Anyone who has Instagrammed while on safari or tweeted from paradise knows mobile Internet can be expensive when you travel. Enter Sarah Neill, the globe-trotting co-founder and CEO of DOODAD, an international data service helping travelers stay connected with affordable prepaid data plans in 62 countries (and counting). Here, the entrepreneur talks about her life in motion—which is now blissfully free of data bill-shock.
What kind of a traveler are you? Do you meticulously plan your itinerary or whimsically explore your destination?
I’ve become a pretty practiced traveler. I can pack in five minutes, never bring more than a carry-on, and I’ll print my boarding pass at the last minute before running through the gates. However, before it was affordable to have international data access, I always had a few pages of the basics: map to the hotel and key phrases (in the native language). But with DOODAD, I can look it all up as I go.
When you are in a foreign country, how are you most likely to use your DOODAD megabytes?
I rely on Google Maps with my life. I also love getting recommendations from locals for places to eat. They often take you off the beaten path and are generally cheaper and better than restaurants on the main drag. And – I hate to admit it – but it’s good to be able to check emails as they come through. If I know there’s nothing urgent going on at home, I can relax and appreciate where I am.
When it comes to travel budgeting, where do you scrimp and what’s worth the splurge?
I love taking advantage of last-minute deals at hotels and restaurants, so I subscribe to sites like Travelzoo and use sites like Kayak and lastminute.com. I’ll splurge on the experience. I love activities and day trips. I try to pack in as much as I can, while still making sure I get some down time. My idea of a trip is a beautiful European city, but my idea of a vacation is always sun, beach, and cocktails—that’s where I really relax.
What initially sparked your wanderlust? What places are still on your bucket list?
Before I went on university exchange to Calgary, Canada, I was perfectly content to stay in Australia, my home country. But I loved the experience of being in a completely new environment with an entirely new group of people—and I thrived. I finished that up with a European backpacking trip. By the time I was home, I was figuring out ways to save up for my next trip and thinking about how I could live abroad again. But, I’ve never been to Central or South America, so now that I’m based in NYC, I’m going to make sure to explore down there. As I mentioned before, I’m quite fond of beaches!
You’ve lived, worked and studied all across the globe. Where do you feel most at home?
I’ve been in NYC two years now, and felt at home the minute I arrived. I’ll always be an Aussie at heart, and the plan at the moment is to end up back in Australia one day, but right now this is my home—until the next adventure.
In addition to your DOODAD, what are your must-have travel essentials?
A toothbrush, which can single-handedly make you feel human again after a long flight (and, of course, my passport and credit card). However, I don’t always trust my card, so I always have $100 cash in case my bank blocks my card.
When abroad, 75 percent of travelers turn off data roaming and rely on WiFi. But this means you can’t look up maps, find cool places to eat, or stay in touch while out and about (and out of WiFi range). If this sounds like you, then make sure to check out DOODAD at www.getadoodad.com. DOODAD is a data-only SIM card, that when inserted in your unlocked phone or tablet, gives you prepaid data in 62 countries. You don’t have to be scared of outrageous roaming fees and can make the most of your experience, with information and connection on the go.
Order your DOODAD for FREE from www.getadoodad.com/afar