Orange Holiday Europe SIM Card Review | Actual Hands-On Review

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I recently traveled to France for two weeks so I wanted to make sure I had fast and reliable mobile data for my phone. And I didn’t want to spend a fortune using my current provider’s International Data plan which would have cost me $120 for two weeks (for spotty service and low data limits).

After a bit of research, I came across the Orange Holiday Europe SIM prepaid data plan that looked promising so I wanted to test it out and share my thoughts.

In this Orange Holiday Europe review, I’ll talk about my personal experience with this prepaid SIM card, things to consider before buying the Orange Holiday Europe plan, general tips about prepaid data plans in France/Europe, and I’ll list some alternatives you might also want to consider.


Overview Of The Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid Data Plan

My thoughts after using the Orange Holiday Europe SIM card while traveling in Europe

The Orange Holiday Europe is a prepaid data plan designed for tourists who are visiting Europe and it gives users high-speed data in every European country. As an added bonus, Orange is the 11th largest mobile operator in the world and the 4th largest in Europe so they have a robust network and coverage.

The Orange Holiday Europe plan is also designed to be super user-friendly so there is no registration needed—simply install the SIM card into your unlocked phone and it automatically connects to a local mobile provider anywhere in Europe.

The Orange Holiday Europe plan costs around $50 and it gives you 20GB of mobile data (although sometimes they have a special where you get 30GB). The main downside is that the data is only valid for 14 days—although you’re able to re-up the plan for an additional 14 days for around $30.

The Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid plan comes as both an Orange Holiday physical SIM version and an Orange Holiday eSIM version. I highly recommend the eSIM version if your phone is eSIM compatible (the price and service are the same but you don’t have to pay for shipping and it’s delivered instantly via email).


My Experience Using The Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM

I went to Paris to run the Paris Marathon and needed data so I could track my race!

Ok, let’s get into my personal review of the Orange Holiday Europe plan. I’ve broken this down into multiple sections.

Purchase and Shipping

I got my Orange Holiday Europe SIM from SimOptions and had it shipped to me before I departed. I believe many Orange retail locations throughout Europe sell this same plan but that requires you to hunt down a store—I wanted data as soon as I landed.

I believe delivery was an extra $7 and it took a few days to arrive (so plan ahead).

NOTE: I highly recommend buying the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM if your phone is compatible because you get free, instant delivery via email so you save yourself some time and money.

You also don’t have to remove your current provider’s SIM card (i.e. you can use your new eSIM while still using your current plan) so you can keep your old number, etc.

Installation (For The Physical SIM Card Version)

Installing the SIM card is simple.

Just pop out your old SIM and replace it with the Orange SIM card. The kit doesn’t come with a SIM extraction tool so you’ll want to bring a small paperclip so you can pop the SIM slot open.

Keep your original SIM card somewhere safe because you’ll need to reinstall it to get your old service back.

IMPORTANT: Don’t install the SIM until you’re in Europe. The service automatically activates when the SIM is installed so installing it early will count against your 14-day service period.

Orange Holiday SIM Activation

Activation was super simple.

My iPhone automatically recognized the new SIM and the service activated itself as soon as I installed the SIM card.

The entire process took about 2-3 minutes.

If your phone doesn’t automatically connect, you may have to manually enter the following APN settings into your phone:

  • Access Point Name (or APN): orange
  • User name: orange
  • Password: orange

I received a few text messages (in French) from Orange welcoming me and asking to register my card—you can ignore those if you don’t plan on using the service for more than 14 days. You can register your Orange SIM at https://travel.orange.com/en/sim-card-registration/

I believe these texts also tell you what your new French phone number is so write that down if you plan on making/receiving calls.

Speed, Coverage, and Overall Performance

On this trip, I spent most of my time in Paris, on a 3.5-hour train ride to the South of France, and in the South of France (mainly Marsailles but also on a few day trips in the region).

Overall my service was great. I got 4G/LTE just about everywhere I went and it was very rare for me to not have any signal (In fact, I can’t remember ever not having a signal).

I mostly used Google Maps/Google, Instagram, email, some Spotify streaming, and some other basic data usage. 20GB is a solid amount of data for two weeks so most people won’t hit that cap unless they’re doing a lot of video streaming (so limit your multi-hour TikTok sessions while on data).

Other Things I Liked About My Orange Holiday Europe Plan

First, Orange is a huge company so they have a great network with extensive EU-wide coverage.

And unlike a lot of data plans, the Orange Holiday Europe plan allows data tethering so I could use my phone as a hotspot for my laptop. This came in handy when my Airbnb’s wifi stopped working and when I wanted to send a few emails/surf the web while I was on the train.

Additionally, unlike a lot of prepaid data plans, the Orange Holiday Europe plan comes with a French phone number so users can make/receive phone calls and texts (you get unlimited calls and texts in Europe and 120 minutes of worldwide calling plus worldwide 1k texts). This can come in handy if you need to make restaurant reservations or if you need to call your Airbnb host, hotel, etc.

I also liked the convenience of pre-purchasing the plan so I didn’t have to waste time finding an Orange store and dealing with salespeople (I’d rather spend my time finding the best croissants).


