There is no point denying or lamenting the fact: our phones are probably the single most important travel accessory (except perhaps for a passport) that any of us pack for any trip that we take.

It seems that the telecommunications market agrees with this sentiment too. You will probably have noticed most airports host entire blocks of SIM-card kiosks just the other side of passport control. They’re all hustling to get the fresh arrivals signed up and connected within 15 minutes of landing in the country!

But you know – you don’t actually need to wait until you arrive in your destination country anymore. And you don’t need a physical SIM to get connected… the difference between a local sim vs an international sim is with eSIM technology, you can download a virtual SIM onto your phone before you even leave home.

And the eSIM market is positively buoyant right now with COUNTLESS eSIM providers all vying for your custom. In fact, navigating the vast oceans of choice and finding the best value sim can prove seriously bloody overwhelming.

Well, this is where SimOptions comes in… SimOptions is the first marketplace for eSIM providers in the world, and they may just have changed the game forever.

Let’s get into all the deets.

Homepage of SimOptions website

Who Are SimOptions?

SimOptions is a reputable global marketplace that specialises in offering high-quality prepaid eSIMs for travellers in over 200 destinations worldwide. The platform has been dedicated to providing the best possible eSIM and international sim options at the most competitive rates for travellers since 2018. They rigorously test and select eSIMs to ensure that you receive the best connectivity and service wherever you travel.

Without Maps, I am surely lost.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

As well as effectively acting as a broker from a number of other eSIM providers, SimOptions also offer their own eSIM products too.

Basically, SimOptions is kind of like a market comparison website for eSIMs. You simply type in your destination and they bring up the different eSIM options from a wide number of prospective providers and suppliers.

PSSSTTT – If you need more info about eSIMs generally then check out our ‘What is eSIM?’ guide.

How SimOptions Works

SimOptions is very easy to use indeed. When you first log onto the site, you are invited to enter your vacation destination into the search bar and then the site quickly pulls up the different options pretty much ‘at a glance’ as the screenshot below demonstrates.

sim options

As you can see, the site presents the best eSIM providers and deals for your trip and makes it immediately apparent what each package costs, how much data is included, and the duration of the package.

Once you find a package you like the look of, you simply hit buy now, use the on-site checkout, and then proceed to download and activate which I will cover further on.

What To Look Out For When Browsing SimOptions

When you get your SimOptions search results there are a few things that you should pay close attention to in order to help you decide which is the best travel eSIM package is best for you.

  • Data Amount

This one should seem quite obvious. Basically, you want to make sure you have enough data to last your trip. To assess this, you need to think about your ordinary, day-to-day data use, and then factor in whether you will be using your phone more or less when travelling when you are at home.

For example, if you will be hiking in the Himalayas far out of WiFi range then you may not need all that much data. On the other hand, if you are going to explore Beijing, then your phone may hardly leave your hand as you use it for navigation and translation at every turn.

Note that some of the packages on SimOptions allow you to top up with more data whereas others don’t. Be sure about your needs or take the time to find a flexible package that allows top ups.

  • Duration

Obviously, you want your package to last the duration of your trip. If you are going away for 9 days, then it’s better to buy a 10 or 15-day package than a 7-day one.

Most of the packages on the SimOptions CANNOT be extended so it pays to err on the side of caution here otherwise you may end up having to buy another package.

  • How Many Countries Does It Work In?

Some of the packages for sale on SimOptions work in multiple countries whereas others will only work in one. For example, when I was searching for a good SIM for Spain, I noticed that some of the packages were for Spain only, whereas others were for Spain and the EU. This little facet only became clear when clocking on the ‘Details’ function, so do keep an eye out.

danielle on the phone at a British red phone box
These London phone prices are getting silly.
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

If you are only staying in one country, then this may seem academic but if you are going backpacking around Southeast Asia or Interrailing over Europe, this is well worth checking.

Remember that SimOptions offers packages for over 200 different countries.

  • Local Number

Note that a LOT of eSIMs provide data only but do NOT come with a local number. This means that you cannot make local calls or texts.

This isn’t an issue in many cases. But taking Indonesia (Bali) as an example, without a local phone number you cannot sign up or login to the ubiquitous “Gojek” everything app.

