Globetrotting with a Bootleg Phone Plan and No Data: A Solo Travel Guide

Happy Friday the 13th y’all! I’m in Berlin at the moment…I arrived yesterday evening and spent about 13 hours sleeping. 😂

As I eat currywurst (the national fast food of Berlin) for the first time in my life in a spot called KreuzBurger, I figured I’d also take the time to let y’all know how to survive solo travel in lands far, far away.

Pro tip: Don’t stress, plan less, and learn to wing it!

Easier said than done for most, I know, but don’t get caught up in all the little things when traveling abroad! As long as you have your plane ticket, a phone, cash/credit, and your passport, you’ll be just fine!

What about an international phone plan, Jackie?

Take it from someone who has an $80 LG phone that runs on Virgin Mobile and has been to 12 foreign countries…you don’t need an international phone plan. Once I leave American soil, I turn data off and solely rely on WiFi.

Of course, if you’re traveling to more remote places, etc., then investing in an international plan may be smart.

The great thing about most foreign countries… especially big cities in Europe…is that they have free public WiFi all around! Outside, inside, in the metro stations, on the buses, and essentially anywhere else you’d need it!

Also, did you know Google Maps works without WiFi?! As long as you know where you’re going, the locator dot will continue to tell you where YOU are on the map! So, as you move along, you can see if you’re heading in the right direction or not.

If you’re traveling alone, I recommend getting flights, trains, etc. that arrive during the day… especially if you plan on walking to your hostel, etc. once you arrive.

Berlin is the first foreign city I’ve ever traveled to alone where the main language isn’t English (save for Iceland, but I had been there before), so I booked a flight that got in at 5pm. This gave me allowance to get a bit lost in the streets as I made my way to my hostel (and I totally did 😂), knowing I’d have plenty of daylight to work with. Plus, I’m always sure to keep to main streets and, if Google maps isn’t helping me, I pop into a nearby cafe or shop to grab some WiFi. 😅

It may sound stressful but it really isn’t. I tell myself that if worst comes to currywurst, I can always hail a cab! (Hopefully… 😅)

Coming from NYC, I feel confident getting around any major city…even without relying on my phone!

Pro tip: Look up and actually READ the street signs and don’t fear getting lost!

I’ve found that folks who rely on their cell data and mapped out routes in foreign cities often miss out on little things because they’re so fixated on not missing a turn. I actually just met a girl from Australia who also said she doesn’t have an international plan because she doesn’t want to be staring at her phone during her travels!

This is the time to get out of your comfort zone and force yourself to talk to folks and SEE what’s around you! We’ve become so dependent on our phones but we don’t need them!

What do you do when you go abroad? Let me know in the comments!

Also…if y’all have any tips for Berlin, let me know! I’m here till Monday and have done zero research…whoops! 🤦

Will you run away with me?

Spread kindness and cheer, xo

Jackie

The Elephant House is Overrated and Other Musings from Edinburgh

Thinking I’d be inspired by the place where JK Rowling is said to have written her whimsical Harry Potter stories, I decided to grab breakfast at The Elephant House on my last morning in Edinburgh.

The Elephant House is literally around the corner from the hostel I hunkered down at (Budget Backpackers), so I figured why not stop by!

Tourist mistake numero uno!

The Elephant House is an odd little place. With menus in both Chinese and English, the place screamed ‘Chinese Restaurant.’

But nope, no Chinese. Just gluten-free cakes and a small selection of breakfast items. Which is good since that’s what I went for. However…

…after being seated, I waited at least 15 mins before I could get anyone’s attention to take my order. Eh, it’s busy – fair enough. BUT THEN…about 15 minutes after I’d ordered my eggs, I was told “Sorry, we ran out of eggs!”

It’s 11am!! How are you out of eggs?!

Needless to say, I was not impressed with this place. 😂 Although, kudos to the fresh-squeezed orange juice. I don’t know why that’s not a thing in America.

Also, this sign was cute but didn’t fit the atmosphere of the place at all.

So, I left disappointed, uninspired, and malnourished. 😂 Luckily, the spot literally next door was a cute French place (Patisserie Valerie) and THEY HAD EGGS!

Much more on Edinburgh to come, so stay tuned!!

Next Stop: Copenhagen

Will you run away with me?

Spread kindness and cheer, xo

Jackie

A Commitment-Phobe’s Commitment to Travel

Jobs, relationships, apartments, vegetarianism . . . these are all things I struggle to commit to.

Heck, I still even question the college I went to . . . and I graduated 5 years ago! 😂

Always on the hunt for new opportunities and experiences, I fear getting stuck in a rut.

The term “settling down” gives me nightmares.

I recently met up with a fellow traveler I met three years ago during my first solo expedition and we talked about our insatiable need to explore and see the world. I confessed that sometimes I wish I had no desire at all to travel; that I could simply be happy in one spot – stable, committed, and satisfied.

But el oh el then I wouldn’t be RUNAWAY RAPETTI!

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While some people can commit to jobs and places and people for years and years and years, I can commit to something too . . .

TRAVEL!!

Planes, trains, and automobiles – if there’s a ticket in my name, you can bet I’ll be there.

Not only that but it also goes hand in hand with my commitment to always be learning, dreaming, and growing. As much as I loved school, I’ve learned that the best classroom is somewhere right outside of your comfort zone.

I’m a textbook INTJ and yet I choose to travel solo because it gives me two things:

  1. My much-needed alone time. Hallelujah! 😂
  2. The push for ‘extroverted Jackie’ to come out and meet new folks!

Whether you’re a vagabond, a gypsy, or a runaway like me, I hope you enjoy every minute of your journey – and don’t forget to spread kindness and cheer along the way!

Next Stop: Grindavik!

Will you run away with me?!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Reykjavík Vlog

Hey, y’all!

If you read my last post, then you already know I’m applying for WOW air’s Summer Travel Guide competition. I could not be more excited about this opportunity! The chosen winner will live in Reykjavík from June 1st to mid-August — with their best friend!

Oh, and the pair will travel to not one, not two, but EIGHT WOW air destinations during their time abroad, creating unique and entertaining travel guides along the way!

AND . . . the chosen pair will get to actually PICK where they’d like to go. From Alicante and Amsterdam to Salzburg and Warsaw, WOW air flies to SO many incredible places.

The airline is looking for a “dynamic duo, ideally two content creators” to embark on this journey. While I don’t have a massive YouTube following by any means, I am a content creator by day (mostly written content), but I actually really enjoy video editing.

After editing and uploading my WOW air submission video, my creative juices were still flowing and I put together a short little piece about my time in Reykjavík. I went there for just a couple of days back in Feb. 2016 and fell in love with this quirky little city. If you want to see what I thought of eating fermented shark and sheep’s brain, definitely watch the video for a laugh!

Disclaimer: This was before I chose the vegetarian life!

And, if you haven’t already, please watch my local’s guide to NYC!

Give it a thumbs up, comment, and subscribe to my channel!

I plan on posting some more short vlogs from past travels — and hopefully more from upcoming travels this summer!

Thanks for joining me on this journey!

Let me know what you think of my NY local’s guide — did you already know about these hidden gems? What would you recommend folks see in NY or in your own hometown?

Let me know in the comments!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie