We love to text, so a common question we hear is “Can I text with eSIM data?” while I’m on vacation?
After all, you can continue to make phone calls with a data-only eSIM while you’re traveling all over the world, so how about sending and receiving eSIM text messages on your regular phone number while you rely on affordable eSIM data to avoid roaming charges?
Well, an eSIM is different from a traditional SIM card connected to a phone plan (with a phone number), so that affects how you call and text with an eSIM.
Making phone calls while using eSIM data
An eSIM doesn’t have its own phone number, so if you want to make phone calls while using an eSIM, you either need to use a calling and texting app (like our sister app, Hushed), or keep your regular SIM “on” so you can access your regular phone number.
But if you plan on making/receiving lots of phone calls while you’re traveling outside of your usual coverage zone, you should chat with your regular carrier to ask how much they charge per active calling minute. If it’s only going to be a few cents for every minute you spend on a phone call, you might decide it’s definitely worth it to keep your regular SIM “on” so you can continue to make and receive calls on your regular number.
Texting while using eSIM data
Again, since an eSIM doesn’t have its own phone number, there are a few ways to text while using eSIM data”
1. Keeping your regular SIM switched “on” so you can text from your regular phone number.
3. Relying on iMessage (if you have an iPhone or iPad), which is connected to your Apple ID and doesn’t need a phone number
If you choose to text on your regular phone number, you won’t have to pay any data roaming charges for texting, as long as you keep Data Roaming “off,” for your regular SIM.
However, if you send or receive text messages while traveling outside of your usual coverage zone, your carrier may charge you for each individual text sent over their network.
So if you want to keep your regular phone number active while traveling, be sure to talk to your carrier to ask how much they charge per text message sent or received. If it’s a very low amount, you might decide it’s worth it to be able to keep texting on your usual phone number.
So really, texting with eSIM comes down to one question …
Do you want to text on your regular phone number while using eSIM data?
Yes, I still want to send/receive texts on my regular number.
If you want to keep using your regular phone number for calling and texting while traveling, you can leave your regular SIM “on” (so your regular phone number continues to work).
You won’t be charged roaming fees as long as your regular SIM has Data Roaming set to “off,” but remember that your home carrier will likely charge you for the individual texts and calls made while you’re away, since they’ll incur extra costs making sure your calls and texts go through internationally.
If you want to keep using your regular phone number on vacation, check with your carrier so you understand what you’ll be charged for calls and texts.
No, I’m fine with not texting on my regular number for a while.
If you don’t want to use your regular phone number at all while traveling, and you’re fine with not receiving phone calls or texts on your regular number until you’re back at home, then you always have the option to turn your regular SIM “off.”
This is basically like removing the SIM card from your phone, except you don’t actually have to touch it — you just switch it “off” in your device settings. If you turn your regular SIM “off,” you won’t be able to call or text on that number until you turn it back on.
Hmm. What’s a cheaper way to text with eSIM?
If you’re an intense texter who doesn’t like the idea of paying your carrier for each of the hundreds of individual texts you might send and receive in a single day, there’s a more budget-friendly solution.
With our sister app, Hushed, you can get a low-cost temporary phone number in one of 300+ area codes. This private phone number will belong to you for as long as you wish to keep it — a day, a week, a month, forever — and you can text your heart out without worrying about carrier fees.
Quick guide to texting with eSIM:
OPTION 1: Keep your regular SIM/phone number “on” while using an eSIM for low-cost travel data. You might pay carrier fees for the individual texts sent/received, so ask your carrier how much they’ll charge if you text on vacation.
OPTION 2: Turn your regular SIM/phone number “off” to avoid being charged for individual texts, but you won’t be able to text on your regular number until you turn that SIM back on. Instead, you can use your eSIM data for unlimited texting using an app like Hushed.