Nomad eSIM Review: Is It a Good eSIM?

A few months ago, when I landed in Istanbul after a series of flights, my only desire was to get to my Airbnb and become one with the couch. I was jet-lagged and had no intention of dragging my bags through yet another airport, searching for a local SIM card store. And the good thing is, I didn't have to. I had previously purchased Nomad, an eSIM provider that makes staying connected easier than ever. I just switched off Airplane mode, activated my eSIM, and was ready to book an Uber.

But let's be real, the luxury of heading straight from the airport to an Airbnb hasn’t always been this simple. Previously, if I wanted internet on my phone, I'd have to hunt down a local SIM store for a physical SIM card before I could even dream of crashing on the couch. But thanks to eSIM technology, we can kiss those days goodbye.

Today, we'll spill the tea on our experience with Nomad eSIM, from the pros and cons to real-world performance of this virtual SIM card. Continue reading to find out if it's the right eSIM for you.

Nomad eSIM

Nomad eSIM offers data plans in over 170+ countries for travelers seeking a convenient way to stay connected abroad. Just download the app, choose your data plan (regional, country-specific, or global), and activate your eSIM - all from your phone.

Compare prices at Nomad eSIM

What we liked about Nomad eSIM

Buying an eSIM is fast and easy

If you're a serial traveler like us, you'll surely remember the days when setting up a foreign SIM on your phone felt like solving a Rubik's Cube while blindfolded. Well, those days are gone. With Nomad, it’s almost embarrassingly easy to set up your eSIM. I mean, you practically need more time to order a coffee than to set this thing up.

How Nomad eSIM works

You just open their website or app, create an account and pick your plan. Whether you’re hopping across Asia or just chilling in Italy, they’ve got you covered with single-country, regional, or even global plans.

Nomad eSIM single-country, regional and global data plans

Purchasing and activating your eSIM is also as easy as pie. A few taps, enter your payment details, and the eSIM literally installs itself. And if your phone throws a fit, they’ve got instructions clearer than a Maldives morning, or you can just scan a QR code and you’re sorted.

How to install and activate Nomad eSIM

Once you've confirmed your device is eSIM compatible, simply enable data roaming, and you're ready to connect with the world.

Before you get too carried away, it's always a good idea to double-check that your device is compatible with eSIM technology. Nomad's website has a handy compatibility list to make this a quick check.

They'll probably cover your destination

Nomad eSIM practically has the map tattooed on their offerings—with eSIMs available for 170+ countries (meaning your destination is more than probably covered). We've used them from the cafes in Mexico to the beaches of Thailand, and they’ve never let us down. The common destinations? Check. The not-so-common ones? Check, mostly.

Nomad eSIM global coverage

And if your travel plans include multiple countries, they've got regional and global plans. That means you won't have to purchase a new eSIM for each country you visit, one eSIM will keep you connected in different ones.

Nomad eSIM regional data plans

Say goodbye to roaming fees

Who loves getting hit with those sneaky roaming charges that make your wallet cry? Nobody, that's who. That's exactly why we love Nomad—what you see is what you get. When it comes to pricing, you pay for how much data you think you'll be spending in a given country. Some countries are cheaper than others, but their pricing is always transparent.

Nomad eSIM pricing

Let’s break it down with some real numbers so you can get an idea of how much you'd be spending in different areas of the world:

Country/Region 3GB (30 days) 5GB (30 days) 10GB (30 days) 20GB (30 days)
US $11.00 $14.00 $18.00 $28.00
China $7.00 $10.00 $27.00 $15.00
United Kingdom $8.00 $11.00 $15.00 $21.60
Europe $13.00 $15.00 $18.00 $26.00
Global $40.00 $45.00 N/A N/A
One of the things about Nomad we really appreciate is the ability to top up some of their eSIMs if you're running low on data. This means you don't have to buy a whole new plan! Don't underestimate this, it's a serious perk.

We've tested out pretty much all of the eSIMs and physical SIMs out there and no, Nomad might not be the bargain bin of data plans (local SIMs can be cheaper if you're staying put for a while), but it's a lifesaver compared to those outrageous roaming charges.

