Nomad eSIM Review: International Mobile Data & SMS for Travellers

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Who can even fathom living in a world without smartphones, let alone travelling without one?

If you're nodding your head like an overenthusiastic bobblehead, you're in the right place because we're about to dive into the magical realm of travel-friendly eSIMs – those digital wizards that make globe-trotting as easy as pie.

Remember the good ol' days when the biggest travel woe was wrestling with a foreign SIM card in a cryptic language that might as well have been Martian?

Well, those days are history.

Enter eSIM technology, the hero of our digital tale. It's time to wave goodbye to the clunky plastic SIM card and say hello to a fully embedded chip that's snug as a bug in your phone's digital rug.

And why does all of this matter?

Because it means more choice, more competition, better prices... and, drumroll please, less stress for us, the savvy consumers.

A smart new tech start-up, Nomad, is helping thousands of people simplify international travel with super affordable prepaid eSIM plans.

So, grab your phone, give your clunky SIM card a kiss goodbye, and let's embark on this digital adventure together.

Discount: Use my coupon code “JOSH96LA” to save $3 on your first eSIM purchase from Nomad.

Benefits of a Travel eSIM

Let's dive into the awesomeness of travel eSIMs. This cutting-edge technology isn’t just cool; it’s like the Swiss Army knives of connectivity. Whether you're exploring the bustling streets of Bangkok or chilling on the beaches of Bali, here's why you'll want an eSIM in your corner:

Instant Gratification: No more twiddling your thumbs waiting for a physical SIM card or hotspot device to arrive in the mail. Eager beavers, rejoice!

Fast Lane to Data: You're not getting second-rate data here. It's the VIP treatment all the way with top-notch 4G and 5G networks. Speed demons, this one's for you.

Two SIMs, One Phone: Keep your trusty physical SIM card for those roaming calls and texts. It's like having a backup parachute that you can switch to whenever you fancy.

Zen Travel Mode: Find your inner peace. No more airport SIM card scavenger hunts upon landing. Your eSIM has got your back.

Which Network: Use the same international eSIM provider to access networks in different countries. Which network are you on right now? Doesn’t really matter as long as it’s fast.

Top-Up Bliss: Adding more credit? Piece of cake! No need to trek to a physical store – just a few taps on your eSIM provider's app or website, and you're good to go.

Switcheroo Champ: Want to switch providers on the fly? No problemo. No SIM card juggling required – it's a seamless transition with just a few taps.

Pay as You Go: Don't break the bank. Most eSIM providers offer flexible periods, so you can snag a plan for just the time you need.

No Bill Surprises: Avoid those horror stories of bill shock. With eSIM prepaid plans, you're in control, and there are no surprise monsters lurking.

Fortress of Security: Say goodbye to sketchy public Wi-Fi networks. Hackers, be gone! Your eSIM keeps your data safe and sound.

WhatsApp Warriors Unite: Keep your WhatsApp number and stay in the loop. Other messaging apps like Telegram and iMessage are right at home on eSIMs too.

No More SIM Card Hide and Seek: Those slippery little plastic SIM cards? They're notorious for vanishing act rehearsals. But hey, no judgment here; we've all got that one "friend."

Phone Tip: Not sure if your device is compatible with eSIM technology? Check out this current list of supported devices.

Who is Nomad?

Let's talk about Nomad, the cool kid on the eSIM block. They burst onto the scene in 2022, under the umbrella of LotusFlare, Inc., with a mission to simplify technology and make mobile internet more accessible and affordable.

Today, Nomad's grown into this global eSIM powerhouse, covering a whopping 165 countries. They're all about helping you globe-trot like a local, so you can focus on the juicy experiences that really make travel worth it. Nomad's got your back with high-speed mobile data from quality networks worldwide.

What's more, these folks actually care about your privacy. They're like the anti-"big brother" of the online world, collecting only what they need to give you stellar service.

Oh, and they're not stingy with the love. Nomad dishes out $3 in credit for every buddy you refer. Now that's what we call spreading the eSIM love!

Even though they’re a young brand, Nomad's making waves with thousands of happy customers. TrustPilot's got over 1,000 glowing 5-star reviews (with an average of 4.3 out of 5), and the App Store rates them a solid 4.6 stars.

And to top it off – you can grab and manage your Nomad eSIM on the fly with their slick mobile app, available on iOS and Android. Easy peasy!

