Airalo vs Holafly Review: Which is the Best Travel eSIM?

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As full-time digital nomads, we’ve used Airalo and Holafly extensively. Both Holalfy and Airalo are reputable eSIM providers, offering global coverage, fast mobile internet, and easy-to-use apps.

Because we spend so much time on the road and live in our overland truck, we never have the luxury of hotel WiFi. We use a significant amount of data to run our online business and having a reliable connection is critical.

Our review of Holafly vs. Airalo is not based on a couple of weeks of use on holiday, but from thorough testing of both eSIM providers for over a year, in some of the most remote places in and around Europe.

What is Holafly?

Holafly was launched in 2017 after the founders experienced the frustration of not having an internet connection on a trip to Thailand. Inspired by their own experiences, they set out to provide solutions for travelers across the globe, with a mission to enable all travelers to enjoy internet connectivity wherever they are.

Holafly now offers eSIMs in over 175 countries, with unlimited data over a range of validity periods, meaning you’ll never run out of data again!

What is Airalo?

Airalo was launched in 2019 after the founders lost connectivity and then received a huge data bill after traveling abroad. They have a mission to provide global data connectivity for all travelers.

Airalo has a wide global reach with 201 destinations on offer. Its data packs tend to be smaller, which works well for eh occasional traveler or holidaymaker.

Is Holafly or Airalo Better?

Holafly really stands out as the premier choice for travelers seeking seamless and hassle-free connectivity. Holafly excels with its tailored regional plans, guaranteeing exceptional coverage and service excellence within Europe, North America, and Asia where Holafly boasts a robust presence.

With customer support accessible via WhatsApp and live chat, assistance is swift and readily available, ensuring prompt resolution of any queries or concerns. We know because we needed their help the very first time we used an eSIM – they were swift and courteous, even though the fault was all ours!

Airalo is a solid choice for travelers in search of comprehensive global coverage. Airalo’s network spans 201 countries, and this extensive reach positions them as the ideal option for adventurous travelers, ensuring connectivity even in diverse and remote locations.

However, Airalo’s customer service often falls short and their reviews let them down in this area.

One huge area of difference is Holafly’s unlimited data offer which you won’t find with Airalo. Coupled with Airalo’s less-than-amazing customer service, Holafly is becoming the #1 choice for digital nomads looking to work abroad.

Heard enough? Click the button below to buy and use our referral code and get 5% off your purchase – just type in THEGAPDECADERS when prompted.

Prices & Data Packages

Let’s delve deeper into the pricing structures of Airalo and Holafly, using a typical digital nomad consumption of around 100GB per month for research, vlogging, and posting on social media.

Airalo offers regional plans with varying data limits and durations. For a digital nomad needing approximately 100GB monthly, here’s a breakdown of potential costs with Airalo:

  • In the Asia region, a 180 day plan offering 100GB of data is priced at $185, generally sufficient for a month’s typical data usage.
  • Similarly, in Europe, a 180 day plan with 100GB of data is also $185, covering average needs.
  • In North America, the largest plan allows 10GB of data over 30 days, costing $46, meaning 100GB would cost a whopping $460.

Holafly offers various durations, enabling travelers to select plans tailored to their specific trip lengths, enhancing overall cost-effectiveness. Here’s the breakdown:

  • In Asia, Holafly provides an unlimited data plan for 30 days at $79. This is much cheaper than Airalo’s 100GB plan and offers peace of mind with unlimited data, ideal for high data consumption.
  • In Europe, Holafly’s 30 day unlimited data plan is priced at $69, providing excellent value for uninterrupted connectivity throughout the month.
  • For North America, Holafly’s 30 day unlimited data plan costs $87, a huge 80% cheaper than Airalo’s offer.

Holafly’s unlimited data plans streamline pricing, eliminating the need for constant data usage monitoring or purchasing multiple plans. This predictability and convenience can significantly benefit digital nomads with cost management.

In conclusion, while Airalo offers plan flexibility, digital nomads with higher data demands may find Holafly’s unlimited data plans more cost-effective, hassle-free, and suitable for their needs. But you may need to be happy working on a phone or tablet as tethering and hot spotting are only allowed from some of Holafly’s unlimited plans.

  • Holafly wins pretty comprehensively in the price category.

Global Coverage

Airalo offers coverage in 201 countries, providing excellent global reach compared to Holafly’s 175 country coverage.

In terms of regional plans, Holafly offers six regional plans covering Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the Caribbean.

In comparison, Airalo has regional plans covering Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and North America.

