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It’s nearly impossible to travel these days without a phone. Whether it’s booking flights and hotels or now having to show proof of your vaccination status, a smartphone has become an essential travel tool where when paired with data allows us to plan and organize nearly every aspect of our travels.

Thanks to the rather recent advent of eSIMs, international travellers are now able to access the web while travelling abroad easily and affordably. See how a travel eSIM can make your life so much easier while travelling.

Getting a Data Plan in Europe with an Holafly eSIM

Just as important as having my passport is when travelling internationally is having my phone. OK, let’s be honest, my phone has become like an extra appendage for me regardless of whether I’m travelling or not.

Why is having a phone so important for travel? Because, nearly every aspect of travel these days can be organised through a phone. I personally use my phone to book flights, check in for flights, check flight statuses, book hotels, check-in to hotels via hotel apps, navigate a new city, be my foreign language translator tool to better engage with locals and read foreign menus, book taxis and Ubers, look up things to do, and now even pay for things while travelling.

Of course all this travel research and booking requires data. Thankfully, long gone are the days of expensive data roaming or even having to search for a local SIM card upon arrival in your chosen travel destination.

Newer smartphones have now become even smarter, utilising eSIM technology to eliminate expensive international roaming charges and make browsing the web for all your travel needs as easy as possible.

Why is it Important to have Mobile Data in Europe?

Having access to the web is vital no matter where you travel, but especially while travelling in Europe where we tend to move around a lot more between countries and need to book a lot of different accommodation and transportation.

Having data while travelling allows you to make and manage bookings, use maps for navigating to the various sites you want to visit, read up on travel blogs for inspiration on what to do, and research things you are seeing or experiencing.

Data also allows you to stay connected with family and friends back home thanks to messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, iMessage, or Skype. Having data also allows you to stay on top of work emails while travelling, and becomes a top necessity if you happen to be a digital nomad like myself.

While most of us may really need data while travelling, what we don’t want is to return home to a huge data roaming bill awaiting us. Thankfully you can avoid this with a simple international eSIM.

What is an International eSIM for Europe?

While we were once restricted to using a physical SIM card in our phones in order to make calls, receive texts, and use data, we now have access to digital eSIM technology. Using an eSIM while travelling around Europe starts with having a compatible device and simply downloading an eSIM profile using a QR code in your eSIM card that is embedded directly into your compatible device.

The advent of eSIMs really is changing the way many of us travel, connect, and do business. It’s especially helpful in regions like Europe because they become more useful and time-saving the more countries you visit. So whether you’re hopping between European countries via rail or on a river cruise, you’ll be glad you have an eSIM.

Holyfly makes obtaining and using an eSIM in Europe easy. You’ll be able to connect to the best network wherever you are in Europe, with availability in more than 40 countries. It’s easy to set up and you can choose a data plan that suits your needs whether you’re planning a week or month-long holiday, with no annoying contract.

 Advantages of a European Travel eSIM

Having an eSIM means no more searching around frantically for a local SIM upon arrival at your destination. Because everything is done digitally, you simply scan a QR code to set up your data plan before you travel and then activate your eSIM upon arrival, where you’ll then enjoy instant access to the web.

While your eSIM may only provide you with data and not voice and text, you can often also use your normal SIM to make calls and texts depending on your phone model. And most people are now opting for emails and messaging apps as opposed to making calls or sending texts when travelling anyway.

The following are just some of the top benefits of using an eSIM while travelling in Europe:

  • No waiting for your eSIM to arrive in the mail or paying postage since your eSIM will be emailed to you instantly.
  • Access the best 4G and 5G networks while travelling to enjoy the fastest data speeds available.
  • No fiddling with swapping out physical SIM cards.
  • Adding additional data while travelling can easily be done online.
  • Switch between service providers in seconds.
  • Afforable data plans that will suit nearly any travel length.
  • Enjoy more secure internet access as opposed to using potentially dangerous public WiFi networks.
  • Connect with family back home using your same messaging accounts.
  • Generate a WiFi network with your eSIM to share data with travelling mates or to your own laptop.

