Is this the best eSIM in the Netherlands? Airalo reviewed

Getting connected is a breeze! 🤳🏼

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With a range of geographical and data-based packages, multiple SIM capabilities, and pure ease of usage, Airalo offers powerful benefits for internationals on the go. 🛫

Finding the perfect eSIM card to suit your needs isn’t an easy process. With varying data packages offered, different regions supported, and the question of device compatibility cropping up, things can get… rather confusing.

Luckily, we’ve done the research, so you don’t have to. 

Are you an international with a bad case of the travel bug? Let’s talk about why Airalo is a good choice for you! 🙌

First things first: what’s an eSIM?

Everyone and their mum has probably seen a physical SIM card; a tiny piece of plastic that provides your mobile phone with a data/cellular package. 

READ MORE | Mobile phones and SIM cards in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

The process to get one of these precious pieces of plastic in the Netherlands can include forking over your BSN, housing information, and ID/passport — which is kind of a drag if you ask us. 🤷🏻‍♀️

eSIMs are the easiest option for internationals looking to get connected in a jiffy. Image: Freepik

An eSIM, on the other hand, is the humble SIM’s flashier, more modern cousin. And the best part? 

Also known as an embedded SIM, this is a virtual SIM card that can be downloaded and installed on a range of devices. 

Offering the same capabilities as physical SIM cards, with fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through, this is often a much easier option for internationals looking to set up their phone in the Netherlands. 

Now, let’s talk about Airalo

What we liked about Airalo’s eSIMs

We love a whole host of things: puppies, Dutch apple pie, travelling… and mobile data packages that offer us excellent bang for our buck. ✨

Thankfully, Airalo fits the last category like a glove. Founded in 2019, the eSIM company has rapidly become a go-to option for both internationals in the Netherlands and global eSIM users.

Coming with a whole host of super handig (handy) features, we can see why:

1. Installation and activation are quick, simple, and stress-free

Show of hands… who has time for complicated and overly technical instructions? Not us. 🙅🏻‍♀️

Thankfully, Airalo’s eSIMs are a piece of cake to set up. To install your eSIM of choice, you just download the Airalo app and select an eSIM under the ‘Install eSIM’ option.

To properly install and activate your eSIM, you then follow the comprehensive (and easy) instructions on the Airalo website.

2. Choosing the best package for our travel plans was a breeze

As anyone who’s ever gone clothes-shopping knows, one size most certainly doesn’t fit all. 

Airalo approaches their eSIM packages with the same level of personalisation and… honestly? We really dig it!

Whether you’re here to snap pictures of gorgeous tulips, study, or settle down for work, an eSIM can be a powerful tool in helping you feel at home! Image: Freepik

The eSIM provider has three main packages:

This makes it easier than ever to choose the best eSIM package for your travel plans.

3. Opting for an eSIM saves you data roaming fees

With a traditional SIM, you usually need to opt for data roaming to use your cellular data outside of your home network’s area of coverage. 

This means that if you choose to visit a South American country with a Dutch SIM, you will likely need to pay data roaming fees.

For those itching to skip the fuss and fees of data roaming (like us!), Airalo provides a way to simply install a country-specific or regional eSIM that covers the country you’re travelling to. 🏖️

This provides the data coverage you need — without the extra fees that make your wallet sad.

4. Travelling often? You can use multiple eSIMs on one device

eSIMs are all about convenience, so it doesn’t surprise us that Airalo allows you to use multiple eSIMs on one device.

Uncomplicated is the name of the game — leaving you free to enjoy your travels. Image: Freepik

For one thing, you can forget about needing to manually remove and reinstall your physical SIM every time you travel for business or leisure.

READ MORE | The best SIM-only plans in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

With all your eSIMs stored digitally on your mobile, all you need to do is activate one when you need to use it.

5. In fact, you can even use an eSIM and regular SIM card together

This brings us to one of our favourite features: the fact that Airalo allows you to use both an eSIM and a regular SIM.

Giving you the best of both worlds, you’re spared the hassle of removing (and potentially losing!) your original SIM to use an eSIM.

Oh, and the cherry on top of this beautiful stroopwafel cake? Even with a virtual SIM activated, Airalo’s eSIMs enable you to keep your physical one — with your home country’s number still connected.

6. Using only as much data as you need is easy

Data tracking might sound like an absolute hassle, but that’s why Airalo created a handy iOS app to keep it simple.

You can keep a close eye on how much data you’re using — all from the comfort of your home screen. 🤳🏼

But wait… what if you’re not an iOS user? Well, as an Android fan, you can opt to get push notifications when your data is running low.

Whether you’re making a quick call, looking for directions, or uploading your travel pics to the ‘gram, there’s likely an eSIM package to suit your data needs. Image: Depositphotos

By offering these services, Airalo ensures that you’re never stranded in the countryside with no mobile connection.

Airalo eSIMs: what we didn’t love

Oké, it’s time to be real: much like a selection of Dutch sandwich spreads, there were also aspects of using Airalo’s eSIMs that we didn’t quite fancy. Let’s get into them! 👇

1. You’ll need to check if eSIMs are compatible with your mobile device

If you own an older mobile, for example, most eSIMs will likely be incompatible with your device.

In addition to this, the usage of eSIMs on certain devices in certain areas of the globe may be controlled. 

According to Airalo, if (for example) you’re using a Samsung Galaxy device from South Korea or an iPhone from Mainland China, your mobile will likely not support Airalo eSIMs.

But in general, it seems that you’re good to use an eSIM if you have a fairly modern phone that came out after 2018 (but best check!).

Note: Airalo isn’t alone in having this problem, however. Many eSIM providers only offer compatibility with newer phone models. 

2. You need internet to activate your eSIM

Just as you pre-warm the tosti-maker before popping in your kaas tosti (grilled cheese), you will need to prep your eSIM before you use it.

It’s always easier to activate your eSIM before your trip so that you’re not relying on public WiFi to get the job done. Image: Freepik

More specifically, you’ll need to activate it. Whilst the process isn’t difficult, it can be annoying if you’re activating it on the road or don’t have access to very stable WiFi.

Our tip? Just make sure you actually set the eSIM up before you find yourself on a plane to Australia.

3. You may not be connected to your data provider of choice

Given that Airalo partners with a range of local data providers to offer coverage, you may not always be able to connect to your provider of choice.

In the grand scheme of things, however, this isn’t a major disadvantage, as Airalo’s partners tend to be quite carefully chosen.

Their Dutch eSIMs, for example, offer KPN and Vodafone as providers — which are two of the biggest and most reliable networks in the Netherlands.

The verdict: it’s great for international globetrotters

Despite some minor sticking points, Airalo’s eSIMs offer internationals in the Netherlands unbeatable value for a wide range of products and services.

Whether you’re a globetrotter at heart or simply travelling for your work/studies, Airalo can provide you with the tools to stay connected with your friends, colleagues, and loved ones — no matter where in the world you are.

Have you ever used an eSIM? Tell us all about your experiences in the comments below!

Feature Image:Freepik
Liana Pereira 🇱🇰
Liana Pereira 🇱🇰
Liana juggles her role as an Editor with wrapping up a degree in cognitive linguistics and assisting with DutchReview's affiliate portfolio. Since arriving in the Netherlands for her studies in 2018, she's thrilled to have the 'write' opportunity to help other internationals feel more at home here — whether that's by penning an article on the best SIMs to buy in NL, the latest banking features, or important things to know about Dutch health insurance.

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