Considerations Before Buying The Orange Holiday Europe SIM

Buying the Orange Holiday Europe SIM plan is more expensive than waiting to buy a local SIM card once you arrive in Europe. For reference, you’ll typically pay about $30 for 20GB of data via a local SIM card.

On the other hand, pre-buying Orange Holiday Europe plans means you’ll have data as soon as you land and you won’t have to waste time trying to track down a SIM card retailer. Personally, I don’t mind paying a little extra for the convenience.

However, if you’re traveling for more than a few weeks then you’re probably better off buying a local SIM card since I believe you can only use this card for a max of 28 days.


Who Should and Shouldn’t Buy The Orange Holiday Europe Plan

Not sure if the Orange Holiday Europe plan is for you? Maybe this will help:

Who Should Buy The Orange Holiday Europe Plan

  • Travelers Who Value Convenience: Just activate the plan and you’re online. It’s super easy. No need to find a mobile retailer, no need to speak to anyone, no need to register your SIM or submit your passport, no need to be without data, etc.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Orange Holiday Europe Plan

  • Ultra-Budget Travelers: If you’re on a super tight budget then you can find other plans that are cheaper if you don’t mind spending time to track them down. You might also want to consider the cheaper Orange Holiday Zen SIM and Orange Holiday Zen eSIM plans that are $30 and have 10-15GB of data.
  • Long-Term Travelers: It ends up being quite a bit cheaper to buy a local SIM card if you’re traveling for more than around three to four weeks.
  • Minimal Data Users: Don’t need 20+ GB of data? Then look at the cheaper Orange Holiday Zen SIM and Orange Holiday Zen eSIM plans that are $30 for 10-15GB of data.

Orange Holiday Europe SIM Alternatives

Ok, let’s take a look at a few other SIM card options you might want to check out:

ORANGE HOLIDAY ZEN ESIM: $29.90

Orange Holiday Zen eSIM | Best eSIM For Visiting Europe
  • Price: $29.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 15GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited within Europe and 30 min outside of Europe.
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited within Europe and 200 outside of Europe.
  • Credit validity: 14 day
  • Data tethering allowed
  • Usable on any device (phones, tablets, hotspots…)
  • This eSIM card comes with a French phone number

The Orange Holiday Zen plan is very similar to the Orange Holiday Europe plan but it has less data and it’s cheaper. This is a great option for users who don’t use a lot of data.

O2 GO CARD ESIM: $24.90

  • Price: $24.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 10GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Includes $2 of credit to make calls within Europe
  • Texts/SMS: Includes $2 of credit to send/receive texts within Europe
  • Credit validity: 30 day
  • This eSIM card comes with a Czech phone number

The O2 Go Card Plan is on the O2 mobile network (the largest mobile network in the UK) so the service quality will be good.

And while it’s slightly cheaper than the Orange Holiday Zen plan, you get less mobile data and you don’t get the benefit of any international calls/texts—you also get a very limited amount of EU calls/texts.

SMART COMFORT X ESIM: $17.90

  • Price: $17.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 5GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: None
  • Texts/SMS: None
  • Credit validity: 30 day

The Smart Comfort X eSIM is a budget data-only eSIM plan option that gives you 5GB of data but no calls or texts (you can still send iMessage if you’re sending messages between iPhones and make calls/texts via WhatsApp, etc).

Smart Comfort X eSIM is also what’s considered an “international eSIM” so it’s not backed by a specific data provider (i.e Orange, O2, etc.). That means it will connect to a specific partner provider in each country—for example, France (Bouygues), Germany (O2), Italy (WIND), Spain (Telefonica), etc.

Because of its limited data limits, the Smart Comfort X eSIM plan is best for light data users.

THREE UK PAYG AIO15

Three UK is another large European mobile carrier and their PAYG AIO15 plan is a good value for people who don’t need the 20GB offered by the Orange Holiday Europe plan. I like how the plan has a validity period of 30 days so it’s good for longer trips.

Plan Specs:

  • PRICE: $30
  • DATA: 10GB
  • CALLS: Unlimted in Europe
  • TEXT: Unlimted in Europe
  • USED AS A MOBILE HOTSPOT?: No
  • CREDIT VALID FOR: 30 Days

BOUYGUES TELECOM VACATION PREPAID PLAN

The Bouygues Telecom Vacation Prepaid Plan is very similar to the Orange Holiday Zen but the Bouygues plan must be activated in France—so that’s a huge drawback if France isn’t your first destination.

  • PRICE: $50
  • DATA: 20GB
  • CALLS: Unlimted in Europe
  • TEXT: Unlimted in Europe
  • USED AS MOBILE HOTSPOT?: NO
  • CREDIT VALID FOR: 30 Days
  • Must be activated in France but can be used anywhere in the EU.

Note: SimOptions.com has other cards for sale but these are the best options/deals.


MORE EUROPE TRAVEL TIPS FROM THE SAVVY BACKPACKER

Here are some more helpful articles I’ve written about visiting Europe on a budget:

James Feess is the creator of The Savvy Backpacker and the author of the book “The Savvy Backpacker’s Guide To Europe On A Budget”. He’s been blogging about budget travel in Europe since 2010.

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