Last Updated February 23, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Picking the Best eSIM for Europe Travel

If you're searching for the best eSIM for Europe travel, you're in the right place. Ah, the good ol' days of travel, where every journey began with the quest to find a paperclip to eject your SIM card and the hope that you wouldn't end up with a phone bill that looked more like a ransom note. Fear not, fellow wanderers of the internet age! The era of digital enlightenment is upon us, and it's wearing the sleek, invisible cloak of eSIM technology.


Unlocking the Magic of eSIM: Your Key to Worry-Free Wandering in Europe

Here you are, stepping off the plane, the cool European breeze whispering tales of adventure. With a flick of your finger, your phone leaps to life, eager to embrace the local network like a long-lost friend. Gone are the days of fumbling with tiny SIM cards that seem to have a secret desire to jump into the nearest drain. Welcome to the world where staying connected is as easy as pie—scratch that, easier than pie. Have you ever tried to make pie? That stuff is hard.

So, as you prepare to embark on your epic quest across the cobblestones of history, let this little nugget of wisdom guide you. We're diving deep into the heart of eSIM land—unearthing the sweetest picks for your European escapades, slicing through the tech jargon with the precision of a French chef, and serving up a platter of pro tips that'll keep you online without selling your soul to the data gods.

Your European adventure just got an upgrade. Let's make sure you're too busy making memories to worry about connectivity conundrums.

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Disclaimer: Read before you buy an eSIM

Before you buy any eSIM make sure you understand what you are getting. I will provide as much information as I can, but I can't force you to read it. My picks are purely based on my opinion. 

Make sure you understand what you need and what you are getting before you purchase one. In this post I talk about eSIM compatibility with your phone or device. Please check if your device is compatible before purchasing any eSIM. Always do your own due diligence. 

If there are issues with your purchase, please contact the eSIM provider, they will be more than happy to help. I am not a representative of these companies.  

Choosing the Best eSIM for Europe Travel: What to Look For

Selecting the best eSIM for Europe travel can be akin to finding the perfect travel companion: it requires careful consideration of your needs, preferences, and expectations. Here are the key factors to keep in mind to ensure you're making an informed decision that will enhance your travel experience.

How to Choose the Best eSIM for Europe Travel

Coverage Across Europe

The essence of a great travel experience lies in seamless connectivity, no matter where your adventures take you. Opt for an eSIM provider that offers wide coverage across Europe, ensuring you stay connected from the bustling markets of Istanbul to the serene fjords of Norway. Verify the provider's coverage by checking their list of supported countries and partner networks to ensure your destinations are covered.

Cost-Effectiveness and Plans

Your travel budget should extend to experiences, not just connectivity. Seek out eSIM providers that offer cost-effective plans that match your data needs without breaking the bank. Compare prices and plans, looking for those that offer the best value in terms of data allowance, validity period, and any additional features like free incoming calls or texts.

Data Allowance and Speed

Whether you're sharing moments on social media or navigating new cities, your data plan needs to keep up. Assess data packages for both allowance and speed, ensuring they meet your travel needs. Consider plans that offer 4G LTE speeds for quick and reliable internet access, allowing you to research, stream, and communicate effortlessly.

Compatibility with Your Device

Not all smartphones are created equal, especially when it comes to eSIM technology. Before setting your heart on a provider, verify that your device is eSIM-compatible. This usually involves a quick check in your phone's settings or a visit to the manufacturer's website. The best eSIM for Europe travel is one that pairs perfectly with your device, allowing for a hassle-free setup and use.

Customer Support and Reliability

Even the most seasoned travellers encounter hiccups along the way. When it comes to staying connected, having reliable customer support can make all the difference. Look for eSIM providers that offer accessible, responsive customer service, preferably with multiple channels like email, chat, and phone support. Knowing that help is just a message away can provide peace of mind as you navigate the complexities of international travel.

