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If you're traveling to Germany, you'll want easy access to a mobile network for things like finding restaurants and posting trip photos on social media.
The best choice for communication while abroad is a travel eSIM. This convenient option lets you connect to reliable local networks immediately upon landing.
In this guide, I'll outline the benefits of international eSIMs and explain how this handy technology works. And, of course, I'll give you my top recommendations for the best eSIM for Germany.
Best overall travel eSIM
Airalo is one of the most well-known names in travel eSIMs, and for good reason - it partners with major local networks in over 200 destinations to provide reliable mobile internet access for travelers.
Of course, no one international eSIM is perfect for every customer. Below, you'll find what we consider to be the pros and cons of Airalo.
- 200+ countries
- 7 days-3 months validity period
- Prices start around $5 for one week
- Local, regional, or global plans
- Flexible eSIMs - add voice and text
- Great coverage
- Mobile hotspot usage
- Prices drop the more data you buy
- Phone number included with Discover+ plans
- eSIM automatically connects to the fastest local network
- User-friendly Airalo app and website
- Fast, helpful customer support
- Can't mix-and-match data size and validity period
- Customer service is only available by message
While it isn't the cheapest option, Airalo eSIM is a solid choice with offerings to fit various needs. Plus, they have the advantage of being highly recognizable, with an impressive customer count of over five million people.
Nomad provides straightforward data-only plans that operate at 4G LTE speeds. The rates offered by Nomad are affordable, and they also offer unlimited data packages (with a maximum of 2 GB of high-speed data per day, after which the speed is reduced to 512 Kbps).
Customers can select between different data options, ranging from 1 GB to 20 GB, with validity periods ranging from 7 to 30 days. For those requiring unlimited data, plans are available for durations of 1 to 7 days.
- 165+ destinations
- 7 - 30 days validity period
- Prices start at $7 for one week
- Local, regional, & global plans
- Simple plan choices
- Taxes & fees are included in the price
- Unlimited data plans
- Reliable major networks
- Mobile hotspot supported
- SMS plans available
- Data throttling after 2 GB on unlimited
- Validity begins upon activation
- No voice/phone number
Holafly is another leading provider of global eSIM plans, catering specifically to international travel needs. With Holafly, you can easily access data and make calls in different countries, all with the convenience of digital eSIM cards.
- 160+ destinations
- Unlimited data
- 5 to 90-day plans
- Prices around $20 for a 5-day plan
- Simple to use app and website
- Easy data and validity period top-ups
- Useful features like validity tracking in the app
- 24/7 customer support
- Must use WhatsApp
- Local number not included
- No voice call or SMS message options
- Doesn't allow data sharing or hotspot usage
Holafly eSIM cards offer unlimited data plans - you can send as many videos and photos with your family without worrying about the data limit. In the few countries where unlimited data isn't an option, it offers higher data limits than most other eSIM providers.
In terms of duration, too, there's great flexibility. You can get plans from 5 to 90 days and everything in between. In short, there will always be a plan close to the number of days you're traveling for in about 160 countries that Holafly caters to.
On the price front, Holafly is a little high-end, but it's worth the unlimited data and stress-free traveling it offers. For example, its 5-day unlimited data plan for the USA costs $19. It also offers regional plans. However, I found it tough to locate these plans on its website, as there's no dedicated "Regional Plans" section as there are on some other websites like Nomad and Airhub.
Brands like Airalo are significantly cheaper than Holafly, but you will have to get top-up plans if you exhaust your data mid-journey, which can be troublesome if you travel alone and don't have anyone to provide you with a hotspot in the meantime.
Installing the eSIM is also a breeze with Holafly. Scan the QR code you receive after purchasing a plan and follow the prompts. You will be guided through each step of the process, and the payment can be made through various portals like a credit card, debit card, PayPal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. You can also use a code for manual installation if you don't want to scan the QR code.
Holafly's customer support is one of the best in the market. You can expect a reply from them within less than a minute of entering your query. With language support in English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, you can easily access the 24/7 support via WhatsApp or chat. On top of that, there's a frequently asked questions section that will solve most of your queries regarding the installation of the eSIM.
