Springtime means losing an hour but gaining more sunlight to see new places. Many of us don't get an official Spring Break, but that doesn't mean we can't take one.
As a full-time freelancer, I know it can be challenging to take time off because when you're not working, you aren't making money. For all the full-timers with benefits, you might have deadlines or responsibilities that make planning a trip less of a priority, but I have a solution: Booking a vacation within our fifty states and territories.
That means less jetlag and depending on where you're going, less travel time. When I was making this list, I wanted to think about places and experiences that might offer something new even for those of us that have spent a lot of time traveling or something familiar for those of us that have cities we love.
Here are five destinations (and a cruise) to think about that don't require a passport:
Want to plan a good roundtrip? Visit Marfa. A town with a population of 1,772, to be exact, with the nearest airport almost three hours away in El Paso. Now this town does sound like the start of a scary movie, but the unique city has become a getaway spot for art lovers and creatives — our favorite siblings, the Knowles sister, have spent time in the off the grid town. With a population so small, you might be wondering what visitors actually do there?
Well first things first, you'll want to find a place to stay. If you aren't one to sleep outdoors surrounded my mother nature, the Hotel Saint George's 55-room hotel is a nice choice, especially if you enjoy a luxe hotel experience. But if you are up for becoming one with the great outdoors, booking a yurt at El Cosmico will be an experience to write home about, and the grounds are perfect for getting pictures to add to your Insta grid. Though the town is small, Marfa seems to have a bustling food scene. With cheap eats like Marfa Burrito, Food Shark, and Buns N' Roses and more upscale options like Stellina and Al Campo, there is something for everyone.
As far as sightseeing goes, you can take a guided tour of the Chinati, and it wouldn't be a trip if you didn't get a photo in front of the Prada Marfa installation.
2.U.S. Virgin Islands
Hurricane Irma rocked the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017, but that hasn't dampened their spirit. Tourism is ramping up as the islands have started to welcome tourists again. With three islands to choose from (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas), planning the ideal getaway shouldn't be too difficult. The islands offer a chance for visitors to take in their National Wildlife Refuge at Sandy Point, climb The Baths at Virgin Gorda (one of their most visited attractions) which leads to a sandy white beach, snorkel the RMS Rhone, and enjoy the local cuisine in St. Thomas. There is no shortage of properties ready to make your stay one to remember. If you like to support small hotels, the Tingalayo is a six-bedroom private estate offering amenities like an infinity pool and one-of-a-kind views.
Okay, hear me out. Wimberly, Texas is probably not on any black girl's list of places to visit, but the Collective Hill Country sounds like the ideal getaway for someone looking to leave the big city, reset, and try something new. The glamping site is surrounded by 225 acres of ranch and organic farmland, while their accommodations mimic that of an upscale hotel with 1,500 thread-count linens, rain-style showers, and complimentary daily breakfast. If that's not enough to get you to give camping a try, they offer horseback riding, culinary classes, and wine tours.
It's been nearly two years since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, but that isn't stopping them from welcoming visitors with open arms through tourism and volunteerism. Nonprofits like Para La Naturaleza offer tourists the option to experience the island and give back. If you're looking for an opportunity to get a little sunshine and contribute to Puerto Rico's local economy, go ahead and book that flight. The island offers everything from museums in San Juan, scuba diving in Isla de Mona, to rum tours of the Bacardí distillery. Even with the damage of the Hurricane, Puerto Rico has a wealth of hotel options from boutique properties like Hotel El Convento to staples like Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
5.The Grand Canyon
Visiting the Grand Canyon has been on my list. I have researched visiting the Canyon, and it seems like the best way to visit is to fly into Phoenix (a four-hour drive) or Las Vegas (about four hours and thirty minutes), and take a road trip from there. The great things about the Canyon being close to these cities are that you can plan a trip within a trip. If you're in need for a little R&R, book a spa day at The Phoenician Spa in Scottsdale. If enjoying the nightlife of Vegas is more your speed, book a hotel at The Aria and buy tickets (or a ticket if you're riding solo) to see Janet Jackson take the stage during her 15-date residency.
6.Take An Ocean To Ocean Cruise
Don't want to do any planning? Book a cruise. Okay, yes there is a little planning involved, like deciding your port city, where to cruise, and how long you'd like your vacation — but the cruise line does the rest. If you want to visit warm-hot spots beyond the traditional cruise routes, Princess Cruises offers an "Ocean to Ocean" cruise that departs from Los Angeles and sails to Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Nicaragua while finishing up in Fort Lauderdale. This cruise isn't for quick trips as it a fifteen-day voyage, but if you're looking for something shorter, the Regal Princess will take you on a seven day trip to the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Mexico.
I hope this got you all thinking about your next trip!
I hope this got you all thinking about your next trip!
Featured image by Getty Images.
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If there’s a President Barbie world, run by actress Issa Rae, then I absolutely want to live in it. The Insecure creator has had a fairytail trajectory from shooting her own YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl to becoming thatgirl on the big screen in this summer’s box office smash, Barbie. And while she easily has the most epic glow-up of our generation, the 38-year-old isn’t afraid to speak on the pressure she felt to be “Barbie-ready.”
In a recent interview with Glamour, Issa Rae opened up about her challenges with body image taking a toll on her preparation to play President Barbie following the end of her hit HBO series, Insecure.
“Right before [the role came to me], I was post-Insecure, post–Rap Sh!t, and post-the-final-season-of-Insecure-press-tour,” she recalls to the publication. “I was like, ‘Well, I'm going to let myself go. I'm eating everything.’ And then I got the call to do Barbie and was like, ‘Oh, no, I am not Barbie-shape ready.’”
Thankfully, Rae realized that the reimagined Barbie world that director Greta Gerwig was creating, reflected bodies of all shapes and sizes. “So, while I was still on my fitness journey, I felt less insecure about my Barbie body or lack thereof,” she says.
Rae’s “youthful, fun” and fresh take on the president is one that is inspired by the childhood version that she always envisioned. Growing up, she remembers how her mother and aunties making a point to give her Black Barbies made her “hyperaware” of her Blackness from an early age, which served as a gift in representation that she understood as she came of age.
“In some ways, I was made hyperaware of my Blackness because of how intense my mom and aunt were about, ‘We're giving you Black Barbies,” she shares. “They said, ‘It's important for you to play with dolls that look like you,’ which I didn't really understand. I was like, ‘Okay, more toys, thank you.’”
She continues, “I never played with Christie. I don't think I knew about Christie until later. It was just Barbie with blackface kind of, and it didn't necessarily have Black features. It didn't really mean anything to me until I got older and understood why it was so important for my mom and aunt for me to have this.”
What is expected to be a “self-aware” take on Barbie’s existential experience, the new Barbie movie imitates life in a way that represents the full spectrum of what Barbies of today would look like. With actresses like America Ferrera, Margot Robbie, and Alexandra Shipp all starting in the film, Rae emphasizes that no matter her shade or background there’s a Barbie in this Barbie world for you.
“Everyone in Barbie Land is a perfect Barbie. I found that so beautiful,” she says. “Almost everyone in the world is represented in some way here. That's not an easy piece. I'm sure someone might be like, ‘Where am I?’ But know that there was such an effort made to have Barbie Land be inclusive.”
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Featured image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Shipt