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Airalo eSIM Review: Best Mobile Data For International Travel?

Jarrod Suda

Guide

Jonny Pease

Reviewer

Jan 26, 2024
Advertiser disclosure

Landing in your travel destination abroad without any reliable data is always daunting. There are a few ways to access data overseas: buy a physical SIM card at a local store, bring along a physical wi-fi hotspot device, or add an expensive international option to your main phone plan back home.

However, eSIM cards have recently become one of the most popular methods for accessing cheap mobile data for international travel. They give your smartphone instant connectivity to local networks without the need for physical SIM cards.

To find the best eSIM for trips abroad, we tested the Airalo app, the world’s first eSIM store. In our hands-on review, you’ll learn about Airalo’s eSIM pricing, how easy their eSIMs are to activate, network coverage, and why we highly recommend it as the best app on the market to get eSIMs for international travel. 

What Monito Likes About Airalo

  • Activating our eSIM from the Airalo app took only 2 minutes.
  • They have eSIMs for just about every country in the world.
  • It’s very easy to navigate to filter for the best eSIM for your trip.
  • We were able to reach a human agent at customer support.

What Monito Dislikes About Airalo

  • Setup can be complicated for first-timers (watch our how-to video).
  • Airmoney can be used for future purchases, but is not true cashback.
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Airalo offers eSIM plans for over 200 countries, multi-country regions (like the EU), or worldwide access. Easily filter and choose eSIMs that fit your data needs, trip duration, call & text usage, and price range.

Is Airalo Legit?

Yes, Airalo is a legit company that offers you access to digital SIM cards from 200+ countries and regions around the world. Founded in 2019, Airalo has served over 5 million customers and counting. 

What is Airalo?

Airalo is known as the world's first online store specifically for eSIMs, which are digital SIM cards. You can access their services through their sleek app or website. Airalo offers data plans for over 200 countries, which you can install digitally. This makes it easier for you to get mobile data when traveling abroad without the need for a physical SIM card.

Essentially, Airalo eSIMs act as an intermediary in the mobile communication world. They connect customers with various mobile network providers around the globe (like Verizon, Vodafone, Telefónica, Orange, etc). 

Is Airalo a Trustworthy Company?

Yes, Airalo allows easy access to delete your account and associated data within the app or on the website. As a customer of Airalo, you are also entitled to request a refund or an eSIM replacement if you have technical issues with installing or using the eSIM that are attributable to Airalo.

Having both of these options gave us peace of mind — and gave us confidence that Airalo keeps their customers’ needs at the center of their operations.

How Good Is Airalo's Service Quality?

Airalo’s service is instant, easy to use, and affordable. Once you download the app, it’s easy to choose your travel destination and desired eSIM data package. After checkout, just install the eSIM onto your phone and activate it when you’re ready.

Since Airalo only offers prepaid SIMs, you’ll never get hit with hidden fees or roaming charges either.

Airalo's eSIM Services

When you shop on Airalo’s marketplace, you’ll find options for country-specific eSIMs, regional eSIMs, and worldwide eSIMs.

Airalo.com local, regional, and global eSIMs

The country-specific eSIMs will connect you to network operators that are local to one country only. One benefit to country-specific eSIMs is that some local eSIMs will give you a phone number to call and text (regional and worldwide eSIMs usually just give you access to data-only plans).

Regional eSIMs cover multiple countries that often share network operators. Orange, for example, is a French telecom network but covers many countries in Europe and several countries in northern, western, and central Africa. Worldwide eSIMs are pretty incredible. The ones available on Airalo can access multiple local networks across 127 countries around the world.

Airalo Compatability

The app works on eSIM compatible smartphones made by all major phone brands like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Huawei. 

However, you'll need an unlocked phone to use an eSIM. We have a few friends who own new phones issued in China and Hong Kong, which were locked, and thus not eSIM compatible.

Read our full list of eSIM compatible devices.

How Good Is Airalo's Coverage?

eSIMs that you’ll find on Airalo and physical SIM cards should both provide the same level of network connectivity. This is because both kinds of SIMs rely on mobile network operators like Verizon, Vodafone, and Orange. These companies own wireless network infrastructure, such as cell towers and cable networks.

The speed of your mobile data will depend less on Airalo itself, and more on your mobile network operator, your data plan, and the network technology (like 4G or 5G). 

When we bought a plan with Airalo, we tested an eSIM for France. The eSIM supported connection to three different French operators: Orange, Bouygues, and SFR. While roaming for data, our phone automatically selected and connected to the strongest network available out of the three options.

Airalo app eSIM data

How Much Does Airalo Cost?

Airalo offers competitive prices when compared to both eSIMs and physical SIMs on the market.

Airalo vs Physical SIMs:

We searched for physical prepaid SIM cards for the UK and found the following:

  • Mewfi: 30-day SIM card with 10GB of data plus unlimited minutes and text for $16.79.
  • Airalo: 30-day eSIM with 10GB for $22.50.

If you don’t want to worry about carrying around a physical SIM card, then the extra +$5 for the Airalo eSIM may be worth it to you. Plus, you won’t have to worry about shipping times and delivery fees. However, the Airalo eSIM we're comparing here does not come with call or text.