However, if you plan to buy a single Holafly eSIM for your family, thinking that the unlimited data plan will do the trick, beware. Holafly eSIM doesn't allow data sharing with other devices as of now.
While Holafly has great data plans, it doesn't include calls with all plans or SMS service. Currently, you can make calls for up to 60 minutes and receive calls for up to 60 minutes in Europe, Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. However, I didn't find this off-putting due to the sheer non-functionality of SMS and calls these days. You can always make calls or send texts through Holafly's unlimited Internet (WhatsApp, Skype, or other apps).
What is a travel eSIM?
A travel eSIM is a digital SIM card that can connect you to reliable local networks wherever you travel. With this convenient solution, you don't need to travel to a retailer when you arrive. What's even better is that you can activate it instantly.
In recent years, a large number of popular smartphones, such as iPhone and top Android models, have introduced eSIM support.
Important note: In order to use a travel SIM card, your device must be carrier-unlocked. Please contact your carrier if you require assistance with your phone's lock status.
How travel eSIMs work
Activating your eSIM data plan is an effortless process that can be done in minutes. Scan the QR code using another phone or print it out at home for future use. Scanning the code will take you to step-by-step prompts to install your eSIM profile.
After arriving at your destination, your phone will automatically connect to mobile networks in the vicinity. This allows you to begin immersing yourself in Germany's vibrant history and breathtaking attractions without wasting time hunting down a SIM card.
Why should I get an eSIM for international travel?
- Convenience: Easily manage your data plan on your smartphone, typically using a mobile app. Instantly activate it to avoid the inconvenience of searching for a nearby store or vending machine to buy a local SIM card upon arrival.
- Budget-friendliness: Travel eSIM cards connect you to local German networks. This eliminates any concerns about incurring high international data roaming fees through your home carrier.
- Flexibility: Experience the convenience of accessing all your phone plans effortlessly. Switch between your domestic SIM card and travel plan without the hassle of swapping out traditional SIM cards.
- Enhanced security: Embedded SIM cards provide a higher level of security in comparison to physical SIM cards, which can be misplaced. Moreover, if a phone is lost or stolen, it can be easily traced.
How to choose the best eSIM for Germany
There are numerous eSIM options available for visiting Germany. Ultimately, your decision should be based on the details of your travel plans and the specific features you require.
Let's explore a few questions that can help you decide on the best option for your trip.
Where is your destination?
Most international SIM card providers offer local (single-country), regional, and global plans. Therefore, the best option for you will depend on whether you will remain in Germany for your entire trip or if you plan to explore other European countries as well.
Regional and global plans typically cost a little more. However, they give you worry-free, borderless service if you'd like to expand your itinerary to include other destinations.
How much data do you need?
Data packages usually start at approximately 1GB and extend to as much as 100GB and even international unlimited data plans.
Want to share your data with your travel companions? Some providers permit mobile hotspot use, while others do not. Hence, you should make sure that data sharing is allowed before selecting a plan if you intend to share data with other devices.
Also, take into account whether you plan to limit your phone usage and save data-intensive activities for hotel Wi-Fi. If this is the case, choosing a smaller mobile data allowance is more economical.
How long will you be abroad?
Next, you'll want to think about validity periods. There is a range of choices available, with validity ranging from as short as a few days to as long as a year or two.
If you're a regular jet-setter, opt for an extended plan that lets you save your data for the next trip. If you're taking a one-off vacation, go for a validity period that closely matches the length of your stay.
Please note that it's important to verify when the validity period starts. If it commences upon activation rather than when connected to a German network, wait until you land before you activate.
Do you need international calling?
Some travel eSIM plans offer a local phone number, which enables you to make phone calls within Germany and/or throughout Europe. There are providers that allow international calling if you want to call your home country or anywhere else in the world.
If you opt for a travel plan that includes only data, you can still make global calls and send text messages using WhatsApp or Wi-Fi calling. Please note that using an app for calling and texting will consume the data allowance provided in your travel plan.
Best eSIM for Germany FAQs
Recap - What's the best travel eSIM for Germany?
The best eSIM for Germany is the one that fulfills your usage needs. You can select from a diverse range of data packs and covered countries, plus buy it and set it up entirely from your device.
When you're ready to take off for your next exciting destination, check out our guide to the best eSIM for international travel.