Additional Considerations:

  • Credit Validity & Top-Up Options: Look for plans with flexible credit validity that match the length of your trip, and ensure there are straightforward top-up options if you need more data on the go.
  • Tethering/Hotspot Capabilities: If you plan to share your connection with other devices, check that your eSIM plan supports tethering or creating a hotspot.
  • Talk and Text vs. Data-Only Plans: Depending on your communication needs, you may opt for a comprehensive plan that includes talk and text or a data-only plan if you primarily use messaging apps and social media.

Choosing the best eSIM for Europe travel involves a balance of coverage, cost, data needs, device compatibility, and reliable support. By considering these factors, you'll ensure that your European adventure is as connected as it is memorable.

Top 3 eSIM Providers for Europe Travel in 2024

In the quest for the best eSIM for Europe travel, three providers stand out in 2024, each offering unique benefits tailored to different types of travellers.

Whether you're a budget-conscious explorer, a seeker of extensive coverage, or someone in need of a comprehensive plan with calls, there's an eSIM out there for you. Let's dive into the top options available, helping you stay connected as you embark on your European adventure.

First, is a comparison chart to show you the three best eSIMs for Europe travel at a glance. After the chart is a more in-depth look at these great plans.  

Comparison Chart of Top eSIM Providers

Product Feature

Airalo Eurolink

Orange Holiday eSIMs

Bouygues Telecom

Data Allowance

Variable (1GB to 10GB)

Zen: 8GB

Europe: 30GB, 

15GB or 30GB


40+ European countries

30+ European countries

48 European countries

Price (USD)

$5 to $50 (varies by data size)

Zen: $30

Europe: $50

Travel Basic+: $24
My European eSIM: $45




5G (where available)


7 to 30 days

14 days

28 days

Talk & Text


Talk & Text

Talk Only





Need more information? Keep reading below for all the key features and benefits of each of the eSIMs for Europe. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Airalo Eurolink is ideal for travellers focused on data usage with flexible plan sizes, offering a great balance between cost and coverage. It's perfect for those who primarily communicate via messaging apps and social media.
  • Orange Holiday Zen & Europe plans offer a comprehensive package with generous data allowances and the inclusion of talk and text, catering to travellers who need extensive coverage and the convenience of staying in touch through calls and SMS.
  • Bouygues Telecom Travel Basic+ and My European eSIM plans stand out for travellers who prioritize voice communication, offering significant data along with unlimited calls within Europe, ensuring you're always connected, whether it's for data or direct communication.

Airalo Eurolink eSIM: The Ultimate Budget-Savvy Travel Companion

Airalo Eurolink my top pick for the best esim for europe travel
Aciu Logo Main


Why You'll Love it

Airalo's Eurolink eSIM is a game-changer for the budget-conscious traveller heading to Europe. With flexible data plans ranging from 1GB to 10GB, you're in control of your spending without compromising on connectivity. The instant activation feature means you can start your European adventure the moment you land, with a reliable internet connection at your fingertips.

Key Features

Tailored Data Plans: Match your data usage perfectly with options suited for both quick visits and longer stays.

Effortless Setup: Activate your eSIM in a snap, and dive straight into your travel experiences.

Affordable Rates: Enjoy competitive pricing that keeps your travel budget in check.

Round-the-Clock Support: Access 24/7 customer service, ensuring help is always available when you need it.

Top Ups Availability: Yes. Very easy to set up. Top-ups can be done directly through the Airalo app or website, with just a few clicks.

Pros & Cons 

Pros: Cost-effective, user-friendly, and flexible data options.

Cons: Lacks voice and text options, focusing solely on data.

Who it's for

The digital-savvy traveler who prioritizes data and affordability. If you're all about exploring Europe while staying connected on a budget, Airalo Eurolink is your ideal pick.

