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

Instagram Spotlight: @dailyfoodfeed

If you’re on Instagram, you NEED to follow @dailyfoodfeed. It’s literally a feed of delicious food. Need I say more? A guy named Edmond runs this particular gram feed and he was kind enough to answer a few Qs about it!

Where did the inspiration to start this instagram come from? How long has it been up and running?

 

I actually run a marketing agency called Taste Marketing Strategies. I manage my clients’ Instagram accounts daily, but I wanted a foodie account with my own voice, and not my clients’. I also love keeping up with food trends and new, interesting eats so I can be a resource to my clients on their menus. Because of this, I look through A LOT of food photos on Instagram and wanted to give my favorites a home where I can repost and refer back to them. The main inspiration for @dailyfoodfeed is my absolute love of food. Here’s the crazy part… I only started @dailyfoodfeed about 9 weeks ago and have about 9,500 followers. I never expected such a large following so quickly!

 

How do you think you’ve gained such a large following so quickly?

 

Being such a new account, I’m still figuring this out every day, but also used my experience with my clients’ Instagram accounts I manage in the strategies I used to help gain a following. There isn’t an exact recipe, but I think it’s a good combination of things that help make @dailyfoodfeed successful. One thing I know is important is a good user name. Then, of course, there are the photos! I strive to post really engaging photos that get people talking and tagging their friends. We also further edit photos, if necessary, to fit the overall image and quality my followers expect from the feed. I also think my captions help. I like having fun with them, but I also make sure that my followers get all the information they may want.

 

Another big thing I’ve found that has helped has been connecting and networking with other great foodie accounts. I’m finding it to be a great community of Instafoodies!

 

Are all of the posts your own? Do you take submissions?

 

Most of the posts are not my original photos and we do absolutely take and welcome submissions. I post the occasional original photo here and there, but I really wanted this feed to be about the interesting eats you can find throughout the world of Instagram. Unfortunately, I can’t just pick up and travel around taking Instagram photos of an interesting burger I know of in New York (We’re based in Orange County, CA)…. YET 😉 So, in the meantime, I research some of the foods I’d like to feature and also, now, have a great community of Instagram users who use the hashtag #dailyfoodfeed to be featured.

 

You post SO so many delicious looking foods, but do you have a favorite that stands out? 

 

That’s hard to pick because every day I post a pic, I think there is a favorite in there. My most rewarding are, of course, the originals we produce, but I also love the reposts we have done from accounts that don’t get a lot of exposure and go completely viral and reposted by other accounts because of us. It’s really cool to see this happen!
Originals I love:
Reposts I love:

 

Is there any food you absolutely don’t like/won’t try?

 

I’d literally try ANYTHING.  I have this weird hate for black olives, but still don’t mind it if it makes a dish better.
Many thanks to Edmond! Happy eating, y’all!
Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Instagram Spotlight: @EatingNYC

Instagram Spotlight: @EatingNYC

I love perusing Instagram, living [and eating] vicariously through all of the colorful, flavorful looking posts. I came across a fellow native New Yorker, Alexa Mehraban, who has quite the passion for food. Since starting @EatingNYC in January 2014, this fabulous foodie has garnered a following of over 78,000 Instagram users! I reached out to her via email and she was kind enough to answer a few Q’s.


Where did the inspiration to start @EatingNYC come from?

AM: I was a food writer at the time, which really piqued my interest in the NYC dining scene. Naturally, I was trying a lot of new restaurants and sharing photos on Instagram, which led to the creation of my Instagram account and blog.

What do you attribute your large following to?

AM: A lot of things. Most importantly, I think I’ve created a following of users who trust and value my opinion. My followers visit @EatingNYC for a mix of everything: a first look at NYC’s hottest new restaurants, recommendations for their next dinner, and of course, delicious food porn. By creating a brand people love and can relate to, I’ve created a growing fan-base of food lovers from NYC all the way to Australia.

Are all of the posts your own?

AM: All of my posts are my own, unless it’s the occasional “regram” of another photo tagged with #EATINGNYC.

You post so many delicious looking foods, but do you have a favorite that stands out?

AM: That’s a tough one. Some of my favorite foods include sushi, hamburgers and pasta – I love a good pappardelle ragu.

Is there any food you absolutely don’t like or won’t try?

AM: Nope, I’ll eat just about anything!


While Alexa’s Instagram is definitely worth a visit, you should check out her blog too! She has a restaurant rating system for spots in NYC as well as a few in the Hamptons. The highest rating listed [9.8] is a tie between Carbone and, the bakery that put cronuts on the map, Dominique Ansel.

Many thanks to Alexa! Happy eating, y’all!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie