If you’re looking for an easy to use and value-for-money data plan on your next trip to Europe then here’s why you should consider the Orange Europe SIM card.
I travel to Europe regularly for both work and for fun. In particular, I spend a lot of time in France, especially in Morzine in the French Alps. Until recently, every time I travelled I would use my United Kingdom mobile data plan allowance. However, this was starting to get expensive. Although I wasn’t using my data allowance for phone calls, I was often using Google maps to navigate my way around French roads while driving and this meant I was tearing through my data and coming home to big phone bills.
It was then that I was introduced to the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM prepaid data plan and decided to test it out on my next trip to France. In this Orange Holiday Europe review I share my personal experiences with this prepaid SIM card and why I think it’s a really good option if you are looking for a prepaid data plan in France and Europe.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I have been or could be if you click on a link in this post compensated via a cash payment, gift or something else of value for writing this post. See our full disclosure policy for more details.
What is the Orange Holiday eSIM and how does it work?
The Orange Holiday Europe eSIM card is a prepaid data plan for travellers who want to stay connected while travelling in European countries.
Prior to Brexit, the EU Romain Regulation meant that UK mobile customers could use their domestic allowance of minutes, text messages and data throughout the European Economic Area (EEA) without incurring additional charges. However, since leaving the European Union, there has been no obligation on UK mobile operators to guarantee surcharge-free roaming.
Some mobile operators continue to offer surcharge-free roaming while others have scrapped free roaming but offer add-on data plans to keep costs down. Anyone travelling to the EU needs to check their roaming policies of their service provider before travelling.
The best option for avoiding surprise charges and unexpected roaming fees is to either choose a local SIM card when overseas or do like I did and opt for an Orange holiday eSIM card.
Orange is the eleventh-largest mobile network operator in the world. They also offer the largest mobile coverage in France with 99% of the metropolitan population in 3G + and more than 98% in 4G. In other words, they are very reliable.
The Orange Holiday Europe eSIM is an electronic SIM card that is incredible easy to use. Once you’ve purchased your eSIM you receive an email with a QR code to scan and install directly on to your mobile phone. Because it’s digital there’s no need to wait for the the postman to deliver a physical SIM card meaning that you can install your Orange SIM card on the same day as travel. As soon as you arrive in Europe, the eSIM is ready to use.
Which eSIM card to choose?
There are two different options to choose from when it comes to picking your travel SIM card.
The 20GB card (the Orange Holiday Europe) offers 20 gb of data plus unlimited calls (including local calls) and texts in Europe, 2h international calls from Europe to worldwide and 1000 texts.
Cards must be registered during the first 30 days otherwise the card SIM card will be blocked. Cards are initially valid for 14 days after which you will need to top up your card and then the SIM card will be valid for 6 months. Top-ups are available online. The 20 GB data eSIM costs Euro 39.99
The alternative is the 8GB card (the Orange Holiday Zen) that comes with unlimited calls and texts in Europe, 30mins International calls and 200 text message. Again, this eSIM is valid for 14 days and a top-up for an additional cost is available. The 8GB eSIM costs Euro 19.99.
The inclusion of international calls in the packages is a a great bonus for travellers who want to stay connected with people outside any European country included in the package. The rates for these calls are competitive – and substantially cheaper than if you were using international roaming on your home network.
Which countries does the Orange eSIM card cover?
The Orange holiday offer works in the following countries:
Andorra, Azores, Aland islands, Germany, Austria, Balearic islands, Belgium, Canary islands , Cyprus, Corfu, Crete, the Cyclades, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Faeroe islands, Finland, France (mainland), Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Isle of Man, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Rhodes, Romania, United Kingdom, San Marino, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Vatican
My experience using the Orange eSIM card
Overall I had a really good experience using the Orange eSIM holiday card. I’ve broken down the experience into sections for ease of use:
Purchasing and Installing the eSIM card
Purchasing the Orange eSIM card online is very easy. Head to the Orange store online and, once you’ve bought your data eSIM card, you will receive an email with instructions on how to install it. The best thing about having an eSIM card is that you don’t have to remove your current mobile provider’s SIM card.
Installation instructions vary slightly depending on whether you have an iPhone (which I have) or an Android. Regardless of which cell phone you have, however, installing the eSIM is very straightforward and detailed instructions are given.
You are required to scan the QR code that comes in your confirmation email (this QR code can only be used once) and then you are walked through the installation process.
Essentially you are adding an eSIM to your phone (all iPhone models that support eSIM cards can have multiple eSIMs) alongside your physical SIM card. Then, when you arrive in your destination of choice, you simply toggle between the two SIM cards.
When I arrived in Normandy, France, I went to the Mobile Data setting and switched my UK network off and my Orange eSIM card on. This meant that I now had a French phone number to use while in the country. It was the same when I went to Switzerland. It was that easy.
You’ll receive a text message from Orange asking you to register your card. This should be done within the first 30 days otherwise the card will be blocked. The line validity is valid for six months and a further six months after each top up.
*Remember to only install your Orange Holiday eSIM right before leaving home, ideally on the day of travel. The service automatically activates when the eSIM is installed meaning that your 14-day period starts straight away.
Coverage and Performance
I was travelling through rural Normandy during most of my first trip and the coverage was excellent. In Switzerland I spent time between small cities and the countryside and, again, had a great experience.
What worked well
What I really liked about the Orange eSIM card was not only how easy it is to install and use but that I could purchase it before my trip. Last year I took a work trip to Nova Scotia in Canada and did not have an alternative SIM card to my regular UK one. When I arrived at the airport to pick up my hire car, I discovered that the car did not have inbuilt GPS and nor did they have any GPS navigation systems available to hire. I then had to use international roaming to navigate to the nearest shop where I could buy a SIM card.
Who should buy the Orange e-SIM cards
The Orange eSIM plan is a great option for short-term Europe travel. If you are doing a trip shorter than 14 days then this is fast, convenient, easy to use, and competitively priced option. If you are travelling for longer then it’s probably worth investing in a local SIM card, which is valid for longer.
Photos courtesy of Depositphotos