  • Cost

The package prices differ depending on a wide number of variables. However, when searching for a Spanish eSIM pack, the cheapest option (1GB for 7 days) was $4.50 which is very reasonable.

Moving up, the all-EU, Orange Holiday package for $29.00 includes 30GB over 14 days along with a local number, calls, and texts.

Download, Installation, and Activation

Acquiring and setting up eSIM cards from any provider is a fairly straightforward and pretty quick process.

Before you make a purchase though, do take a moment to ensure that your phone supports eSIM technology. All current-gen smartphones are eSIM compliant but some older models (such as the iPhone 8) are not.

Once you purchase a SIM from SimOptions, you will receive an email which sets out 2 options for commencing the installation process;

  • QR Code: This method is generally recommended for its ease. Go to your phone’s settings under ‘data’ or ‘networks’ (the exact term varies by phone brand) and look for the option to ‘add a data plan’. Scanning the QR code will complete the setup.
  • Manual Installation: If scanning the QR code isn’t feasible, you can input a numeric code manually. This code, along with the QR code, will be in the email, under the ‘add a data plan’ section for manual entry.

Providing that everything is in working order, getting an eSIM ready to rock and roll will take under 5 minutes. However, note that in most cases you should not or cannot activate it until you land in your destination. Remember that the package has a lifespan measured in days – so you don’t want to activate it prematurely.

Topping Up and Recharging

One pretty significant limitation of SimOptions eSIM cards is that a lot of the data plans come with a finite amount of data, posing a risk of depleting your internet access during your travels. Estimating the exact amount of data you’ll need can be challenging, as travel often comes with unexpected needs and situations.

Should you exhaust your data, some brands offer the option to top up your eSIM without the need for a new installation. You can manage this refill directly on their website, though it’s advisable to verify this capability before making a purchase.

Does SimOptions Search ALL eSIM Providers?

At this junction, it is important to point out that while the SimOptions site does search, compare, and offer eSIM packages from a good number of providers, it is not anything nearing ‘comprehensive’.

For example, it offers a lot of options from their in-house SimOptions brand. They feature the telecom behemoths such as Orange and Bouygues yet don’t seem to work with any of the new kids on the block or the more boutique companies.

Therefore, the best deal on SimOptions is not necessarily the best deal out there. If you have the time and energy, it may well be worth comparing SimOptions against some of their competitors.

Other eSIM Providers

In case you are wondering who the other eSIM companies are, rest assured, there are far too many for us to keep track of. Some of them are decent and reputable whereas others are sketchy, fly-by-night operations.

In the interests of transparency and comparison, let’s quickly look at 2 other eSIM companies that I have recently tried.


gigsky homepage

GigSky’s eSIM solutions are designed to be convenient for international travellers, providing us with the ability to stay connected without incurring high roaming charges. GigSky allows users to choose from various data plans based on their destination and the duration of their stay, offering flexibility and control over data usage and costs.

I mentioned earlier that I searched SimOptions for a Spain eSIM and found a 7-day, 1GB package for $4.50. Well, GigSky’s version is $3.99 but it does not offer calls or a local phone number.


holafly homepage

Spanish-based HolaFly is a company that specialises in providing international travellers with eSIM cards for easy and convenient access to mobile data abroad. Their eSIMs offer a straightforward solution for staying connected in over 190 countries without incurring hefty roaming charges. HolaFly’s eSIMs are designed for a wide range of devices that support eSIM technology, including smartphones, tablets, and certain wearables.

Their Spain packages start at €19.99 – but that does include a local phone number.

While HolaFly do offer some good value packages, none of their offerings come with a local number and personally, I found the experience of dealing with their customer support team exhausting. In the end, spent 2 days without a SIM while they got their shit together.

Final Thoughts

Even in a cramped space, after running a thorough SimOptions review, I found it standing out as a true innovator in the global travel telecommunications market with their market-searching app and website.

With their commitment to delivering reliable, high-quality connectivity across over 200 destinations, SimOptions ensures that staying connected abroad is no longer a luxury – but a given. Their carefully curated but pretty wide selection of eSIM plans offers flexibility and convenience, allowing travellers to easily manage their data needs without the fear of exorbitant roaming charges.

Ready to explore the world without losing your connection? Visit SimOptions today and find the perfect eSIM plan for your next adventure.

So we can all enjoy the anti-socialness, together.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
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