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Can I buy an eSIM in advance before my trip?

Yes you can, and you should!

· 3 min read

If you are new to eSIMs and trying them out for the first time on your upcoming trip, you might be wondering if you can buy eSIMs in advance. The quick answer is that you can, and you should! Let's take a look at what eSIMs are, the benefits of using eSIMs for your travels, and why you should purchase eSIMs ahead of your trip, and where to buy them.

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What is an eSIM?

An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a tiny chip that is built into your device and acts as a virtual SIM card. It stores all the necessary information that a SIM card typically holds, such as your phone number and network credentials. The same way a physical SIM card is required to help you connect to the network operator, an eSIM carries out similar functions.

An advantage of eSIM technology is its ability to support multiple profiles. This means that you can have multiple phone numbers or data plans stored on your device, and switch between them as needed, without having to actually change out a physical SIM card. The beauty of the eSIM lies in its flexibility and adaptability, allowing you to switch between different networks without the need to physically swap SIM cards. This flexibility is particularly useful for frequent travelers who often find themselves in different countries with varying network options.

How Does an eSIM Work?

When you activate an eSIM, it connects your device to a specific mobile network. This can be done by scanning a QR code or entering a provided activation code. Once activated, your device can use the cellular network associated with the eSIM. The process is seamless and doesn't require any physical intervention, making it incredibly convenient for users.

The Benefits of Using eSIMs for Travels

Now that we understand what eSIMs are and how eSIMs work, let's explore the various benefits they offer, especially in the context of traveling.

International Travel Advantages

If you're a frequent traveler, you'll appreciate the advantages that eSIMs bring when it comes to staying connected internationally. Instead of relying on expensive roaming plans, getting pocket WiFi units, or purchasing local SIM cards in each country you visit, international travel eSIMs allow you to connect to local networks at affordable rates. This not only saves you money but also keeps you connected without any interruption.

Let's say you're traveling to Asia for business. With an eSIM, you can easily switch to a local carrier in each country you visit, ensuring that you have a reliable and cost-effective means of staying connected.

Furthermore, the use of eSIMs when you travel essentially eliminates the need for you to remove the traditional SIM (or eSIM) that you might be using for your primary line. This means that you can have your primary line active even as you stay connected while traveling. This can be particularly useful for individuals who need your primary line to receive OTPs or alerts to carry out transactions while abroad.

Purchase your eSIMs before your trip

eSIMs are useful and a good option for staying connected while you are on your trip, but when should you purchase an eSIM for your travels? Unlike the case of getting a local SIM where you typically only make your purchase at a store in the airport upon arrival, it is recommended to purchase an eSIM before you depart.

After buying your eSIM, you will need to go through the process of installing it in your phone and activating it before it can be used. The process of eSIM installation and activation often requires you to have a stable internet connection. If you wait to purchase or install your eSIM only upon arrival, you are subject to the availability of WiFi at the airport; so it is always a good idea to purchase and install your eSIM before your flight.

Depending on the eSIM that you purchase, some might also require you to activate your eSIM manually, while others will activate it automatically when you arrive at your destination. For those that require manual activation, a stable internet connection is also required, so it is recommended that you do it right before you fly while you are still connected to your home network.

💡Although it is recommended that you purchase your eSIMs ahead of your trip, some providers may have a window of activation after purchase; after which the eSIM would be automatically activated. Nomad's eSIMs should be activated within 60 days of purchase.

Where to Buy eSIMs for Travel

Depending on where you travel to, some local network operators also provide local eSIM options for tourists. Some allow you to buy them online, while others may require that you visit the physical counters at the airport.

Today, there are also many providers of travel eSIMs. One such provider is Nomad, which offers travel eSIMs internationally for over 165 destinations worldwide at near-local prices. With Nomad, you can easily purchase an eSIM from their website or app — simply visit the Nomad shop page, find a plan that best fits your needs, check out, and you are good to go.

Upon successful purchase, you will receive an email consisting instructions on how to install and activate your eSIM. This email will contain a QR code that you will need for the installation of your eSIM. In case you need help with the installation of your eSIM, this article will guide you through the installation process.