And honestly, who wants to waste precious travel time hunting down a SIM card when you could be out exploring? We think the convenience and time saving are worth it.

They have the best mobile app

As a digital nomad and a bit of a snob about user experience—yup, I’m a UX/UI Designer—I’m tough to impress. But to be completely honest, Nomad's app definitely lives up to my expectations. It's sleek, intuitive, and so easy to use that even your tech-unsavvy aunt could figure it out. It’s seriously one of the best eSIM apps out there, and I’ve swiped through my fair share.

Nomad eSIM mobile app

With a few taps, you can browse and buy data plans easily. And if you’re neurotic about data like me, the app’s real-time tracking is great for checking data usage. It’s saved me from digital oblivion more times than I can count, making sure I never accidentally go offline when I need to be on.

Nomad eSIM mobile app profile

What we didn't like about Nomad eSIM

Live chat support isn’t available

Don’t get me wrong, Nomad's customer support team is great—responsive, helpful, and all (at least when we had to contact them to clarify plan details). But we’re living in the age of instant gratification, and sometimes you just need answers, like, yesterday. Which means, a live chat is something customers almost expect.

Currently, you can contact them through their app or website, and they’ll get back to you via email within a business day, which is great... unless you’re stuck needing a quick fix. In that case, a live chat would be extremely preferable. The good news is, in our experience, their response time has always been reliable.

They don’t offer unlimited data plans

This isn't to say that usually eSIM providers offer unlimited data plans, they don't. But just so you know, Nomad doesn't either. All Nomad plans come with a set amount of gigabytes, which works fine for most travelers, but if you're a digital nomad constantly working online or needing heavier data plans, you might find yourself bumping up against those limits.

But the good news is that although they don’t offer unlimited plans, they do have "Day Plans". These plans provide a specific amount of high-speed data per day (e.g., 1 GB per day), after which you get unlimited data at a throttled speed of 512kbps, which is usually higher than other eSIM providers. This option is great for users who aren’t sure how much data they need but know they need it for a certain number of days. You can find Day Plans in many popular destinations such as the US, China, UK, Germany, Spain, Mexico, and more. You can check out the full list of available Day Plans here.

With Nomad you also have the chance to top up, which means, at least, you won't have to purchase a new plan completely or install a new eSIM. Just keep in mind, topping up repeatedly can add up, so if you usually require lots of data, it's best to purchase a larger data plan from the start.

Plans don’t include a local phone number

If your itinerary includes traveling to places where booking a restaurant or activities is done the old-fashioned way — by calling — Nomad might be a dealbreaker. While they do offer great data plans, they don't include a local phone number.

This means you can’t receive calls from local services unless you're all set up on WhatsApp, Telegram, or similar apps. If you're the type who needs a local number for business calls or just to blend in like a local, this could be a sticky point.

Our Experience Using Nomad eSIM in 3 Different Countries (+ Speed Test Results)

Digital noamd using Nomad eSIM mobile app

Everything sounds great until your plane lands, you activate your eSIM and realize it doesn't perform the way you thought it would. That's why knowing the real-world performance of eSIM providers is essential. We've tested out Nomad's eSIM plans in five different countries worldwide: Germany, Spain, Colombia, Mexico, and Thailand.

Here are our speed test results:

Country Speed Test (download) Speed Test (upload) Connection Quality
Germany 56.60 Mbps 11.62 Mbps Good
Italy 74.58 Mbps 22.54 Mbps Great
Turkey 36.28 Mbps 13.52 Mbps Fair

As you can see, we can safely say that Nomad eSIM delivered on its part. We had solid connectivity in most places we tested. In Berlin it was quite fast, and we were able to use Google Maps to guide us with no problems. In Italy, face timing from the street cafès was like the other person was just across the table, thanks to impressive upload speeds. The only place where it wasn't all smooth sailing was in Turkey when we ventured to more remote areas. The speeds dropped, and the connection wavered a bit, especially when switching between cell towers. But, let’s face it, no service is perfect, especially when you're roaming in more rugged areas.

