30 reasons you need an eSIM for international travel

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By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer

eSIM for international travel

Using an eSIM for international travel means you’re downloading a digital SIM card onto your phone or tablet, and using it to get local mobile data at your destination.

An eSIM is an embedded SIM card, and you can get an eSIM for 170+ countries using the free aloSIM app.

Travelling soon? Whether you choose to use your phone number abroad or decide to turn off your primary SIM while travelling to save on carrier fees, you’re still going to need mobile data to power your favourite apps … and you don’t need to rely on your primary SIM for data any longer!

Wi-Fi’s great when you can access it, but what happens when you’re on the go, or the Wi-Fi connection is terrible? You can use an eSIM for international travel to have steady mobile data on your own private connection.

If you don’t use an eSIM for international travel data, you’ve got other options … like roaming on your primary SIM card ($$$), or sticking to Wi-Fi only (blah).

But in case you’re a person who likes using their phone on vacation without any hassle, let’s run through 30 reasons you need an eSIM for international travel …

1. Chat via messages

Remember, an iMessage is different than a traditional text message (even though iPhone users often think of it as ’texting’ someone) because iMessages run over the internet (Wi-Fi or data) and don’t need to be connected to a phone number. iMessage is a great way for people to stay connected between iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, and iPods) and hardly uses any data.

If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, there are still so many ways to stay connected with family and friends. Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram are all popular ways to send quick chats or contribute to a lively group discussion, and you can use prepaid eSIM data to power them anywhere you go.

2. Get translations

Travelling somewhere that you don’t speak the language? Having a steady data connection means you can use translation apps and sites like Google Translate to make sure everyone’s understood.

3. Make calls over the internet

You don’t need a SIM card to make phone calls, as long as you’ve got a Hushed phone number. Hushed is our sister app, actually, and it lets you choose a real phone number to use for calling and texting over the internet. You can keep it as long as you want, and it starts at just $2.99.

4. Attend video calls

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use prepaid eSIM data for FaceTime. Any devices can use other forms of video calling, like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet. Video calls aren’t just for work, either. They let you read bedtime stories to your kids when you’re travelling without them, or check in with family members back home and feel like you’re right there.

5. Send and receive emails

If you’re content with only sending or receiving email when you’re on Wi-Fi, totally cool. But if you’re waiting on something important, need to keep tabs on an inbox, or need the ability to handle something quickly while you’re out and about, you’ll need data for that.

6. Scroll social media

You might think you’re fine with waiting until you’re on Wi-Fi to check your socials, but … c’mon, you know there will be times when you’re bored and open those apps out of habit. Wouldn’t it be nice to watch TikToks while you’re waiting in that really long line? You know it would. Data to the rescue!

7. Do online banking

Want to check an account balance, transfer money around, or pay a bill that’s due while you’re on vacation? Your online banking app needs data. (And you probably don’t want to bank over public Wi-Fi for security reasons.)

8. Get maps and driving directions

Maps and driving directions are honestly the No. 1 reason many aloSIM customers decide to get an eSIM for international travel, full stop. They want to be able to see where they’re going, find new destinations, and have a pleasant robotic voice tell them when to turn left. You need data for this kind of magic.

9. Stream some music

Most of us aren’t carrying around our iPods anymore (R.I.P. to my pink-jewelled iPod Nano) and we’re usually using streaming services like Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify to play our fave songs. It’s just easiest (and cheaper) than keeping a massive library of everything we might want to hear. But those apps? Yeah, they need the internet, unless you’re listening to something you’ve already downloading for offline use.

10. Update your calendars

Unless you’re using a paper day-planner, you’ll need full access to your digital ‘cloud’ calendars in order to add details about upcoming events and excursions, and share the event with other attendees.

11. Do your research

When you’re travelling, there are MANY different ways to spend your cash (and not all of them are a good idea). Before you commit to a vendor, restaurant, excursion, live show, or anything else, you might want to do your research (a.k.a. quickly Google it first) and decide if it’s a good fit. This includes checking menus online to make sure they can accommodate dietary restrictions or allergies.

12. Watch TV/movies

Whether you’re Team Netflix, Team Prime, Team Apple TV, Team Disney+ or Team All of the Above, you can download some things in advance, but you’re going to need a solid internet connection to stream (or download more). We’ve heard of parents getting an eSIM for international travel specifically to keep Cocomelon episodes playing for their toddlers.

