How to Use an eSIM for USA Travel
One of the most annoying things about traveling to a new country is having to constantly hunt down reliable Wi-Fi spots or figure out how to buy a local SIM card to get connected. Or worse, getting hit with the exorbitant international roaming charges.
If you’re traveling in the US, it helps to have constant internet connection to help you navigate the public transport systems, follow Google Maps on road trips and quickly look up restaurant reviews when looking for somewhere to eat.
Well, you can now stay connected with a travel eSIM in the US.
We recently partnered with Holafly, an international eSIM provider, to tell you all about how eSIMs work and why you should get one for your next trip to the US (or anywhere outside of your home borders).
What is an eSIM?
An eSIM (embedded SIM) is a virtual or digital SIM card that is built into your mobile phone. Modern mobile phones have microchips installed that allow you to install several “eSIM profiles”, which are similar to physical SIM cards with both phone numbers and data plans.
You won’t need to insert any physical card into your phone (as it’s already built in) and can use your eSIM plan immediately (without having to wait for it to be delivered). It also allows you to buy a data plan from another country to avoid paying high roaming prices.
Simply put, an eSIM allows you to use multiple lines at the same time. You can easily switch between different carriers straight from your phone’s settings. Just make sure that your phone is unlocked!
Does the US support eSIM?
Yes, eSIMs are supported by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the US. There are also many different eSIM provides in the US, including Holafly, that offer various US eSIM plans.
You just need to make sure that you have an eSIM compatible phone. Current phones that are compatible include:
- All models from the iPhone XS, XR onward, including the iPhone SE 2 (2020)
- From the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra onwards
- From the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Fold 2 and onwards
- From the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and onwards
- From the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and onwards
- Huawei P40, P0 Pro and later models
- Huawei Mate 40 Pro and later models
- Google Pixel 3, 3a (some versions do not allow eSIM)
- Google Pixel 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5 and later models
- Oppo Find X3 Pro
- Oppo Reno 5A
- Motorola Razr (2019)
- Motorola Razr 5G (dual SIM)
You can also find a full list here. eSIM is quickly becoming standard to all new mobile phones and, eventually, all will support eSIM.
How does international eSIM work?
The first thing you need to do is check whether your phone is compatible (which is listed above). Once you know that your phone is compatible you can choose an eSIM provider that is partnered with the country that you’re traveling to. Most eSIM providers are connected with a wide range of countries across North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Then all you have to do is buy a data plan in the country where you’re traveling. For example, you can buy unlimited data plans for the US which are valid for anywhere between five to 90 days.
You’ll then get a QR code to activate the plan via the eSIM card on your mobile device. And you’re done, free to start browsing the web immediately.
Why is a travel eSIM useful when visiting the US?
There are many benefits of using a travel eSIM when in the US, including:
- Saving on high international roaming costs by easily buying local data plans
- Not having to risk losing your traditional SIM card by removing it to replace with a local SIM card
- eSIM cards allow for dual SIM setups so, for example, you can have both a personal and work phone number on the same device
- No need to search for Wi-Fi or remain unconnected
- You’ll get better rates than when buying local SIM cards
Stay connected in the US
eSIM is the best way to stay connected internationally (provided your phone is compatible). You’ll get better rates and speeds than when you’re roaming, and you’ll get a local phone number to call on—super handy when you need to call to make restaurant reservations.