Skydiving – SimOptions Review: Your Travel eSIM for Europe

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Travelers have to research and plan out many aspects of their holiday in advance, from hotels and transportation to tours and activities. Cell phones have made travel immensely easier, but getting a cell phone plan abroad can be quite a challenge and pricey endeavor. However, the age of hunting down physical SIM cards or pricing out an expensive international plan from your home cell phone provider is over, all thanks to eSIMs! If you’re new to the eSIM game don’t fret, we’ll show you all the benefits of this new technology and introduce you to one of the leading eSIM providers, SimOptions. 

What is an eSIM?

Simply put, an eSIM is a digital replacement for a physical SIM card that provides mobile data, SMS messaging, and calling service to your phone. Unlike physical SIM cards, eSIMs can be purchased and downloaded directly onto your phone from a website or app, getting you service on your phone in less than 10 minutes. They can also be used on their own or in conjunction with several other eSIMs or physical SIM cards, which is perfect for those who still want to use their home phone number abroad. ESIM packages can be purchased with a validity period of anywhere from one day to 30 days. Since eSIM technology is relatively new, not all phones are equipped to use them. Generally speaking, most phones and tablets made in 2019 or later are eSIM compatible. You can find a full list of every single compatible device using SimOptions’ compatibility list. 

Benefits of an eSIM for Travelers

ESIMs have really shaken up the travel world, especially for those who are planning multi-country trips or who are living a digital nomad lifestyle like moi. Several eSIM companies, including SimOptions, offer packages by both country or region (i.e., Europe, Asia, South America), which allows convenience and flexibility that physical SIM cards just can’t offer. With a regional plan, travelers won’t have to purchase new plans or find another SIM card in every new country they visit. Another benefit of eSIMs is that users will be able to have service on their phones the moment they land in a country and can let their loved ones know they arrived safely without the need to connect to an unreliable free Wi-Fi network that could possibly steal their data. 

Those who are traveling from North America will especially love eSIMs because of their affordability. Canada and America have some of the highest mobile data plans in the world, and the price to use that same plan internationally is just as expensive. For example, those using one of Canada’s leading providers Rogers will have to pay $15 CAD a day to use their plan when traveling in Europe. But with SimOptions, travelers can purchase 15-day data packages for all of Europe for as low as $25.50 CAD! ESIMs save tourists’ wallets but also their time considering travelers won’t have to hunt down a physical SIM card, take off their phone case, store their home SIM somewhere where it won’t get lost, and insert a new SIM card. That’s all in the past and will end up being a “back in my day” story for the next generation! 

Who is SimOptions?

SimOptions has been providing affordable and easy-to-use international SIM cards for travelers since 2014, and as of 2021, they have officially entered the eSIM business. The company offers budget-friendly eSIMs with access to data, SMS messaging, and phone calls in over 200 countries – connecting travelers to reliable major telecommunications providers worldwide. Their established connections allow the company to offer a vast array of convenient and low-cost eSIMs that other SIM and eSIM companies can’t compete with. So if you’re looking to make a friend in the eSIM market, SimOptions is the company to turn to! 

What Stands Out About SimOptions 

Many eSIM companies have recently hit the market, and as someone who has used many of them, I can honestly say SimOptions has some fantastic features that stand out against rival companies. While a majority of eSIM companies only offer data packages, SimOptions has the inside track with many international cell phone providers, allowing them to offer data-only packages and data packages with local phone numbers, SMS messaging, and domestic and international calling. Data-only packages are great seeing as you can still message and call using internet-based apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. But, having a local number that you can use to call restaurants, tour companies, and hotels is especially useful as you can make reservations or contact your tour group to let them know you’re running a bit late. 

SimOptions is also very transparent when it comes to what you can expect from one of their eSIM packages. There’s nothing worse than arriving in a country and getting 3G service or no service at all, but with SimOptions, you can see exactly what kind of speed coverage you’ll be getting (i.e., LTE, 4G, 5G), who will be providing the service, future top-up options, and how the eSIM will be activated all before you purchase. SimOptions also allows you to purchase their packages in different major currencies, such as USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP, so travelers won’t have to pay an exchange fee for using a currency outside their home bank. Plus, all the prices you see are what you will be charged because there are no hidden fees or taxes! 

Best eSIM Packages for Europe From SimOptions

SimOptions has some seriously awesome packages, especially for those who are planning to backpack Europe. Not only does the company offer individual eSIMs for all 44 European countries, but they also offer eight different regional packages for Europe with reliable network providers like Orange and Bouygues Telecom. If you’re in the market for a multi-country European plan, we recommend purchasing Bouygues Telecom’s Travel Basic+ plan or Bouygues’ My European eSIM plan. 

