My sister and I have traveled around Europe together a few times since she moved to Paris in 2022. Unfortunately, it’s become common for her to struggle with her phone service outside France. I have Google Fi, which gives me access to international data at no extra charge, so we usually depend on my phone when we’re together.
But she’s been forced to deal with spotty service or pay for expensive coverage from her U.S. cellphone carrier when traveling alone. Luckily, while we were in London, we learned about a convenient and low-cost way to get mobile data outside of the U.S., which has saved her money. Find out how to get the data you need without overspending on your next trip abroad.
Have a plan for how you will stay connected
It’s wise to stay well-connected when you’re in a new country. I like to know where I’m going and be able to gather information quickly if something goes wrong. You can use public wifi, but depending on it for your entire trip is unrealistic.
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Many American mobile service providers offer travel data plans, but typically, you’ll be charged an additional fee to use data abroad. Understanding what you will be charged before leaving for a trip is essential if you plan to rely on your mobile carrier for international data. Otherwise, you could quickly deplete your vacation budget.
International data access from providers like AT&T and Verizon can cost up to $10 daily. My sister is an au pair, so in her case, it’s not within her budget to spend an additional $10 each day for mobile data.
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But luckily, she now has a more affordable way to stay connected. While we were in London, my friend Vanessa told us about the app Airalo. Vanessa travels from the United States to the United Kingdom often for work, so she’s used the app successfully many times.
This eSIM app unlocks cheap mobile data
Airalo is an eSIM platform. Travelers can purchase prepaid eSIM mobile data for 200+ countries and regions. You can choose between local, global, and regional eSIMs.
To use Airalo, download the app, select the country you’re going to, purchase a prepaid eSIM, install the eSIM within your phone settings, and then activate it. Do this before you leave so you can immediately start using data when you arrive at your destination.
Airalo offers different plans of varying lengths, such as 7 days, 15 days, and 30 days. Each package provides different amounts of data, like 1 GB, 2 GB, 5GB, or 10 GB. This allows you to choose what works best for your trip.
Prices vary by package and region. A 15-day package with 2 GB of data for use in the United Kingdom is $7.50 — much cheaper than Verizon’s $10 per day travel pass. If you need more data, you can always purchase another package.
It’s important to note that Airalo works for unlocked eSIM-compatible devices. Many of the latest mobile phones are compatible. You’ll want to verify compatibility before using Airalo.
My family put Airalo to the test while in Brazil
My family recently traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for my brother’s wedding. My sister and I suggested this app to family and friends who were traveling abroad for the first time. Airalo worked well for them. Even the not-so-tech-savvy family members found it easy to use. The affordability allowed everyone to keep more money in their bank accounts.
eSIM data packages can save travelers money
Remember to consider international mobile data costs when planning your next trip abroad. Purchasing an eSIM data package before you go abroad can save you time, stress, and money. Airalo makes it easy to get international data access without the high price tag.
The money you save using a service like Airalo can give you more wiggle room in your travel budget. For additional ways to save money, check out our personal finance resources.
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