Today’s blog post was written in collaboration with Holafly and explains how to avoid data roaming charges while traveling. This is something that will increasingly need to be considered as many mobile phone companies in the UK plan to reintroduce roaming charges from 2022.
These days we rely on the use of mobile phones while traveling. Check in for a flight, present your boarding pass, present your COVID-19 pass or Passenger Locator Form, take an Uber, check in to a hotel, get directions, find a place to eat, book an activity, or provide a service. Find the nearest bar and more. Delicious espresso martini! We all need a mobile phone and a constant internet connection for all apps to run smoothly.
In addition to being necessary for everyday searches and activities, many of us need reliable connectivity to work from the go. Digital nomads, bloggers, influencers, and remote workers don’t just need a little data, they need a lot of data!
But what if you visit a country without data roaming!?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s accidentally used their phone abroad and found that the WhatsApp photos they downloaded cost them £2.40. Oh, and now your emails are automatically downloaded and you’ll receive even more updates. Stop it, stop it! I’ve spent £7.50 turning off my mobile data and I’m scared to turn my phone on again!
The reintroduction of European data roaming charges
We’ve been very lucky in the UK over the last few years as many mobile phone companies cover data usage within the EU. I’m in EE and it was actually very rare for me to not have data when traveling to a new location. So this is not even something I had to think about for years!
But from next year, many of the UK’s major mobile phone companies will once again charge roaming charges, both in Europe and further afield.
Read more from the BBC: Mobile roaming charges in Europe: What you need to know.
So what’s the solution?
we would like to introduce you to the international eSim…
Holafly and international eSims to avoid data roaming charges
Holafly is a company that offers international eSims as an inexpensive way to roam the internet while abroad.
What’s an eSim?
SIM cards have evolved and you no longer need an actual physical SIM card. If you just need data while abroad, you’ll need an eSim.
eSim is the latest SIM card technology and is activated by scanning a QR code. When you purchase a SIM online, you will immediately receive a QR code via email to start using it.
ESIM requires no contract or subscription.
You won’t be given a separate phone number, so you’ll have to call or send messages online via WhatsApp or Skype (which I’m sure many of us already do anyway)
It is an environmentally friendly product as it requires no plastic or physical products to manufacture.
You can’t break or lose your ESIM.
ESIM is a prepaid plan. The SIM isn’t linked to his bank account, so he can’t overspend or accidentally end up with a £100 phone call. Once you have used all the data on one eSIM, buy a new one.
The current drawback of ESIM is that it only works with the latest high-end mobile phones. A list of compatible eSim devices can be found here. If you have a fairly recent Apple, Samsung, Google, or Huawei phone, you’re probably fine, but it’s worth checking. You will also need to unlock your phone to prevent it from connecting to certain networks.
Using Holafly in Lithuania to avoid data roaming charges – My review
I wish I could have shared a longer, more detailed overview of my recent use of Holafly in Lithuania, but honestly, it was so simple that there’s not much to say.
Activating the Holafly eSIM took less than a minute. That’s it! I didn’t even notice a change and didn’t have to change the way I used my phone at all. I use Whatsapp to message and call friends and family when I’m out and about, so that hasn’t changed and everything else has been exactly the same.
Here’s how easy it is to activate your eSIM
I may be a blogger, but I don’t consider myself to be very “technical” when it comes to things like this, so I thought this might be quite complicated. But believe me, it’s not!
(Please note that these setup instructions are for the iPhone, so they don’t apply to other phones, but they are very similar.)
All you have to do is go to:
Settings – Mobile Data – Add Mobile Data Plan – Scan QR Code – Add Plan.
This will take approximately 20 seconds in total.
Set your plan before you leave and activate it on arrival
If you’re traveling with just your phone and the QR code is on your phone, you won’t be able to scan it, so we recommend adding your plan before you leave. However, please do not activate it before your arrival. Activation may erode your data plan!
If you’re traveling with a laptop, tablet, or a friend who can store QR codes on your phone, it’s fine to activate everything when you arrive. Alternatively, you can print a QR code.
Add the plan
Once you’ve scanned the QR code, add your plan and rename it “Holafly” so you know which one is which.
Then choose Holafly and you’re ready to go!
It literally takes less than a minute.
After launching Holafly, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I was waiting for some kind of glitch or extra stuff to fill in, but that’s it.
Using my data in Lithuania
I used 3GB of data in Lithuania, which was more than enough. I was also using his WiFi at the hotel, so I only used it when I was out during the day, but since I was out from 8am to 6pm every day, I wanted to make sure I had enough is!
It worked perfectly and was never slow.
I also used it to share data with my laptop while at the airport.
I arrived at the airport very early, but my plane was delayed and I ended up staying at the airport for about 5 hours. The free airport Wi-Fi kept cutting out, so I used Holafly data to entertain myself during the 5 hour wait!
Data plans available
There are various plans available depending on the amount of data you need.
Knowing how much data you need can be very difficult, especially if you have unlimited data at home and don’t know how much you’re using!
Holafly gives you a quick breakdown of how much data your phone uses when performing certain activities, so it’s worth checking it out. How much data do I need while traveling?
Personally, I feel that 3 GB per week is enough data for video-related work while connected to Wi-Fi. Therefore, video calling, uploading videos to social media, and downloading/streaming videos should not be done on your data plan unless you have a large plan or will incur onerous data roaming charges there is no!
Final thoughts on Holafly
Holafly is very simple and is a great option for people who want to keep their phone on while traveling and avoid data roaming charges from their service provider.
I can’t really recommend it, but with new changes to international roaming coming next year, this could prove to be something we all need to use.