The Travel Basic+ package costs less than $30 USD, is valid for 15 days, and includes 15 GB of data, 4G coverage in 39 European countries, and a local phone number with unlimited calls within Europe. 

The My European eSIM package is the ultimate backpacker eSIM package as it’s valid for 30 days and is currently on sale for $45 USD. It includes a French phone number with unlimited calls within Europe and 30 GB of 4G data in 39 European countries. 

Both packages allow unlimited hotspot tethering, which is especially useful for those planning to work on the road or looking to share data with friends.  

How to Use an eSIM From SimOptions

Now that you’re familiar with eSIMs and SimOptions’ packages, we are going to take you through a step-by-step guide on how to download and activate an eSIM from SimOptions. 

Step 1: Purchasing an eSIM

We highly recommend purchasing your eSIM prior to traveling so that you have it ready when you land! To purchase an eSIM from SimOptions, simply visit SimOptions‘ official website. Before you start scrolling through different plans, you’ll first want to make sure your device is compatible with eSIM technology using SimOptions’ compatibility list. Once you verify that your device can use an eSIM, start browsing through the many packages available until you find one that suits your travel needs. Be sure you are browsing eSIM packages and not SIM card packages, as the company also offers physical international SIM cards. Also, make sure to double-check what is included with the eSIM package by clicking on ‘Details’ below ‘Buy Now’, as not all packages are built the same. Some offer international calling while others only offer domestic, and some eSIM cards include top-up options while others do not support top-ups. Once you’ve narrowed it down to the best eSIM for your travel itinerary, smash that ‘Buy Now’ button! You won’t need to create an account or provide passport information. All you need to do is provide contact information, payment information, and billing information. It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3. 

Step 2: Downloading Your eSIM

Once you’ve purchased your new eSIM and the payment has gone through, you’ll be taken to a confirmation page. At the same time, a confirmation email will be sent to your email account, which has a QR code enclosed that you will use to download your new eSIM. Now it’s a bit different of an activation process depending on the smartphone that you have, but regardless, the process is so easy that even the least techy person in your family could navigate the system (yes, that means even grandma can do this)! Once you’ve received the email, make sure you have a stable internet connection to download the eSIM as the QR code and profile can only be downloaded once. 

iPhone/iPad: If you’re downloading a SimOptions eSIM on an Apple product, then you’ll want to check which iOS version you currently have installed. The September 2023 iOS update (iOS 17 and above) allows you to save the QR code as a picture in Photos. If you’re running on iOS 16 or below, then you will need to scan the QR code on another device using your phone’s camera. To download your eSIM, follow these steps:

  1. Turn your phone on Airplane Mode and connect it to a reliable Wi-Fi network.
  2. Save the QR code as a picture (if you can). If you’re running on iOS 16 or older skip this step. 
  3. Open Settings
  4. Click on Cellular or Mobile Data.
  5. Scroll and click on Add Data Plan or Add eSIM
  6. Click Use QR Code
  7. Scan the QR code on another device (if using iOS 16 or older) or click Open Photos to scan the QR code (if using iOS 17 or later). 

Android: To download a SimOptions eSIM on an Android device, you will need to have a second device to scan the QR code. Some of the names of the sections may be different depending on your device. To download your eSIM, follow these steps:

  1. Turn your phone on Airplane Mode and connect it to a reliable Wi-Fi network.
  2. Open the email with the QR code on a separate device. This could be a friend’s phone or a laptop. 
  3. Open Settings
  4. Navigate to Network & internet and then to SIMs. 
  5. Click on Download a SIM.
  6. You’ll then be prompted to scan the QR code. When the carrier’s name appears, click Download

Step3: Activating Your eSIM

Once you’ve downloaded your new eSIM, you’ll be able to see it in your settings. We recommend renaming the eSIM with the country you are visiting and the year so as not to confuse it with any other future eSIM purchases. Do not turn the eSIM on until you reach your destination. If you turn it on prior to leaving, you will not get any service and you will start the activation for the validity time period. 

Once you arrive in the country the phone plan is for, simply go into the settings area that holds your SIMs and eSIMS and turn on the eSIM. Then presto! You’ll be connected to the local network and can’t start using your phone instantly! 

What’s the Gist?

If you’re not using eSIMs yet, then you might as well be churning your own butter. Physical SIM cards are a thing of the past now, and as a tech-savvy traveler, there’s no need for you to go the extra mile to get a physical SIM card when you can purchase a SimOptions eSIM from the comfort of your own couch! In conclusion, SimOptions is helping to pave the way for best practices in the eSIM industry by offering affordable, transparent, and easy-to-use and download eSIMs. So what are you waiting for? Save yourself time and money on your next trip to Europe and beyond by browsing SimOptions eSIMs today!

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