We live in a world today where travel is more common than ever before. People across the world are taking to the skies everyday in search of new experiences, cultures and challenges. 

Unfortunately, one of those challenges can often be sorting out a SIM card to keep you connected on your travels. Whether you need it for work, using Google Maps, calling your fam or keeping your Insta followers up to date – we all need a bit of connection at some point on the road.

In the past, you’d have to head to the booths in the Airport and buy the ridiculously overpriced tourist SIM cards. And if you were heading to more than one country, oooh baby, prepare to do that each time you cross a border. 

But things are evolving in the world of travel SIM cards. eSIMs have entered the arena and have absolutely changed the game. These little digital miracles are changing how we roam. With an eSIM, your phone seamlessly switches to the local network, giving you the best signal without the fuss or the plastic. Yes, my friends, the future is here. 

So, buckle up digital nomads and fellow globe trotters and let me introduce you to your new best friend on the road, Sim Local. The company that’s catapulting us into freedom on the road and forcing wildly expensive roaming fees into extinction.

Sure, they may not have been the first on the market but are they the best? Let’s find out in my honest review of Sim Local. 

Let’s Shine a Spotlight on Sim Local

As if I could love the Irish any more than I already do; these guys are not only some of the best humans on the planet but they have also given rise to one of the top eSIM companies on the market, Sim Local.

Since the launch of their eSIM technology in 2020, Sim Local has been slowly but surely moving the world away from overpriced roaming charges and into a life of connective freedom on the road. As a long-term traveller, that is absolute music to my ears!

They’ve made it SUPER easy for us with a quick and easy set-up to get connected within minutes. With their global reach, seamless switching, 24/7 customer service and convenient management app… these guys ain’t muckin’ around.

Sim Local’s commitment to low prices ensures that you don’t have to mortgage your house to stay connected while travelling. They connect with local providers across the globe to get the BEST local prices for all of their plans. This means that their prices are some of the best around… a sentence that brings us, budget backpackers, to our knees.

Sim Local’s eSIM technology means that we can ditch the plastic and embrace the future. The lives of travellers become a hell of a lot more convenient and the planet benefits too. It’s a win-win for all!

What Does Sim Local Offer?

There are a lot of players in the international sim card game and as you can see there is a lot to love about this company. They make our lives on the road a hell of a lot easier, they are forcing plastic sims into extinction and they are forging a better future for the world of travel.

But what do they actually offer and how can their plans work for you? Well, as well as good quality affordable eSim packages, they also offer a 20% discount if you use the code AFFSIML20 at checkout. So let’s dive into Sim Local’s offering and what makes these guys different from the rest of the market.

How Sim Local Works

So, how does Sim Local work and how do you actually sign up for a plan? Well, my friend, you’ve stumbled across the right article. Let me give you the 411 on how Sim Local works.

Sim Local are one of those magical companies that has made their website and therefore, our lives SUPER easy. If you go onto their website, on the first page you can find and search for all of their packages and purchase them there and then. You could also be extra savvy and download their easy-to-use app to kick-start and manage your Sim Local eSIM plan from there.

Once you’ve done the hard part of buying and setting up your eSIM (I’ll get into the nitty gritty of that as you read on), Sim Local carries out God’s work in the background to keep us travellers connected.

Yep, I had connection here. That pic was straight to the Insta story.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

They have partnered with local providers across the globe to get local plans at local prices. This means that as we trot our way around the world, Sim Local is connecting our device to the best local provider around allowing us to stay online (nearly) everywhere we go.

All of this, while being able to keep your primary/ home SIM card safely tucked inside the SIM card slot, ready to whip back out whenever you need it. Most devices can have more than eight eSIMs in at one time (on top of a physical SIM card) that you can flick between.

This is particularly handy when you’re travelling and you want to sign into your bank (or some other super important account) and they want to send a two-factor authentication code to your phone to sign in. There’s no need to turn your room upside down to find it… just switch back to your primary SIM card with a few flicks of your finger.

What Packages Do Sim Local Offer? 

Sim Local offers a range of eSIM plans tailored to suit various data needs and travel durations. Whether you need regional coverage as you’re galavanting around Europe or you’re after a global plan to keep you connected in over 100 countries, Sim Local will no doubt have a plan that suits you.

Sim Local has made things simple for us and has collated its plans into three main buckets: Local, Regional and Global eSIM Plans.

Local eSIM Plans:

  • In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, and Turkey Sim Local offers plans data-only plans between 1 and 20 GB for a duration of between 3 and 30 days. The prices range between £3 to £24.50 depending on the country and plan you choose.
  • The United Kingdom has additional plans for travellers, these are two 30-day EE plans that give you data AND unlimited texts and calling – you can get 10GB for £15 or 50GB for £20.
  • In Canada and the USA, Sim Local offers plans between 1 and 5 GB for a duration between 3 to 30 days. The price will set you back between £3 and £12 depending on the country and plan you choose.
  • Sim Local provides local eSIMs in over 100 countries, but if I went through them all we would be here all day. So, if you want to find out if the country you’re heading to is included and what’s on offer, head to Sim Local’s website and use the country drop-down box on the home page to find out more.