Orange Holiday Europe & Zen: Your All-In-One European Connectivity Solution

Orange Holiday Europe & zen

Why You'll Love it

Orange's Holiday Europe and Zen eSIM plans offer the perfect blend of generous data allowances and the convenience of talk and text. Whether you're capturing the beauty of Europe in a vlog or navigating city streets, these plans ensure you're always connected. With coverage in over 30 countries, Orange keeps you online across the continent.

Key Features

Generous Data Allowance: Choose between 30GB and 8GB plans to suit your internet needs.

Talk & Text Capabilities: Integrated calls and texts mean you can easily stay in touch with loved ones.

Wide European Coverage: Reliable connectivity in over 30 European countries.

Simple Top-Up Process: Easily add more data or minutes to your plan as needed.

Top-Up Availability: Yes. Top-ups can be completed on the Orange website or via their app, offering a straightforward process to add more data or minutes.

Pros & Cons 

Pros: Comprehensive coverage, including talk and text, and flexible data options.

Cons: Higher price point compared to data-only plans, but offers significant value.

Who it's for

The traveller who wants seamless connectivity without compromises. If you're looking for a robust solution that covers all your communication needs, Orange Holiday Europe & Zen is the way to go.

Bouygues Telecom's Travel Basic+ & My European: Stay Connected, Keep Talking

Bouygues Telecom eSIM

Why You'll Love it

Bouygues Telecom's Travel Basic+ and My European plans are tailor-made for the traveller who values both data and unlimited conversations. Offering plans with 15GB or 30GB of data plus the luxury of unlimited calls within Europe, these options ensure you're well-equipped to share every moment and make every reservation with ease.

Key Features

Unlimited Calls: Enjoy the freedom to make as many calls as you like within Europe.

Robust Data Options: Choose the data package that best fits your travel style.

Extensive Coverage: Stay connected in popular European destinations with reliable service.

Tethering/Hotspot Enabled: Share your connection with other devices, perfect for group travel.

Top-Up Availability: Yes. Moderately easy to set up. Top-ups are available through Bouygues Telecom's website or customer service, though the process might require navigating through French-language menus for non-French speakers.

Pros & Cons 

Pros: Includes unlimited calls, substantial data packages, and supports tethering.

Cons: If you're less inclined to make calls, a data-centric plan might be more your speed.

Who it's for

The communicative traveller who loves to chat and share their experiences online. If talking and browsing are equally important to you, Bouygues Telecom's plans offer the best of both worlds.

Remember, these top three eSIMs are designed to cater to different preferences and requirements. Whether you prioritize all-in-one services or are solely focused on data connectivity, there's an eSIM option for you. others save money on their eSIM with one click!

(Be the hero!)

Additional eSIM Providers Worth Considering

While Airalo, Orange, and Bouygues Telecom lead the pack with their comprehensive eSIM options for European travel, there are other noteworthy providers that cater to specific needs and preferences. Here's a quick look at three additional eSIM services that could be the perfect fit for your travel connectivity requirements.

SimOptions Europe 5GB

Why It's Unique: SimOptions offers a straightforward, no-frills 5GB data plan that's perfect for short trips or light data users. Its simplicity and ease of use make it an attractive option for travellers looking for a hassle-free connectivity solution.

Who It's For: Ideal for the weekender or the minimalist traveller who needs just enough data to navigate, check emails, and post on social media without the need for extensive data packages or additional features.


Why It's Unique: GigSky stands out for its flexibility, offering a range of data plans that can be adjusted on the go. This adaptability makes it perfect for travellers whose plans might change or who might need to add more data unexpectedly. They even offer an in-flight eSIM for those who need a connection on-route to Europe. 

Who It's For: Perfect for the adventurous traveller who doesn't stick to a strict itinerary. If you love spontaneity and need a data plan that can keep up with your ever-changing plans, GigSky is your go-to.

O2 Go Card eSIM 10GB

Why It's Unique: The O2 Go Card eSIM comes with 10GB of data, offering a balance between affordability and ample data allowance. It's a solid choice for travellers looking for reliable connectivity backed by one of the UK's leading networks.

