Best Prepaid eSIM for Travel to the U.S. in 2022
The cheapest? The best network quality? The fastest?
Elva Fu, UX Lead
Apr 15 · 4 min read
What is an eSIM anyway?
eSIM stands for embedded SIM and allows you to get connected anywhere, anytime, on (most) flagship devices, without ever having to visit a shop or buy a physical SIM card. It has all of the functionality of a SIM card and more, and comes directly embedded in your device by the device manufacturer. As long as your phone is compatible, you’re good to go. To see all of the iPhones that support eSIM, click here.
Every eSIM has great benefits for international travelers and tourists that make it an absolute game changer:
- Multi-SIM capability: the beauty of eSIM is that it can hold multiple carriers and plans at the same time. No more swapping SIM cards and risk losing that tiny card.
- Lower cost: eSIMs can also be much cheaper than buying a local SIM card. Because there are no physical stores required to sell eSIMs, eSIM retailers have lower operating costs and can therefore pass on those savings to you.
When you are traveling to the U.S., the last thing you want to do is pay hundreds of dollars in outrageous roaming fees or be stuck constantly searching for public WiFi as you navigate the country. Considering all factors (price, speed, reliability, and duration of trip), Nomad’s USA eSIM plans got you covered across the board.
Before you buy your first eSIM for that upcoming US trip, here are 5 factors that you need to consider.
Factor 1. Price
When buying an eSIM, you don't want to get stuck paying the same amount that you would pay for a physical SIM card. There are some eSIM carriers that launched plans for U.S. travel during the pandemic in 2020, and continue to charge upwards of $20-$30 / GB of data for U.S. travelers. To avoid paying high costs, always do your research and vet multiple options. We highly recommend using a handy tool like eSIMdb or esims.io, which will show in a neat table all the eSIMs available for the US, sorted by lowest to highest price. However, don't consider price alone. There are always reasons why some carriers have lower prices than others (less reliable, slower speeds, throttling, etc.). Always check who the partner carrier is as well - for Nomad, our US eSIMs are delivered through either AT&T’s or T-Mobile’s nationwide networks.
Factor 2. Data Plan Size
This is closely related to price, but when visiting the US whether as a tourist or a business traveler, it is important to know your data needs and plan accordingly. Most US eSIM providers offer a range of plans across 1 GB, 3 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB and the like. For Nomad’s US eSIM plans, we have 1 GB/7d plans going for only $7.00, and if you’re staying longer, we also have 3 GB options for $15 and 5 GB options for $20. The US is a large country and it’s pretty popular to travel in groups and do multi-state road trips - in this case not only will you want larger plans, you’ll also want to reap some benefits from volume buying. At Nomad we have a cool referral program - any friend you refer will get $3 off their first US eSIM purchase!
Factor 3. Speed
Sure, you can get the cheapest GB plan for a US eSIM, but that’s not worth it if it’s at a snail’s pace. Especially for a country that is as geographically spread out as the US, always ensure that you are selecting a plan that fits your speed requirements. Are you going to be streaming 4K Netflix on your East-West road trip? Or are you going to be constantly navigating with Google Maps? For these cases, you'll definitely want to find a plan that is 4G or LTE. Oftentimes, it's hard to know what speed you can expect from your eSIM as the eSIM providers don't always provide it upfront. With the Nomad app, or even on our web store, for any plan that you select you can see the expected coverage speed. We recommend downloading the app to see what speeds you can expect when traveling to not only the U.S. but over 100+ destinations across the world.
Factor 4. Reliability
Reliability is often underestimated. Nobody wants to be stranded without data service and spend hours of their trip chatting or emailing with customer support. Because eSIM is a relatively new technology, many eSIM providers have not been able to create an ideal support experience for their customers. Always check the App Store reviews before purchasing your eSIM and ensure that there are enough users who vouch for the providers support and product. On Nomad, we've received an average rating of 4.9 / 5 stars across dozens of reviews.
Factor 5. Duration of the Trip
The final piece to consider is your personal trip duration. Are you staying for a week on business? Are you a digital nomad traveling for 30 days +? The reason you'll want to consider this is to help inform how much data you will need for your trip to the US and how long you'll want your plan to last before it expires. In any case, you'll want the flexibility to have short or long-term plans with varying data amounts. Ensure that your eSIM provider offers this flexibility before deciding to purchase with them. Additionally, you'll want the ability to top-up at any time and further prolong the duration of your plan - all of Nomad's eSIM plans for the U.S. can be topped up at any time with more data. In the US, Nomad offers numerous options ranging from 7 days to 90 days of expiry, to support any traveler's needs.
All in all, as long as you make a conscious decision and do your research, there are many good options available on the market for eSIM plans in the U.S. We might be biased, but facts are facts: Nomad offers some of the lowest cost, high speed, flexible, and reliable eSIM data plans today for travelers to the U.S. Don't get stuck paying expensive roaming fees or swapping SIMs, download the Nomad app, or visit our web store, and browse the best eSIMs today!