#10 Online Privacy, Travel Safety Tips, Waco Travel Guide
Plus What to Wear on Vacation
The latest edition of the newsletter includes tips and resources for making your life a little more secure online and safety tips for traveling. I’m also sharing a travel guide for Waco.
Be sure to read this article about the dangers of traveling alone. The point of the article is to be smart and prepared. Check out this article on safety tips which should be required reading for anyone interested in solo travel.
Please feel free to comment if you have any questions, responses, brilliant ideas, or you feel like sharing a favorite recipe, restaurant, or anything else. You can also email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can always access the archives here, including the travel guides. I have linked many resources for you. Click on the highlighted green text to access the link.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. If you've found your way over but are not yet subscribed, let me help you with that:
Find me on Instagram | Pinterest
TO DO LIST
“The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker: Every person, predominantly female travelers, should read the book, “The Gift of Fear.” Gavin de Becker is considered an expert on the prediction and management of violence.
“The Kid Power Book for Safety for Caring Adults” provides outstanding information for parents, teachers, and other caregivers on teaching personal safety skills to young people in ways that are empowering and effective. KIDPOWER has an exceptional track record in personal safety and violence prevention. www.kidpower.org
“How to Be Invisible” by J.J. Luna explains legal methods to protect yourself from information predators and secure your bank accounts, business dealings, computer files, and even your home address.
Extreme Privacy by Michael Bazzel: This is the only privacy manual needed to secure a digital life. It’s worth the price due to the amount of information contained in the workbook. Michael hosts The Privacy, Security, and OSINT Podcast. I recommend listening to some of the past episodes including:
EPISODE 219: Tracking (Or Getting Tracked) with Air Tags
From Berkshire to Buckingham Substack Newsletter: Jane Barr's monthly newsletter with commentary on Kate, Meghan, and the British royals.
Redeeming Love is based on the bestselling novel by Francine Rivers. Redeeming Love is a powerful story of relentless Love and perseverance as a young couple’s relationship clashes with the harsh realities of the California Gold Rush of 1850. It is a life-changing story of the power of unconditional and all-consuming love.
Julia Garner’s Inventing Anna accent:
Jordan Harbinger Show Episode 330: The Gift of Fear with Gavin de Becker Part 1 and Part 2.
Swimming through The Sandlot Vintage's Playlists (Spotify): The dude blew up on TikTok for a good reason. He's got you covered, from Sam Cooke and Dolly Parton to Chris Stapleton and Alabama Shakes.
Trader Joe Meal Hacks:
What3words: The app that can save your life. Free iOS, Android
MySudo: It is the only app on the market that gives you private phone, text, email, browser, and virtual payment cards all in one app.
Clavel has the most delicious tacos and a large selection of Mezcal. They are at the top of my list for favorite tacos along with ¿Por Qué No? in Portland, Oregon.
Housley Wine Tasting Room is a popular spot for wine tasting and reservations are not required.
Barnhouse Napa Brews is a coffeehouse with a pub vibe in Downtown Napa.
Inn on Randolph is a 100% gluten-free bed and breakfast.
Eat With Safta is Alton Shaya’s Israeli restaurant.
Eat With Saba is Chef Alton Shaya’s Israeli restaurant.
Getting Started with Online Privacy
Browser: I use the Brave browser. Brave blocks all ads and is faster than Google Chrome.
Search Engines: The big search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) record and track your searches, which helps them to build a user profile for their advertising partners. Google's search engine is the best because it indexes far more web pages than anyone else, but it comes with a privacy tradeoff. I use Startpage.com because it doesn't track my online activity and still uses Google's index.
Phone: Phones from Apple and other companies are regarded as more private than Android smartphones. MySudo and Signal allow you to encrypt your phone calls and text messages. Anybody you're talking to now, their communications, if it's intercepted, can't be read by adversaries.
