Airalo Review | The Potential of eSIMs

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Traveling abroad presents numerous challenges. The most frustrating one is staying connected to the internet. Luckily, Airalo (iOS or Android) has solved that problem for us. We’re excited to tell you all about it in our Airalo review.

As a digital nomad family, we rely on local SIM cards to meet our data needs. Although affordable, keeping track of physical SIM cards is a pain, and roaming fees can be costly.

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eSIM technology has emerged as a more convenient and efficient option for travelers to stay connected anywhere. 

One of the top contenders in the eSIM market is Airalo. It’s been a lifesaver for us, providing service in even some of the most remote places (the outskirts of Costa Rica).

I can’t tell you how many times T-Mobile has threatened to terminate our service for using too much roaming, and that was just for the year we spent in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

We learned about Airalo in Costa Rica, and it was a game changer for us and our wallets.

I am excited to finally write this Airalo review after using the service for a year.

About Airalo

Airalo is a company that provides eSIM services for travelers, making it easier for them to access data at affordable rates.

As travelers with kids, we know the importance of staying connected while exploring the world.

Airalo has emerged as a top contender in the eSIM provider market, offering a variety of plans suitable for long-term travelers and digital nomads.

The company makes it easy for travelers to get local and regional SIM cards.

Airalo offers a user-friendly platform to purchase and manage multiple eSIM plans, eliminating the hassle of searching for a physical SIM card upon arrival at a new destination.

Related Post: The Best Age to Travel with Babies

eSIM Technology

eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a relatively new technology that enables devices to connect to cellular networks without a physical SIM card.

This innovative solution has numerous benefits, such as:

  • Easy setup: Activating an eSIM is as simple as scanning a QR code or downloading a profile, eliminating the need to insert a physical card into your device.
  • Increased flexibility: With eSIM, it’s possible to switch between mobile network providers quickly and easily, allowing you to choose the best data plans for your needs.
  • Space-saving design: eSIMs are built into the device, freeing up space for other components and making your device thinner and lighter.

In our experience, using an Airalo eSIM has proven convenient and reliable. The data coverage provided by Airalo worked well in Dubai, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Brazil.

Remember, eSIM offered by Airalo is only for data. You will not have a phone number, so you cannot receive calls or text messages.

Other communication methods applications, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Zoom, and Teams, will still work.

I’ve taken meetings on the train to Lisbon and stay updated on my work emails while exploring with my family.

As eSIM technology continues to gain traction, we believe that companies like Airalo will play an essential role in simplifying and enhancing the connectivity experience for travelers.

Airalo Services Review

Local eSIM Plans

Local eSIM plans keep travelers connected (in supported countries) without incurring high roaming charges.

Airalo’s local eSIM plans provide access to the local cell phone networks, allowing you to use data at the same speed as locals.

The plans are available for data only. You will not receive a local number, but other messaging applications that require data will work.

You can choose the plan that suits you best based on the amount of data you need and the length of your stay.

The local eSIM plans have competitive prices, with various options. You can choose daily, weekly, or monthly plans.

I am in Phnom Penh now with my family using the Cambodia plan. We are heading to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. I will buy the Asia regional plan before our flight tomorrow.

You can learn more about regional eSIM plans below.

Related Post: 9 Tips for Flying Budget Airlines with Kids

Regional eSIM Plans

Airalo offers a variety of regional eSIM plans, making it easy for travelers to access data in multiple countries within a specific region.

These plans are perfect for travelers visiting various locations. There is no need to switch between data plans or change SIM cards.

We used the Europe region plan when living in Sintra, Portugal. It was perfect because we didn’t need to switch SIM cards when we went to Spain.

The regions covered by Airalo’s eSIM plans include Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Oceania.

The duration of the different plans ranges from a week to a month, allowing us flexibility based on our travel schedule.

The data allowances also vary depending on the plan and region, providing us with options to suit our usage requirements.

I usually opt for 3 GB, which is more than enough for 30 days.

Global eSIM Plans

Airalo’s global eSIM plans are the ideal solution for travelers needing broader coverage. These plans grant access to mobile data in 84 countries, simplifying connectivity needs when traveling.

Unlike the regional plans, the global eSIM from Airalo can extend its coverage up to 180 days, making it perfect for long-term travel or frequent trips.

The availability of various data allowances and durations in the global eSIM plans allows us to choose a package that caters to our preferences and usage needs.

Airalo’s global eSIM makes it easy to stay connected while traveling.

Avoid the inconvenience of changing SIM cards, switching eSIMs, or purchasing multiple plans while traveling.

Related Post: How to Travel with Kids with spending a Fortune

Pricing and Payment Options

Airalo Pricing Review

The prices vary depending on the destination and the amount of data required. The country plans in Southeast Asia are the most affordable. I noticed while in Brazil, South American countries were slightly more expensive.

Even with some plans being more expensive than others, their eSIM plans cost less than traditional roaming plans or physical SIM cards.

Compared to the $10 per day many cell phone providers charge, using AirAlo can save you as much as $140 for a two-week vacation.