Regions Covered by Nomad

Alright, folks, let's tackle the burning question: Does Nomad have your back wherever you're headed? Chances are, it's a resounding 'yes' with over 165 destinations in their backpack.

Nomad offers 2 types of data eSIMs:

These plans come in all shapes and sizes to suit your travel plans, with included data starting at 1GB and a validity length from 1 day to over 1 month.

Regional eSIM plans give you a lot more flexibility to wander wherever you want without having to switch plans or buy multiple plans.

How To Send & Receive SMS With Nomad

Most other travel eSIM providers don’t offer SMS services, but Nomad is different.

Virtual SMS plans are available starting from just US$4. These accept regular SMS from anyone, but you must use the Nomad app to view and send your messages (the other party doesn’t need the app). Unfortunately, SMS plans are only available in 3 countries (Canada, United States, and United Kingdom), although more countries are rolling out soon.

Note: An SMS plan is separate from an eSIM data plan – you can have both active at the same time.

How To Buy and Install a Nomad eSIM

The quickest and most convenient way to start is to download the free Nomad mobile app (iOS, Android). But you can also browse and buy via their website, if you prefer the tactile sensation of your laptop or desktop computer. 

It just takes 4 simple steps to find and buy your travel eSIM from Nomad:

1. Choose your destination (country or region). Either type your destination country name or browse from the list of countries grouped by region.

2. Choose an eSIM plan based on your anticipated usage and length. If you choose a regional plan, the list of supported countries can be found by clicking “Country List”. To see all the fine print, click “Plan Details”, as this will vary between countries and regions (and sometimes even between plans, as they could be offered by different providers).

Tip: In selected countries (like the United Kingdom), plans are grouped into “regular” or “unlimited”.

Not sure which package to choose? Don’t despair! Nomad offers a super simple data calculator. Just enter your destination, and answer a couple of basic questions like the length of your trip and typical mobile usage. The most appropriate eSIM plans will be displayed, and you can add to your cart straight from there. Slick!

3. Check out and complete the payment details. Remember in the “Add promo code” field to use my unique code “JOSH96LA” to get $3 off your first eSIM purchase. Note: On your first purchase, you’ll need to create a Nomad account, but that takes less than 30 seconds.

4. Install the eSIM in seconds. Once your order is complete, an email will hit your inbox within a minute containing your eSIM. The installation process is a little different, depending on the device you use. Here are Nomad’s step-by-step guides for: iOS (iPhone, iPad), and Android.

Depending on your device, there are 2 ways to install the eSIM – scanning a QR code, or “manually” which involves copying and pasting a bunch of settings. Most popular smartphones will support the simpler QR code method.

Tip: If you can’t find the email with installation instructions, you can also access the same info from the Nomad mobile app. Tap “Manage” at the bottom, tap your eSIM, and then tap the “Installation Instructions” button and follow the prompts.

Tip: If you have trouble scanning the QR code from your own device, share it with any other device (eg. laptop or tablet), or with a friend to make the scanning process easier.

Confirmation message after completing the order
eSIM delivery via email, including the QR code – partially obscured for security reasons

How To Activate a Nomad eSIM

Installing and activating are 2 different steps. It’s best to install the eSIM as soon as you purchase it but only activate it once you’ve reached your destination. The expiry clock will start ticking from the time you activate the eSIM.

The iOS and Android instructions from the previous section include the steps for activating your eSIM.

Tip: Remember to check the roaming costs and policies of your “home” telecommunications provider. They might provide low fees for receiving SMS and voice calls overseas. In that case, you can have one SIM (or eSIM) active for SMS or voice and a different one (Nomad) for data.

Nomad eSIM Real World Experience & Speed Test

I recently tried Nomad’s 10GB plan in Malaysia, and the whole process was so easy. The activation process took a matter of seconds, and from there, everything worked perfectly.

Mobile coverage was provided by the largest mobile network in the country, so I experienced no dead zones. The speed test clocked in at around 38Mbps which is very snappy considering the remote region, hundreds of kilometres from a major city.

What I Like About Nomad eSIM

Nomad offers a very compelling international mobile data service. Here are the most important reasons why they impress me:

1. Very affordable eSIM data plans have genuinely low prices with flexible allowances and validity lengths that will suit most travellers – from light to moderate data users, starting at 1 day for short trips. Just pay for what you need. For example, 30 days in the United Kingdom at 1GB is only US$5, or 5GB is only US$10. That’s super cheap! And if you’re a heavy data user, 20GB is only US$30. Some destinations offer “unlimited” plans; for example, 5 days in the United Kingdom is US$22.

