How to download a Europe SIM card for instant data

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By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer

How to download a Europe SIM card

Pro tip: If you’re heading to Europe, download a Europe SIM card directly onto your phone. You’ll be able to connect to local data networks and have a steady data connection, and you’ll pay a fraction of the price you’d pay your carrier back home for a travel data plan.

Why travel with a Europe SIM card?

When you visit a country (or region) with a SIM card for that area, it means you’re essentially «a local» when it comes to getting mobile data. You can connect to the same networks locals use, and access the same affordable pricing. Best of all? No roaming charges!

Having a steady data connection means you won’t have to worry about using sketchy public Wi-Fi, and you’ll always be able to look up driving directions, buy train tickets, pull up a map, call an Uber or taxi, look up a business and read reviews, or check in with friends and family so they know you’re safe.

Europe SIM options for travellers:

1. A downloadable Europe SIM card where you can customize how much data you need, anywhere, anytime

2. A physical plastic Europe SIM card where you’re limited to what’s preloaded on the card

What is a downloadable Europe SIM card?

A downloadable Europe SIM card is the ‘digital’ version of a traditional plastic SIM card. Most newer phones and tablets already support eSIM, so they can accept download and installation of a digital SIM card.

Many travellers use downloadable SIMs because the price is right. If you’re visiting France and get a downloadable France SIM card, for example, a week’s worth of data will cost you $4.50 USD. That amount is fully prepaid, so if you run out, you won’t be charged anything extra. But you can always choose to top up your virtual SIM card with extra data, if you’d like.

Where in Europe will the SIM card work?

You can choose a country-specific SIM card, like France, Italy, Spain, etc. Or you can choose a regional SIM card that works in multiple countries, like a Western Europe SIM card that works in France, Italy, Spain, and Portgual so you can move freely between the countries without losing your data connection.

What if I don’t use a local SIM?

If you decide not to use a Europe SIM card on your travels, that’s totally fine. But keep in mind that you’ll have to make a few decisions prior to your trip to ensure you avoid data roaming charges

(A) You can switch off Data Roaming for your primary SIM and just use Wi-Fi, but still have access to your phone number for calling and texting

(B) You can toggle off your primary SIM entirely and just use Wi-Fi, without access to your regular phone number

(C) You can pay your carrier for an international roaming plan and use your phone normally (with data and your regular phone number), and you’ll see the charges on your next bill. Be cautious about this option, however, as it can be very expensive depending on your carrier.

How do I get a digital Europe SIM card?

You can get a digital Europe SIM card through a free eSIM app like aloSIM, or you can shop online on a site that sells digital SIMs, like alosim.com.

From there, you’ll just choose the European country you’ll be visiting (or the region of several countries you’ll be visiting) and select how much prepaid data you’d like to buy.

How much data is on a digital SIM card?

That’s up to you! Prepaid data starts at $4.50/week, and you can buy as much or as little as you’d like.

Your first data purchase will include a free eSIM (digital SIM card) for that country or region. You’ll install the SIM card on your phone or tablet, and then it’s yours to choose forever. (eSIMs never expire, so you can keep using them on future trips.)

Then you can keep topping up your SIM card with more data packages, and you won’t have to bother with re-installing a new SIM card each time. One card = limitless data packages, as you need them.

How much does a Europe SIM card cost?

On average in Europe, you can expect to pay about $5/week for prepaid data in most European countries.

Technically, the Europe SIM card is free. What you’re paying for is the data itself. So if you buy a $4.50 France data package, it comes with a downloadable France SIM card. If you use up that data package and need more data, you can top up your original SIM card with another $4.50 package, or even a larger package that lasts for a full month.

Can I make calls with it?

Digital SIM cards don’t come with phone numbers, but you can absolutely still make/accept phone calls and send/receive SMS texts.

(A) You can use your regular phone number, and just pay for individual calls/texts on your next mobile bill

(B) You can use a cheap travel phone number over Wi-Fi or data from an app like Hushed (our team created both aloSIM and Hushed)

(C) You can use a social media app (like Messenger) for free calling and messaging over Wi-Fi or data

(D) You can use an internet-based app (like WhatsApp) to call and message with your existing contacts

Ready to try a Europe SIM card?

Whether you’re heading to Europe for a weekend, a couple of weeks, or a few months, using a downloadable Europe SIM card will give you the most flexibility and allow you to maintain a reliable data connection.

1. Download the free aloSIM app
2. Choose the data package that works for you
3. Install your Europe SIM on your device
4. Activate your data package when you’re ready to use it
5. Top up your Europe SIM card with more data anytime you need it

Questions about buying or using a downloadable Europe SIM card? Our team is always here to help via live chat or email (support@alosim.com).