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5 Black-Owned Companies That Will Up Your Travel Game

Travel

Your wanderlust has had you eyeing multiple travel websites for a while now and finally, you've decided on your next location, and are ready to start planning. But, with the large number of travel apps and websites out there, the process of planning your travels can seem overwhelming.


The narrative surrounding people of color and travel has started to shift towards inclusivity. However, mainstream travel spaces have been known to exclude travelers of color. The underwhelming amount of Black travelers being showcased on travel sites and destination brochures makes it that much more important to support the businesses that have people of color sitting at the table. Seeing the world is an opportunity that is open to whomever wishes to act on it. Making your travel arrangements with black owned companies gives you the space to find the proper resources that cater to your specific needs.

From securing accomodations to booking flights and reserving excursions, there's a lot of work that goes into planning the perfect getaway. To save you some time, I've rounded up some of the best black-owned travel apps and companies to help get your next trip underway as seamless as possible. From your flight to your destination to your lodging, we've got you covered every step of the way.

For Flights: Airfordable

A post shared by Airfordable (@airfordable) on

You know where you want to go but after checking for flights, you notice the fare isn't exactly in this month's budget. Sure, you can pick a new place but when booking with friends, I know how long it can take for the group to finally settle on one destination. Likewise, international travel often gets dismissed because of the cost of airfare. Airfordable offers a solution for when you have your heart set on a location, whether it be for a vacation or a trip to see family. Ama Marfo, CEO, launched Airfordable as a result of struggling to book travel back to Ghana while she studied at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Today, it's being used for trips all around the world.

How it works: Find your flight, submit the details to Airfordable, pay monthly installments then receive your booking once the total is paid.

Let's take a trip to Bali for example. Jessica, an Airfordable user, found a flight for a total of $820, an amount not everybody is okay dropping all at once. Airfordable allowed her to make a smaller payment of $303.40 upfront. She was then was able to pay the remaining $516.60 in installments up until her departure date. She'll receive her eTicket as soon as her last payment is processed.

For Accommodations: Innclusive

Our newly-added spot in Australia though! 👀

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Now that you've picked a location and secured the airfare, finding a place to stay might be next on the list. Innclusive lets you rent rooms and homes in an Airbnb fashion but in a way that celebrates diversity. When Rohan, the founder and CEO of Innclusive, was denied an Airbnb based on what seems to be racial profiling, he took action and created a space where people of all races would be celebrated in their quests to see the world. With that, Innclusive was born.

How it works: Search for a room or an entire home, pay online, and check-in upon arrival.

For The Squad: Travel Noire

Two common hiccups when it comes to travel is narrowing down a time and place and finding your travel squad. Travel Noire eliminated these obstacles. Zim Ugochukwu created Travel Noire after identifying the absence of people of color in the mainstream travel industry. To solve this, Zim and her team, now part of Blavity, carefully curate travel experiences that allow men and women of color to live out these lifetime experiences seeing places like Zanzibar, Bahia, Amalfi Coast, and more. TN does all the heavy lifting while your only responsibility is to pay your installments and show up. Sounds easy, right? The TN team sets you up in a charming boutique hotel, a photographer for the length of the trip, and insider access to some of the most exclusive local classes.

How it works: Sign up to receive an email when the next round of travel experiences is open for registration, select an experience, pay either in full or installments, purchase flights separately, and meet your travel tribe in the city of choice.

For Volunteering Abroad: Black Girls Travel Too

The only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you've come.⠀ ••••••••••••••••• Ms.@oneikatraveller sitting pretty in Shirley Heights, in Antigua.⠀ ••••••••••••••••• Tag @blackgirlstraveltoo to be our next featured traveler.⠀ ••••••••••••••••• #shirleyheights #antigua #caribbean #westindies #journeywithinyourself #internationaltraveler #passport #passportheavy #blackgirlstraveltoo #blackgirlstravel #blackgirlsrock #blackgirlpower #blackgirlmagic #travel #traveladdict #travelonpurpose #traveonfleek #travelgram #travellife #travelnista #wanderlust #wander #adventurous #explorer #jetsetter⠀

A post shared by Black Girls Travel Too® (@blackgirlstraveltoo) on

What started off as a regular Instagram account in 2015 has emerged into a full-blown travel company curating experiences and giving back while doing so. Now with over 106k followers, Black Girls Travel Too shares tips and creates the tools for female travellers. A key component of their business model is voluntourism, which is volunteering while traveling. Founder Danny Rivers Mitchell has been passionate about sharing her resources ever since she was a young girl saving up her lunch money to send it to the children she learned about through infomercials on sponsoring a child for 50 cents a day. BGTT now curates trips that revolve around voluntourism in addition to travel packages to events like Crop Over in Barbados.

How it works: Pick from the travel destinations offered, select a payment option, purchase flights separately, and meet your fellow black girl travelers in the city of choice.

For Getting Around: Moovn

A black-owned ride-sharing business has been around for just about three years. Goodwin Gabriel launched Moovn in 2015, an app that operates similar to Uber and Lyft. A key difference between Moovn and the more popular rideshare apps is that it does not employ private drivers. Instead, the system taps into existing transportation services like taxis and town cars. Moovn currently has a presence in countries like Tanzania, Gabriel's native, along with American cities (Seattle, Portland, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and New York). It is also available in Dubai, UAE; Vancouver, Canada; Johannesburg, South Africa, and Nairobi, Kenya.

How it works: Request a ride (for now or at least 2 hours in advance) through the website or app, select car type, select and confirm payment options, and wait for your ride to arrive.

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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