Regional Europe eSIM Plans:

  • Holiday Zen 12GB for Europe: Offers 12GB of data over 14 days for £17.50. In addition, you receive unlimited texts and calls within Europe and 30 international minutes and 200 international texts. Perfect for short-term travellers heading over for a whirlwind trip around any of the included 36 European countries.
  • Holiday Europe 30 GB: Provides 30GB of data, 120 international minutes and 1000 international texts for £35. As well as, unlimited calls and texts within 36 European countries. Ideal for those who like to stream Netflix on long bus trips and call their besties every time something cool happens.
  • Holiday Europe 50 GB: This plan offers 50GB of data, unlimited local minutes and text, 30 international minutes and 200 texts over 30 days for £47. Suitable for longer stays and heavier usage in Europe across 42 counties.

Global eSIM Plansdata only:

  • Global 1GB 3 Day: A short-term plan with 1GB of data over three days for £10. This data covers over 101 countries and it is ideal for very short international trips or as a stop-gap until you find Wi-Fi.
  • Holiday World 10GB: This plan offers 10GB of data over 14 days for global use across 149 countries for £28. Guys, there are 195 countries in the world, so this is some SOLID coverage. This plan is suitable for travellers needing a wide range of coverage without the constraint of regional limitations.

Most of the plans above allow for hot spots/ data tethering (thank the Lord), but definitely triple-check the details of your plan if this is a deal breaker for you.

man smiles while remote working at a beach near lisbon, portugal
Aaaand you can hot spot… yippee!
Photo: @monteiro.online

Overall, the prices and packages are already pretty well priced BUT if you love a cheeky discount (who doesn’t?), you can take another 20% off the price noted above by typing this code into the promo box when you check out: AFFSIML20.

Does Sim Local Offer Local Phone Numbers?

To make calls and texts, you’ll need a local number. So all of Sim Local’s plans that offer calls and texts come with one. However, their data-only plans will not as you won’t need one on these plans.

But how do you keep in touch with your friends and family if you get an eSIM without calling and data? Don’t worry about a thing, there are still plenty of ways to call ya fam to tell them what you’ve been up to!

  • Free internet-based calling apps – the most common are WhatsApp, Facetime or Skype. As long as the person you’re calling has the app too, you will be able to use your eSIM connection to call.
  • Social media – Facebook messengers and Instagram DMs have calling features so you can call any of your mates who are on these platforms too.
  • Use your primary SIM card – To use your primary/ home SIM card, you can activate it for calls and texts in your phone settings. However, be sure to check with your provider on their roaming charges before you leave… as these bills can rack up damn fast and are not what you want to come home to.
danielle at a phone booth in london, england
Hey Mum, I forgot to buy an eSIM so I’m calling from a phone box.”
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

Which Destinations Do Sim Local Cover?

Sim Local’s main packages cover the following countries and regions:

  • Local: United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, USA, Canada, Turkey and a shit ton more.
  • Regional: Europe and the UK. Between 36 and 42 countries depending on the plan you choose.
  • Global: Either 101 or 149 countries across the globe depending on the plan you choose. To find out more about the specific countries included, head to Sim Local’s website.

As you can see, there are some big ol’ gaps in their regional coverage. You’re pretty well covered if looking for a sim in Europe. But if you’re heading to any region, you’ll have to purchase a local eSIM for each country you visit or use a global plan which is limited to just two options: either 1 GB over 3 days for £10 or 10 GB over 14 days for £28.

a couple taking a selfie with a monkey in the monkey forest of ubud, bali
Just hangin’ out in Southeast Asia waiting for regional coverage.
Photo: @amandaadraper

Us globetrotters in Asia, Oceania, South/Central America and beyond will continue to sit pretty with the global or local coverage plans as we wait for Sim Local to roll out more regional plans.

Sim Local Prices Compared to the Market

There is a reason why people still choose local vs International sims. You know, those tiny, losable pieces of plastic to connect them during their travels – either they don’t know about the game-changing power of eSIMs or they aren’t willing to fork out for them.

Although they are super convenient and way better for the planet, compared to most physical SIM card plans, eSIMs can be significantly more expensive. This is the reason I put off moving toward them for so long… while I juggled (and lost) many physical SIM cards in the process.

But compared to the rest of the eSIM market, Sim Local is pretty reasonably priced. For 30 days in Europe with 50 GB and unlimited calls and text you’ll pay £47 with Sim Local.

