The Ultimate eSim Guide for Digital Nomads

What is an eSim, how to install an eSim and the best eSim options for digital nomads.

Published on
March 22, 2023

Say goodbye to the hassle of buying new SIM cards every time you travel! Discover eSIMs and the benefits they offer for digital nomads. From greater flexibility and convenience to cost savings and enhanced privacy, learn how eSIMs can help you stay connected more easily and affordably and follow our simple guide to set up your device with an eSIM and explore different options for eSIM data plans.


This is a guest post from our friends at Nomad. 


What is an eSIM and why should digital nomads care?


Many are unaware of eSIMs despite their existence for years. An eSIM, or embedded SIM, allows you to connect to networks on most flagship devices without buying a physical SIM card or visiting a shop. eSIMs have been around since 2016 and gained popularity in 2018 but they still have many myths associated with them.


They are an excellent option for people who frequently travel across borders and need to switch between different mobile plans to stay connected. With eSIMs, digital nomads can avoid the hassle of buying and installing new SIM cards every time they enter a new country, and can easily manage their mobile plans and data usage on the go.

Trying an eSIM? Outsite Members get 10% off Nomad eSims.

What are the benefits of using eSIM?


For digital nomads, staying connected while on the move is crucial. From keeping in touch with family and friends to managing work and finances, having a reliable and affordable way to stay connected is essential.


That's where eSIMs come in - they offer arrange of benefits that can help you stay connected more easily and affordably than ever before!


Why do people love eSIMs?


●     Greater flexibility: eSIMs allow for easy switching between different mobile carriers and plans without the need for a physical card, making it easier to stay connected while traveling internationally.

●     More convenience: with eSIMs, you can avoid the hassle of buying and installing new SIM cards every time you enter a new country, and can easily manage mobile plans and data usage.

●     Cost savings: eSIMs can save money on roaming fees, as they can quickly switch to a local mobile plan instead of relying on expensive roaming plans. For example, if you’re traveling to the United Kingdom you can get 5GB for only $11.


How to Set Up Your Device with an eSIM


Setting up your device with an eSIM is an easy process that can be completed in just a few simple steps. Here's how to install your eSIM data plan from Nomad:


Check if your device supports eSIMs

Not all devices are eSIM-compatible, so make sure to check if your device is eSIM-friendly before getting started.


Installing your eSIM


To get started with your eSIM data plan, it's best to install it soon after purchase so that you can use it whenever you need it. Keep in mind that installing your eSIM is not the same as activating it, and the expiry of the plan will only start after activation. When it comes to installation, there are two methods that eSIM providers offer, including Nomad:


●     Install via QR Code (Recommended)


This method involves scanning a QR code provided in your in-app instruction or purchase email. On iOS devices, go toSettings > Cellular (or Mobile Data) > Add Cellular Plan (or Add DataPlan), then scan the QR code. On Android devices, the process may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. Still, generally, you can go to Settings > Network and Internet > SIMs > Add More > Download a SIM instead, orSettings > Connections > SIM Card Manager > Add Mobile Plan > Scan QR code.


●     Install via Manual Input


Although not recommended, you can install theeSIM manually on iOS and some Android devices. Simply go to Settings >Cellular > Add Cellular Plan and click "Enter Details manually" at the bottom. Then enter the SM-DP+ address and activation code provided in yourNomad in-app instruction or purchase email. Note that the Confirmation Codefield is not required.



Activating your eSIM data plan


When you are ready to use the plan, simply goto your phone’s settings and turn the Nomad eSIM on:


●     On iOS: Settings > Cellular> toggle Nomad eSIM on

●     On Android: Settings > Network and Internet > SIMs > Tap Nomad eSIM > toggle Use eSIM


Make sure to enable "Data Roaming" and set Nomad eSIM as the primary for cellular data. Keep your home SIM as the primary for calls and texts. Finally, activate your plan by clicking the "Activate Data Now" button in the Nomad app or website. Note that not all plans require this step.


By following these simple steps, you can setup your device with an eSIM and enjoy the convenience and flexibility of this innovative technology.


What options for eSIM data plans are there?


eSIM providers offer a range of data plans to suit different needs, from occasional browsing to heavy data usage. For digital nomads who require large data plans for activities like video conferencing or streaming, eSIM data plans can offer significant cost savings compared to traditional mobile plans. In the following paragraphs, we'll explore different options for eSIM data plans for digital nomads.


●     Single country data plans -Single data plans offer a set amount of data for a specific duration, usually a month and for a specific country. These plans can be useful for digital nomads who have occasional or short-term data needs, such as checking emails, socials or browsing the web. Single data plans are typically more affordable than traditional mobile plans, as they only offer a limited amount of data for a fixed duration. With Nomad, you can choose between data plans for more than 100 countries.


●     Regional data plans - If you’re traveling to multiple countries within a specific region, such as Europe or Asia this could be the perfect option for you! These plans offer data coverage across multiple countries within the area, allowing digital nomads to stay connected while traveling without purchasing a new SIM card in each location. Overall, regional data plans can be a convenient and cost-effective option for those who travel within a specific region and require reliable data coverage.


●     Giant data plans - These plans can be ideal for digital nomads who require a lot of data for work or leisure activities and want to avoid the hassle of continually topping up their plans or worrying about running out of data. There are giant data plans with up to a hundred gigabytes of data, allowing digital nomads to stream videos, make video calls, and work online without worrying about data limits. While giant data plans may be more expensive than other types of eSIM plans, they can be a cost-effective option for those who require large amounts of data on a regular basis.


Troubleshooting common eSIM issues for digital nomads


While eSIMs offer many benefits to digital nomads, there are also some common issues that may arise when using them.


●     Problems with eSIM activation and installation - If you encounter issues with eSIM installation and activation, there are a few common areas to troubleshoot. These include problems with eSIM installation in your iOS device's Cellular Settings, issues with the app, or not receiving connectivity even after successful activation.

For troubleshooting, verify your manual entries, turn on roaming, and reset connectivity settings by toggling airplane mode on and off. If issues persist, customer support can help resolve the issue.


●     What if you want to pause the data plan after activating it? Once an eSIM data plan is activated, it cannot be paused or stopped temporarily. Even if you turn off the eSIM in your iOS settings, the plan will continue to count down until it expires, regardless of whether you use the data or not. It is recommended to activate the plan only when you are ready to use it.


●     What happens when you run out of data on your eSIM? If you run out of data or your plan expires before your trip is done, you can always click "Add More Data" and purchase additional data. The add-on data will be automatically activated once your data from your current expires or depletes.



Future developments and trends in eSIM technology


The future of eSIM technology is expected to bring even greater convenience and flexibility to users. With the release of the iPhone 14 last September, it's likely thatmore devices will adopt eSIM technology, allowing for faster switching between carriers and plans.


Besides the advancements in eSIM technology for iPhones, there are also ongoing developments for Android devices. What is expected in the near future is the integration of eSIMs into more mainstream devices, including mid-range smartphones. This will allow more consumers to experience the benefits of eSIMs without having to purchase high-end flagship devices.


As more devices become compatible with eSIMs, and more features are developed, it's likely that eSIMs will be more popular among digital nomads and other users who need reliable, flexible connectivity while on the move. Overall, the future of eSIM technology looks promising for both consumers and businesses.

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