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Travel eSIMs make staying connected WAY easier while traveling in other countries.
In my quest to find the best eSIM for international travel, I’ve tested 10+ eSIM companies for 24 months on 5 continents.
During my eSIM research and experiments, I found that some eSIM companies are definitely better than others.
So, in this GigSky review, I compare how their service stacks up with other popular travel eSIM providers.
Note that GigSky did not pay me to write this or provide me with free service. I paid out of my own pocket for the sake of science.
Through these tests, I found that GigSky eSIMs work just fine, but they’re not necessarily my favorite option (unless you have very unique circumstances, which I’ll cover).
Before getting into that, it’s important to understand a little background info.
👉 I purchased an eSIM from GigSky, tested it abroad, and it worked (i.e. it’s legit).
👉 The website and app use different platforms, which makes it a less cohesive experience.
👉 This isn’t my favorite eSIM company, but they do offer one service that competitors don’t — flight and sea plans.
Table of Contents
- What is GigSky?
- Best eSIM for international travelers?
- How to set up GigSky eSIMs the easy-peasy way
- Gigsky review: How it actually worked
- GigSky eSIM review: Is it worth it?
- GigSky discount code
- GigSky vs Airalo (and other competition)
What is GigSky?
GigSky is a global data provider that helps you stay connected wherever you are in the world.
They’re unique in that they don’t just offer eSIMs for when you’re on land (i.e. traveling in a different country), but also when you are at sea or in the air.
As you’ll see, some of these features are still quite limited, but they have the potential to be pretty cool.
Anyway, if you’re brand spanking new to international eSIMs, they basically save you the hassle of:
🚩 Expensive roaming fees.
🚩 Hunting down a local physical SIM in a different language when you arrive.
🚩 Potential of getting scammed when buying a local SIM card when you arrive (happened to us twice).
The best eSIM providers let you easily set up your phone with a data plan that works the second you enter the country.
You can do it yourself and it takes less than five minutes. Here’s how it works with GigSky.
Note: If your phone is not compatible with eSIMs, GigSky also offers plastic SIMs that work internationally. You can find it once you create an account, but there isn’t much info about how it works.
Best eSIM for international travelers?
I’ve tested over 10 different eSIM companies for 21 months (and counting) across 5 continents.
I share the results of this experiment in my mega comparison of the best eSIMs for international travelers.
But to sum it up:
👉 Holafly is by far the best option for heavy data users who don’t need to tether (use link for discount).
👉 Airalo is a better option for light data users who don’t want unlimited data (use discount code MITCH9827).
👉 Nomad is an alternative to Airalo for light data users, with more plan options in certain regions of the world (use discount code UNTETHER).
GigSky didn’t make my top 3 list, but there are some scenarios when it would be a useful option, which I cover below.
How to set up GigSky eSIMs the easy-peasy way
Step 1: Search for the country or region you want on the website. I recommend scrolling down their website to download their official app, which is a bit more user-friendly.)
Step 2: Choose the plan length and data amount, then click buy.
The options you see will depend on the destination you search for.
Step 3: Create an account.
You can do this on the website or on the app. If you do it on the website, you’ll use this same info to log into the app later.
Step 4: After you create your account, finish the checkout process.
Enter the promo code MITC174 during checkout if you want a free credit towards your first eSIM.
If you want to be able to manage your eSIM through the app (instead of having to log in to the online portal), then pay attention to this message.
After reading this message, I decided to log into the app to finish checkout because I want to be able to manage things from the app.
But choose whatever you’re most comfortable with.
Step 5: Once you finish checking out in the app, you’ll automatically get prompted to install the eSIM.
This is nice because it means you don’t have to go into your settings to start the process manually.
Just follow the prompts and wait for it to connect. This sometimes takes several minutes, so be patient.
Viola! If your GigSky eSIM is selected as your data plan, it should automatically connect when you arrive in your destination.
In my case, GigSky seemed to forget one crucial instruction.
Nowhere in their process or guides does it mention that I needed to toggle on the Data Roaming setting for my eSIM.
The only reason I knew I had to do it was because the iPhone iOS prompted me to.
After testing many eSIMs in many countries, I’ve learned that this Data Roaming setting varies — sometimes it needs to be on, other times off.
So just because I had to turn it on for my eSIM in Thailand doesn’t necessarily mean you need to.
This is something I’d do only if your data doesn’t seem to be working.
Gigsky review: How it actually worked
After activated my GigSky travel eSIM, it worked as expected.
I ran my tests while in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and I had LTE coverage with 6.00mbps download and 9.86mbps upload
Weirdly, these are significantly lower numbers than what I got when testing some other eSIM providers in the same area.
But from a functionality standpoint, I didn’t notice that it was any slower than other eSIMs I’ve tested.
While the plan worked fine, I don’t think it’s not my first choice.
Here are the pros and cons I found during my tests. Let’s start with the cons.
Limited plan options
A big difference between eSIM providers is the variety of plans they offer.
These usually vary from country to country, but I found GigSky’s plan variety quite limited.
I didn’t search every single country. But for the 10 I searched on different continents, there were several countries where GigSky did not have a country-specific plan — only regional plans (which cost more).
For example, here’s what shows up for Spain — only regional and world plans. Whereas other eSIM companies offer local plans that are cheaper.
Again, this is country-specific, so it doesn’t hurt to run a quick search.
