Airalo Review 2023: The Easiest eSIM for International Travel

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Considering using an Airalo eSIM for your next international trip? Here is my full, unbiased Airalo review – check it out to see if Airalo is right for you!

As soon as I land in a new country, the first thing that I do is pick up a local SIM card.

It’s much more cost-efficient than adding an international plan through my carrier back home. Plus, it’s so nice to be able to use the internet for directions or to search for food recommendations without having to rely on WiFi.

While planning my most recent international trip, I came across a TikTok about Airalo – an app that would let you purchase a digital SIM card right from your phone, without having to pick up a physical one at your destination.

I was intrigued, as I had never heard of the app (or even an eSIM). I was wondering – is Airalo legit?

I immediately downloaded the app, planning on testing it out in France and Germany when I traveled there over the holidays.

Once in Europe, I was able to easily install my Airalo eSIM and begin browsing. It was so simple to use, and it was cheaper than buying a SIM from one of the airport kiosks!

Do you want to learn more about Airalo to see if it might work for your next international trip? Keep reading for my full Airalo review!

Note: This post was NOT sponsored by Airalo. I purchased my Airalo eSIM with my own money and this is an unbiased review of my Airalo eSIM experience. This post does contain Airalo affiliate links. If you purchase an Airalo eSIM through one of my links, I will earn a commission at no cost to you.

A World in Reach contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you! Read my full disclosure here.

girl using the Airalo eSIM app on her iPhone

So, what is Airalo? How does Airalo work?

Airalo is a marketplace that sells eSIMs – a digital SIM that lets you activate a cellular plan without having to insert a physical SIM card into your phone.

eSIMs work in basically the same was as a physical SIM card.

The “e” in eSIM stands for embedded, which means that it’s embedded directly into your phone, rather than a physical SIM that you have to switch in and out.

Airalo offers local, regional, and global eSIMs. Local ones cover one country, regional eSIMs cover a region of the world (like Europe or the Caribbean), and the Global eSIM covers 87 countries around the world.

Airalo eSIMs connect to local networks, depending on what country you’re in.

There are various eSIMs with differing amounts of data and lengths of validity. Plus, you can always easily top-up your eSIM if you need a bit more data.

And, you get rewarded with Airmoney each time that you purchase a new eSIM or top one up. You can use your Airmoney towards purchasing future Airalo eSIMs or top-ups.


Will Airalo work with my phone?

Before purchasing an Airalo eSIM, you should first make sure that your phone is eSIM compatible.

Airalo keeps an ongoing list of compatible devices, making it easy to verify that your phone will work with the eSIM.

One other important thing to check is that your device is unlocked by your carrier. Many carriers lock devices that are on a monthly payment plan. If this is the case for you

If you have an iOS device (like an iPhone), you can go to Settings > General > About. Scroll down a bit and you should see “Carrier Lock” – if it says No SIM restrictions, you’re good to go!

If your iPhone shows No SIM restrictions under carrier lock, you can use Airalo!

Airalo also has documentation on how to check if your device is carrier unlocked for Android users.

Once you’ve checked that your device is compatible and carrier unlocked, you’re ready to use an Airalo eSIM!


How to Use Airalo

Ready to use Airalo to stay connected while traveling abroad?

If you haven’t already, download the Airalo app from the App Store or Google Play.

Once the app is installed, browse the plans and destinations that are offered on Airalo.

Airalo has three types of eSIMs: Local, Regional, and Global:

  • Local eSIMs allow you to get coverage in one of the 190+ countries that Airalo covers. This is your best choice if you’re only visiting one country on your trip.
  • Regional eSIMs give coverage for entire regions and continents. For example, the Eurolink regional eSIM covers 38 countries in Europe, while the Island Hopper regional eSIM covers 23 Caribbean islands. There are also regional eSIMs for Africa and Asia. If you’re on a multicountry trip within the same region, this is the eSIM for you. On my trip to France and Germany, I chose to purchase the Eurolink regional eSIM.
  • The Global eSIM gives coverage for 87 countries, ranging from 1-20 GB and 7-180 days of validity. If you’re planning a multicountry trip in multiple regions of the world, consider getting a Global eSIM.

Prices for Airalo eSIMs vary based on location covered, data amounts, and validity periods. You can also buy top-up packages for your eSIM.

After you’ve chosen the best eSIM for your trip, purchase the eSIM through the Airalo app.

You can also purchase the eSIM from the Airalo website and connect it to your phone with a QR code.

Once the eSIM is purchased, it will appear in your My eSIMs list.

From here, you can install the eSIM onto your phone and activate the data.

The Airalo app will walk you through the installation and activation process step-by-step.

Once the data is activated, you’re ready to use your data plan!


What networks does Airalo use for their eSIMs?

Airalo uses top cellular networks around the world to provide data for their eSIMs.

In the US, data is through AT&T and T-Mobile. In the United Kingdom, data is through Telefonica O2.

To see the networks for the country that you’re visiting, click the country name under “Local eSIMs,” click one of the packages, and scroll down to “Additional Information.”

There, the networks will be listed.

Airalo shows the networks used by the eSIM
The network used by the Airalo eSIM is shown under “Additional Information”

Airalo Pros

Using an Airalo eSIM makes it super easy to stay connected while traveling abroad.

On my recent trip to Europe, I was able to purchase my Airalo eSIM using the airport WiFi when I arrived in Germany.

After that, I never had to rely on WiFi to use my phone’s GPS, look up travel tips, or post on social media.

Airalo eSIMs are also really affordable. I purchased the 30-day, 3 GB Eurolink package for just $13 – this was perfect for my nearly 2-week trip. Most local eSIMs start at just $4.50.

I also loved that I didn’t have to worry about losing my regular SIM card from home.

