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When should I install my travel eSIM? Is it too early to do it now?

You can install your eSIM even if you are not flying yet!

· 3 min read

Traveling has evolved significantly over the years, and so has the technology that accompanies it. One such innovation is the travel eSIM, a digital SIM card that offers a convenient and flexible solution for staying connected while on the move. However, for many first-time users, eSIMs may sound like a rather abstract concept, and many users are often unsure about the optimal time to install their travel eSIM.


Travel eSIMs and what it means to install your eSIM

An eSIM (embedded SIM) is a digital version of the traditional SIM card. Instead of a physical card that you need to insert into your phone, an eSIM is a chip built into your device and can be programmed with different carrier profiles. Installing your eSIM does not refer to actually adding that chip to your device - instead, what it refers to is the act of adding a carrier profile to your device.

For travelers, eSIMs offer several advantages, including the convenience to switch carriers without needing a new physical SIM card. Travel eSIMs often offer plans that are targeted for travelers, offering travelers with data and connectivity at near-local rates. This makes travel eSIMs a convenient and cost-efficient option for travelers to stay connected as they explore.

When should I install my eSIM?

You can install your eSIM any time. But, before you install your eSIM, there are a few things that you should note:

  • Once you have installed your eSIM on a device, you wouldn’t be able to install that same eSIM on another device.
  • You will need to have a stable internet connection during the installation process.

What the above two points essentially means is that you should install your eSIM only on the phone that you will be bringing along with you when you travel; and that you should install your eSIM before your trip.

In fact, if you are sure you wouldn’t be changing phones before your trip, we would recommend that you install your eSIM as soon as you complete your purchase and when you still have a good internet connection. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about searching for internet so that you can install your eSIM after you arrive at your destination.

Remember if you happen to lose your installation kit and it lands in the wrong hands, and the eSIM is installed on another device, then you wouldn’t be able to install that eSIM on your device anymore. Installing your eSIM as soon as you receive the installation kit will prevent it from being used by another person.

Does installing my eSIM start the plan?

You might have purchased your eSIM ahead of time as you prepare for your travel. But, you are wondering if it is ever too early to install your eSIM if there is still a few days before your trip. This is especially so as travel eSIMs usually come with a certain period of validity, and you don’t want the validity to start even before you embark on your trip.

While the terms may differ from provider to provider, your plan’s validity typically starts from the point where it gets activated rather than when it gets installed. So, installing your eSIM does not necessarily mean that your eSIM is activated.

There are different ways that your eSIM can get activated - some of them require the device to be connected to the local network, while others require a manual trigger to activate the eSIM. But in either case, simply adding your eSIM profile to your phone does not mean that your eSIM is activated.

So, in most cases, you will be able to add your eSIM to your device ahead of time and not have to worry about your plan’s validity starting too early. However, do note that this could vary depending on provider, so be sure to check the terms and conditions, as well as the instructions for installation and activation of your eSIM.

Install your Nomad eSIM before your trip

With a Nomad eSIM, you can install your eSIM ahead of time without worrying that you might start your plan too early. Simply installing your eSIM will not start your plan.

Nomad’s eSIM plans only start when your eSIM connects to the local network. So, to start using data from your eSIM plan, remember you will need to be at your destination, and you will need to turn on data roaming for that eSIM!

Facing issues with installation? Check out our article on some of the common issues faced during installation and activation and how to resolve them!

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.