Go back

Unlimited plans vs Regular plans: Which one is for you?

Do you need an unlimited plan for your travels?

· 3 min read

As technology improves, data has been getting cheaper. We see telcos offering plans with huge data bundles, and at increasingly competitive prices. As we start to consume more data in our daily lives, this begs the question of how much data is enough when we travel. And pushing that question a little further, do we need unlimited data plans?

person on bus looking at phone

Unlimited Data Plans vs Regular Plans

The concept of unlimited data plans, like its name suggests, simply implies that there is no limit to how much data you can use. These plans are typically time-based, which means you will be able to use as much data as you want during the validity of that plan. There is a catch, of course — while the data volume is unlimited, these plans typically come with a fair use policy, in which the speed will be throttled after a certain volume of data has been used. (Find out more about the various data speed and what they mean.)

The alternative to unlimited data plans would be your volume plans or regular plans. These plans have a fixed amount of data allocated to it, and you will be able to use the data all the way until you finish consuming the allocated amount. Of course, these plans will also have a period of validity, and once the validity is passed, any unconsumed data will be forfeited.

Why would I want an unlimited plan?

One of the most significant advantages of an unlimited data plan is the peace of mind it offers. You can use your smartphone or mobile device without constantly worrying about exceeding your data limit and incurring additional charges. This can be especially beneficial if you plan to stream videos, use navigation apps, or engage in data-intensive activities while traveling.

With unlimited plans, you get way more certainty. While you might not always know how much data you will use, you're almost certain how long your trip duration is going to be (although of course, that could be subject to changes). With that in mind, when selecting a plan to purchase, you are likely to be more confident that whatever you are selecting is enough to keep you connected throughout your trip.

Unlimited data plans provide the flexibility to use your device without restrictions. You can research and plan your trip on the go, check emails, and stay connected on social media without the need to seek out Wi-Fi hotspots constantly.

The case against unlimited plans

One of the biggest case against unlimited plans is that they could be more expensive than regular data volume plans — which shouldn't come as a surprise, since you are technically given more data. And whether or not an unlimited plan comes up to be more worth it ultimately depends on what your actual data consumption is.

In addition, some unlimited data plans come with a caveat: they may throttle your data speed after you reach a certain usage threshold. While this may not be a problem for basic tasks like web browsing and messaging, it can be frustrating if you rely on high-speed data for activities like video streaming or online gaming.

Not sure what speed throttling mean for you and if you can live with the throttled speed for a while before the limit gets reset? This blog post about what the different speeds mean might help you.

So, do you really need an unlimited plan?

Ultimately, this depends on your typical data consumption patterns and what you intend to do on travels. If you are able to get a good estimate of how much data you use on a daily basis when you travel, or if you know that you really don't require that much data, then perhaps you don't need to get an unlimited plan.

But, if you have erratic usage patterns, you do a lot of streaming of HD videos or frequently do other activities that use up huge amounts of data, or if you simply just want a peace of mind, then we'd say to go for an unlimited plan. If you are traveling, with so many things to explore and discover, the last thing you'd want to do is to have to worry about monitoring and controlling your data usage.

Nomad's Day Plans: You Decide How Much Data You Need Per Day

Most travel eSIMs that provide unlimited data plans will have a pre-defined amount of high-speed data you can use per day before the Fair Use Policy is triggered. This high-speed data cap is usually hidden in fine print or in the product details.

Over at Nomad, we leave it to you to decide how much high speed data you need. With Nomad's Day Plans, you get to choose how much high speed data you will need per day, and for how long you might need the eSIM. This gives you greater flexibility in finding an eSIM plan that is best suited for your needs.

If you happen to exceed your data allocation for the day, you can still use the internet, at a throttled speed of 512kbps. And, fret not, your data allocation will reset at the end of each day.

Can't decide how much high speed data you need each day? For an average traveller, 1GB of high speed data per day is more than sufficient.