Home Devices: Research any home devices you are using. These devices record everything you say. Nest, Google's home thermostat, comes equipped with a hidden microphone. Amazon's Alexa device also records everything it hears. Here's how you can disable audio recording on two of the most popular home security devices: Google Nest and Amazon Ring.
Clear Cache and Cookies: It is a good idea to clear your browser cache and cookies because it prevents you from using old forms, protects your personal information, and speeds up your computer. I try to do this several times a day. You can configure the Brave browser to automatically erase your cache and cookies every time you close the browser. This article will tell you how to clear cookies and cache on your browser, computer, or phone.
VPN: A VPN is typically a paid service that keeps your web browsing secure and private over public WiFi hotspots. It's essential to use a VPN when on public WiFi. Don't do anything financial like booking a hotel room without it. I use Proton VPN.
Use a Password Manager: It’s not a good idea to use a browser-based password manager, which will store your usernames and passwords in plaintext, thereby leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. After trying out several password managers, I settled on Dashlane. It uses unbreakable end-to-end encryption to secure user data, has a wide range of high-security features, provides more useful extras than almost any other competitor, and offers more added value than similarly priced competitors.
Use PayPal instead of a credit card on any site you don't know well enough to trust. It’s a good idea to avoid paying online with debit cards or putting any account information in emails.
Can't figure out whether to trust a site or app? Check TOS Didn't Read summarizes those long privacy policies and notes any red flags.
Go to EFF's panopticlick.eff.org to test how easily your current Web browser configuration can be tracked. And for more detailed advice on dealing with specific concerns, check its Surveillance Self-Defense website.
Use secure websites marked by "https" at the front anytime you enter payment info. You can force your browser to use it by installing HTTPS everywhere.
To further escape tracking by the ad industry and companies like Facebook, go to aboutads.info/choices and request an opt-out from more than 120 participating companies.
Activate Do Not Track in the settings for your browser and install a browser extension like Ghostery, Disconnect, or EFF's Privacy Badger to block spying ads and trackers.
Use encrypted chat services such as SilentCircle and encrypted mail like Hushmail, Proton mail, and My Sudo.
A list of online retailers you should never order from.
The new way to pay safely while traveling.
Abine's Blur is a service that creates gibberish email addresses and auto-fills them for you. Emails will be forwarded to your actual inbox, or you can set up a block.
Blur isn't much help when you're at the checkout, and the cashier asks for your email address to register you for a loyalty program. So give her an alias that is linked to your real account. You won't have to log in separately to get those emails (as you would with a separate junk mail account), and you can forward messages to your real account if you want. To set up an alias, go to the account-settings tab in your email provider and Click on "Add an alias" or "Add and email address," then follow the prompts.
The Burner app provides access to phone numbers you can use in place of your own (a subscription costs $5 a month). Calls and texts to that line are forwarded to your primary number; you can delete a Burner number anytime.
10 Tips to keep your iPhone safe and secure.
Kids in the House is a website with tips to protect your kid's from Gavin De Becker.
Avoiding the credit card scam.
How to share as little data as possible without deleting Facebook.
Why you should switch to Signal or Telegram from Whatsapp today.
Facebook’s tracking tools are even worse than we feared.
10 essential tips and tricks to make the most of Whats App.
Password mistakes that hackers hope you’ll make.
How to keep your home address off the internet.
The tech you need at hand when disaster strikes.
Please take a peek below for my latest finds to take with you on your next resort vacation.
L'Agence Kenzie Blazer in Petal: I usually pack a blazer for cool evenings on vacation. The right blazer can make any outfit look instantly polished and pulled together. One of my favorite brands is L'Agence. I like to wear the Olivia Ribbed Tank from Nati with blazers. I usually buy designer items at consignment shops, eBay, and Poshmark.
Sky Blue Pearl Necklace: This pearl necklace will look great with a maxi dress, blazer, or a pretty top.
The Best Hat: This hat really is the best! It sells out fast and is currently out of stock. You can add your email to the waitlist.