You may find different results for your destination.
Limited plan information
When you’re searching for plans, they don’t give you much info compared to other eSIM companies.
GigSky just tells you the data amount, plan length, and price.
It doesn’t mention anything about what network you’ll be on or what is (or isn’t) included in the plan.
The other companies I recommend below explain things much better so you know exactly what to expect.
Website separate from app
During the website checkout process, it notes that the eSIM will be managed by the online portal instead of the mobile app.
I’ve never seen this with any other company, and makes things less cohesive.
It’d be nice to be able to manage everything from everywhere.
Forgot important setup instruction
It may seem like a small detail, but I was pretty surprised that they failed to mention that I needed to turn on Data Roaming.
Fortunately, I’ve installed like 50 eSIMs over the past couple years, so I’m pretty familiar with the process.
But for first-timers, this small detail could mean the difference between a smooth experience (data working) and a frustrating experience (data not working).
The data worked
Despite slower speed tests, the data seemed to work the same as other eSIMs I’ve tested.
I could watch videos, load webpages, waste time on social media…you name it.
There were a few times here and there when it would randomly lose signal in a location that normally had signal — I noticed this maybe once a day — but it always reconnected after about 30 seconds (or after toggling airplane mode).
Overall, I’m satisfied with how the data worked.
Tethering also worked like a charm.
I was able to connect to my laptop and stream a movie online. It buffered once or twice, but no big deal.
That makes GigSky eSIMs a decent mobile hotspot for international travel.
Not all eSIM providers allow tethering, so this is a plus — especially for digital nomads who work online.
GigSky had some nice features that I liked.
For one, when you check out, they make you check a box confirming that your phone is compatible. This prevents any unpleasant surprises.
Two, the low data notifications from the app are handy. This allows you to top up so you don’t run out when you’re in the middle of nowhere.
It was also convenient how the app prompted you to automatically install the eSIM as soon as you finished the checkout process.
That means you don’t have to go into your settings and start the setup process manually. Setting up manually is easy to do as well, but this simplifies the process.
Unique data offerings
In addition to normal travel eSIMs, GigSky also offers plans for:
- In-flight data
- Sea data (for sailing/cruises)
- Plastic SIMs (if your phone isn’t eSIM compatible)
The site and app (especially the app) do a pretty bad job of explaining how these work. But they are all neat ideas.
Hopefully, they continue improving on them in the future.
It also looks like they are partnering with certain credit cards (in various countries), offering free plans to holders of these cards.
There aren’t many partnerships at the moment, but it’s another interesting idea.
Overall, I wouldn’t personally use any of these perks, but I like that they’re trying to innovate.
Average customer service
If you set ’em up right, most eSIMs work pretty well for the most part.
But every few months, I’ve run into some issues and had to contact the customer service teams for different eSIM companies.
And it can be extremely frustrating to deal with unhelpful customer service that takes forever to respond.
I didn’t have an issue with my GigSky eSIM, but I tested out their customer service response just for the sake of this review.
They have an option to send an email via a contact form, or call a help phone number (which won’t be useful if you’re abroad and your phone isn’t working).
They responded to my email in 30 minutes asking me to provide a range of screenshots to help troubleshoot the problem.
I’d rank this response time as about average. Some companies are faster, others are slower.
GigSky eSIM review: Is it worth it?
GigSky eSIMs work fine and are worth it if you find a competitively-priced plan. They are an especially interesting option if you want an eSIM that covers certain offshore areas — like the Gulf of Mexico or North Sea.
That said, in my opinion, other eSIM companies have a wider range of options and are easier to use.
I cover those below.
GigSky discount code
You can get a $3 credit towards your first eSIM by using our affiliate link and the promo code MITC174 at checkout.
This is my refer-a-friend code. Once you sign up and have your own account, you will receive your own refer-a-friend code to share with others.
GigSky vs Airalo (and other competition)
New travel eSIM providers are flooding the market, but they’re not all created equal.
Airalo is a well-known option, but I wouldn’t call it the best, per say. At least not for everyone all the time.
After testing 10 popular companies throughout 15+ countries, I’d say GigSky falls square in the middle of the pack.
For the countries I searched, it had slightly higher prices and fewer data plan options available (but this could vary by country). Their explanations, eSIM details, and setup instructions were also pretty meh.
After testing all the most popular eSIMs, I’ve narrowed it down to three favorites — each for different circumstances.
I recommend simply popping a tab open for each of these 3 companies and running a quick search for your destination. Then make your decision based on whichever has a plan that fits your needs the best.
- Holafly (extra discount built into this affiliate link) – Best for heavy data users because they are the only company that offers unlimited data plans in many countries. Pretty easy setup, good customer support in multiple languages.
- Airalo (Use code MITCH9827 for extra free credit) – Best for light data users who want a cheap small data plan for the basics.
- Nomad (Use code UNTETHER for extra free credit) – In some countries, offers better deals than Airalo. Also has a smooth setup process.
It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes to compare, and you’ll know exactly which one makes the most sense for your trip.
For a deeper look at each one of these companies, check out the full guides below:
I am testing new eSIMs all the time, so for my latest findings and comparisons, make sure to subscribe to the Project Untethered Youtube channel!
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered — where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
His advice has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, MSN, Reader’s Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Going Cheap Flights Newsletter - Get flight deals from your airport up to 90% off sent straight to your inbox.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).