MoneySavingPro independently researches the products & services to bring you our recommendations. We may earn money when you click our links - disclosure policy.

If you're considering a visit to the bustling nation of India, you may be curious about how to ensure you have a reliable internet connection during your trip.

Travel eSIMs offer a convenient solution for obtaining mobile data while traveling abroad, eliminating those hurried, last-minute stops to find a local SIM card. The best part is that you'll connect to reliable local networks as soon as you arrive.

In this guide, I'll provide an overview of the important factors to consider when choosing your travel phone plan. Plus, I'll share the best eSIMs for India based on various essential factors. Let's get started!

Airalo

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.

Overview

  • 200+ countries
  • 1GB-100GB
  • 7 days-3 months validity period
  • Prices start around $5 for one week
  • Local, regional, or global plans

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

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.

Overview

  • 165+ destinations
  • 1GB-20GB
  • 7 - 30 days validity period
  • Prices start at $7 for one week
  • Local, regional, & global plans

Pros

  • Simple plan choices
  • Taxes & fees are included in the price
  • Unlimited data plans
  • Reliable major networks
  • Mobile hotspot supported
  • SMS plans available

Cons

  • Data throttling after 2 GB on unlimited
  • Validity begins upon activation
  • No voice/phone number

Holafly

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.

Overview

  • 160+ destinations
  • Unlimited data
  • 5 to 90-day plans
  • Prices around $20 for a 5-day plan

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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 connects your phone to local cellular networks at your desired destination.

Device compatibility is crucial when it comes to embedded SIM technology. A wide range of popular smartphones, such as the iPhone 13 onwards, as well as various Android devices, are now equipped with eSIM support.

Important note: In order to use a travel eSIM, your phone must be unlocked by your carrier. You can reach out to your carrier for assistance with unlocking your device.

How travel eSIMs work

The process of setting up an embedded SIM is simple. After purchasing a plan, you'll receive a QR code. You can either scan the QR code with another phone or print it out and scan it after you land. Once you do, you will be prompted to activate your plan.

Once your eSIM is up and running, your phone will automatically connect to the nearest mobile networks. With instant activation, you can skip the hassle of visiting SIM card retailers or vending machines.


Why should I get an eSIM for international travel?

  1. Convenience: Easily handle and keep track of your travel data plan directly on your mobile device, usually using an app.
  2. Cost-effectiveness: Connect to local networks and avoid expensive international data roaming charges from your home carrier by using local network access.
  3. Flexibility: Experience the ease of accessing any of your mobile plans whenever needed. Switch seamlessly between your local SIM card and travel plan without touching a SIM tray.
  4. Security: Embedded SIM cards provide enhanced security compared to physical SIM cards because they cannot be removed, misplaced, or stolen. This ensures superior safeguarding of your personal information.

How to choose the best eSIM for India

When organizing your visit to India, navigating through the various choices presented by different providers can be overwhelming. It's easier if you approach it with your specific itinerary and needs in mind.

Here are several key factors to consider that will help you choose the best eSIM for India for you.

Your destination

There are three options in terms of coverage: local (specific to a country), regional, or global plans.

Single-country plans typically offer the best price. In the case of India, however, a regional package is sometimes cheaper. For example, Nomad APAC eSIMs are less expensive than the single-country India version.

Whichever route you choose, make sure that any destination you plan to visit on your trip is included in your travel eSIM package.

How much data do you need?

Many different data plans are available, ranging from 1GB to unlimited data plans. However, it's important to be aware that many unlimited data packages have a high-speed data cap, after which the internet speed significantly decreases.

Additionally, consider whether you need to use your phone as a mobile hotspot. Numerous providers allow data sharing, which is essential if you require internet connectivity for extra devices.

Are you planning to keep your data consumption to a minimum? Does your hotel provide Wi-Fi for activities that require a lot of data? Calculate how much data you expect to use each day before buying the plan.

Length of your trip

Do you have plans to stay in India for a short period or an extended period? There is a wide variety of options available that can accommodate trips of various lengths.

Validity periods for eSIMs typically range from one week to 90 days, although some providers offer validities of up to six months or more. If you are a frequent traveler to India, choose a provider like Eskimo, which provides periods of up to two years. This will minimize the need for frequent top-ups.

It's also important to keep track of when the validity period begins. While some eSIMs start counting down upon activation, others start when you connect to an Indian mobile network. To be on the safe side, we recommend activating your eSIM at the airport after your arrival.

Do you need international calling?

Certain travel eSIMs come with a phone number specific to the local area, allowing you to make domestic and international calls while in India. If you require a phone number for calling your home country, make sure that this option is part of the package.

If you choose a travel package that solely provides data, you can use apps like WhatsApp or Wi-Fi calling to place international calls and send SMS. Just be aware that these apps will utilize cellular data from your travel plan.


Best eSIM for India FAQs


Recap - What's the best travel eSIM for India?

India is a rich and interesting country with plenty of exotic sights. A travel eSIM allows you to dive right in once you arrive without a second thought about your mobile plan.

Before embarking on your next adventure, check out our guide to the best eSIMs for international travel.

Related Content

Phone plans guides
Best 5G eSIM plans in 2024
13 min read
Feb 03, 2024
Best eSIM carriers in 2024
14 min read
Feb 05, 2024
Best eSIM plans for Apple Watch for 2024
7 min read
Jan 23, 2024
Best eSIM Plans for iPads for 2024
8 min read
Jan 06, 2024
Best free eSIM service in 2024
12 min read
Jan 20, 2024
Best prepaid eSIM plans for iPhone in 2024
13 min read
Feb 08, 2024
Best value AT&T eSIM plans in 2024
9 min read
Jan 14, 2024
Best value T-Mobile eSIM plans in 2024
9 min read
Jan 14, 2024
How much could you save?
Calculate your savings now
Same coverage - cut your bill by up to $600/yr
Women floating over network logos
Find a cheaper plan in seconds
Switch in minutes