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Is AT&T International Day Pass ever worth it?

We compare the AT&T IDP with a Travel eSIM

· 4 min read

In an era where staying connected is more crucial than ever, the question of affordable and reliable international roaming services is a pressing concern for travelers. If you are on AT&T and have an upcoming trip, you might be considering AT&T's International Day Pass as a potential solution for those looking to maintain seamless connectivity while abroad. But is it truly worth it? Let's delve into the details to help you make an informed decision.


What is AT&T International Day Pass?

AT&T International Day Pass is a service that allows AT&T customers to use their domestic plan's talk, text, and data allowances while traveling internationally. Instead of incurring exorbitant roaming charges, users pay a fixed daily fee to access their regular plan features.

How much is AT&T International Day Pass?

AT&T International Day Pass costs $10 per day, and only for days that you use the international day pass. That means, if you will be traveling for 3 days and you use your data everyday of the 3 days, you will incur a total of $30 for your charges.

However, AT&T also caps the cost at 10 days per line per bill — that also means that you will incur a maximum of $100 per month for the international day pass, regardless how many days you will be traveling.

This also means that if you will be traveling for more than 10 days, your per-day cost actually starts to decrease. And if you will be traveling the entire month (assuming a 30-day month), your per-day roaming costs are actually just $3.33 per-day, which really isn't all too bad!

Why would you want to get the AT&T International Day Pass?

Although roaming is known to be expensive, there are some reasons why you might still want to choose to roam and use the international day pass over other options like getting a local SIM or travel eSIM.

Some of these reasons may include:

Furthermore, while the cost of roaming of $10 per day does sound quite intimidating, if you will be traveling for longer periods of time (more than 10 days per month, the average per-day cost of the international pass isn't all that bad.

Travel eSIMs as a cheaper alternative to staying connected

Travel eSIMs are often a cheaper alternative to staying connected, while allowing you to still enjoy the benefits of activating the AT&T International Day Pass.

Keeping your primary line active

You will be able to use your travel eSIM for your data and connectivity needs, without having to deactivate your primary line.

But, whether you can still send or receive SMSes and make calls depends on your subscription with the telco. Additional charges may be incurred on your home plan if you will be making calls or sending messages. However, these charges can be easily avoided by making calls or sending messages via apps like iMessage or WhatsApp.

And, in case you were worried — using a travel eSIM allows you to still retain your primary number on your messaging apps, so you do not need to update all your contacts about any change in phone numbers.

Use a single regional eSIM to stay connected across multiple countries

If your primary motivation to getting an international day pass is because you will be traveling across multiple countries and do not want to get multiple SIM cards, you can consider getting a regional eSIM to stay connected.

A regional eSIM allows you to seamlessly stay connected as you explore various countries, all using a single eSIM. That means that you just need to install the eSIM once, and that eSIM can be used in all destinations that are included in the eSIM plan. As you traverse across borders, the eSIM will automatically connect to the local network.

That means that you will just need to install the eSIM once, and you don't have to worry about having to get multiple SIM cards and changing them out when you travel.

What if my phone is carrier locked?

Unfortunately, if your phone is carrier locked, your options are really limited. In such cases, you will not be able to use a travel eSIM.

When will the AT&T International Day Pass be more worth it than a travel eSIM?

Most of the time, getting a travel eSIM will be cheaper than using the AT&T International Day Pass. However, there are times when you might still prefer to get an AT&T International Day Pass:

  • If you are traveling to destinations in multiple regions: While most providers of eSIMs offer global plans that span across regions, the global plans are often rather expensive. It might sometimes be more cost-effective to get multiple regional or country eSIMs rather than a single global plan. But, if you value convenience and do not want to go through the different combinations to find the most cost-effective option, then activating the day pass might be a better option.
  • If you foresee making a lot of calls or sending SMSes: If you will be calling home a lot, and you won't be using your social or messaging apps for those calls, then perhaps getting the International Day Pass would be more worth it. The International Day Pass allows you to make international calls and send messages, drawing down from your base plan allowance without additional charges.
  • If you are very data-hungry: If you are someone who consumes a lot of data, getting travel eSIMs could add up to be more expensive. For example, if you expect to use more than 100GB of data over a month-long trip, getting travel eSIMs could be more expensive (assuming your base plan already includes more than 100GB of data). However, for the average traveler, this is unlikely to be the case.

Get a Nomad eSIM for your next trip

For most travelers, getting a travel eSIM would be more cost-effective than to use the international day pass.

Nomad offers data plans in over 165 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.50/GB.

If you are unsure about how much data you need for your trip, Nomad also has a Data Calculator that can help you find the plan that is most suitable for you. Also check out our blog post on data-saving tips when traveling to keep your data usage in check when traveling.