If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, one of the first things you should consider is getting a local SIM card. Not only will it provide you with a more affordable way to stay connected, but it also gives you the freedom to explore the island without relying on WiFi hotspots. With so many options available, it’s important to understand the different SIM card plans and prices before making a decision. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting a SIM card in Hawaii.

How to buy a SIM Card in Hawaii

I. Why Visitors Should Get a SIM Card in Hawaii?

As a visitor to a new city, having a reliable way to stay connected is crucial, and getting a local Hawaii SIM card is a wise choice.

Because you may need to contact your accommodation, navigate using maps, book transportation, or contact friends and family back home. With a local SIM card, you may refrain from paying exorbitant roaming fees or relying on public Wi-Fi, which can be unreliable and secure.

Using a cell phone In New York
Using a cell phone In Hawaii

II. Buying Hawaii SIM Cards: Things to Consider

Before you rush out to buy a SIM card in Hawaii, check out a few things that you should consider to ensure you get the best deal and the most suitable plan for your needs.

1. Determine Your Phone’s compatibility

Make sure your phone is compatible with Hawaii’s network because some types of phones may not work globally, especially in Hawaii.

2. Consider your Data Budget and Needs

When it comes to buying a SIM card, it’s essential to determine your budget and needs before making a decision. Here is a breakdown to help you consider:

  • Short trips (under 1 week): 5 GB of data is more than enough for a brief escape where one employs maps, translation, social media, and other basic activities. 
  • Long trips (more than 14 days): If you plan on traveling and partaking in an extended safari, it is advisable to subscribe for a larger bundle.

To avoid such inconveniences, we recommend you use our Hawaii eSIM Plan from esimusa.net offering diverse plans starting from just $18.5.

3. Check Your Current Plan

Before getting a SIM card in Hawaii, it’s essential to check your current plan and see if it includes international roaming or not. If it does, find out the costs associated with using it in Hawaii, as international roaming charges can quickly add up. If your plan doesn’t include international roaming, you’ll need to purchase a SIM card to avoid expensive charges.

III. Where to Buy a SIM Card in Hawaii?

1. Getting a SIM card at Hawaii Airport

All the major airports in Hawaii: Both Honolulu International (HNL) and Kahului (OGG) airports provide kiosks that sell SIM cards.

Hawaii Airport
Hawaii Airport
  • Major operators kiosks

AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon also have kiosks located at these airports where visitors can easily get a SIM card here. For any help or assistance, visitors just come and ask the customer services here. 

  • Convenience stores

Many convenience stores in the airport arrivals offer SIM cards from popular major mobile operators. It may be an alternative if mobile operators’s stores are closed.

2. Getting a Prepaid SIM card in Hawaii

Not only Hawaii Aiport, but there are several options for visitors can get a SIM card across Hawaii:

  • Big box stores: Retailers like Walmart, Target, and Costco across the islands normally stock popular prepaid brands. Walmart in Kapolei on Oahu has an especially large selection.
  • Mobile carrier stores: Flagship AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon shops in cities may have limited prepaid stock, often only their brands.
  • Local phone stores: Small independently owned cell phone shops throughout towns like Waikiki, Kailua, and Kihei offer SIMs tailored for island carriers.
  • Supermarkets: Grocery chains like Foodland and Times Plus drugstores occasionally have prepaid refills and SIM starters.

IV. Best Hawaii SIM Cards and Prices

Most prepaid SIM cards in Hawaii are sold by MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) that run on the main carriers’ networks like T-Mobile and AT&T. Brands to look for include H2O Wireless, Tracfone, and LycaMobile. 

To help you find the best prepaid SIM card in Hawaii, we have listed the top recommendations of these mobile operators in Hawaii: 

