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Should I remove my primary eSIM when I travel?

No! You can turn it off if you want to, but don't remove it.

· 3 min read

Getting a travel eSIM for your trip, and wondering if you should remove your primary eSIM? No, you don’t - and you shouldn’t. Let’s take a look at why, and find out how you can keep your primary eSIM in your phone while still using a travel eSIM.


Should I remove my primary eSIM when I travel?

No, you shouldn’t.

eSIMs are embedded in your device, and unlike physical SIMs where you can simply remove it from your device, you can’t actually physically remove an eSIM from your device.

The equivalent of removing an eSIM from your device would be to delete your eSIM profile - but you don’t want to do that.

Unlike physical SIM cards where you can simply put the SIM card back into your phone when you want it again, you can’t quite do the same for an eSIM. eSIMs are often only a one-time install; and if you actually deleted it from your phone, it is not a straightforward process to have it reinstalled. You are likely going to have to contact your provider to help you with this reinstallation.

You can store multiple eSIM profiles in your device

eSIM-compatible phones allow you to store multiple eSIM profiles within your device. That means you can have your primary eSIM in your phone, while still installing a second eSIM that you will be using for your trip - there is no need to remove your primary eSIM to ‘make space’ for your travel eSIM!

Turning off eSIMs instead of removing them

If your consideration of wanting to remove your eSIM profile when you travel is to avoid incurring additional charges, you can simply turn off that line from your device settings instead of going to the extreme of removing them entirely.

Or, if your device doesn't allow you to have multiple eSIMs active at the same time (as with iPhone 13 and earlier models), you can simply turn off your primary eSIM instead of completely removing them.

Turning off your eSIM from your settings is temporary and you can easily toggle it back on from your phone settings when you are ready to use it again. On the other hand, an eSIM removal is permanent and can’t be undone - you will need to do a reinstallation of the eSIM if you removed it from your device.

Keep your primary line active while using your travel eSIM for data

If you turn off your primary line, it means that you cannot be contacted on that line during the period in which it is turned off. That also means that you wouldn’t be able to receive any messages on that line, which could be rather troublesome if you needed it to receive a 2FA message.

Instead of turning off the line completely, with the right settings, you can actually still keep the line active without incurring data charges.

Assuming you got a travel eSIM or SIM for your data needs when traveling, you can simply update your phone settings to indicate that you will be using the travel (e)SIM for your cellular data. Remember that if you are on an iPhone, you will also want to disable Cellular Data Switching. This will ensure that you are only using data from your travel (e)SIM and not incur data roaming charges on your primary line.

And since your primary line will not be turned off, you will be able to continue receiving SMSes or calls on your line. Charges may be incurred for incoming and outgoing calls and text messages, depending on the terms of your primary plan.

Get a Nomad eSIM to help you stay connected when you travel

Nomad offers data plans in over 170 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 $1.10/GB.

The networks that Nomad's eSIMs use for each plan are stated on the plan details on the web store and apps, so you can check which networks are supported before buying your plan. Data sharing and tethering is also supported on Nomad's eSIM plans.

In the event where you run out of data, Nomad also allows you to purchase add-ons for your data pack. With a purchased add-on, you will be able to seamlessly stay connected with the same eSIM.