13. Back up your photos

While you may not want to “spend” your prepaid data backing up everything on your phone, especially the big backups that are best done over Wi-Fi, it’s a good idea to let it back up photos and videos you’re taking on your trip. If your phone nosedives into a toilet, you don’t want to worry about losing the special memories you’ve captured. Apps like Google Photos will do this multiple times an hour, to make sure nothing’s ever lost.

14. Download an app

When you’re on the go and you need to grab a new app via the App Store or Google Play (maybe our apps, aloSIM and Hushed?) you need data to download it.

15. Find a device

iPhone and iPad users often depend on the ‘Find My’ app to locate each other’s devices, find a specific item via AirTag (bike, wallet, backpack), or see someone’s current location. If you don’t have Wi-Fi or data, you’re out of luck.

16. Book a ride

You don’t want to be stuck on a sketchy street without the ability to grab a quick ride using an app like Uber. This is especially important if you’ve decided to turn off your primary SIM while travelling to save on carrier fees, so you can’t call a taxi. Having prepaid local data means you can always order a ride, anywhere you go.

17. Download new tunes

If you want to hit up iTunes and download songs so you can listen to them offline, a steady data connection means you can grab the songs you want before you forget what they’re called.

18. Grab an authentication code

With more and more accounts requiring two-factor authentication codes, you’ll want data to power your two-factor authentication app so you can snag a code to access an account anytime, anywhere.

19. Read or watch the news

Whether it’s following the news back at home, or seeing what’s in the news in your current location, you’ll need the internet to stay safely informed. (Especially if you don’t speak the language to watch the local news on TV or read the local newspaper.)

20. Play online games

Augmented reality games like Pokemon Go are fun to play in new cities, but you need data to get the full experience. Luckily, you can throw five bucks of prepaid data on an eSIM card, and you’re good to go!

21. Order a meal

Apps like Uber Eats, Door Dash, and Skip The Dishes can bring you quick meal straight to your hotel room, and it’s often cheaper than ordering room service. But if you’re on the go and want to place the order before you’re back at the hotel, a prepaid eSIM for international travel means you can place that order from anywhere!

22. Monitor your home

Technology is making it easier to travel while still keeping an eye on things at home. If you’re not glued to Wi-Fi, you’ll need data to watch your doorbell cam, make sure your front door’s locked, or turn on the lights in your living room from halfway around the world. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing you’d get these alerts no matter where you are, and be able to monitor your Mojo Dojo Casa House anywhere?

23. Settle an argument

Which movie that actor was in? What’s the capital of Bolivia? Can goats swim? Nothing settles a silly argument faster than a quick Google search. (Bonus points if you’re both Googling in a huff to see who can prove they were right.)

24. Book reservations

Since so many people (ahem, Millennials and Gen Zs) hate talking on the phone, you can book reservations online just about anywhere these days. Use your prepaid data to hop online and make a reservation in seconds, or change an existing reservation.

25. Keep tabs on work

We’re not saying you have to work on vacation, but sometimes you need to keep an eye (just one) on your Teams or Slack, in case of an emergency. Or, hey, maybe you just need to open your corporate HR app to book a few more vacation days and extend your trip? Data can help!

26. Book and review tickets

From airline apps to store your plane tickets and apps like Ticketmaster to store your event tickets, you’re going to want to have data to review your tickets, make any adjustments, and see real-time updates.

27. Grab a fresh new read

Want to borrow a library book on your phone or tablet, or buy a new book for your eReader? Data means you can do this anywhere, anytime.

28. Listen to podcasts

It’s a good idea to download episodes of your fave shows while you’re on Wi-Fi, but if you forget — or if you listen to them all and need some more to keep you going — you’ll need an internet connection.

29. Scan your loyalty cards

If you’ve lightened your wallet load by scanning your cards into an app like Stocard, remember that these apps often need data to pull up your cards for easy scanning.

30. Buy more eSIM data

Like any e-commerce shop, aloSIM needs an internet connection to make a purchase. So if you need to top up your eSIM with a new data package, you can use data (or Wi-Fi) to make it happen.

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Ready to try an eSIM for international travel?

1. Install your eSIM.

Follow the walk-through guide to install your eSIM on any compatible device.

2. Activate your data package.

We’ll show you how to prep your phone for travel, and get your data flowing.

3. Check your roaming settings.

Be sure you’re avoiding roaming charges by verifying your phone is set correctly.

Questions about using an eSIM for international travel? Reach out to our team 24/7 via live chat or email (support@alosim.com) and we’d be happy to chat.