Whereas if you look at popular competitors on the market (*cough* Holafly *cough*), their 30-day Europe plan is £59. Sure it’s unlimited data but who needs more than 50 GB anyway? And they don’t include calls and texts… so, case in point, Sim Local aren’t lying about their price commitment.

But before you race off to grab yourself a Sim Local eSIM plan, WAIT. The legends at Sim Local have given us Broke Backpackers a 20% off code (they know we luuurve a bargain)… type this into the little promo code box before you check out: AFFSIML20 and thank me later.

How To Use Sim Local

First things first, let’s talk logistics. From installation and activation to managing your eSIM on-going, I’ll run you through how it works with the Sim Local plans.

 Installation and Activation

Sim Local have an easy-to-use website and app that you can use to flick through and purchase the local, regional and global plans straight from the home page. Or, you can simply use their country drop-down box to search for the country or region you’re heading to and find relevant plans.

Before you purchase your Sim Local plan, make sure your phone is unlocked or that you are buying a plan with the same carrier that you are locked to. Also, check that you have a device that is enabled for eSIMs. Otherwise, you’ll end up buying an eSIM that won’t work on your device and that would be pretty sucky.

A close-up of a cell phone lying on a gray concrete floor.
Are we compatible? <3
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Once you’ve made your purchase, you will be sent a unique QR code. The easiest way to activate your eSIM, on any device, is to scan this QR code and follow the simple instructions that pop up. If you want to do it manually, you can add your eSIM plan to your network/ mobile data settings yourself… but I’d recommend keeping it simple and scanning the QR code.

Then BAM, you’ll be free to roam remotely wherever your plan allows. No tiny little pin trying to jam into a hole on the side of your phone while you try not to drop your precious device. Just a simple QR code to scan. The future is here people and I’m all for it.

Oh, and if you change your mind or cancel your trip, Sim Local will give you a full refund if you haven’t yet activated your plan. I think that’s pretty cool of them.

Monitoring Use

It can be super annoying when you’re burning through your data but have no idea it’s happening. I’ve had that with so many physical SIM cards when I’ve been travelling as I’ve had no idea how to check what balance I have remaining. Then one day, usually when I need it most, I am cut off from the world with no data left to guide me through the internet (and life).

But managing your Sim Local plan is easy. You just need to sign in on either their website or their app and you can find out everything you need about your previous, current and upcoming plans.

Topping Up And Extending

When you purchase a plan, it comes with a validity, in other words, the number of days the plan is valid for. Once you activate your eSIM, that is when your plan actually starts. From what I can tell you cannot extend these plans but rather you can buy another one that suits your upcoming travel needs.

Pros and Cons of Sim Local

If you’ve made it this far in my review, you can probably already tell that I quite like this company. I like what they offer, I like what they stand for and I like that they make mine and my fellow travellers’ lives easier. Not to mention, they do it for a pretty bangin’ price… especially with a cheeky 20% off; don’t forget to use AFFSIML20.

In summary, I’ll wrap things up with a few pros and cons of using Sim Local. Because although they are pretty fabulous, we all have things that we can improve on.

Pros of Sim lOCAL
  1. Easy-to-use website and app.
  2. You can buy in advance and active when your trip starts.
  3. You can keep your original sim and phone number for emergencies and two-step authentications.
  4. If you are going to more than one country, you can purchase separate eSIMs and load them (as long as your phone supports that) then switch between eSIMs.
  5. Great bang for your buck when you compare prices to similar eSIM products on the market.
  6. Kiosks in airports around the world to help you out if you need it on the go.
  7. 5-star customer service, available 24/7.
Cons of Sim Local
  1. Some devices do not support eSIM
  2. Local physical SIM cards may be cheaper
  3. Regional plans are limited to Europe.
  4. You cannot transfer your existing number to your new eSIM. A new number will be given.
  5. Cannot extend the current plan, instead you need to buy a new eSIM. Not ideal for longer trips.

    Final Thoughts on Sim Local

    Although I can be a sucker for the locally priced sim cards… if put together a cost-benefit throw down of the two it would be pretty heavily favoured towards Sim Locals eSIMs.

    After the amount of little bits of l I’ve lost to the abyss and the levels of frustration I’ve had when I couldn’t receive my two-authentication codes… I am officially a big-time advocate for an eSIM.

    The first eSIM I brought was in Europe and it was truly magical. I never had a problem with the signal. I remember streaming Netflix while literally crossing borders on a bus, with no swapping SIM cards and no signal interruptions. Just pure Bridgerton bliss.

    As a long-term traveller, Sim Local has made my life a lot less frustrating. Honestly, why are internet problems 10x more frustrating than any other problem? I’d recommend nabbing yourself one of their plans for your next trip. And one more reminder to use AFFSIML20 for 20% off.

    Happy travels fellow nomads and globe trotters!

    a girl working on her laptop in a cafe with a view of rice fields in Bali behind her
    Good connection, good life.
    Photo: @amandaadraper

    And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!