While some phones now have multiple SIM slots, mine only has one, so it was nice to be able to leave it in there for when I got back in the US.

My traveling companion had international data through T-Mobile, his service provider back home, and my data through Airalo was much faster.

Another Airalo win: having an eSIM means that your phone doesn’t need to have a physical SIM slot.

Newer devices, like the newest iPhones, have eliminated the physical SIM slot.

With an Airalo eSIM, you won’t have to worry about not being able to use your phone while abroad, as there isn’t anything that you have to physically insert into the SIM slot.


Airalo Disadvantages

The main disadvantage to Airalo is that most of their eSIMs only support data, not phone calls or text messaging.

They also don’t come with a phone number. However, you can use the data from an Airalo eSIM to use apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger for calling and texting.

If you don’t already have accounts on those apps, make sure to set them up BEFORE you leave your home country.

They typically need a phone number to create an account, and you might not be able to get the required text messages needed to create the account.

You can check to see if an Airalo plan comes with a phone number or supports voice calls and texting by clicking the country or region, choosing a plan, and scrolling to “Additional Information.”

There, the plan types will be listed.

The Czech Republic local eSIM plan includes data, voice, and text.

There are definitely pros to having a local phone number while traveling – it saved me during my Amsterdam Airbnb mishap!

When I used my Airalo eSIM, my travel companion had a local number and the ability to make calls through his service provider.

If I was traveling solo, I might have opted to get a regular SIM with calling abilities and a local number rather than using an eSIM.

Airalo Review: Overall Thoughts

Having reliable internet access while traveling abroad is important to me, and using an Airalo eSIM is an easy and affordable way to stay connected.

The plans are cheap, the data was always fast and reliable, and it was so easy to set up. The only downside is the limited number of plans that support voice calls and come with a phone number.

From now on, Airalo will be my go-to eSIM provider. While I’ve only used it in two countries so far, it has shown itself to be a convenient, reliable way to access data while abroad. I look forward to using it again on future travels!

Airalo eSIM Review: Get a discount on Airalo!

Ready to try Airalo for yourself? Download the app and purchase your Airalo eSIM here, and use the code SYDNEY9838 for $3 off your first Airalo purchase!

Airalo eSIM for Travel

12 thoughts on “Airalo Review 2023: The Easiest eSIM for International Travel

  1. Steve Barnes says:

    Hi Sydney- I find it very strange that speed tests weren’t a component to your review. Are you choosing not to write about that for any particular reason? I would love to know the up/down speeds you were getting in France?

    • Sydney says:

      Hi Steve – that’s a great point about speed tests, I will certainly run some speed tests on my next international trip and add a section into the review! Although I didn’t run any speed tests while using Airalo in France and can’t provide specific info regarding upload/download speeds, I did not run into any issues. I primarily used the Airalo data for web browsing, social media, and navigation with the Apple Maps app. My speeds with Airalo were also much faster than my travel partner who was using his T-Mobile international data plan.

  2. Vince Loh says:

    Airalo setup is terrible and the top up plan I bought did not work yet they charge me anyway. Then I had to buy another plan to get data. The second top up forfeited the remaining data I have.I have contacted airalo to resolve but I have not heard from them.

  3. JJ says:

    Thanks. When moving one country to another, do you have to do something in order for your phone to capture the new provider (i.e. turn off and back on)?

    • Sydney says:

      Hi JJ! When I used the Eurolink Airalo eSIM on my trip to Germany and France, I didn’t have to do anything when crossing the border for the eSIM to work. When I arrived in France from Germany, it automatically switched from O2 (the German carrier) to Orange (the French carrier).

      If you don’t purchase a regional SIM and instead go for separate country eSIMs, the same may or may not be true depending on the individual eSIM. Some will activate immediately upon installation, and others will activate once it’s connected to a supported network at the destination. Also, depending on your device, there are limits on the number of eSIMs you can install. More info is given on these Airalo help articles:

      For the smoothest experience, I would recommend picking a regional eSIM that covers all of the countries you’ll be visiting so that you don’t have to worry about activating/installing multiple eSIMs. I hope this answers your question!

  4. Donna says:

    Hi Sydney! Thanks for this great review. I just ordered a new phone to take on my trip so I could have the new and improved camera! It will be locked as part of the installment plan, so I was hoping to use my old phone with the airalo sim so I could at least have data for internet access. Do you think this will work if I don’t have an existing cellular plan on the old phone?

    • Sydney says:

      Hi Donna, thank you for reading and your comment! I believe that Airalo should work on the old phone, assuming that it is not under any remaining installment plan (since you mention that it doesn’t have an existing cellular plan, I’m guessing that it’s not!). Before purchasing, I would double check Airalo’s list of compatible devices ( and also double check the phone’s settings to see if there is a carrier lock mentioned. Let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you enjoy your trip!

  5. DW says:

    Tried to use it twice in Israel, first in March 2022 and again in July 2022. The first time with an iPhone 11 and the second one with a brand new iPhone 13. In both cases it didn’t work. Customer service takes days to get back to you, and is unhelpful, and they don’t even offer refunds. In short, in my experience it was useless. Not sure if it’s a scam or just a very bad product.

    • Sydney says:

      Hmm, I’ve been able to use Airalo a few times now in different countries and have had no issues. Did you have issues with the eSIM installing on your phone or issues with the service once it was installed? If you had issues with installing the eSIM, did you check to see if there was a carrier lock on your phone? Carriers can be sneaky with the locks, especially if you opt for paying for the device via an installment plan that all the carriers seem to be pushing these days.

  6. Faizan says:

    Thanks for your great, comprehensive review. It convinced me to pick up the eSim for my upcoming European trip and also saved me 3 USD on my purchase.

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