Who It's For: Suited for the traveller who values reliability and sufficient data for their journey. If you're planning a trip that balances urban exploration with off-the-beaten-path adventures, the O2 Go Card eSIM ensures you stay connected.

Each of these eSIM providers offers unique benefits tailored to different types of travellers. Whether you're looking for simplicity, flexibility, or reliability, there's an eSIM service out there that meets your specific European travel needs. Check out these options through our referral links for a seamless and connected travel experience.

Struggling to pick the perfect eSIM for your next Europe trip?🤔 Look no further! Our Ultimate Guide breaks down the best options out there, comparing coverage, cost, and more. Say goodbye to confusion and hello to seamless connectivity!📱🌍 #TravelSmart #eSIMGuide.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Activating Your eSIM

Getting your eSIM up and running shouldn't be a puzzle. Whether you're team iPhone or an Android aficionado, here's a straightforward guide to kickstart your seamless connectivity experience in Europe.

For iPhone Users:

  1. Ensure Compatibility: First off, make sure your iPhone supports eSIM technology. Most models from iPhone XS onwards are equipped with this feature.
  2. Access Your eSIM: Once you've purchased your eSIM plan, you'll typically receive a QR code via email. Head to the "Settings" app on your iPhone.
  3. Add eSIM: In "Settings," tap on "Cellular" > "Add Cellular Plan." Use your iPhone's camera to scan the QR code provided by your eSIM carrier.
  4. Label Your Plans: You can label your plans (e.g., "Home" and "Europe Travel") for easy management. Choose which line you want to use for data or calls and texts.
  5. Data Roaming: Make sure to turn on Data Roaming to use your eSIM abroad. Go to "Settings" > "Cellular" > "Cellular Data Options" and toggle on "Data Roaming."

For Android Users:

  1. Check Device Compatibility: Not all Android devices support eSIM, so verify that yours does. Popular models like Google Pixel 3 and newer, Samsung Galaxy S20 and newer, and others typically support eSIM.
  2. Retrieve Your eSIM: After purchasing your eSIM plan, you'll get a QR code. Open the "Settings" app on your device.
  3. Add eSIM: Navigate to "Connections" > "SIM Card Manager" > "Add Mobile Plan" and select "Add Using QR Code." Scan the QR code with your device's camera.
  4. Configure Your eSIM: Once scanned, follow the on-screen instructions to configure your eSIM. You can name your eSIM profile for easy identification.
  5. Enable Data Roaming: To use your eSIM while traveling in Europe, activate Data Roaming. Go to "Settings" > "Connections" > "Mobile Networks" and turn on "Data Roaming."

Tips for a Smooth eSIM Activation:

  • Wi-Fi Connection: Ensure you're connected to Wi-Fi during the setup process, as you'll need internet access to activate your eSIM.
  • Restart Your Device: If your eSIM doesn't seem to work right away, a simple restart can often help the phone recognize the new plan.
  • Carrier Lock: Make sure your phone isn't carrier-locked, as this can prevent eSIM activation. If you bought your phone from a carrier, you might need to contact them for unlocking services.
  • Customer Support: If you encounter any issues during activation, don't hesitate to reach out to your eSIM provider's customer support. They're there to help make your transition as smooth as possible.

By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to enjoying hassle-free connectivity on your European travels, letting you focus on the adventure at hand rather than worrying about staying connected.

eSIM vs. Traditional SIM Cards: Making the Right Choice

In the digital age, staying connected while travelling has never been more crucial. As you plan your European adventure, one key decision stands out: should you go for an eSIM or stick with the traditional SIM card? Understanding the pros and cons of each can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your travel needs and preferences.

eSIM: The Future of Connectivity


  • Convenience: Say goodbye to swapping physical SIM cards. With an eSIM, switching between carriers and plans is done digitally, offering a seamless transition from one country to another.
  • Space-Saving: eSIMs eliminate the need for a physical SIM card, freeing up space in your device for dual SIM functionality. This means you can keep your home number active while using a local data plan.
  • Instant Activation: Purchasing and activating eSIM plans can often be done in minutes, ensuring you're connected as soon as you land.


