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How much data do I need for International travel?

We'll let you know how much data you need when you go abroad, so you can be sure you'll stay connected to the internet at all times.

Mark Robins

September 1, 2023

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If you’re buying a SIM card or an eSIM to travel abroad, you might be faced with many different options. Do I need 1GB, 7GB, or Unlimited data? I need internet to work while I’m abroad – will a SIM card or eSIM give me enough data? These questions are important to answer so you can buy the right product when traveling abroad. In this post, we’ll tell you how much data you need when you travel abroad so you can make sure you always have enough.

Common reasons to use data when you travel

Use cellphone abroad. Source: Unsplash

In the following table, we’ll show you how much internet is used on the following apps and websites. This will help you to calculate how much data you might need on your trip.

Remember that the following figures are averages, and the amount of data you use will vary accordingly.

Action1 minute1 hour1 week (2 hours each day)1 month (2 hours each day)
Using Google Maps for directions1 MB60 MB840 MB3.6 GB
Listening to music1.2 MB72 MB1 GB4.3 GB
Searching on Google1.5 MB90 MB1.26 GB5.4 GB
Using social media 1.5 MB90 MB1.26 GB5.4 GB
Making calls with WhatsApp or Facebook3 MB180 MB2.52 GB10.8 GB
Streaming shows or movies11.6 MB700 MB9.8 GB42 GB
Watching YouTube videos18.75 MB1.13 MB15.75 GB67 GB
Video calls30 MB1.8 GB25.2 GB108 GB
Table N° 1 How much data do I need to use the internet?

As you can see, using mobile data to stream videos or make video calls could use data. Imagine planning your trip to the USA and not finding a solution with enough data. Holafly has unlimited data eSIM for travelers in the USA. You can also use virtual SIM cards for more than 160 countries if your destination is elsewhere.

Also, if you travel to the old continent, you can use the eSIM card for Europe, and in addition to unlimited data, you have international calls at no additional cost.

If you only plan to use mobile data for simple tasks such as Google, music, and directions, you will not need more than a few GBs per week.

How much is 1MB of data?

Using data from our friends at buenavibra.es, here is what you could do with 1MB of data:

  • Publish five posts on Facebook (text only)
  • Publish one photo on Facebook
  • Tweet 17 times
  • 2 seconds of a videocall
  • Access Google Maps for one minute

This is not a lot, right? But if you use data roaming to travel you could be charged up to $15 just for each MB. That’s right: you’d be charged that much for each 2 seconds of a video call.

That’s why it’s important that you buy an eSIM or physical SIM card with prepaid plans to avoid high costs when traveling.

Holafly offers eSIM from 1GB to Unlimited data, depending on the destination.

But now let’s get to the important question.

Do you use more data abroad?

Yes, if you are in a country you don’t know, you may use more data to search for information and use apps. Especially if you don’t know the language, you will have to use a translator most of the time you are there.

Using Maps. Source: Unsplash

How much data do I need for foreign travel?

Right, let’s examine how much data you might need for different length of trips.

Let’s say you use the internet for the following reasons on your trip:

  • Google searches
  • Directions
  • Social media/messaging
  • Listening to music

The average person spends almost 3 hours each day using the internet, so let’s see how much data you would need for three hours of internet use.

Type of internet useData usage per dayData usage per week
Google searches (45 minutes per day)67.5 MB472.5 MB
Directions (45 minutes per day)45 MB315 MB
Social media/messaging (45 minutes per day)67.5 MB 472.5 MB
Listening to music (45 minutes per day)54 MB378 MB
Total (3 hours per day)234 MB1.64 GB
Table N° 2 How much data do I need when I travel abroad?

So here is an estimate of how much data you might need for different types of trips:

  • 1 week – 1.6 GB
  • 2 weeks – 3.2 GB
  • 3 weeks – 4.9 GB
  • 4 weeks – 6.6 GB

For most trips, 3GB or 5GB of data will be enough to cover common internet usage. However, if you plan on using the internet more or traveling for a month or longer, you might want to consider cards with up to 7GB of data. But you can always use Holafly’s eSIM for USA with unlimited data, so you don’t have to worry about the amount of megabytes you consume.

Remember that everyone’s internet usage differs, so you might want to check how much you use in an average day.

How can I save mobile data when I travel?

Here are our top tips to make sure you never run out of data on your travels:

  • Set data usage limits to remind you if you’re using too much
  • Monitor how much data you’re using on your phone’s settings
  • Avoid watching videos or making video calls
  • Use free WiFi in your accommodation or a cafe if you need to download files (This is not as advisable since there are many risks in using public networks).
    Download music and videos before you travel
  • Turn Mobile Data off when you’re not using it

If you follow these steps, your data will go further than you imagine!

Can I use unlimited data abroad?

Currently, different operators and eSIM providers offer unlimited data plans for international destinations. For example, Holafly offers unlimited data and 60 minutes for voice calls in more than ten destinations.

Some of these destinations are:

  • USA: Unlimited data
  • Europe: Unlimited data and 60 minutes for voice calls
  • Australia: Unlimited data
  • Spain: Unlimited data and 60 minutes for voice calls
  • Japan: Unlimited data
  • Turkey: Unlimited data
  • UK: Unlimited data
  • And more!

I’m ready to buy my card

Now you know how much data you need, it’s time to buy. Get 5% OFF using the code MYESIMNOW5.