If you are heading to the United Kingdom you are going to want to avoid the expensive data roaming charges that come with your home mobile network provider.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 UK eSIM Options
Getting local prepaid sim cards is one option but it is not that convenient which is why we think getting an eSim for your trip is better than getting a UK sim card. But, which eSim card is best for the United Kingdom? That is what we are here to find out when we compare eSim plans for the UK
Join me as I run through the best eSim for the UK from eSim card providers for the United Kingdom and London, their different data plans, and why eSim cards are so great for traveling with.
best uk esim for travellers
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|SEE ON HOLAFLY →|
cheapest esim plan uk
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Good For 20GB+
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Airalo is a global eSim provider that operates in over 190 countries and the United Kingdom is one of them, of course.
Airalo has perfected their system which makes using their eSim very simple and efficient for tourists, and their customer support is excellent too. They offer great mobile data network coverage across the UK and their speeds are solid too.
Airalo data plans allow you to choose from short or longer eSim data plans. You can get the following packages from Airalo:
This is affordable pricing, but not as good as the unlimited data offers from Holafly. However, often the service and professionalism from Airalo make up for that.
Holalfy is the perfect eSim provider for heavy data as all their data plans give you unlimited data. They also offer great international eSim cards too if you travel to lots of different countries often.
Holafly is also reliable with great coverage and good connection speeds, so you won’t be waiting ages for things to load.
Holafly has a number of unlimited data packages across a range of days. The unlimited data plans start at
You can be online as much as you like for your entire trip without worrying about mobile data usage and the prices are very affordable too.
The only drawback is that you can not tether/hotspot/share data with Holafly, so working on your laptop using your phone as a hotspot is not an option, which is unfortunate.
But, if you want the freedom of unlimited data, they are one of the few on the market.
Maya is one of the up-and-coming UK eSim providers and they are certainly challenging the likes of Airalo and Holafly. For me, Holafly is great for unlimited data (in most cases) and Airalo for smaller packages. But Maya is somewhere in between.
Not only do they have decent offers for smaller packages, but they also have a great 1-month UK eSim package with unlimited data for $49. You can also go with their Europe-wide package (30 countries) if you plan on traveling to Europe during that month too!
Their packages include (all for one month):
But wait, it gets better. Maya has decided to beat the other eSim providers in offering a fair-use policy that means they don’t severely throttle heavy users and you can tether/hotspot on their packages as well. Which is great for digital nomads like us! (or you perhaps)?
Holafly has unlimited data but you can’t tether, which is painful if you have to work via your phone-laptop combo!
And I have been trying Maya’s support too. It is not instantaneous, but within an hour or two they get back to you and they are super helpful. Also, if you are not satisfied – money back! Easy peasy.
Nomad is another reliable eSim provider that has some great eSims for UK travel. Their network coverage is great as are their connection speeds, here are their UK eSim plans.
You have 5 eSim plans to choose from with Nomad starting at
The above are just a sample of the plans, there are also data plans in between (5GB, 40GB, 50GB etc).
All the contracts are 30 days and they come very affordable per GB when you choose the higher ones.
Unfortunately, there are no unlimited data plans offered by Nomad but hopefully, this will change soon.
Know Roaming only have 2 eSim plans for the UK, but they might fit your needs well. Like with the Nomad eSim plans, they all run for 30 days, which is handy, as often the 1GB plans only last a week or so.
There are Know Roaming’s plans:
Flexiroam is another reliable eSim provider that provides good coverage and connection speeds in the UK.
What I love about Flexiroam is that they have lots of different options so you can always find the right amount of GB/Days for your needs.
Their plans start as low as 0.5GB/3-days for $3 and go all the way to 10GB/24 days for $25. This is excellent pricing and their service is excellent but they do not offer unlimited data plans!
Gigsky doesn’t offer UK eSims but they do offer Europe eSims that include the UK. This means you can use their eSim in almost every country in Europe.
They offer 4 eSim plans starting at 1GB/7-days for $4.99 and going up to 50GB/90-days for $174.99. While the plans are handy being long and short-term, they are expensive compared to the likes of Holafly and Airalo.
