobile device and creating an account. From there, you can browse all of Airalo’s various pans, including their local, regional, and global packages.

When you find the plan that best suits your travel needs, you simply purchase it through the app. You can also purchase a plan through the Airalo website, but you are just going to add it to the app later using a QR code.

Following the purchase, your new eSIM is added to your in-app portfolio and can be accessed via the “My eSIMs” tab. From there, you can activate your plan whenever you are ready to start using your data.

In-App Plan Management

Speaking of managing your eSIM, Airalo’s mobile app is a huge benefit within itself and is extremely user-friendly. For starters, the app will let you know if your phone is eSIM compatible during the checkout process. This saves you from making a purchase you can’t use should you not have eSIM capabilities.

Finally, the app’s simple design makes it easy to navigate and keep track of your data to ensure you don’t go over your limits prematurely. And if you do, the app allows you a simple outlet to add additional gigabytes within minutes.

Airalo Loyalt Program

Another feature the Airalo app gives you access to is its loyalty program. The program rewards points based on a tiered system, which are redeemable for future purchases, making it a great choice for frequent travelers.

There are currently four tiers within the Airalo Loyalty Program:

  • Traveler: The beginner level is available to all Arialo users and rewards 5% cashback on all qualifying purchases.
  • Silver Traveler: Unlocked after spending $20 USD in the app and rewards 6% cashback on all qualifying purchases.
  • Gold Traveler: Unlocked after spending $70 USD in the app and rewards 7% cashback on all qualifying purchases.
  • Platinum Traveler: Unlocked after spending $200 in the app and rewards 10% cashback on all qualifying purchases.

24/7 Customer Service

There is good and bad news that comes with Airalo’s customer service.

The good news is that there is 24/7 support available through in-app messaging.

The bad news is that in-app messaging is the only way to contact a customer service agent and doesn’t always come with an immediate response.

Airalo does not offer a call line for contacting a live customer service agent. However, this tends to be a common practice among most eSIM service providers. Unfortunately, while responses tend to be fairly quick, it isn’t always efficient if you require an immediate answer.

Airalo eSIM Alternatives

A-Lock-Screen-Of-An-Iphone

Nomad

Nomad and Airalo are my two go-to eSIM providers. I always compare plans on both apps before any trip to make sure I get the best deal.

While it doesn’t feature coverage for quite as many destinations as Airalo, Nomad’s global network is still pretty impressive, offering plans for over 165 countries around the world. Destinations you can’t find on Airalo are bound to be offered on Nomad.

The biggest difference between the two providers is that Nomad tends to offer the more affordable single-country eSIM plans, whereas Airalo typically features better regional and global coverage packages.

I suggest checking out Nomad yourself to determine which eSIM offers the better plan for your destination.

Airalo

  • Offers eSIM plans for a wider range of destinations
  • Has the more affordable global plans
  • Features a greater selection of regional plans
  • Offers plans with higher data limits than Nomad

Nomad

  • Tend to offer cheaper prices for single-country plans
  • Has a better mobile application & plan management services
  • Offers unique regional plans

Airhub

Like Airalo, Airhub offers an extensive global network that reaches over 200 countries worldwide. However, where it differs from Airalo is its unlimited data plans, which Airalo only offers to a specific few destinations.

Another feature Airhub offers that Airalo doesn’t is its user’s ability to bundle data, voice, and SMS in their plans.

Now, Airhub isn’t without its drawbacks. Firstly, the Airhub mobile app is not quite as intuitive but does slightly make up for it with its 24/7 live chat customer service line. However, perhaps the biggest negative for Airalo is the fact that there is a payment service fee on every purchase, an additional expense not seen through Airalo.

Be sure to check out Airhub for yourself to see how it compares to Airola eSIM plans.

Airalo

  • Better mobile app designed for the user
  • Offers a better selection of regional plans
  • More affordable

Airhub

  • Offers more unlimited data plans
  • Ability to bundle data, voice minutes, and SMS
  • Offers live chat customer support services with fast response times

Holafly

Holafly is a great alternative for Airalo and separates itself from other eSIMs through its specialization in providing unlimited data plans to over 160 countries worldwide and several regional packages.

Naturally, Holafly’s unlimited plans come with a premium price tag higher than the non-unlimited data plans provided by Airalo. Still, it is perhaps the best eSIM currently available for travelers that require lots of data.

Check out Holafly’s unlimited plans to see how they compare to Airalo for yourself.

Airalo

  • More affordable plans with varying data limits
  • Has a global plan
  • Provides hotspot functionality

Holafly

  • Specializes in unlimited data plans
  • Has local and regional plans but no global plan
  • More responsive customer support
  • Does not offer hotspot functions.

Conclusion

There is a reason why Airalo is one of the best-selling eSIM providers currently available. Between its affordable local, regional, and global plans and easy setup process, Airalo provides unparalleled convenience for staying connected regardless of where your travels may bring you.

Click here to discover the best Airalo eSIM plans for your next travel destination.

About The Author

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

Join our list

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Enter your email and get this picture and description straight to your inbox

🔒 We don’t spam or sell emails. see our privacy policy
Picture of Kurt Norris

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

Read More From Kurt Norris
Send this to a friend