Nomad eSIM Review: Travel Like a Local

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In today’s travel world, it’s nearly impossible to travel without a phone or internet access. We use our phones for mobile boarding tickets, maps and directions, looking up restaurants, keeping in touch with our travel companions, and messaging family back home. Planning for a holiday now means planning how you’re going to use your phone abroad, but what is the best way to use your phone abroad? Well, the answer to that is eSIMs! If you haven’t heard of eSIMs, then we are about to rock your world, especially once we introduce you to Nomad eSIM.

What is an eSIM?

Before we dive into details about plans and how to use a Nomad eSIM, you may be wondering what the heck we are talking about when we say “eSIMs”. Simply put, an eSIM is a digital replacement for a physical SIM card that you can download directly onto your phone to start using instantly. ESIMs can work on their own or with other eSIMs and physical SIM cards on your phone, allowing your phone to access multiple networks all at once if needed. For example, if you purchase an eSIM data package for France, you could still use a physical SIM card linked to a phone number at the same time. 

What are the Benefits of an eSIM? 

There are several benefits of an eSIM for those traveling. For starters, travelers no longer have to seek out stores or pay inflated SIM card prices at airports just to get access to a network on their phones. All a traveler has to do is download the eSIM onto their phone prior to traveling to a country and then turn it on once they land at the airport. Then boom, it’s ready to go! 

Another advantage is that tourists don’t have to deal with their home cell phone providers and pay expensive rates to use their phone and phone plan abroad. It is particularly expensive for Americans and Canadians to use their phone plans abroad seeing as the two countries rank in the top 20 most expensive countries in the world to purchase mobile data plans, according to a 2023 report by Cable.co.uk. ESIMs are not only the more budget-friendly option, but they also take away the stress of trying to connect to public Wi-Fi networks that could potentially steal your data or have a weak internet connection.

How Does Nomad eSIM Work

Nomad eSIM has secured network access for data-only packages in over 165 countries around the world and SMS texting packages for three countries. Data packages are just as useful as phone plans, though, since they allow you access to messaging and calling applications such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and FaceTime. Like with other eSIM companies, Nomad eSIMs are only available on most devices made in 2019 or later. If you’re unsure when your phone was made, the company has provided a full list of compatible devices on their website and in the app! 

To purchase a Nomad eSIM, simply download the app on the App Store or Google Play Store. Alternatively, you could also purchase a package directly from their website. Once you’ve got the app or website open, make sure to double-check that your device is compatible. 

You can also take an extra step and use Nomad’s data calculator, which predicts how much data you’ll need in a plan based on your phone usage and trip duration. This is a fantastic feature that can save you money by making sure you don’t under- or over-purchase a data plan. 

When searching for Nomad eSIM plans, you will have two options. You can purchase a plan for a specific country or for a region. So let’s say you’re backpacking multiple countries in North America or Asia. Instead of purchasing a separate eSIM for each country you visit, you can purchase an eSIM that will work in all the countries in that region. Once you’ve narrowed down a plan, all you have to do is fill out a one-time registration to create an account, fill out the payment details, and then download the eSIM onto your device. All from the comfort of your couch, may we add! 

Nomad eSIM’s Installation and Activation Process

The process for downloading a Nomad eSIM is simple and takes less than five minutes! Unlike some other eSIM companies, there is no option for an automatic download for a Nomad eSIM, but their process is just as quick and easy. Once you’ve purchased a package, you’ll be emailed a QR code. Save a picture of the QR code or take a screenshot of it, then navigate to your phone’s SIM card managing area in settings and select the option to download/add a new cellular plan or SIM. Once here, simply scan the QR code and your new eSIM will be downloaded to your device. There is also the option to download your new eSIM manually, but this process can be a bit more tricky so we advise against it. 

Once you’ve downloaded the eSIM, then you have one more thing to do before it’s ready to use. You have to activate it! Now, the activation process varies depending on the plan. Some Nomad eSIMs require you to manually activate it while still connected to the internet. Nomad recommends you do this at home prior to leaving for the airport. You will know if you have to manually activate your eSIM in the Nomad app under “Manage”. Click the eSIM you wish to activate and if there is a manual activation, simply click it and follow the instructions. If you don’t see a manual activation button, then the eSIM will be automatically activated once you turn it on upon arrival! 