Truphone provides eSim plans in over 190 countries and they are very good at it. Their customer service is great, it is all done through the app, and their connections are both reliable and fast.
The UK plans they offer range from 1GB/1-day for $4.22 up to 20GB/30-days for $31.66, the latter being very affordable. All their plans are 30 days, bar the 1 day option, and there are 5 to choose from which is good.
Again, not unlimited data options are available, so they might not be the best choice if you like to browse a lot!
There are a lot of benefits to getting an eSim for a trip to the United Kingdom and the main one is just how easy it is.
You can buy an eSim online, activate it, and have a mobile internet connection within about 5 minutes of landing in the United Kingdom. You don’t have to find a shop, queue, buy a local sim card, top it up, or swap out your home sim card either – life is simpler with an eSim.m
One thing I love about an eSim is that you don’t have to remove your home sim card and can still receive calls and texts while using data on your eSim. Essentially this creates a dual sim phone where you can be online on one sim while getting texts from your bank on your home number.
eSims are also far more affordable than data roaming, and close in price to local sims, so you are either saving money or paying a similar price with a lot more convenience.
Using eSims also avoids a lot of waste that comes with physical sim cards. There is no plastic, no packaging, and no precious metals used in them that normal sims come with!
Not all devices work with eSims as eSim technology is relatively new. eSims are embedded sim cards meaning the sim card is built into the phone or tablet and you can then add and remove eSim provider plans as you wish.
This means that only phones and tablets made in the last 3 years will have them, and it’s only higher end smartphones that have them too. So, how do you know if your phone or tablet supports eSims?
It’s very simple! Just dial *#06# and your phone will bring up its unique information. This includes its IMEI number, which all smartphones have and perhaps an EID (Embedded Identity Document) number.
If your phone has an EID number, it is compatible with eSims. But, there is one more step! For your phone to accept an eSim it has to be unlocked from a network provider.
To unlock your phone, call your network provider and ask them to unlock it, it should only take a couple minutes.
It is always wise to buy an eSim that comes from a local network provider in any country you are going to as they will have the best speeds and coverage. You will also have the option to add sms texts and phone calls with your data plan in the United Kingdom.
In the UK, there are 4 local network providers that supply eSims and these include EE, O2, Vodafone, and Virgin Mobile.
How much data you need while traveling around the United Kingdom depends a lot on your data usage. The last thing you want is to buy an eSim data plan and run out, as this would entail buying another data plan, which makes it expensive overall.
On average, people use about 5GB of data per week but if you like to use a lot of data, then you might hit the 20GB a week mark.
You can go into data usage settings on your phone and get a report of how much data you use over a certain amount of time. This will give you an idea of how much data you will need for a certain number of days in the UK, then it is all about finding a data plan to match.
The last thing you want is to run out of mobile data while using Google Maps to navigate around London, so always make sure you have enough data.
eSims come with contract lengths ranging from a day to 90 days. If you activate it early, before you are in the UK, your days will start being used up before you even get there. Wait to activate it until you land!
Everyone in the UK uses Whatsapp to communicate as it allows you to call and text over data only. This means you can send sms’ and make calls by using just your eSim data plan, and won’t need to buy any sms or call credit.
Did you know that you can download parts of google maps for offline use? If not, here is how. The benefit of this is that you can navigate your way around the United Kingdom using maps while using no data at all!
Airplane mode is one of my top functions as it saves battery and data too. Apps often use your data while they are closed to check for updates and other things like that, on airplane mode, all of this is stopped.
You can still use the GPS to navigate as well as take pictures with your phone, so all is not lost.
Most of the cities in the United Kingdom are filled with cafes and restaurants that offer free wi-fi. If you want to reduce your data consumption on your eSim plan, use the free WiFi for your heavier apps like Instagram.
You don’t even need to be in the United Kingdom to buy an eSim for the United Kingdom, all you need is an internet connection.
You can buy a UK eSim from any country in the world online, and here is how to do it:
Do Not Activate your eSim card until you land in the UK or it will start being used up!
To activate your eSim, you will need to be connected to the internet. Then it is a matter of following the instructions and using your activation code. It should take less than a minute to do and be very simple.