Europe is one of the most popular travel destinations, attracting over 594 million tourists in 2022 and even surpassing 700 million before the pandemic. People are drawn to Europe for its captivating cities like Paris, Barcelona, and Rome, among many others. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, it’s essential to ensure you have access to the internet to access various services and stay connected with loved ones.

To make your planning easier, this guide will answer the crucial question, “How much data do I need for travel?” We’re going to provide details about the amount of data that you will need for mobile activities like web browsing, using navigation, and sending emails. With this information, you can create a clear plan and budget for your next European adventure. But first, let’s walk you through some basics of data usage.

What do the terms Megabytes (MBs) and Gigabytes (GBs) mean?

A Megabyte (MB) refers to a unit of digital information storage or data size. One megabyte is equal to 1,000 kilobytes or 1 million bytes. It is typically used to measure the size of files, documents, images, and small applications. For example, a typical MP3 song can be around 3 to 10 megabytes in size, depending on its quality and format.

On the other hand, a Gigabyte is a larger unit of digital information storage. One gigabyte is equal to 1,000 megabytes or 1 billion bytes. Gigabytes are commonly used to measure the larger files and the capacity of storage devices like hard drives, SSDs, and memory cards. Additionally, most of the data usage for internet services, including browsing the web, streaming videos, and downloading apps, is often measured in gigabytes. For example, a full HD video on YouTube is around 1 to 2 gigabytes in size.

Tip : If you want an expert’s guide for choosing a data plan, don’t hesitate to ask ESIM EUROPE TEAM about it!

How to determine your data usage on the phone while traveling abroad

The procedure for measuring data usage varies depending on the Operating System of your device.

Checking data usage on iPhone

To check your data usage on iPhone, follow the steps below;

  • Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone.
  • Scroll down and select “Cellular” or “Mobile Data.” The exact wording will depend on your iOS version and region.
  • While in the Cellular or Mobile Data section, scroll down to see the data used by the different apps and the total for all the apps. You will also see the option to reset the data usage stats. You can choose to reset your stats at the beginning of the trip so that you monitor your data usage starting with the first day of the trip.

Checking data usage on Android

Follow the steps below to check data usage on Android

  • Open Settings on your Android device and look for “Network & Internet” or “Connections.”
  • While in this section, tap on “Data usage” or “Data Usage Control” to see the total data used. You will also see the data usage for the individual apps.
  • Android also allows you to set a data usage warning or limit to avoid exceeding your data allowance while traveling.

Data usage for popular activities with mobile phone

How much data is required for doing internet-based tasks?

Here is a breakdown of the data you will likely use when doing some of the common internet-based tasks on your device, such as sending emails, browsing the web, or finding places using google maps.

  • Sending Emails: Sending and receiving emails without attachments will use around 10KB to 50KB per email, depending on the word count. Emails with attachments use data that varies depending on the size of the attached file.
  • Browsing the Web: With web browsing, you can use about 20MB to 100MB for one hour. The size varies depending on the multimedia you find on the web pages.
  • Searching on Google Maps: Basic Searching on Google Maps uses about 5MB to 25MB. You will use about 150MB with street view, or 3D view may increase data usage to over 150MB.

How much data is enough for streaming music/video?

  • Audio (Apple Music or Spotify): Streaming audio on these platforms requires 50MB to 100MB per hour for standard quality.
  • Video (YouTube): Streaming videos on YouTube can take 250MB per hour for standard definition (SD) and 1.5GB per hour for high definition (HD).

How much data do I need for social media and uploading photos?

The data usage for social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, or X (Twitter) is about 30 to 150MB per hour. This number might be higher if you view a lot of videos. Uploading images takes about 200KB to 2 MB per image.

How much data is enough for video calling?

Video calling is necessary for people who not only want to get in touch with friends and family but also for those who have online business meetings. You will need 500MB per hour for default setting SD video calling. For better resolution, you will need over 1.5GB per hour for HD video calling. 

How much data do I need for tethering?

The data usage for tethering varies depending on the tasks performed on the connected devices. Here is a breakdown;

  • Basic web browsing: 20-50MB per hour.
  • Email and messaging: 5-10MB per hour.
  • Video conferencing (Standard quality): 150-300MB per hour.
  • Video streaming (SD quality): 250-500MB per hour.
  • Video streaming (HD quality): 1-2GB per hour.
  • Online gaming: 50-100MB per hour.

Summary chart of major apps’ data usage

TaskData Usage per Hour (approx.)
Sending Emails10KB – 50KB
Browsing the Web20MB – 100MB
Searching on Google Maps5MB – 25MB
Streaming Music (Audio)50MB – 100MB
Streaming Videos (Video)SD: 250MB / HD: 1.5GB
Social Media Apps30MB – 150MB
Uploading Photos1-2MB per image
Video Calling (SD)500MB
Video Calling (HD)1.5GB
Tethering (Basic web)20MB – 50MB
Tethering (Email)5MB – 10MB
Tethering (Video Conf.)150MB – 300MB
Tethering (Video SD)250MB – 500MB
Tethering (Video HD)1GB – 2GB
Tethering (Online Gaming)50MB – 100MB
Summary chart of major apps’ data usage

How much is a certain data amount?