Golden Goose Sneakers: My favorite sneakers for a day of exploring on the town while still looking stylish.
Blush Feather Bag: A chic bag for a fancy dinner on the cruise ship or a night on the town in Paris.
Sands Moses Sandal in Stone: These sandals are perfect for the beach, pool, or spa. They are also very comfortable.
Heart Hoop Earrings: These hoop earrings look great with any outfit.
Generation Love Delilah Crepe Blazer: I also wear Generation Love blazers. This style is available in multiple colors.
Finlay Sunglasses: The Duchess of Cambridge wore these sunglasses on tour in the Caribbean.
Seychelles Starboard Heel: A great buy for a fancy high heel shoe. The design is available in other colors.
Mi Golondrina White Headband: I always pack several headbands to jazz up an outfit.
Cult Gaia Ark Mini Top Handle Tote: This is one of my favorite totes. It's perfect for a vacation.
Blue Floral Maxi Dress: I love long floral dresses, and they are easy to pack for a trip.
Melissa Odabash Tahiti Red Halterneck Swimsuit: I have a couple of Melissa Odabash swimsuits.
Three J NYC Navy Hearts Pajamas: I LOVE these pajamas! They are excellent quality, super soft, and cozy.
Terry Cloth Visor: The perfect accessory for spending a day on the golf course, tennis courts, or exploring the town.
TRAVEL SAFETY TIPS
For localized disasters, where traditional methods of communication have failed, there is no better tool than a good 2 Meter Ham Radio. Read more about the many benefits of Ham Radio.
Always carry cash and know where to hide it. Make sure you carry emergency cash in a couple of different locations. If you're traveling abroad, make sure you have both American dollars and the local currencies in every area you plan on traveling.
No matter where you are going, you want to have maps of the area and evacuation routes ready to go should something happen. Have a local paper map of the areas you are traveling through on your trip. Save PDF maps or Google Maps to your phone and tablet devices. Carry a GPS; while these devices can fail during a large-scale disaster, they are suitable for finding quick backup routes when they're working.
The U.S. Department of State Website gives you an indication of the level of safety in each country based on the local political and health situations, including COVID-19, laws, general country information, current COVID-19 restrictions, border closures, and more. It'sIt's also a good idea to enroll in their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) when you travel which will notify you of any dangers or exceptional circumstances.
Prepare to handle money overseas. Before you go, notify your bank and credit card company of your travel, and check exchange rates.
Carry contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate in English and the local language with you. Read more about what the Department of State can and cannot do for you in an emergency.
Apply early for a passport, or renew your old one. It should be valid for at least six months after you return home and needs to have two or more blank pages. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter. Check all family members' passports because those for adults are valid for ten years, but children's passports only for five. U.S. citizens must use a U.S. passport to leave and return to the United States.
If you are traveling by land or sea, you must show proof of your U.S. citizenship and identity when you return to the United States. You can travel using the U.S. passport card for many land or sea trips instead of a standard passport book.
You may need to get a visa before you travel to a destination. Contact the embassy of the foreign countries you will be visiting for more information.
Get a letter from your doctor about the medications you are bringing. Some countries have strict laws, even against over-the-counter medications, so read about your destination before you go.
If you are traveling alone with children, foreign border officials may require custody documents or written consent from the other parent. Check with the embassy of your foreign destination before traveling.
Make two photocopies of all your travel documents in case of emergency. Leave one copy with a trusted friend or relative at home and carry the other separately from your documents in case of loss or theft.
Hide your personal information on your luggage tag. Turn it around so no one can read your name, address, phone number.
Wear the appropriate outfit in the neighborhood you are visiting. The idea is you want to blend in. You also want to be able to run if need be.
How to avoid pickpockets in Europe.
Always lock your doors. This is the easiest habit to incorporate into your routine. Every time you enter your room, lock the door behind you, making sure to use all deadbolts and other locks available.
Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to who and what is around you at all times. Stick with crowds of people and well-lit areas and avoid solitary and dark places.
Find your closest exit when you arrive. Always know where your closet emergency exits are in case of fire or other emergencies. Know where multiple exits are so that you do not have to face troubles in case access to one is blocked.
Don't answer your door unless you expect room service or housekeeping, and always check the peephole before answering.
Park under lights and close to the hotel entrance. Also, lock your car doors and check the back seat before getting inside.
Ensure all sliding glass doors and windows in the room are secure and locked. Sliding glass doors should be equipped with a safety bar and a regular lock.
Wherever possible, select hotels that have interior corridors rather than motels. Also, look for hotels with a front that is staffed 24 hours a day.
If your room has a safe, you can use it. Lock up your valuables and personal identification when using hotel facilities such as the gym or pool.
Test the front desk staff. Ensure that they provide convincing answers to all your security concerns. This may not be possible to check before you travel, but you can make a note of which hotels ensure your safety for future travel. Report issues to the management.
When you leave the room, leave the TV or radio on, or put your "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door; these tricks will give potential thieves the impression that you're still there.
At night, leave a pair of shoes next to the bed if you need to go in a hurry. Keep your room key, wallet, and flashlight close near the bed.
Most hotels are not liable for items left in a room safe. It is also essential to check with your insurance company and determine if your homeowner's or renters insurance covers loss while traveling.
Skip the first floor. They're easier to break into.
Walk with intent. Avoid looking down at your phone or map. This gives the appearance you may be lost.
Treat your hotel key like a credit card. Please keep it away from your cellphone. Please don't leave it out for everyone to see. Don't say which room you're in out loud if you are making plans with others. Ditch the paper sleeve it came in. If you lose your key, you won't have to worry about uninvited visitors.
Cover the peephole (bandaid or tape).
Items to Pack for Safety
Silent Pocket Faraday Cage for wireless devices: A Faraday Cage is simply an enclosure designed to block electronic signals and radiation. Silent Pocket's Faraday line was inspired by creating privacy and security protection for our wireless devices. Once you drop your tablet or smartphone into one of our Faraday products, ALL signals to and from the device are cut off from the grid. It's as though they are turned off with the battery taken out.
Tactical Pen: If you want to fly with a tactical pen, you need to pack it in checked luggage, but you run the risk of it being stolen. Best to leave this at home if you are flying.
Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilmer: It's expensive but has a 20 year warranty.
Apple Air Tags: These are a super easy way to keep track of your stuff.
TravelCard Charger is the best portable charger to carry with you for a little battery boost.
Argentyn Silver: 2 to 3 droppers full twice a day (hold under tongue for 20 seconds then swallow or gargle for 20 seconds then swallow
Ultra Potent C: take one tablet twice a day
Zinc: take one tablet twice day
Vitamin D3 Liquid: Zinc and Vitamin D support your immune system.
Vitamin A drops: Vitamin A is effective at killing bacteria and viruses as is higher-dose Vitamin C.
Liposomal Glutathione: This antioxidant is essential in helping the body’s cellular defenses and immune system function at full capacity.
What to say to someone grieving?
The best photos of the Duchess of Cambridge’s Caribbean tour.
Do you know all the ways you can use your Apple wallet?
The best sheets according to hotel insiders.
How does Spotify know you so well?
How Irish Kerry Gold butter conquered America's kitchen.
Why I send an article to guests before we sit down to dinner.
The complete guide to bone broth.
How to politely decline an invitation.
The best bread baking tools.
The power of one push-up.
A fantastic interview with the female owner of In N Out Burger. Find out why the company prints Bible verses on their cups.
The baking step you can skip.
How to outsmart travel scams.
The scam of deadly fitness supplements.
The best cookbooks for new home cooks, according to 8 professional chefs.
Tips for protecting our lung health.
MRI risks no one told you about.
Which is better: exchange money or use ATM abroad?
