How to use an eSIM for travel


By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer

Using an eSIM on vacation

Curious how to use an eSIM for travel? We’ll show you how to save money on roaming charges by connecting to local data networks, all with the help of a downloadable SIM card called an eSIM.

Most newer phones already support eSIM technology, and eSIM apps like aloSIM have data for 170+ countries worldwide. Pay for exactly how much data you want, with no surprises, contracts, or unexpected charges.

How to use an eSIM for travel


Whether you’re travelling in a day, a week, or six months from now, here’s a quick guide on how to use an eSIM for travel internationally …


1. Check your device

If you’ve never used an eSIM before, you answer a couple of questions and we’ll tell you if your phone supports eSIMs (digital SIM cards).

2. Get an eSIM app

Download the free aloSIM app (available on the App Store and Google Play), then create an aloSIM account and verify your email. It only takes a second.

3. Shop for a data package

Open your aloSIM app (or shop online) and tap “Store” to choose the country/countries or region where you’ll be travelling. Pick a location, and how much data you need. (You can always top up later if you need more.)

4. Do you have an aloSIM discount code?

If a friend or family member has referred you to aloSIM, they may have given you a Refer & Earn code. If not, you can use code HELLOALO to save 10% on your purchase, just as a little thank-you for reading this article.

5. Install your eSIM

This takes about two minutes, and must be done over a strong Wi-Fi or data connection. Install your eSIM before your trip, if possible, so you know it’s on your phone or tablet and ready to go. (You just won’t activate your data package until you’re actually on vacation.)

eSIM installation instructions for an iPhone or iPad
eSIM installation instructions for a Google Pixel
eSIM installation instructions for a Samsung
eSIM installation instructions for a different device


6. Opt out of carrier plans

Since you’ll be using an eSIM for mobile data when you’re travelling internationally, it’s a good idea to make sure your regular cell phone carrier isn’t going to automatically put you on a ’travel plan’ once they detect you’re out of the country.

Carrier travel plans charge expensive daily rates for data, calling, and texting, and you should confirm you won’t be placed on one. If you plan on using your regular phone number on vacation (see #7), confirm you will only be charged pay-per-use rates for calls and texts.

7. Decide about calling/texting

OPTION 1: Use your regular phone number:

If you want to remain reachable on your regular cell phone number, you can keep your primary SIM/phone number on while you’re travelling. As long as you’re not on a carrier travel plan (see #6), your carrier will only charge pay-per-use rates for active calls + texts.

OPTION 2: Disable your regular phone number:

To avoid all calling and texting fees on vacation, you can switch your primary SIM/phone number off right before leaving on vacation. eSIMs don’t come with their own phone numbers, but there are plenty of other ways to call and text on vacation, like using a temporary phone number from our sister app, Hushed.

8. Activate your eSIM data package

When you’re about to leave the country (waiting at the airport, about to drive across the border, etc.) you need to prevent roaming charges by making sure your phone understands it’s going to start using your eSIM for all mobile data.

Follow the eSIM activation instructions for your device, based on whether you want to keep your phone number on, or switch your phone number off.

eSIM activation instructions for an iPhone or iPad
eSIM activation instructions for a Google Pixel
eSIM activation instructions for a Samsung
eSIM activation instructions for a different device

9. Start using your travel data

Since you’ve already followed the eSIM activation instructions (see #8), your eSIM should automatically connect to a local network once you arrive at your destination. (Make sure Airplane Mode is turned off.)
If it doesn’t connect for some reason, hop onto Wi-Fi to contact or use our live chat option (we’re available 24/7) so we can help.
During your vacation, you can use your eSIM for travel data to power all of your favourite apps — messaging, maps, rideshares, social media, email, etc. Make sure your phone isn’t trying to waste data on backups or anything unnecessary, and check your data balance anytime in the aloSIM app. When Wi-Fi is available, you can certainly choose to connect to it to use less data.

10. Add more data anytime

If your eSIM data balance is getting low, you will need Wi-Fi or data to top up your eSIM with more data. Open your aloSIM app, tap your eSIM, and top it up. Since you’re adding data to the eSIM that’s already installed on your phone, you won’t need to re-install anything.

What happens when I get home?

Once your trip is over and you’ve returned home, it’s easy to get back to using your regular data plan again.

1. In your phone settings, toggle off your eSIM.

(Don’t delete it, because you can use it on a future trip to the same country.)

2. In your phone settings, make sure your primary SIM is toggled on.

(You may have turned it off while you were travelling.)

3. Make sure your data source is your primary SIM again.

In your phone settings, tell your phone to use your primary SIM for all mobile data.

Questions about eSIM?

Need a little help learning how to use an eSIM for travel? No problem! Our team is available 24/7 via email ( or live chat, and we’re waiting to speak with you.