  • Device Compatibility: Not all smartphones support eSIM technology yet, so you'll need to check if your device is compatible.
  • Initial Connectivity Hiccups: Sometimes, eSIMs may not connect immediately. This minor issue is typically resolved with a quick call to customer support, ensuring smooth connectivity thereafter.


eSIMs are the cool kids on the travel tech block, making traditional SIM cards look a bit last season. They're all about making your life easier: no more fumbling with tiny cards or stressing over lost SIM tools.

Plus, they're kinder to the planet, which is always a win. Sure, you might need to flirt with your settings a bit to get things going, but it's a small price to pay for being effortlessly connected.

And with the latest phones ditching the SIM slot altogether, it's clear that eSIMs are not just the future—they're the here and now. Ready to join the eSIM revolution? Your passport to hassle-free travel awaits!

Traditional SIM Cards: The Tried and True Method


  • Universal Compatibility: Almost all mobile phones can accommodate traditional SIM cards, ensuring you can stay connected regardless of your device's age or model.
  • Widely Available: Traditional SIM cards are readily available at airports, kiosks, and stores worldwide, making it easy to find a local option upon arrival.


  • Physical Swapping: Changing countries means swapping SIM cards, which can be cumbersome and increases the risk of losing your tiny SIM card or the even tinier ejector tool a.k.a. a paperclip. 
  • Single SIM Limitation: Most devices have a single SIM slot, forcing you to choose between your home number and a local SIM, which can be inconvenient for travellers needing both.
  • Reloading Challenges: Reloading data or credit on a traditional SIM card can sometimes be a hassle, especially if you're in a location where language barriers make it difficult to purchase top-ups from local vendors.
  • Pre-Arrival Preparation Required: Without ordering a physical SIM in advance, you might find yourself without connectivity upon arrival, scrambling to find a local SIM card provider, which can be a significant inconvenience after a long journey.


Traditional SIM cards are like the trusty old flip-phone of travel connectivity— not flashy, but they get the job done. They've been keeping travellers connected since the days when "roaming" meant wandering too far from your campsite.

Sure, you might have to play a mini-game of "find the SIM card slot" with each new phone, and occasionally engage in the international sign language for "I need a top-up" at local shops. But there's something reassuring about their simplicity and the way they just... work.

So, if you're the kind of traveller who appreciates the classics and doesn't mind a bit of SIM card gymnastics, the traditional SIM card is your loyal travel buddy, ready to keep you connected from the bustling streets of Paris to the serene hills of Tuscany.

Dual SIM Advantage: Combining eSIM and Traditional SIM

Leveraging both eSIM and traditional SIM slots offers unmatched flexibility for travellers. This combination allows you to maintain your home number for calls and texts while enjoying local data rates through your eSIM. It's the perfect balance, ensuring you're always connected affordably and conveniently.

With newer phones moving towards eSIM-only models, the blend of eSIM and traditional SIM slots in current devices is a powerful tool for travellers. This dual approach not only optimizes costs but also keeps you seamlessly connected, making every journey smoother.

Ready to embrace the eSIM revolution with the added bonus of dual SIM capabilities? Your passport to hassle-free travel just got an upgrade.

When we travel, we carry all our trip information like flights, accommodations and skip-the-line tickets for activities on our mobile phones. We use our mobile

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Faq About eSIMs for Travel in Europe

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM (Embedded Subscriber Identity Module) is a digital version of a traditional SIM card, allowing you to activate a mobile network plan without the need for a physical SIM. It's built into your device and can be easily managed through your phone's settings.