  • Airalo wins the coverage category with more specific countries and regional plans than Holafly, although Holafly is not that far behind!

Setup & User Experience

Both Airalo and Holofly have well-designed and user-friendly apps where eSIMs can be bought and managed.

We felt comfortable making in-app eSIM purchases with a credit card and the email confirming details was swift to arrive.

We found the installation process for both to be straightforward (as long as you follow the instructions ;). The first time we used an eSIM was from Holafly, and their support was excellent when we hit a snag, because, you guessed it, we didn’t follow the instructions!

  • This category is a tie – both operators provide user-friendly apps and an easy activation process.

Holafly vs Airalo: Customer Support

We can’t make a direct comparison as we’ve only needed to use Holafly’s customer support. However, a quick review on Trustpilot reveals a 4.7 average score across almost 35k reviews with prompt and helpful customer service being highlighted.

In comparison, Airalo scores just 2.4 across 1,583 reviews on Trustpilot. Issues around slow customer service response times and lack of helpful solutions account for many of the low scores.

  • Holafly is the clear winner in the customer services category.

Data Sharing

Airalo allows data sharing, known as ‘hotspot’ in Apple speak, and ‘tether’ if you’re an Android user. You can still only use the amount of data you’ve purchased even if you share it across several devices.

Holafly only allows no limits data sharing when you purchase an eSIM with a fixed amount of data. You can hotspot and tether on an unlimited data plan, but the sharing is limited to 500MB per day. This feature is available in some destinations such as North America, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, and Hong Kong, among others.

  • There is no clear winner as both have limitations. The ideal would be unlimited data sharing but this is unlikely to happen for obvious reasons!

Airalo vs Holafly: Speed

All mobile data speed is dependent on location, coverage, congestion, or prioritization of the local carrier.

Both operators offer 5G where it is available and the device you are using is 5G compatible. Most of their networks outside of 5G areas operate on LTE (like 4.5G) and 4G.

Holafly may throttle speed if the carrier estimates the usage of more than 90GB of data in a month. They may temporarily reduce the speed to avoid affecting other users for 24 hours. They ask you to make contact if you have been throttled so they can hasten the restoration to full speed. This happened to us once in a year of usage, and we estimate that we use at least 100GB a month.

  • Again, there is no clear winner and it also feels unfair to judge on something neither provider has absolute control over.

Voice Calls

eSIMs do not usually include the ability to make voice calls. However, Holafly eSIMs do include voice calls in destinations such as Europe, Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. With these eSIMs, you can make calls for up to 60 minutes and receive calls for up to 60 minutes. 

Generally, Airalo’s eSIMs are not voice compatible. However, they do offer data, calls, and SMS texts with their Discover+ global eSIM plan. This only works if you truly need global coverage, and it’s not cheap at $59 for 10GB!

  • Holafly pips Airalo to the post in this category. Don’t forget you can always use WhatsApp to make internet voice calls.

Conclusion & Recommendation

Let’s have a look at the scores on the doors!

  • Prices and Data Packages: Holafly
  • Global Coverage: Airalo
  • Setup and User Experience: Tie
  • Customer Support: Holafly
  • Data Sharing: Tie
  • Speed: Tie
  • Voice Calls: Holafly

If you’re a regular traveler or digital nomad, Holafly is the clear winner. With large data packs providing reliable connectivity and backed up by excellent customer service, Holafly has the edge, especially as their country cover is growing rapidly.

Click the button below to buy and use our referral code and get 5% off your purchase – just type in THEGAPDECADERS when prompted.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the disadvantages of Airalo?

For us, we find the lack of unlimited or large data packs a problem. In many countries, the largest plan is 20GB, nowhere near enough for most digital nomads or remote workers.

Many people also tell us that their poor customer service puts them off. This poor engagement with customers does seem prevalent across many eSIM providers. The only one who bucks this trend is Holafly.

Is Holafly a good service?

Yes. We can vouch for that after 12 months of pretty stellar performance. From the deserts of Morocco and the grasslands of Turkey to the mountains of Slovenia, Holafly has not let us down.

Which network does Holafly use?

Holafly works with a large range of networks in each different country and region, meaning you get the best possible connection wherever you’re traveling.

Is Holafly worth it?

You may be able to pick up a regular local SIM for slightly less money, but often this is a hassle and in some countries, you risk being ripped off. If you’re crossing land borders or taking regular flights, the convenience of being able to connect immediately is well worth it.

Add to that the unlimited data options that Holafly offers, you can country-hop and work on the road without limits.

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