Airalo vs Other eSIMs:

Airalo offered cheaper prices across eSIM categories while compared to major competitor Holafly. The main advantage of Holafly is that every plan comes with unlimited data, while Airalo's plans are limited to 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GB plans.

Here's an example:

  • Holafly: 15-day unlimited data plan in the UK for $51.00.
  • Airalo: 15-day 2GB data plan in the UK for $7.50.

Airalo Mobile Data Prices

Airalo's prices vary based on plan duration, data size, inclusion of calls and texts, and the number of countries covered. In the chart below, we list prices for some of the most popular countries for travel eSIMs:

For your reference, a monthly 2GB data plan would be enough to browse the web for around 80 minutes a day, or use social media apps for around 40 minutes per day (but probably not enough for those who often stream movies or play video games).

Coverage

Valid for 7 days

United States

$4.50

United Kingdom

$5.00

Turkey

$4.50

United Arab Emirates

$5.00

France

$4.50

Japan

$4.50

Italy

$4.50

Spain

$4.50

India

$4.50

Prices quoted: 23 Jan 2024

Save With Airalo Loyalty Program

The Airalo Loyalty Program offers rewards in the form of Airmoney for every eSIM purchase, with different tiers providing increased benefits. If you are a frequent traveler, the program is a solid reason to choose Airalo:

  • Traveler: Earn 5% Airmoney on purchases up to $19.99.
  • Silver Traveler: Reach this level by spending $20, earn 6% Airmoney.
  • Gold Traveler: Attain this tier by spending $70, earn 7% Airmoney.
  • Platinum Traveler: The top level, reached by spending $200, provides 10% Airmoney.

We liked that the Airmoney was automatically credited to our account. Just take note that Airmoney can only be used to make future purchases, and cannot be redeemed as cash. Also, Airmoney will not be awarded on purchases using discount coupons or referral codes.

Airalo Customer Satisfaction

Airalo boasts excellent ratings on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. On the App Store, Airalo has a 4.7 star rating from a total of 32,600 customer reviews. On Google Play, Airalo has a 4.3 star rating from a total of 34,300 reviews.

Positive Airalo Reviews

  • Easy setup with clear in-app instructions.
  • Digital activation enhances travel convenience.
  • Eliminates the hassle of dealing with physical SIM cards.
  • Enables travel without altering main phone plans.

Negative Airalo Reviews

  • Experienced no or poor connection while abroad.
  • Connection was sometimes strong but then dropped unexpectedly.
  • Customer support can be difficult to reach.

Monito's Experience Using Airalo

Our test involved purchasing a 2GB eSIM for France at $7.50. We loved the in-app process. We could have activated the eSIM by manually copying and pasting text, or scanning a QR code. But the Airalo app had a "direct method" option, which we used to instantly download the eSIM in 2 minutes with the tap of a few buttons.

Airalo app direct install data plan

Airalo also did not put us "on the clock" for our plan until our phone actually connected to one of the specified local networks (Orange in France, AT&T in the US, etc). Your plan will only start when you arrive in the specified country, alleviating our concerns about premature usage. Overall, the service was straightforward, easy to use, and very affordable.

In our experience, we were able to move from the automated chat bot to a human support agent in a live chat in 18 minutes, which we thought was quite reasonable.

Pros and Cons of the Airalo App

Here are a few things we liked and didn't like about Airalo eSIMs and the Airalo app:

Airalo eSIMs Advantages

  • Supports tethering (aka hotspot) functionality;
  • Prepaid system eliminates hidden fees and roaming charges;
  • Easy to compare plans and purchase top-ups;
  • Connects to reputable and reliable global mobile network providers;
  • Plan activation only begins upon connecting to a local network.

Airalo eSIMs Drawbacks

  • Potentially costlier compared to some local physical SIM cards;
  • Setup process may be complex for first-time users;
  • Limited options for plans that include call and text.

Bottom Line: Airalo eSIM Review Summary

We highly recommend Airalo as a stand out option for digitally accessing mobile data internationally (for travelers with eSIM compatible devices). With Airalo, you can easily purchase mobile data for almost any country around the world. It's almost always cheaper that international roaming plans offered by your home carrier and it saves time compared to buying a physical SIM card after arriving at your destination.

While Airalo may not always be as cheap as purchasing a local SIM card, we think the digital convenience and time saved make it worth the extra few bucks. For longer journeys involving multiple destinations, Airalo's regional or global plans are great to consider too.

We think eSIM technology is only going to continue to gain in popularity in the years to come. As this trend picks up, we highly recommend Airalo as the go-to choice for international travelers looking for an eSIM store and for a user-friendly app.

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Considering Airalo? Take advantage of the following special offers until the 31st of December 2024:

  • New customer? Use the code MONITO15 to claim a 15% discount on all Airalo eSIMs. Ts & Cs apply.
  • Returning customer? Use the code MONITO10 to claim a 10% discount on all Airalo eSIMs.

Go to Airalo now to get started! ✨

Compare eSIMs plans for more than 164 countries for your next trip:

  • Where are you going?
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    0.1 GB

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    163 countries
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    Data only
    7 days
    163 countries

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