If you use Uber and Lyft, read these safety tips.
The one thing I always pack on my trips is Colloidal Silver. It is a mineral used for hundreds of years as a natural antibiotic. I use it to keep germs at bay. Colloidal Silver can penetrate the wall of the virus and cause the virus to die. Colloidal Silver can treat the common cold, intestinal problems, bladder, and urinary tract, cuts, grazes, burns, dandruff, thy scalp, skin conditions like Psoriasis, and Eczema benefit from the frequent application. Colloidal Silver does not sting and has powerful antiseptic, disinfectant, and germicidal properties; It has also been known to promote wound healing, treat Athlete’s Foot, fungal infections, and eye infections.
Be careful which brand you buy because not all the Colloidal Silver products are the same. I use Argentines 23.
Gargle for 30 seconds and swallow and do this multiple times a day if you feel like you are catching a cold. Apply with a Q tip on cuts. It’s an excellent emergency therapy to have on hand.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Homemade Candy Bars
Easter Egg Peanut Butter Candies
Alison Roman’s Creamy Cauliflower Pasta
Waco Travel Guide
Waco is a popular tourist destination since Chip and Joanna Gaines debuted their show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. The Gaines have several businesses in Waco, the most famous of which is Magnolia Market at the Silos. In addition to shopping and dining, there’s a beautifully restored church on the grounds.
Waco is a lovely city to visit so get busy planning a day trip with all my recommendations.
I suggest starting your day with a cup of coffee at Common Grounds or breakfast at Magnolia Table. Next, visit the shops and grounds at Magnolia. Don’t forget to try the cupcakes at the Silos Bakery Co. The classic flavors include cute themed names like Shiplap (vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream icing) and Silobration (vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream icing). After your visit to Magnolia, take a drive outside of town to Heritage Coffee. It’s a beautifully designed coffee shop on a ranch. The rest of the day, check out the antique stores and boutiques in downtown or go on a tour of Waco. For lunch or dinner, I recommend Harvest and Cafe Homestead.
Keep in mind Magnolia is closed on Sundays. Waco is located about 90 to 100 miles from the Dallas and Austin airports. You can easily plan a day trip from Dallas or Austin.
MAGNOLIA AT THE SILOS
Magnolia Market at the Silos (home decor)
Magnolia Home (furniture)
Shops at the Silos (Jo’s shops ranging from bath + body, men’s provisions, bags + jewelry, women’s clothing, and books + paper)
Seed and Supply (garden accessories)
Silos Baking Co. (sweets) *GF cookies
Magnolia Press (coffee)
Magnolia Table (breakfast or lunch)
It is located a few miles from the Silos. The best time to visit Magnolia Table, the restaurant, is between 6 am-8 am. The restaurant is only open till 3 pm.
Magnolia's Little Shop on Bosque is the original home of Magnolia Market that offers last chance items at a discount.
January Letterpress is a collection of paper goods and gifts.
Brazos River Supply Co. is a men's store featuring lifestyle items and gifts.
Clasé Vintage & Goods sells thrift and vintage fashion.
Cultivate 7Twelve is a small art gallery offering local art and artisan goods for sale. Also hosts farm to table dinners, yoga, dance classes, live music, and art workshops.
Fabled Bookshop & Cafe is an independent bookstore and cafe.
Gather carefully curated items for hosting and entertaining at home.
Harp Design Co. is handmade furniture and handcrafted home goods.
JDH Iron Designs is a custom metal art design from wall art and home decor to custom projects.
Roots Boutique is a boutique selling clothing, accessories, and unique gifts.
Spice Village features a collection of over 60 clothing and decor boutiques under the same roof.
Wildland Supply Co. is a clothing and gift boutique in downtown Waco.
Fixer Upper Tour of Waco is the best tour in town. See many of the homes from HGTV's Fixer Upper and enjoy learning about Waco, Texas.
Cameron Park is over 400 acres of forest and walkable trails overlooking the Brazos River.