Overall, the eSIM installation and activation for Nomad is straightforward and quick enough that even the most non-techy person will be able to download and use an eSIM!

Benefits of Nomad eSIM

There seem to be more and more eSIM companies popping up, but Nomad eSIM is doing all the right things to stand out and make this new technology accessible and transparent.

Pre-Purchase Transparency and Easy Top-Ups 

As someone who has used multiple different eSIM companies for my travels, the one thing that really stands out about Nomad is their honesty. There is nothing worse than purchasing a data plan and getting barely any service or only 3G coverage when you expect 5G. Nomad gives you all this information prior to purchasing a package, such as expected speed (4G, LTE, 5G, etc) and which carrier or carriers your phone will be connected to. Another fantastic feature that isn’t available with some other eSIM companies is the ability to top up your data. Other eSIM companies require you to repurchase and re-download an eSIM every time you need more data, but Nomad allows you to top up the same eSIM so long as your plan hasn’t expired or you haven’t run out of data. This also tends to be a more budget-friendly option as you only have to purchase more data and not another eSIM. 

Variety of Affordable Packages and Payment Options

Nomad also works with you instead of against you. While other companies have only one to three plans per country, Nomad offers several more and even helps you narrow down the right package based on your usage using their data calculator. Oh, and the cherry on top? You can purchase packages in several different currencies like USD, CAD, EUR, and GBP, which is not always the case with other eSIM companies. Normally with other travel eSIMs, you pay an additional bank fee for paying in a different currency on top of purchasing a plan. There are also no hidden fees or taxes on top of the advertised prices, it’s all included and what you see is what you get. Again, there’s that transparency we love so much. Good looking out, Nomad! 

Data Sharing and Tracking

Another thumbs-up-worthy feature of Nomad that is especially beneficial for us digital nomads is the ability to data share or hotspot your phone. Many other eSIM companies do not have eSIMs that allow you to hotspot your service and use it on other devices. Nomad eSIMs do allow data sharing, which is great news for those working remotely or who want to share a data package with a friend. 

With Nomad eSIM, you can also track your data usage in the app and get notified before your eSIM expires or runs out of data. This is a fantastic feature that isn’t always included with other eSIM companies. It allows you to keep an eye on your usage and top-up when needed before your plan runs out of data. 

Rewards

On top of all these excellent features, Nomad has even taken it a step further and made it so you get rewarded for using their services. Users will get points for every purchase that they can collect and use to get discounts on future eSIM purchases. You will also get rewarded for referring friends to Nomad eSIMs, with both parties receiving discounts on their next purchases.

Disadvantages of Nomad eSIM

There are a few disadvantages to using Nomad eSIM, but most of these are common in the industry.

Limited Unlimited Plans

There are very few countries in which you can purchase an unlimited data package. After snooping around many of the country and regional data plans myself, I found the only countries that offered unlimited packages were the United Kingdom, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, and Singapore. Nomad does offer packages with plenty of data, but none of them are unlimited in a lot of other countries, which can be a disadvantage for those who use hotspots to edit videos or work on their laptop. 

No Automatic Download Option

Nomad does not offer an automatic download option when you purchase an eSIM. However, the QR scan process is just as quick and easy. So this is more of an inconvenience than a disadvantage. 

No Phone Number

Depending on the country you visit or the nature of your trip, you may be looking to get a cell phone package with a phone number. Unfortunately, Nomad eSIM does not offer this. While you can still access messaging and calling apps like WhatsApp, you won’t be able to make any regular phone calls or SMS messages with their plans (unless you also purchase an SMS plan). 

What’s the Verdict? 

Nomad eSIM has created eSIMs that are simple to download, easy to budget for your trip, and reliable. All said and done, they are your back-pocket travel buddy and easily one of the best travel eSIM providers on the market!

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