Estimating Your eSIM Data Usage for Traveling

Published: March 14, 2024

Heading abroad and want to get an eSIM data plan for connectivity? With eSIMs making it easy to access data worldwide, one key question is how much data you’ll actually need. The amount of data you require depends on your travel style and mobile usage. To choose the right eSIM plan, you first need to estimate your daily and overall data usage.

In this guide, we provide data usage estimates for travelers based on light, moderate, and heavy use cases. Know how much data you’ll likely use each day to pick the best eSIM plan for your trip length and budget.

Factors to Consider When Estimating eSIM Data Usage

  • How much data do you use on a typical day at home? This provides a baseline to start with.
  • Will you use more or less data than usual while traveling? Consider activities like streaming video versus offline map usage.

Which specific apps and features do you plan to use? This greatly impacts your data needs. For example:

  • If you plan to use scooter or bike rental apps like Lime or Jump to get around, budget for about 30-50MB per 30 minute ride for downloading maps, starting/ending rides, and tracking in the app.
  • If you’ll use Apple Pay, Google Pay, or other mobile payment apps to pay for things, account for 10-20MB per transaction. This covers opening the app, loading merchant info, and processing the mobile payment.
  • If you use Google Maps extensively for navigating around and finding local restaurants and attractions, budget for approximately 50-100MB per hour of usage. This accounts for search queries, loading maps and directions.
  • If you’ll rely on Uber or other rideshares as your main transportation, account for about 30-50MB for every 10-15 minute ride booked and tracked in the app.

Will you use mobile data as your sole internet source? Or only as a backup to Wi-Fi? Using it as your sole connection increases usage.

Take into account all the specific apps you plan to use and how much data their key features require. Apps for transportation, payments, and navigation consume more data than simple messaging or light web browsing. Factor these activities into your daily estimates.

Daily Data Usage Estimates for Travelers

Usage Level 2 days 4 days 7 days 14 days
Light User 1 – 2 GB 2 – 4 GB 3.5 – 7 GB 7 – 14 GB
Moderate User 2 – 4 GB 4 – 8 GB 7 – 14 GB 14 – 28 GB
Heavy User 6 – 10 GB 12 – 20 GB 21 – 35 GB 42 – 70 GB

 

Light User Estimated usage: 0.5 GB to 1 GB per day

  • Checks email 1-2 times per day
  • Does occasional web browsing and searches
  • Minimal social media or music streaming usage
  • Primarily uses WiFi and mobile data as backup

Moderate User Estimated usage: 1 GB to 2 GB per day

  • Active email checking and web browsing
  • Regular social media usage
  • Streams music for 1-2 hours per day
  • Some short video calling
  • Relies on mobile data frequently

Heavy User Estimated usage: 3 GB to 5+ GB per day

  • Constant email and web use
  • Heavy social media usage
  • Streams music 4+ hours per day
  • Streams video for 1-2 hours per day
  • Does video calling regularly
  • Always relies on mobile data as primary connection

Detailed Data Usage Breakdown by App Activity

To give you an even more detailed sense of how this daily usage could add up over your trip, refer to this table with estimates based on 4 hours of daily app usage

Action 1 minute 1 hour 1 week (21 hours) 1 month (90 hours)
Using Google Maps for directions 0.3 MB 15 MB 315 MB 1.35 GB
Listening to music 0.5 MB 30 MB 630 MB 2.7 GB
Searching on Google 0.1 MB 6 MB 126 MB 540 MB
Using social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) 0.2 MB 12 MB 252 MB 1.08 GB
Making calls with WhatsApp audio 0.9 MB 54 MB 1,134 MB 4.86 GB
Making calls with WhatsApp video 4 MB 240 MB 5,040 MB 21.6 GB
Streaming music (Spotify, Pandora) 0.5 MB 30 MB 630 MB 2.7 GB
Streaming SD video 1 MB 60 MB 1,260 MB 5.4 GB
Streaming HD video 2.5 MB 150 MB 3,150 MB 13.5 GB
Streaming 4K video 7 MB 420 MB 8,820 MB 37.8 GB
Watching YouTube SD video 2 MB 120 MB 2,520 MB 10.8 GB
Watching YouTube HD video 5 MB 300 MB 6,300 MB 27 GB
Video calls (FB Messenger, Skype) 1.5 MB 90 MB 1,890 MB 8.1 GB
Online gaming 0.2 MB 12 MB 252 MB 1.08 GB
Email 0.1 MB 6 MB 126 MB 540 MB
Web browsing 0.5 MB 30 MB 630 MB 2.7 GB
Using Uber (10 mins) 30 MB
Scooter rental (30 mins) 30 MB
Mobile payment transaction 10 MB

 

Travel Smart, Stay Connected: Final Tips for eSIM Data Usage

With an understanding of your expected daily data needs, you can better pick an eSIM plan to cover your entire trip length. Monitor your usage in the first few days and adjust your plan if needed.

Knowing your estimated usage is key to choosing the right eSIM plan for staying connected worldwide! Safe travels!

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