Cameron Park Zoo is a natural habitat zoo the whole family can enjoy.
Waco Suspension Bridge and Riverwalk is an excellent spot for a stroll along the Brazos river.
Waco Hippodrome Theatre presents new and classic movies, plays, and concerts, plus in-theater dining in downtown Waco.
Dr Pepper Museum where you can learn about the oldest soft drink in the United States and how it started right here in Waco.
The Mayborn Museum Complex is Baylor University's natural science and cultural history museum with fun, interactive activities for kids of all ages.
Waco Mammoth National Monument is a paleontological site and museum showcasing the fossils of 24 Columbian mammoths and other mammals.
Waco Downtown Farmers Market features local artisans and vendors offering fresh produce, coffee, and food. Note: only open on Saturday in downtown Waco.
Waco Escape Rooms is a team-based game where players solve puzzles and find clues within one room to escape in a limited amount of time.
Waco Tours explores the hidden gems that make Waco unique with its guided tour options.
Cafe Homestead is a farm to table concept restaurant.
Harvest on 25th is my favorite restaurant in Waco. *GF *V
Helberg Barbecue is a traditional Central-Texas-style barbecue joint.
Mac House sells mac 'n cheese, grilled cheese, salads, and more.
Mamaka Bowls sells smoothie bowls, smoothies, and juice.
Moroso Wood Fired Pizzeria is an artisan pizza restaurant offering Neapolitan-style, thin-crust pies.
Olive Branch Bakery & Cafe sells coffee, pastries, and breakfast and lunch bites in a relaxed, warehouse-style space.
Revival Eastside Eatery is a lunch spot for salads, sandwiches, and burgers in East Waco.
Schmaltz's Sandwich Shoppe is a local favorite for sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Sironia is a cafe and boutique under one roof.
Union Hall is a community eatery offering 20+ diverse dining options under one roof.
Waffle Chic is a food truck that sells waffle fries.
310's Kitchen is an open-air BBQ bistro.
Lula Jane's is a bakery with limited quantity so go early.
Heritage Creamery is a handcrafted ice cream shop.
Hey Sugar Candy Store is a candy store with old-fashioned ice cream, gourmet popcorn, retro sodas, gourmet chocolate, and a large selection of bulk candy.
Mo Cookies sells cookies.
Nightlight Donuts is a mobile donut truck that pops up all around Waco.
Pokey O's Waco is ice cream parlor.
Hillcrest Estate is a historic home turned vacation rental renovated by Magnolia.
Magnolia House is a historic home turned vacation rental renovated by Magnolia.
Carriage House is a historic home turned vacation rental on the Magnolia House property, renovated by Magnolia on Fixer Upper.
I did not like the Hilton hotel. I think Air BNB is the best option for lodging or stay in Austin or Dallas and drive to Waco for a day trip. The Gaines are planning to open a hotel later this year in Waco.
Silo District Trolley is a free trolley to get around the Silo District in downtown Waco. It picks up in front of Magnolia Market.
Texas travel guides: Austin and San Antonio.
What are you watching or reading right now? I’ll start, then would love to hear from you via the comments below! I’m reading Bob Goff’s new book, “Undistracted.” It’s about figuring out the one thing in your life that has been distracting you and decide right now, that you will no longer give it this kind of power in your life. Live undistracted.
If you like the newsletter, please consider sharing it with your friends. The content is free and involves many hours of research. Thank You!
Recent Blog Posts
You May Have Missed
Wow, I'm a new subscriber and what a wealth of information you provide in your newsletters. I live north of Dallas and I will have a reason to make several trips over the next few months to Waco. I've bookmarked this so I can reference it while I'm there. I'm excited to see Fabled Bookshop & Cafe. I write a bookish newsletter and I'm looking forward to visiting and possibly visiting the book store in my newsletter for my readers. Thanks!
Excellent article! Great tips. Appreciate the amount of research that went into this.