Overall, Nomad eSIM provided a solid, reliable service across a diverse array of countries. While performance can vary based on loads of factors like local network infrastructure and coverage, in our experience, Nomad managed to hold its ground in most scenarios we threw at it. For any digital nomad looking for a reliable connection, Nomad eSIM seems to be a great choice.

Nomad eSIM Alternatives


Holafly eSIM Homepage

Remember how Nomad doesn't offer unlimited data plans? Well, for those who can’t bear the thought of being offline and are known to devour data like there’s no tomorrow, Holafly could be your new best friend. Holafly is one of the few eSIM providers that offers unlimited data plans, perfect for digital nomads who need a constant, uninterrupted connection.

But there’s a catch: all that unlimited data doesn’t come cheap. Holafly’s plans are typically pricier than Nomad’s more budget-friendly, data-capped options. So, if your data needs are more about Google Maps than marathon streaming sessions on a sun-lounger, sticking with Nomad might keep your wallet happier.

Special Discount for Holafly: Use the coupon code FREAKINGNOMADS at the checkout to get 5% OFF on all Holafly's eSIM plans and top-ups!

Interested in learning more about Holafly? Here's our full review:

Holafly eSIM Review: Is It Reliable? Here’s Our Experience
Explore our in-depth Holafly eSIM review: global coverage, flexible plans, unlimited data, and top-notch support for travelers.


Airalo eSIM Homepage

Airalo is a heavyweight contender in the eSIM arena, boasting an impressive portfolio that covers over 200 countries and regions. This is the digital nomad's dream, ensuring connectivity almost anywhere in the world and making it a more widely available provider compared to most providers, including Nomad. Price-wise, Airalo and Nomad are both two great budget options, making them tempting options for those watching their spending. 

Both Airalo and Nomad offer also loyalty programs rewarding you with credits each time you purchase a new plan but Nomad has a slight advantage when it comes to friend referrals as referees receive a 25% discount on their first order, while referrers receive a 25% discount on their orders after the referees make a purchase.

Nomad also edges out Airalo when it comes to the user experience. As someone with a background in UI/UX design, I've found Nomad’s app to be a slick, smooth operator, making it super easy to manage your eSIM on the fly. Airalo’s interface, on the other side, isn’t quite as polished. So, if app usability ranks high on your list, Nomad might still be your top pick.

Special Discount: As a thank you for being our reader, you can use our Discount Code 'FN10' and get 10% OFF on all Airalo plans!

Want a more in-depth look at Airalo? Check out our full review:

Airalo eSIM: Is It Legit? Our Honest Review
In-depth review of Airalo’s eSIM for international travelers. We look at the pros, cons, pricing and more to see if it’s really a good eSIM for you.

The Bottom Line

After crisscrossing the globe with Nomad eSIM securely installed into my phone, I can confidently say it’s become one of my top picks for staying connected. The app itself offers a great experience, it's sleek and intuitive, whisking you from setup to connection in mere minutes. And with its expansive coverage in over 170 countries, Nomad effortlessly tailors a plan to fit any itinerary, doesn't matter if you're navigating the streets of Tokyo or trekking through Norway (but you might experience slower speed in remote areas).

Of course, no service is flawless, and we don't even expect any to be. Nomad’s missing a few perks—like unlimited data options and local phone numbers, features that can make life even smoother. But, when you weigh these against the massive benefits of its competitive pricing, robust connectivity, and user-friendly interface, the scales heavily tip in favor of Nomad. For budget-savvy travelers who prioritize ease of use and reliable performance, Nomad eSIM ticks all the right boxes.

Ready To Try Nomad eSIM For Your Next Trip?

If you want more digital nomad guides like these, sign up for our free newsletter and get upcoming articles straight to your inbox!

You can also follow us on Instagram and join our Facebook Group if you want to get in touch with other members of our growing digital nomad community!

We'll see you there, Freaking Nomads!

Disclosure: Hey, just a heads up that some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that, if you buy through our links, we may earn a small commission that helps us create helpful content for the community. We only recommend products if we think they will add value, so thanks for supporting us!