Are you traveling to New York soon and looking for the best way to stay connected on your trip to the USA? There are several ways which Traveltomtom describes in the article ‘buying a prepaid sim card in the USA’. This article however zooms in specifically on buying a sim card at New York Airport JFK, including where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per June 2022, my recommendation and everything else you need to know.

Below you can also find a video of my experiences buying a sim card at New York JFK Airport.

Traveltomtom is on a mission to visit every country in the world and that is why I am constantly traveling and new visiting countries. The first thing I do when arriving in a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card as it is the cheapest way to stay connected. Therefore on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 prepaid sim card guides: Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Toronto, Panama City, Costa Rica, Bogota, Colombia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Dubai, London, Paris, Rome, Europe and many more.

When planning your next adventure abroad visit Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark this website!

My recommendation

Traveltomtom does NOT recommend buying a sim card at New York JFK Airport. Value for money is very bad and 1 GB data will cost you minimum $29 USD. It is much cheaper to buy a sim card in New York City center, for more info see: buying a sim card in USA in 2022.

Also very much recommended is an international sim card for traveling abroad in 2022. In the link you can find my comparison of the best travel sim cards out there. For $39.90 USD you can already get a sim card with 12 GB data in the USA.

However, the best way to stay connected when traveling abroad in 2022 is an e-sim card. 

E-sim cards for USA

Forget about buying a physical sim card, why not getting an e-sim card? You order an e-sim card online, you receive a code and instructions in your email, follow the steps, change some settings and you are connected to a USA network and that all within just a couple minutes. On top of that it is much cheaper than buying a sim card at New York JFK Airport. Check out the following amazing e-sim card deals for the USA:

  • $4.5 = 1 GB data for 7 days
  • $11 = 3 GB data for 30 days
  • $16 = 5 GB data for 30 days
  • $26 = 10 GB data for 30 days

Click here to order one of the above USA e-sim cards directly or find more info about it.

JFK Airport New York

Although New York is most probably the most famous city in the world, its airport(s) are very much outdated. Don’t expect a fancy arriving hall or anything like that. The arrival halls at JFK Airport are pretty small and regardless which international terminal you arrive it doesn’t include many facilities. Unfortunately that also counts for buying a prepaid sim card at New York JFK Airport.

At least there is good, fast and reliable free public WiFi on JFK Airport for arriving and departing passengers. 

Where to buy a USA sim card at New York JFK Airport

sim card new york jfk airport

Just like many other international airports in the USA buying a prepaid sim card is a pain. There used to be 2 little kiosks but they have been abandoned now for the last couple years. Which narrows it all down to sim card vending machines. There are 4 sim card vending machines at New York JFK Airport and they are easy to find when you walk into the arrival hall.

sim card vending machine new york airport

Buying a sim card from a vending machine means you will have to do everything yourself. The activation and the registration. There is NO service included or anyone around helping you. The sim cards work based on plug and play. 

The sim card vending machines accept international credit cards as well as USD notes.

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Prices prepaid sim cards JFK Airport

The sim card vending machines contain 4 different prepaid sim cards with data for the USA. These sim cards are NOT from one of the main internet providers in the USA: T-Mobile or AT&T, but are international sim cards. 

Travel Sim

travel sim card new york airport

This sim card costs $20 USD and comes with $10 USD credit, no data or calling/texting is included. You can use the credit to buy a data bundle on the Travel Sim website. The cheapest data bundle costs $19 which you will be able to add to your account after signing up on the Travel Sim website. You will have to follow the instructions displayed after buying the package from the vending machine.

Unlimited Data* Talk & Text

data sim cards new york jfk airport

Don’t be fooled by the name ‘Unlimited Data’! Unlimited data in this case means browsing on E-network (2G) after you used your data bundle allowance. Barely enough for sending emails and using Whatsapp. USELESS basically!

They offer 3 different sim cards that all include unlimited calling & texting within the USA:

  • 4 GB data = $60 USD
  • 6 GB data = $80 USD
  • Unlimited data on 4G speed = $100 USD

All the above packages are valid for 30 days and rechargeable after.

Best prepaid sim card at New York JFK Airport

If you really want to get connected straight after you land then I recommend buying a Travel Sim card at JFK Airport. For $29 USD you will get 1 GB data, but after you plug the sim card into your phone you will have to register on their website. Complicated!

As mentioned in the beginning of this article Traveltomtom recommends an e-sim card for the USA and it is MUCH CHEAPER! For $26 USD you get 10 GB data for 30 days! Click on the link above for more info. 

My experiences buying a sim card at New York JFK Airport

new york jfk airport sim card shop

As you can understand I did NOT buy a sim card from one of the vending machines at New York JFK Airport. I am still really surprised how the worlds most famous country does NOT cater for USA tourist sim cards on arrival at their international airports.

As of April 2022 I have visited 128 countries around the world and almost everywhere you can find sim card shops in the arrival hall. Well, with the rise of e-sim cards I am not sure this will ever change in the USA. If you prefer to buy a physical sim card then go to one of the T-Mobile or AT&T stores in New York City center and get your USA sim card there. You will get much more value for money!

See below all my experiences in my video including tips on where to go exactly when buying a sim card at JFK Airport in New york.

How to get from JFK Airport to New York City Center

how to get from jfk airport to new york city

Taking an Uber is a good and safe option and you can use the free public WiFi at JFK Airport for ordering one. That said when checking the price to lower Manhattan I was quoted $77 USD and found out that a yellow taxi which you can order on the left side of the arrival hall has flat fares and turned out to be a little cheaper even after taxed and the 'mandatory' tip. The yellow cabs also accept credit card payments. Uber cars are much more convenient though and next time I will take an Uber from JFK Airport to New York City Center.

I hope all the above information about buying a USA prepaid sim card at New York JFK Airport was helpful. May you have any additional questions then please leave me a comment below and I will try to help you out.

Enjoy your trip to New York City!

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