Mobile OperatorsT-MobileAT&TVerizon
Premium Data100GB100GB50GB100GB50GBNone15GBUnlimited (plan)Unlimited plus plan
Talk & textUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-speed dataUnlimited 5G & 4G LTE with 100GB of Premium DataUnlimited 5G & 4G LTE with 100GB of Premium DataUnlimited 5G & 4G LTE with 50GB of Premium Data5G Ultra Wideband5G Ultra Wideband4G LTEBoth 5G & 4G LTEBoth 5G & 4G LTE50 GB premium network access, then unlimited data
Mobile hotspot15GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data included. Unlimited mobile hotspot data at max 3G speeds after 15GB.5GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data included. Unlimited mobile hotspot data at max 3G speeds after 5GB.Unlimited 3G hotspot included. An optional high-speed hotspot is available.50 GB15 GB3 GBShare your wireless network connection with other devices over Wi-Fi.Mobile Hotspot includes 5 GB of 5G /4G LTE data, then speeds up to 600 Kbps for the remainder of the month.25 GB premium Mobile Hotspot data, then unlimited lower-speed data
Taxes and fees includedIncludedIncludedNot includedNot includedNot includedNot includedIncludedIncludedIncluded
International and TravelIn-flight connection, Unlimited talk and text in Mexico & CanadaIn-flight connection, Unlimited talk and text in Mexico & CanadaUnlimited talk and text in Mexico & CanadaUnlimited talk, text & high-speed data in 19 Latin American countriesUnlimited talk and text in Mexico & CanadaUnlimited texting from the US to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.
Streaming-video resolution720p480p480p4K UHD480p480p480p480p480p

In summary:

  • T-Mobile for the lowest budget, most cities covered
  • AT&T for the balance of price and coverage nationwide
  • Verizon if coverage is a priority, even at a higher cost

Consider your needs:  coverage, speeds, and data budget to choose the best plan for your Hawaii traveling goals

V. Using Hawaii eSIM – Another Wise Option

Not only using local SIM cards, here are some top recommended options to stay connected in Hawaii: free WiFi, pocket WiFi, roaming, local SIM card, and eSIM.

Free WiFi HotspotsConnect to WiFi networks at places like coffee shops, hotels, airports, etc.Free to use. Good for basic tasks like email and maps.Coverage may be limited. It’s not reliable for streaming or calls.
Portable WiFi HotspotRent a pocket-sized WiFi device from carriers to create your network.Provides reliable high-speed 4G LTE connectivity anywhere. Can connect up to 5-10 devices.Costs $10-15 per day. It’s an extra thing to carry around.
Local SIM CardPurchase a pay-as-you-go SIM card from US carriers at airports and stores.Affordable plans with data for $20-50. Keep your number.Have to swap SIM cards. Ensure the phone is unlocked.
eSIMDigital SIM activation for compatible devices from carriers like T-Mobile.Easy to set up without physical SIM swap.Limited to certain phones and carriers.

In summary, instead of using a local SIM card, buying an eSIM is the best choice to stay connected in Hawaii compared to roaming charges or purchasing an international plan from your home country. 

Moreover, having an eSIM plan allows you to stay connected wherever you go, even in remote areas of the island. This is especially useful for emergencies or if you need to navigate around the island using maps. 

Consider using eSIM from #1 Hawaii eSIM provider – esimusa.net which provides diverse eSIM plans for any traveling goals. Find the best option for your trip below:

Plan that may interest you

VI. FAQs About Buying Hawaii SIM Cards

What networks do Hawaii SIM cards use?

Most prepaid SIM cards in Hawaii are sold by MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) that run on the main carriers’ networks like T-Mobile and AT&T. Brands to look for include H2O Wireless, Tracfone, and LycaMobile.

Do I need to unlock my phone?

Do I need to unlock my phone? If your phone is carrier-locked to a specific network, you may need to have it unlocked before using a Hawaii SIM from a different carrier’s network. Check with your provider.

How much data do plans include?

How much data do plans include? Starter packs typically include 1-2GB of data. You can then pay per GB or opt for small data add-ons. Plans with unlimited talk/text and 2-5GB data run $20-30 per month.

Where can I top up my balance?

Major retailers sell prepaid refill packs online and in stores. Or top up your account directly on the MVNO carriers’ websites using a credit card.

VII. Final Words

Getting a SIM card in Hawaii is a wise decision for visitors looking to stay connected during their stay. With various options available, it’s essential to consider your budget and needs before making a decision. Whether you choose to purchase from a carrier, third-party retailer, or online, having a local SIM card will make your experience in Hawaii more convenient and cost-effective.

We hope this ultimate guide has provided you with all the information you need to confidently purchase a SIM card in Hawaii. So go ahead and stay connected while exploring the beautiful islands of Hawaii!