Can I use my eSIM in multiple countries?

Yes, eSIMs are perfect for international travellers. You can purchase global plans or country-specific plans directly on your device, making it easy to stay connected wherever you go.

How do I activate my eSIM for international travel?

Activating your eSIM is simple:

  1. Check that your device supports eSIM technology.
  2. Choose an eSIM plan from a provider and purchase it.
  3. Scan the provided QR code with your device to activate the plan.
  4. Follow any additional instructions on your device to complete the setup.

Are eSIMs better for travel than traditional SIM cards?

For travellers seeking convenience and flexibility, eSIMs offer significant advantages. They eliminate the need to physically swap SIM cards when changing networks or countries, streamline the process of switching between plans, and reduce the environmental impact associated with plastic SIM cards.

Do all smartphones support eSIM?

Not all smartphones are eSIM-compatible. This technology is typically found in newer models. Before planning to use an eSIM for travel, ensure your device is compatible by checking its specifications.

Can I keep my existing phone number on an eSIM?

Many carriers allow you to port your current number to an eSIM, though the process can vary. It's best to consult with your provider for the specific steps and compatibility.

What should I do if my eSIM doesn't connect upon arrival?

If you encounter connectivity issues, try restarting your device or toggling airplane mode on and off. If the problem persists, reaching out to your eSIM provider's customer support is often the quickest way to resolve the issue. They're equipped to troubleshoot and get you connected swiftly.

Final Thoughts: Embracing the Future of Travel Connectivity

Now that you've explored your options, selecting the best eSIM for Europe travel should feel like a breeze. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of global travel, the shift towards digital solutions like eSIM technology marks a significant leap forward.

eSIMs not only streamline the way we connect across borders but also embody the future of travel connectivity. With their unparalleled convenience, eco-friendly nature, and the ability to keep us seamlessly connected in over 190 countries, eSIMs are quickly becoming the preferred choice for modern travellers.

For those contemplating the switch, embracing eSIM technology means saying goodbye to the days of juggling multiple physical SIM cards and the hassle of finding compatible options in each new country. Whether you're a frequent flyer, a digital nomad, or a casual tourist, the eSIM offers a simplified, efficient, and more sustainable way to stay connected, ensuring that your travel experiences are as smooth as they are memorable.

As technology continues to advance, the adoption of eSIMs represents not just a step towards more convenient travel but a stride into the future of global communication. By choosing eSIMs, you're not only optimizing your travel experience but also joining the forefront of a digital revolution in connectivity.

Support Ačiū

If you've found value in this guide and are excited about making your travel experiences smoother with eSIM technology, consider supporting us. By using our affiliate links to purchase your eSIM plans, you're not only embracing the future of travel connectivity but also helping us continue to provide insightful, up-to-date content for travellers like you. Every click, every purchase, and every bit of support goes a long way in helping us share the wonders of eSIM technology with the world.

And if you're feeling extra generous, why not buy us a coffee? Your support fuels our passion for travel and technology (and awake writing), enabling us to bring you the latest and greatest in travel tips, tech trends, and connectivity solutions. Together, let's make every journey unforgettable.

Thank you for considering our content worthy of your support. Here's to many more adventures, seamlessly connected by the magic of eSIM technology!

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About the author

Welcome to my website Ačiū, the home of practical travel tips for exploring Europe on a budget. As a travel enthusiast who's experienced the highs and lows of globetrotting, I'm committed to providing trustworthy and up-to-date information that won't break the bank or leave you stranded.

From my personal experiences to extensive research, I've got you covered with insider tips on saving money, hidden gems, must-see attractions, and everything in between. You won't find any fluff or fake Instagram-worthy photos here, just real advice for real travellers.

So if you're ready to embark on a European adventure that won't drain your wallet or leave you feeling stranded, stick around and let's explore together. Because life's too short to miss out on the magic of travel.


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