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5 Ways To Travel Solo Like A Boss

Travel

Group travel is an excellent opportunity to create lifelong memories with the squad while enjoying discounted rates. However, what is often not talked about is how exhausting it is to keep up with the group, look after your friend who got a little too tipsy, and avoid serious side eye when you do say, "Hey girl… I'm going to go off on my own for a little while."


Girl, it is time for you to put solo travel on your future to-do list.

You: A trip? Just me? Are you serious? What will I do?

My Answer: Your thang!

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Traveling alone is a great way to learn about yourself, treat yourself, and work on those social skills that some of us lack without feeling embarrassed around your friends. Solo travel is a unique experience where you get to introduce you to yourself. You really get to dive into you by being in an unfamiliar place alone, where you can be whoever you want to be: fearless, fun, and empowered. Though embarking on such a journey can be anxiety-inducing, especially for us wallflowers and novice travelers that would love to get out of our comfort zones, it does not have to be. With these 5 steps, you will learn how to face the challenge of traveling alone head-on and plan a bomb trip!

Do Your Research And Draft Your Own Schedule

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One of the most important things to do in order to feel comfortable alone in a foreign place, is to do your research beforehand. This is one of the instances that your friends and family will be great assets because you can ask around about places that you are interested in traveling to. You will be surprised how much information you will receive from your tribe, which may have either visited your desired destination firsthand or can refer you to someone who has. For further information, take your research online (pay close attention to Black Platforms), often there are articles and forums with suggestions, travel advisories, and tips to anywhere in the world you want to go.

Also, keep in mind that having a plan takes away the anxiety of not knowing what to do and where to go. Be flexible with that plan because unexpected excitement might pop up, but make sure you are hitting your solo travel bucket list. Look up restaurants, bars, festivals, and outside activities in the area. Schedule as much exploring time as you do downtime to ensure you are relaxation that you deserve.

Link Up

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Use social media and other online platforms to connect with women who have traveled where you want to go so that you aren't blind-sighted. There are plenty of Apps outside of Instagram, like Tourlina, Bumble, and Facebook, where you can engage and even meet up with people in the community that you are visiting. If that is outside of your comfort zone, use the opportunity to visit a friend that lives outside of your area and make plans to meet up at some point. That way you'll have the opportunity to hang out with a familiar face without them permanently crowding your space.

Blend In But Don't Be Afraid To Speak Up

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You don't want to look like a complete tourist because some people will try to take advantage of your unfamiliarity, but try to speak to strangers as frequently as you can. If you are lost, find an open, well lit, and high traffic area to ask someone for directions. While you're at it, ask that stranger what his/her favorite bar or restaurant is located because locals be knowing! Who knows…one of the strangers you bump into on your solo travel adventure could be a great connection to have in your future.

Be Better Safe Than Sorry

Now is not the time to grab a dollar cab, stay at a questionable Airbnb/hotel, get wasted, or eat from a suspect food truck. Splurge and give yourself the best/safest experiences while you are traveling alone.

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If you are doing an R&R trip, splurge on a reasonable hotel so that you can come back to a clean room and a made up bed. If you like hostels and Airbnbs, research the area instead of going for the lowest price you see. If you are trying to get your Stella's Got Her Groove Back on with an out of town cutie, use your head, protection, and your phone to let at least one soul know where you will be for the night. If this means traveling to a destination closer to home opposed to international for the sake of finances, by all means, choose a place where you can afford to be safe.

Pack Clothes You Are Comfortable And Confident In

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This seems like a given but I want women to understand that the solo travel experience is a unique opportunity to be comfortable in your skin. Leave those new 6-inch heels that you haven't broken in at home and pack those cute sandals that you can comfortably walk in. Leave the full lace wig at home and braid up your hair. Many of us use vacation as a time to sport our newest daring outfits and post on Instagram, but if you are insecure about your appearance while traveling alone, you are creating another obstacle for yourself and will likely never leave the room.

Follow these steps and you will embark on an experience that you will never forget. Who knows, it may even become part of your yearly routine. It is perfectly okay to start small and travel to a different state to build up your confidence and finances for a bigger solo trip. Be open to the new experiences that you will likely encounter, and use this opportunity to meet others with similar interests. Make sure to journal and document your trip with pictures or diary entries so that you have memories to look back on.

Trust that you have all that you need to survive and thrive on your own, and enjoy your trip sis.

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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
Sign up

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