The United States – the most famous country in the world.
Known for its many attractions, movies produced in Hollywood, and its influence worldwide.
While everyone knows at least something about this country, some forget that the United States is huge.
From tropical areas like Florida (FL) to an Arctic climate in Alaska (AK).
From densely populated urban areas like New Jersey (NJ) to vast middle-of-nowhere lands in Oklahoma (OK), the United States has something for anyone.
I honestly believe anyone who can afford it to make a long road trip across the nation – the experiences will be unreal.
Regardless of why you visit the United States, you certainly want to share your experiences online.
But before you share your colorful United States experiences online, be aware that international roaming can be expensive.
Travel eSIMs can be a much more affordable way to stay connected, even in United States.
How much will a travel eSIM for United States cost?
You can get a travel eSIM for United States for as little as 4.50 USD, with 1 GB for 7 days, up to 99 USD, for unlimited data, from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad.
While this may sound a bit pricey but international roaming will be even more expensive.
So yeah, these travel eSIMs can be worth it.
In this guide, I will go over the travel eSIM options offered by Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's go.
Original publication: 26th of September 2022. Last updated: 29th of November 2022.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the American Mobile Operators
Suppose you want to get the best service and reception available in the United States.
In that case, it is better to get a SIM card or travel eSIM from the local mobile operators, which in this case would be the American ones.
Not only will you not have to deal with latency, but you also get a higher priority on the network because you are a direct customer of the mobile operator instead of a roamer.
And with most travel eSIMs, you are roaming on the network(s) of the local mobile operator(s).
But that is not always the case – the slow speeds part, that is.
Some mobile operators throttle the speeds of prepaid customers because they want more people to get a postpaid plan.
Unfortunately, travelers cannot get postpaid plans – so one way to avoid throttling is by using a travel eSIM.
Yes – travel eSIMs sometimes have faster speeds than native prepaid customers because of throttling.
So, which American mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
There are a lot of mobile operators offering to prepaid customers, but I still need to vet whether the purchase process are straightforward or not (American mobile operators are known for being slow and bureacratic).
Aside from that, you can also get eSIMs from Airalo (Change eSIM), Holafly & Nomad.
I have to mention that travel eSIMs will be more expensive than local eSIMs and SIM cards, but they are more convenient.
Moreover, I have plenty of experience with the eSIMs from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad, so I can vouch for them – so can many Phone Travel Wiz readers!
So let's go over what the travel eSIMs offer for the United States!
Airalo eSIMs for United States (Change)
If you have read any of my eSIM or SIM card buying guides before, then you know I am a big fan of Airalo.
Not only does Airalo have eSIMs for most countries (around 190 countries) of any eSIM platform, but they are also often one of the cheapest while offering fantastic service in terms of speeds and reception.
That is because Airalo usually partners up with the mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, both, or even multiple operators.
That way, you get the best bang for your buck, I have to say.
In the case of the United States, the Change eSIM uses the T-Mobile US, the fastest network and AT&T US, which has the best general availability.
So, which United States Change eSIMs are available? You have these six options:
- United States/Change 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 4.50 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- United States/Change 2 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 8 USD
- United States/Change 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 11 USD
- United States/Change 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 16 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- United States/Change 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 26 USD
- United States/Change 20 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 42 USD
The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Airalo Change eSIM Pros
Are there any (more) reasons why you should get the Change eSIM? Yes, there are:
- You can activate your Change eSIM as soon as you land in the United States
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to T-Mobile US & AT&T US networks
- Change eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming)
- Multiple top-ups can be purchased when you are out of data or when your initial plan expires easily on the Airalo site or apps
I could list many more pros, but these are the major ones.
Unfortunately, there are some cons to be aware of.
Airalo Change eSIM Cons
Why should you not get the Change eSIM?
- The American mobile operators, including T-Mobile US & AT&T US itself, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to T-Mobile US & AT&T US' networks, your speeds may not be as fast as going with T-Mobile US & AT&T US itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Change eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Change eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Change eSIM Overall Thoughts
Honestly, the Change eSIM is fantastic.
The plans offered with Change eSIMs are generous and affordable.
You get fast speeds and access to the United States' fastest and best networks, T-Mobile US & AT&T US.
And everything, purchasing and topping up, can be done online on the Airalo website or Airalo app (downloading the app is recommended).
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Change eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
But if you do wish to make actual calls, so not through apps like Whatsapp, consider an American SIM card.
Nomad eSIMs for the United States
Nomad is one of the eSIM players on the market that managed to grow quickly.
That is because it is one of the few premium eSIM players out there, often using multiple partners to bring you the best coverage and speeds out there.
As a result, Nomad is often (slightly) more expensive than Airalo.
But good people run the company.
For example, upon my recommendation, it started offering the Nordics regional eSIM – an eSIM that can be used in Denmark, Finland, Sweden & Norway.
And many more regional eSIMs are coming – I can promise you that!
In the United States, Nomad uses the AT&T US network, which has the best general availability.
You have the following six options with Nomad for the United States:
- United States 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 7 USD/7 EUR/6.50 GBP/9.50 CAD
- United States 4 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 14 USD/14 EUR/12.50 GBP/19 CAD
- United States 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 17 USD/17 EUR/15 GBP/23 CAD
- United States 7 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD/20 EUR/18 GBP/27 CAD
- United States 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 30 USD/30 EUR/26.50 GBP/40 CAD
- United States 12 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 26 USD/26 EUR/23 GBP/34.50 CAD (Limited time only)
Even though Nomad dropped its prices for United States eSIMs, you can still get 3 USD off your first Nomad purchase by using code ADU123!
