SIM Card for Europe – Options To Cover Your Whole Trip

When you’re thinking about getting a local SIM card to get cell coverage on your European trip you should come to the realization that you really have two options to choose from. Either you can get a SIM card for every country that you travel to, or you get one regional SIM card for Europe that’s going to have you covered for the duration of your trip. This decision isn’t as cut and dry as it may seem. Particularly when we take into account the existence of eSIM technology. A lot of people shied away from the local SIM card option for their travelers because of the dreaded SIM switch. These days you don’t have to deal with actually removing a physical SIM card to add another.  

Since you don’t have to remove any cards to be able to get coverage it can start to make more sense to go ahead and purchase coverage for each of the countries that you’re going to travel to. Particularly if you’re going to be getting coverage from an eSIM market place where you can get these eSIMs all in one roof, and without having to hold an awkward conversation with a store clerk in a language that is not your own to be able to get a SIM card for Europe. These are all pros and cons that you have to account for to figure out what the best deal for you might be. There are people out there that are certainly willing to pay a little extra for equal or even less coverage, but to be able to avoid dealing with local merchants. 

SIM Card For Europe eSIM or Regular SIM Card

We are going to be looking at two main options for this article. On the eSIM front we have the Eurolink eSIM card that you can get from the Airalo marketplace. On the regular SIM card front we’re going to be looking at the Holiday Zen Europe SIM card option from Orange. Right off the bat we can talk about the differences that come with having a regular SIM card versus an eSIM. With a regular SIM card you’re going to have to go through the trouble of actually inserting the SIM card into the phone. In some cases if you don’t have a dual SIM phone you need to remove your regular SIM card, and that could mean that you won’t be getting calls or texts on that number regardless of what you do. 

With these things in mind we would have to say that the first round goes to the eSIM option. At the end of the day it’s just easier to access a site or an app and buy coverage, and then be able to download everything onto your device to be able to get coverage. Even with a dual SIM phone you still need to be able to insert the SIM card into the phone. While it may not be the hardest thing you ever have to do in your life it is a bit more work. Remember that in both instances you’re going to be required to have an unlocked phone to ensure that the new SIM card can work.     

Costs Of Both Options 

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This is where things are really going to get serious, and you may even end up questioning how much work inserting a regular SIM card into your phone actually takes. The good thing about eurolink besides the fact that you don’t have to insert anything into your phone is the fact that you can get coverage for as low as 5 dollars. 5 dollars is going to get you 1GB of coverage with a credit validity of 7 days. 39 of the main European countries that people tend to visit are going to be part of the region that you’ll have coverage in. Of course, you can upgrade the amount of coverage that you get. For 20 dollars for example you can get 5GB of coverage with a credit validity of 30 days.

With a regular SIM card you may not have the low cost options. In the sense that you almost have to buy more data. The thing is though, you’ll be able to get way more data than you get with the eSIM option at the same price. With the Holiday Zen card from Orange for 30 dollars you get 15GB as well as unlimited calls and texts. One of the big issues though with this particular SIM card is that it only has a credit validity of 15 days. That means that if you plan to spend more than that abroad you’d have to spend up to 60 dollars in coverage. For data that you maybe won’t even spend. We can’t really pick a clear winner in this realm, it really depends on your cell usage, and the time that you’re going to be spending abroad.       

Getting A SIM Card or eSIM For Every Country That You Travel To 

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The two options that we’ve talked about are regional SIM cards. This means that you can buy one SIM card or eSIM, and get coverage for the eternity of the trip. Just make sure that the countries that you plan on visiting happen to be on the list of countries that are covered by the regional eSIM card. As we previously mentioned in the case of the SIM card for Europe options that we’ve talked about, the list pretty much includes the most visited countries in the region. You could be in for a surprise though if you don’t do your due diligence. In any case, the other option that you’re going to have is to buy coverage in each individual country that you’re going to visit.   