Airalo’s payment system is user-friendly and supports multiple payment options. You can easily purchase an eSIM plan for your desired destination through their website or mobile app.

The transactions are smooth and secure, ensuring your financial information remains protected. Plus, you earn Airmoney with each purchase.

As eSIM technology grows, we expect it to become more accessible and affordable.


Airmoney is reward currency in the Airalo app, similar to credit card points. It’s a great way to buy eSIMs or top-up your current plan.

It’s an award to yourself. In the last year, my wife and I have redeemed or toped up over five free eSIMs.

Airalo recently introduced tier plans with their last update. These tiers allow you to receive a greater percentage of your purchase as Airmoney.

This money applies towards a future purchase, so if you are a frequent user, you can get eSIMs for free.

Here is the new tier structure for Airmoney Rewards. (All money is listed in USD)

  • Traveler (New Users): 0 – $19.99 = 5% Airmoney Reward
  • Silver Traveler: $20 – $69.99 = 6% Airmoney Reward
  • Gold Traveler: $70 USD – $199.99 = 7% Airmoney Reward
  • Platinum Traveler: $200 and above spent = 10% Airmoney Reward

I am currently a platinum traveler. We have three phones between the two of us, so the money adds up quickly.

Even with so many phones, using Airalo with Google Fi is still cheaper than my previous T-Mobile bills.

Related Post: 21 Ways to Save Money on Family Vacation

Setup and Activation Process

Getting set up with an eSIM with Airalo is pretty straightforward. It helps the app include a clear and easy-to-understand installation guide that walks you through installation.

First, purchase an eSIM through the Airalo website or application that suits your travel destination and data requirements.

Once you purchase an eSIM, you have different options to complete the installation process. 

The easiest option is to allow the app to complete the installation process. You can also use the provided QR code and follow the activation details. 

To manually install and activate your eSIM, follow these steps:

  1. Using a compatible device, go to the settings menu and find the “SIM Manager” through the “Connections” section. (I have the Samsung S22 and S23. The instructions may be slightly different for the iPhone).
  2. Look for the option to add an eSIM.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to scan the QR code or manually enter the activation details provided by Airalo.

Remember that your device must be compatible with eSIM technology to use Airalo’s service. To utilize eSIMs through Airalo, the phone must be unlocked, meaning you cannot use a device financed through your carrier.

You need access to a stable internet connection when activating your eSIM.

I usually activate a new eSIM at a hotel (or Airbnb) the day before arriving at a new destination. Using WiFi ensures the eSIM installs without interruptions. 

It’s a great way to be connected as soon as we land at our new destination. Plus, the validity doesn’t start until I connect to the network, so I am not losing time.

You can always contact customer service for help if you have any issues. I had trouble installing an eSIM at the Lisbon airport before departing for Brazil. Customer service walked me through fixing the problem, which was my fault. 

To sum up the setup and activation process, I can confidently say it’s relatively simple and quick, as long as you have a compatible device and plan for your travel destination.

App Interface and Features

The Airalo app (iOS or Android) is easy for users to navigate. It’s easy for users to navigate through the available options and manage their eSIMs. 

The main screen displays the current eSIM plan(s), the expiration date, and your remaining data. This makes it easy to stay on top of my data usage while traveling.

They recently updated the app to send notifications when you have used 75% of your data. Everything about this app is user-friendly.

Airalo offers a range of eSIM plans for various travel needs and duration. I can quickly browse plans based on the countries and regions we plan to visit. 

An added convenience is the ability to choose between regional or global plans, depending on the extent of our travels.

There is a live chat feature available within the app for quick assistance.

If you have a question, there is also a comprehensive FAQ section that covers common queries related to eSIMs, data packages, and the app itself. 

Overall, the Airalo app offers a comprehensive and efficient solution for managing our eSIM data plans while on the go. 

With a user-friendly interface and helpful features, Airalo is a reliable option for staying connected during our travels.

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Customer Support

In my experience, Airalo customer support has been helpful. 

They have a help center where users can find answers to frequently asked questions and receive assistance with technical issues.

Although response times may vary, their customer support team is dedicated to helping users resolve any problems they may encounter.

Some customers report waiting several days for a response from customer support. Although this wasn’t my experience, it is essential for me to point it out in this Airalo review.

Airalo says they offer 24/7 chat support. You can get help when you need it, which is not usually the case. As someone in Asia, reaching customer service for help is often a challenge.

Airalo’s customer support is crucial for it’s overall success. While response times may vary, their dedication to assisting customerss and resolving issues is evident. 

This commitment is reassuring for travelers who value accessible, knowledgeable support when using Airalo’s eSIMs during their trips.

Airalo Review: Pros and Cons of Using eSIM for Travel

Throughout this review of Airalo, we’ve provided everything you need to know to determine if it’s a good fit for you.

To help you decide about Airalo, here are the pros and cons of using Airalo while traveling.