2. The Nomad website and mobile app have a clean, minimalistic design. There are no distractions, just the info you need, presented in a well-structured, easy-to-follow way.

3. Speaking of which, I specifically want to point out a unique feature – Nomad presents easy-to-compare pricing per GB. Although all the eSIMs are sold through Nomad, some of the providers are 3rd parties, so the rates vary. Different providers may offer different local networks or terms. Select a plan and click the “Plan Details” button to see the full story.

Example plan details

3. Unlimited plans are available in some countries. Keep in mind most of the time, there’ll be a fair use policy (check the “plan details”). For example, Nomad’s unlimited eSIM in the United Kingdom includes 2GB per day at full speed, then throttling to 512kbps. The throttled speed won’t be fast enough to stream videos, but at least you can still use essential tools like basic web browsing, Google Maps and email.

4. Nomad supports mobile hotspots, so your tablet or laptop can share the same Internet connection as your phone. This is important when travelling with multiple devices, or with friends and family. Just remember that “unlimited” plans have fair use policies.

5. Virtual SMS plans are available – not many other competitors offer this. Most of the time, I use apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram and Facebook Messenger to stay in touch for personal and business uses, but there are situations where SMS can be handy.

Note: The SMS messages are sent using a data connection, so it will only work as long as you have a 3G/4G/5G or WiFi connection. And remember to use the country code prefix before the recipient’s phone number (eg. +1 in the United States).

6. If you’re not sure which plan to choose or don’t understand the technical jargon, the super simple Data Calculator makes it easy to work out which data plan will suit your needs. Then add it to your cart with just 1 click.

7. In many countries and regions, it is possible to add more data to your eSIM (as long as it hasn’t expired or used up all the data), to save you from reinstalling a new eSIM. In the Nomad app, tap “Manage” followed by your eSIM plan, then tap “Add More Data” and choose which upgrade option you prefer.

8. It’s easy to see which networks you’ll be roaming on, before making a purchase. This is displayed under “network” when comparing plans. Depending on the locations you’re planning to visit in a country, certain networks may offer better coverage (eg. rural vs city). If you’re an experienced traveller (or use this network coverage map tool) and know what network you want, then this is easy to compare. If you’re not sure what’s better, then rest assured plans powered by Nomad use high-quality networks, giving you wider coverage and faster speeds. There’s no corner-cutting here!

9. Not sure where to go on vacation? No problem! Nomad offers a handy destination finder on their website. It will point you to a new city that ticks all the boxes you want from a holiday, along with links to prominent travel blogs for a deeper dive.

Tips To Get the Most From Your Nomad eSIM

1. Install your eSIM as soon as you purchase it, but give yourself at least 1-2 days before departure (just in case anything quirky happens). Only activate it once you arrive at your destination. Your data package will start ticking once the eSIM is activated. Installation requires a WiFi or data connection, however, activation does not. 

2. The eSIM never expires, but the data package does. So if you want to extend your usage, use the Nomad mobile app to add more data (before the expiry date). Adding data to an existing eSIM is usually cheaper than issuing a new one.

3. Create an account now (it’s free) and install the mobile app, so that whenever you’re ready to travel, everything is set, and you can quickly order your preferred eSIM.

4. If you use Android, set up a data usage warning, so you can find out if you’re using up your data too quickly. Here’s a handy guide that covers most types of devices.

5. Follow Nomad on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter for their latest promos, updates, and news.

The Bottom Line

Well, there you have it, fellow tech-savvy explorers! I’ve journeyed through the digital wonderland of Nomad, and it's safe to say, I’m thoroughly impressed.

In a world where staying connected on our adventures is as crucial as sunscreen on a beach day, Nomad swoops in as our trusty sidekick. With their affordable prepaid eSIM plans, we've bid adieu to SIM card acrobatics and said hello to seamless connectivity.

Nomad’s eSIM covers more destinations than you can shake a selfie stick at, making it your go-to travel companion. Plus, the ease of setup and the flexibility of their plans make them a top choice for globetrotters.

So, next time you're jet-setting to far-flung places or just exploring your own backyard, consider Nomad as your passport to hassle-free connectivity.

It's like having a tech-smart genie granting your travel wishes – without the need for three wishes.

Or a magic lamp.

Discount: Use my coupon code “JOSH96LA” to save $3 on your first eSIM purchase from Nomad.

Price: from US$5

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