  Requirements and Compatibility

The first step in being able to take advantage of an eSIM while travelling is to have a compatible phone. What is a compatible phone you ask? Well, the best way to check if your phone is eSIM-enabled is to check out Holafly’s eSIM compatibility guide which gets updated regularly.

The eSIM technology really got rolled out to smartphones around 2017 with higher-end phones. Some of the phones that will now allow you to use an eSIM include iPhones 11,12, and 13 as well as Samsung s20, s21, s22, and Galaxy Fold. Other notables include Google Pixel 2X, 3XL, 4XL, 5, and 6, Huawei P40, and newer Oppo models.

You also want to make sure your phone is unlocked and not fixed to a network. If you are unsure whether your phone is locked, you can simply call your mobile provider. If indeed locked, you may be able to have your provider unlock it for a fee or it may be free depending on the length of time you’ve had the phone locked with them.

Having a quad band phone running on the GSM will allow you to roam anywhere in the world where GSM service is available. Understand that GSM networks around the world use different frequency bands, with there being four frequency bands on which mobile phones operate including: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 1900 MHz. A quad band phone will pick up frequencies in each of these bands, assuring it will be compatible with European networks.

Some phones also allow you to use both an eSIM and physical SIM at the same time, so you can set your physical SIM as default for calls and text and your eSIM as default for data. Some newer phone models are now also supporting the use of two active eSIMs simultaneously, and even some tablets and smart watches are equipped with eSIM technology.

How to Buy an eSIM for Europe?

Apps that work with inflight wifi phone plane

As stated before, one of the best things about purchasing an eSIM for travel is not getting hit with surprise fees and not having to sign a long-term contract. Holafly has simplified the eSIM buying process and made it affordable.

You will need internet access to purchase, so best to get your eSIM sorted before your trip when you have access to cheap data or WiFi. You’ll start by selecting a plan that best suits your European travel needs whether it’s 3GB of data over a week or 10GB of data for a month-long trip for less than double the price of the 3GB option. Simply add a plan to your shopping cart and enjoy express checkout using PayPal or Google Pay, or you can just pay be credit card.

After finalizing payment, your Europe eSIM/QR code will be sent to the email address you nominated during the checkout process and this is done immediately so no long waiting period.

It’s important to carefully research how much data you will need so you can select and adequate data allowance plan. Being a digital product, there are no refunds offered after purchasing an eSIM.

And while you may be used to having an unlimited data plan back at home, it’s important to remember that eSIM plans for travel usually have limits. To ensure you don’t use up your data too quickly, avoid streaming shows and movies or uploading high quality videos/photos to social media.

How to Install or Activate Your eSIM

Downloading, installing, and activating your eSIM for Europe is easy and takes but a minute or two. After receiving your QR code via email upon payment, you can print it or open it up on a computer. Simply go to “Add Data Plan” under the “Mobile Data Category” within your phone settings and scan the QR code when prompted.

You will also have the opportunity to name your data plan, so you can name it “Holafly” or something like “Travel Data”. Activate the eSIM data you named by turning on your data roaming upon arrival and selecting the eSIM plan you purchased.

If any of my instructions were a bit confusing, rest assured that full set-up instructions will be included with your eSIM purchase or you can take advantage of 24-hour chat support.

Note that you can only activate your eSIM on one device and once deleted from your phone it becomes useless. However, you can once again share your data allowance with other devices by simply setting up a hotspot with your phone.

While you can set-up your eSIM before your trip, wait until arriving in your destination to turn on data roaming and activate your data plan.


Get connected from the moment you land in more than 40 countries using your eSIM. Most major mobile carriers around the world in countries that offer eSIM technology offer the service. Plan and book your travel while travelling in dozens of European countries including Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, Greece, the UK, and more.

Retain your home phone number in case you need to take an important call from home while also enjoying cheap local data rates using your best eSIM for Europe.

Hopefully I’ve been able to shed some light on what eSIM technology is and how it can help you save time and  money during your next European getaway.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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