Are you traveling to New York soon and looking for the best way to stay connected on your trip to the USA? In my article buying a prepaid sim card in the USA in 2023 I show you all the options, but this article zooms specifically in on buying a sim card at New York Airport JFK. Find in this guide where to buy a sim card at JFK Airport, up to date prices as per August 2023, my recommendation, a vlog about my arrival and experiences, info about international and e-sim cards for the USA and everything else you need to know.
Traveltomtom is on a mission to visit every country in the world and that is why I am constantly traveling and new visiting countries. In 2022 I visited 62 different countries in 1 year. The first thing I do when arriving in a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card 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, Bangkok, Vietnam, Malaysia, Dubai, London, Paris, Rome, Europe and many more.
So next time when planning your next adventure abroad visit Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark me!
Traveltomtom does NOT recommend buying a sim card at New York JFK Airport. Value for money is extremely bad and 1 GB data will cost you a minimum of $29 USD. In comparison: an e-sim card for the USA with 1 GB data costs only $4.5 USD.
Check out my guide with everything you need to know about buying an e-sim card for traveling to the USA in 2023.
It is also much cheaper to buy a sim card in New York city center, for more info see: buying a sim card in USA in 2023.
Also very much recommended is an international sim card for traveling abroad in 2023. In the link you can find my comparison of the best travel sim cards out there. For $29.90 USD you can already get a sim card with 12 GB data in the USA.
However, the best way to stay connected when traveling to New York in 2023 is an e-sim card.
Best e-sim cards for USA
Forget about buying a physical sim card, why not getting an e-sim card for New York? You order an e-sim card online, you receive a QR code, follow the steps, apply some settings and you are connected within less than 2 minutes.
On top of that an e-sim card for the USA is cheaper than buying a sim card at New York JFK Airport. Check out the following amazing e-sim card deals for the USA:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $16 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $42 USD
Click here to order a USA e-sim card directly online.
The above Change e-sim cards are valid only in the USA and they operate on the 4G/LTE/5G network of Verizon and T-Mobile. Yes, this e-sim card for the USA supports 5G.
There are also international e-sim cards with data valid in more than 70 other countries, including the USA:
- 6 GB data for 10 days = $17.9 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.9 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $34.9 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for the USA.
Before ordering an e-sim card for the USA make sure your phone is e-sim card compatible. How to find out? Just ask Google and you will instantly get your answer.
Want to know more about buying a USA e-sim card? Click on the link and read my complete guide for the best USA e-sim cards in 2023.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 in 2023
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!
It gets much easier when you walk into any of the T-Mobile or AT&T stores in New York city or you can also buy a sim card at one of the bigger metro stations. See my article about the best prepaid sim card for the USA in 2023 for more info.
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. Click on the link above to directly order or check out my guide for buying a USA e-sim card in 2023.
My experiences buying a sim card at New York JFK Airport
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 August 2023 I have visited more than 155 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, but prices are much higher than ordering an e-sim card for the USA online.
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.
Order a sim card for the USA online
E-sim cards are amazing, convenient and easy but not every phone is e-sim compatible. Those who are looking to buy a prepaid sim card for the USA online should check out the following international sim cards for the USA. These sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip and are pre-activated. It is plug and play:
- 10 GB data for 30 days
- 12 GB data for 30 days
- 12 GB data for 1 year
Click here to directly order an international prepaid sim card for the USA online.
Personally I would recommend the sim card with 12 GB data for $29.90 USD after comparing all the above international sim cards for the USA.
As you can see buying a sim card for the USA online is even cheaper than buying a sim card for the USA at JFK Airport in New York on arrival. Plus you save the hassle of going to a mobile phone shop when arriving in the USA and getting everything sorted.
However, by now you know that Traveltomtom recommends e-sim cards for traveling to the USA. You can buy them through Airalo or through SimOptions. E-sim cards are also the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to the USA.
How to get from JFK Airport to New York City Center
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. If you have any additional questions then please leave me a comment below and I will try to help you out.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go, but no rush.
Enjoy your trip to New York City!