- Check out my Nomad reviews
Nomad United States eSIM Pros
Are there any (more) reasons why you should get the Nomad United States? Yes:
- You can activate your Nomad United States eSIM as soon as you land in United States
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to AT&T US, allowing you to always have the best general availability
- Nomad United States eSIMs are affordable compared to roaming
- Nomad offers the most options (six) and longest validity (30 days) of any travel eSIM in this guide
- Multiple top-ups can be purchased when you are out of data or when your initial plan expires easily on the Nomad site or apps
But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.
Nomad United States eSIM Cons
Why should you not get the Nomad United States eSIM?
- American mobile operators have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to AT&T US, your speeds may not be as fast as going with AT&T US directly because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad United States eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Nomad United States eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Nomad United States eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Nomad United States eSIM is an excellent premium eSIM offering the most options and longest validity in this guide.
And you cannot make calls and send SMS with the Nomad United States eSIM because it is a data-only eSIM.
Holafly eSIMs for the United States
The last eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.
It started something revolutionary in June 2022.
Holafly offers unlimited data plans for the United States, many other European Union member states & a few other countries.
From what I know, Holafly is the first to offer unlimited data plans for so many countries WITHOUT a Fair-Use Policy.
And that is super exciting!
Now, I have to say that the unlimited data plans offered by Holafly are more expensive than the Airalo Change eSIM or the eSIMs sold by Nomad.
But if you do not want to worry about data allowances, Holafly is the one to go for.
The Holafly eSIMs use the T-Mobile US & AT&T US networks (as well).
You have the following seven options with Holafly:
- United States unlimited data eSIM for 5 days, costing 19 USD/19 EUR/19 GBP/27 AUD/24 CAD
- United States unlimited data eSIM for 10 days, costing 34 USD/34 EUR/29 GBP/49 AUD/44 CAD
- United States unlimited data eSIM for 15 days, costing 47 USD/47 EUR/44 GBP/67 AUD/55 CAD
- United States unlimited data eSIM for 20 days, costing 54 USD/57 EUR/49 GBP/84 AUD/74 CAD
- United States unlimited data eSIM for 30 days, costing 64 USD/69 EUR/59 GBP/99 AUD/89 CAD
- United States unlimited data eSIM for 60 days, costing 84 USD/87 EUR/77 GBP/127 AUD/114 CAD
- United States unlimited data eSIM for 90 days, costing 99 USD/99 EUR/87 GBP/144 AUD/129 CAD
While I do not know which variant Phone Travel Wiz readers go with, I can tell you that the Holafly eSIMs are popular with those who simply do not want to worry about data caps.
And based on the emails I have received, the 20-, 30- & 60-day plans are popular because those who buy Holafly eSIMs tend to stay in the United States for a prolonged period to explore the country.
As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, it offers 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – how cool is that?
- Check out my Holafly reviews
Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.
Holafly United States eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly eSIMs? Well, because of the following:
- You can purchase and set up your Holafly United States eSIM before arriving in United States (and activate it upon landing)
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on the T-Mobile US & AT&T US – the best and fastest networks in the United States
- You do not have to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data
- You get unthrottled 4G/LTE data (96 GB – here I come!)
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.
Holafly United States eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get a Holafly United States eSIM?
- While the American mobile operators do not offer unlimited data plans (yet), their plans are much cheaper than Holafly
- While you get access to the T-Mobile US & AT&T US – the best and fastest in the United States – your speeds will not be as fast as going with T-Mobile US & AT&T US itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- You cannot get in-person support (Holafly gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit an Holafly store because there are none)
- Holafly is the most expensive travel eSIM provider in this guide
Holafly United States eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Holafly United States eSIM is an excellent eSIM for those who hate data caps and just want to use data the way they want.
You get fast speeds and access to the T-Mobile US & AT&T US networks, which has the best and fastest 4G/LTE networks in United States.
However, Holafly is the most expensive option in this guide and may not be the best for budget travelers.
Best eSIMs for in North America (not just the United States)
So what if you plan to visit neighboring Canada? Mexico?
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Change, Holafly United States, or Nomad United States eSIMs in any country than the United States.
However, Holafly has an eSIM covering Canada and United States as well.
I highly recommend going with the Holafly North America eSIM, as you will save a lot of money when you do so (especially in the United States – mobile data rates are criminal there).
Holafly North America eSIM
The Holafly North America can be used in Canada, Mexico & the United States.
And as many Phone Travel Wiz readers who visit United States also visit the Mexico (and sometimes Canada too), it will be better to get the Holafly North America eSIM for your travels.
You only have one option for the Holafly North America eSIM: 6 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 54 USD/57 EUR/54 GBP.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for the United States (Airalo vs. Holafly vs. Nomad)
In this guide, I went over various eSIMs United States.
Below is an overview of my recommendation order:
- Airalo's United States Change eSIM (cheapest)
- Holafly United States eSIM (most generous data plan)
- Nomad United States eSIM (most eSIM options)
- Holafly's North America eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other North American countries)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in the United States
Do these eSIMs not sound appealing to you, or does your phone not support eSIMs (but still thought this guide was insightful enough that you read it until the end)?
Consider getting an American SIM card instead – that linked guide is the most extensive SIM card buying guide for the United States on the web, packed with insightful information and tips.
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