With getting a SIM card or eSIM for every new country that you visit you’re most likely going to be able to access better coverage across the board. This is because you’re going to be directly connected to a local network. With a regional SIM card that may not necessarily be the case, what that can bring is slower coverage speeds, and even certain coverage issues. It really depends on how the regional SIM card that you buy is providing the coverage. Without a doubt getting an eSIM card for each country that you travel to is going to be easier than doing so with a regular SIM card. Just because you’d have to keep track of the different SIM cards that you pick up along the way.  

What Type of Coverage Can You Truly Expect To Get?

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This is something that we kind of touched upon in the previous paragraph. One of the issues that you may have with a regional SIM card or eSIM for that matter is that the card’s network may not be based in the country that you’re traveling to. Even though that regional SIM  card is going to be able to provide coverage it may not be as reliable as a SIM card that is connected directly to the local network of the country that you’re in. When you’re connected to a local network directly you can essentially expect the same type of coverage that locals get. There could be a situation where as a prepaid plan user you only have access to 4G speeds, and not the 5G network. You should still be getting coverage in the same spots. 

If you’re worried about the quality of the coverage that you can obtain your best bet may very well be to get a new SIM card for every country that you visit. As we’ve mentioned this is something that’s going to be easier to do through an eSIM marketplace like Airalo. You could just add more credit to your account for any country that you visit for as low as five dollars. If you’re good with data management , those couple of GB of data that you purchase per country could be enough to get you through the number of days that you’ll be visiting. You’ll have the advantage that you’ll for the most part have better coverage than what you get from a regional SIM card. This is not an exact science though to be honest.          

Things You Need To Account For Before You Travel 

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Regardless of the type of option that you chose as your SIM card for Europe there are a couple of things that you’re going to want to keep in mind before you travel. For one, you’re going to want to make sure that you have an unlocked phone. This is key even if you want to use an eSIM as your SIM card for Europe. While sometimes locked phones may accept other eSIMs through some clever programing techniques it’s just easier to ensure that your phone is unlocked so you don’t have to deal with any issue on that front. With a regular SIM card, this is going to be a must. If the phone is not unlocked you are not going to be able to use it when you go abroad. It’s as simple as that. 

Another thing that you really want to account for before you travel to Europe is how you’re going to be dealing with your phone charger. Remember that the electric current is different in Europe so it’s always a good idea to get a good voltage converter to be able to take your regular charger abroad. A cheap voltage converter could cause damages to your charger. In some cases you may even be better off buying a local non brand name charger to charge your phone on these trips rather than putting your regular charger on a cheap voltage converter.   

What Happens When You Get Back Home    

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The consequences if you will of your Eurotrip may be felt when you get back home. What ultimately happens could definitely change depending on the path that you chose to get coverage abroad. For example if you chose to stick with your regular plan what will most likely happen when you get back home is that you’re going to have to contend with a nasty bill. If you chose to get a local SIM card then you can just switch the card back to your regular SIM card. Everything should be back to normal, but you may have experienced some data loss in the SIM switch. The good thing about this is that data storage is not an important function of the SIM card anymore. You may lose some contacts that you had saved on your phone.  

If you chose an eSIM to be your SIM card for Europe then you really won’t have to contend with any issues when you get back home. Just make sure that you activate your regular SIM card that you always use locally as your main service provider. You may want to delete some of the eSIM options that you have saved on your phone so that you don’t get confused. Other than that, there’s really not going to be much of an issue to contend with. Really when you look at it that way that’s another point in favor of using an eSIM as your preferred SIM card for Europe coverage option. 

SIM Card For Europe Conclusion 

We essentially only looked into two main options. It’s true that you can get a SIM card for Europe in stores, particularly convenient stores in any of the countries that you visit. The prices for coverage could vary. The biggest benefit though that you’re going to have in choosing one of the options that we’ve talked about in this article is that you can buy coverage before you leave for your trip. 

This is going to allow you to have phone coverage from the moment that you step off the plane. For us this is something that’s extremely valuable because you won’t have to deal with buying a SIM card in a language that you don’t speak. You’re going to be able to order an uber from the moment that you get off the plane. In that sense it’s going to allow you to avoid some of the main tourist scams that we typically see.