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Planning a trip to Italy is a thrilling experience! The last thing you want to worry about is whether you'll have reliable mobile data in another country.
Luckily, there is a solution that can eliminate the hassle - a travel eSIM. This technology allows you to instantly connect to local Italian networks, so you can be confident you have the best connection possible.
In this guide, I'll go over the benefits of using an international eSIM plan for your trip to Italy. I'll also tell you about the best eSIMs for Italy and address frequently asked questions.
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 seven to 30 days. For those requiring unlimited data, plans are available for durations of one to seven 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, also known as an embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that enables you to access mobile networks in the country or region you're visiting. One of the advantages of this convenient option is that it eliminates the need to search for a local SIM card while traveling.
Most popular smartphones released within the last few years support eSIM technology, including the iPhone 13 and up, various Samsung devices, and a range of other Android phones.
Please note that your device must be carrier-unlocked in order to use a travel eSIM. I recommend contacting your carrier to verify your phone's lock status and request an unlock if necessary.
How travel eSIMs work
To activate travel eSIMs, you typically scan a QR code. You can use a second device for this purpose or print out the QR code at home before you leave. Your QR code will lead to prompts to complete the activation process.
Once activated, your device will automatically connect to nearby networks, guaranteeing a dependable internet connection and phone service. Think of the time you'll save by not having to hunt down a physical SIM card as soon as you step off the plane!
In terms of usage, most international eSIM sellers provide a user-friendly app that enables you to track your data usage and handle renewals efficiently.
Why should I get an eSIM for international travel?
- Convenience: Opting for digital plan management is much more convenient when traveling to a foreign country. Instant activation means you'll have mobile phone service as soon as you arrive. Jump right into your trip without wasting time looking for a SIM card retailer.
- Affordability: With eSIMs, you can sign up for local data plans with lower pricing than international roaming on your home SIM card. The industry is flush with providers competing with each other, which results in lower costs for you.
- Flexibility: Effortlessly manage multiple plans simultaneously. Seamlessly switch between your home plan and local or regional travel plan without the inconvenience of dealing with a physical SIM card change.
- Enhanced security: eSIM cards minimize the chances of losing personal data and internet connectivity due to misplacing or damaging your SIM card. Additionally, this technology simplifies the process of tracking a stolen phone.
How to choose the best eSIM for Italy
There's no shortage of contenders for the best eSIM for Italy, so I've chosen the ones that give you the best blend of cost, plan selection, and features that are important for travelers.
Before making your choice, take a moment to consider a few questions about your personal preferences for the best eSIM for Italy.
Where is your destination?
Are you planning to explore different parts of Europe, or will you stay exclusively in Italy? Various international eSIM providers offer plans that cater to local (single-country), regional, and global needs.
While the regional and global plans may be more expensive, they're a good option if your travel itinerary includes multiple destinations.
If your travel plans involve moving between Italy and other European countries, ensure that your travel eSIM is the best option for crossing relevant borders.
How much data do you need?
Data packages typically begin at 1 GB and can extend up to 50 GB or even 100 GB. Need a lot of data while abroad? No worries; a few providers offer unlimited data plans for international travel. However, not all providers allow mobile hotspot use, so make sure to check if you need it.
If you're going to take the opportunity to unplug and unwind, save money by choosing a smaller data package. Moreover, if you'll have consistent access to Wi-Fi, like at your hotel, you can take this into consideration when purchasing a travel eSIM.
How long will you be abroad?
The vast majority of international eSIMs have expiration dates. These can vary between a few days and several months or more. The key is choosing the right balance between data allotment and validity period. Try to estimate the amount of data you'll need each day of your trip, then tack on a little extra for good measure.
To determine the starting point of your validity period, you need to check if it begins upon activation or upon connecting to a local network in Italy. If the validity starts when you activate it, I suggest waiting until you reach your destination before doing so. Verify that Wi-Fi is available at the airport as it is required for the activation process.
Do you need international calling?
Do you need to call family or friends at home while traveling in Italy? Or maybe you'd like to communicate with members of your travel party without worrying about outrageous calling rates. Either way, it's a good idea to read the fine print on plans that include voice minutes so you can pick the one that suits your needs.
If you choose a data-only travel eSIM, familiarize yourself with messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Wi-Fi calling so that you have a way to call home if needed. Just be aware that WhatsApp and similar apps will draw on your eSIM's data limit.
Best eSIM for Italy FAQs
Recap - What's the best travel eSIM for Italy?
When you plan a trip to Italy, there are many eSIM options to choose from. Whether your priority is having unlimited data, a months-long expiry date, or finding the most budget-friendly option out there, you can be confident that your best eSIM for Italy is available.
And when you're ready to embark on your next big adventure. We've got more great recommendations on the best eSIM for international travel.