Here is a breakdown of what you will spend on data depending on the tasks you’re doing.

How much is 1GB of data?

With a GB of data, you can stream YouTube videos for approximately 30 minutes, FaceTime for about 30 minutes, use Google Maps for one hour, browse the web for 1 hour and stream audio music for an hour. A GB of data is ideal for light users who use data primarily for essential tasks.

For instance, If you are considering using eSIM in Europe, here are some options that provide 1GB of data:

  • eSIM Europe Unlimited Lite: With this plan, you get 500MB of data per day with LTE speeds and unlimited data at 3G speeds at $7.99 for 7 days, $12.99 for 15 days, and $20.99 for 30 days.
  • eSIM Europe Unlimited Basic: With this plan, you get 1GB of data per day at LTE speeds and unlimited data at 3G speeds at $11.99 for 7 days, $18.99 for 15 days, and $30.99 for 30 days.
  • eSIM Europe Fixed 500MB: This plan offers 500MB of data valid for one day at a cost of $3.99. 

How much is 3GB of data?

With 3GB of data, you will be able to find about 7,500 routes using Google Maps or Apple Maps, listen to over 6,000 songs on Spotify or Apple Music, and watch over 3.6 hours of videos on YouTube. 3GB of data is suitable for “above-average” users who require slightly more data than light users. If you need 3GB of data, consider the eSIM Europe Fixed 3GB plan, valid for 30 days at $12.99.

How much is 10GB of data?

Having 10GB allows you to find approximately 25,000 routes, Stream about 2,000 songs on Spotify, and watch videos on YouTube for approximately 12 hours. 10GB is ideal for moderate to heavy users and those who intend to have a relatively longer trip. For 10GB of data, use the eSIM Europe Fixed 10GB plan, which costs $29.99 and is valid for one month.

How much is 50GB of data?

With 50GB of data on your device, you can find approximately 125,000 routes using Google Maps, listen to around 10,000 songs on Spotify or Apple Music, and watch videos on YouTube for about 60 hours. Alternatively, you can use 50GB stream YouTube for approximately 25 hours, FaceTime for 25 hours, use Google Maps for 50 hours, browse the web for 50 hours, and listen to audio music for 50 hours and still have some data left.

If you need 50GB consider the eSIM Europe Fixed 50GB plan, which costs $99.99 and is valid for one month. 50GB of data is ideal for heavy users who need more than 1.5GB per day. You can also consider the 50GB plan if you intend to have an extended trip in Europe.

The average amount of data travelers use

The average amount of data travelers use ranges from 500MB to 1GB per day, which is typically sufficient for essential tasks like navigation, messaging, web browsing, social media, and occasional media consumption. However, factors such as app usage, media content, location, and trip duration can affect your data consumption.

To manage data effectively and avoid excessive charges, we recommend using Wi-Fi whenever possible, limiting media streaming, and using data-saving features in apps that have them. By implementing these practices, you can stay connected without exceeding their data limits and your internet budget during their trips.

Still not sure about which plan to choose? Then have a look at Best Selected eSIM Plans here. Feel free to compare and find suitable eSIM data for you.

Final thoughts

This article has covered all the crucial information you need to determine the amount of data required for your next trip to Europe. We have provided a breakdown of the data you’ll likely use for common tasks, along with the associated costs. With these details, you can accurately plan and budget for data during your next trip.

If you’re still uncertain about the data you’ll need for your journey, please don’t hesitate to contact the mobile data expert like eSIM Europe support team for further assistance. Our support team will be ready to help you out at any time.


Frequently asked questions about how much data do I need when traveling

Here are some of the most asked questions about data usage.

Is 5GB of data enough for a week?

This will depend on your usage during the week. For light to moderate users who primarily use data for essential tasks like browsing, messaging, and maps, 5GB should be sufficient for a week. However, for heavy users who engage in data-intensive tasks like streaming videos or downloading large files, 5GB may not be enough.

Is 1GB enough for 5 days?

1GB can be enough for extremely light users who use data for only basic tasks like messaging, light web browsing, and checking emails. However, if you plan to stream videos/audio, download large files, or use Google Maps, 1GB may not be sufficient.

Is 20GB enough for a month?

20GB should be sufficient for most users for a month, with light usage on some days. It allows for moderate to heavy usage, including video streaming (for a couple of minutes per day), social media, web browsing, and app downloads. However, if you frequently stream high-definition videos or use data for extensive online gaming, you might need more than 20GB.

Is 2GB of data enough for a month?

2GB will likely not be enough for a month for most people. Even with light usage (email and web browsing), you will likely need more than 2GB.

How long will 10GB of data last?

The duration of 10GB of data will depend on your usage habits. For moderate users who engage in web browsing, social media, and occasional video streaming, 10GB can last a month. However, for heavy users who frequently stream videos in HD quality or download large files, it may last only a week or less.

How long will 8GB of data last?

The duration of 8GB of data depends on your usage. For moderate users, it may last a month, allowing for standard web activities and occasional video streaming. For moderate to heavier users, it might last around a week or two, depending on the apps being used.

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