  • Ease of use: I’ve found using Airalo eSIMs extremely convenient. There’s no need to physically swap out SIM cards or spend time buying them at your destination. The Airalo app is intuitive and user-friendly. Users can purchase and manage their eSIM data plans.
  • Affordability: Airalo offers data plans at competitive prices compared to roaming charges or local SIM cards. We have saved so much money over the last year. It is more affordable than the travel plans offered by cell phone providers. 
  • Global coverage: With Airalo, we can access data in over 130 countries, providing greater flexibility and freedom when traveling. It helps us stay connected, no matter where our adventures take us.
  • No more roaming charges: Roaming charges, travel plans, and additional fees will become a thing of the past with access to data while traveling.
  • Device compatibility: Airalo eSIMs are compatible with many popular smartphones, including newer iPhones, Samsung, and Google Pixel devices. This ensures that we can use their services on most modern devices. 
  • Environmentally friendly: The oceans are full of, so anything we can do to reduce our use of plastic is a step in the right direction. There is a rumor the next round of flagship iPhones will be eSIM only.


  • Limited device support: Although Airalo is compatible with many popular smartphones, older or lesser-known devices might not support eSIM technology. Users with older or lower-tier phones are unable to utilize Airalo.
  • Connectivity issues: We’ve found that some users have reported temporary connectivity issues when trying to access data in certain countries. Some connectivity issues are understandable in remote locations.
  • Customer support: While Airalo provides customer support, some users have reported slower response times during high-traffic periods.
  • Learning curve: When using Airalo, you must get used to turning the eSIM on and off to use your regular SIM card. For some people, constantly switching SIMs and restarting their phones becomes annoying. (In my experience with my Samsung S22, switching between T-Mobile and Airalo requires me to restart my phone).

Related Post: The Best Family Vacation Destinations in Asia

Airalo Review: My Overall Experience

After using Airalo for a year, I can confidently say it is a promising option for travelers who need a reliable and affordable data plan.

The convenience of eSIM technology is a game changer. It allows for easy setup and eliminates physical SIM cards or expensive travel plans.

I am impressed with Airalo’s affordable rates and ease of use. Staying connected while traveling is crucial, especially since we are traveling with a little one.

Although we haven’t used the global plan, it’s the perfect option for digital nomads with plans to travel to different regions. Everything you need is available in the app.

The setup process takes mere minutes, and the ability to switch between data plans offers flexibility for users who travel frequently.

Airalo is our top choice for travelers needing reliable and affordable data plans.

Try Airalo on your next trip. At less than $15 for many 30-day plans, Airalo is an affordable investment for staying connected without relying on Wi-Fi.

Frequently Asked Questions About Airalo

How does Airalo work?

Airalo provides eSIMs to travelers, allowing them to access data plans from various countries at affordable rates. 

To use Airalo, visit the Airalo website or download the app (iOS or Android) on your phone, search for your destination and trip length, and choose the most suitable eSIM plan. 

You will receive a QR code to install the eSIM on your compatible device.

Which phones are compatible with Airalo?

Airalo eSIMs are compatible with a range of smartphones that support eSIM technology.

This includes several models from Apple (iPhone XR and newer), Samsung (Galaxy S20/S21 series and newer), and Google Pixel (Pixel 3 and newer) devices.

You can check the full list of compatible devices on Airalo’s help center page.

Is Airalo a reliable service?

Airalo has received positive reviews from travelers, with users praising its ease of use and affordability.

I have been using the service for over a year with no problems. We’ve used Airalo in Costa Rica, Portugal, Spain, UAE, Brazil, Cambodia, and Malaysia.

We like it so much that we plan to switch to a cheap phone carrier (to keep our US phone numbers for work) and use Airalo exclusively when we move to Asia.

However, experiences may vary depending on the destination and specific data plans.

It’s always a good idea to research the best options for you and read this full Airalo review.

Does Airalo require a Wi-Fi connection?

Airalo does not require a Wi-Fi connection to work. It is a mobile data service that uses local networks. 

However, I recommend using a reliable Wi-Fi connection to download, purchase, and complete the initial installation of your eSIM. It just gives me peace of mind, but it’s not required to use Airalo.

Once the eSIM is installed and activated, you can access mobile data without relying on Wi-Fi.

What are the benefits of using Airalo eSIM?

Using Airalo eSIMs for international travel offers several advantages, such as:

  • Convenience: eSIMs can be installed remotely without a physical SIM card.
  • Savings: Airalo offers affordable data plans compared to traditional roaming charges from cell phone providers.
  • Flexibility: Airalo provides a wide range of data plans, catering to different trip lengths and data requirements.
  • Plastic-free: Airalo is an environmentally friendly alternative to physical SIM cards.

How many eSIMs can I install?

Many eSIM-compatible devices allow multiple eSIMs to be stored. The number of total eSIMS depends on your phone’s model and your device’s storage.

I use a Samsung 22 and 23 Ultra and currently have five eSIMs stored on each phone.

When we return to the United States, I will likely delete those eSIMs for storage space.

If you are unsure, review your device’s user manual online or contact your cell phone carrier.

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