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5 Alternative Travel Destinations To Put On Your Radar

If you're ready to start jet-setting around the globe, then consider these off the cut destinations.

Travel

Webster Dictionary recently added the term "Vaxication" to the dictionary to describe vaccinated people ready for summer travels. But whether or not you decide to get the coronavirus vaccine, one thing is for sure: we are all in need of a vacation. (Like yesterday.)

As the world slowly starts to reopen, it's time to start dreaming of what travels could become. Have you been dreaming of faraway places? I know I have been! There are so many places I haven't crossed off my travel bucket list, such as Cape Town, Bali, and Jamaica, to name a few. Besides these well-known places, there are some underrated destinations I can't wait to touch foot on.

With travel restrictions varying per country, it's essential to make sure you research the most up-to-date guidelines. Most places will require a negative COVID test before departure. Also, out of an abundance of respect and caution for the local population, wear a mask and practice social distancing guidelines.

But let's jump into the fun stuff. If your travel vision board is looking a little dry, spice it up with some of these new suggestions!

1. Instead of Nassau, try Eleuthera and Harbour Island.

Bahamas, Eleuthera Island, district of Governor's Harbour (Central Eleuthera).

Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

Nassau is the capital of The Bahamas. It's beautiful and filled with resorts and beachfront restaurants. However, when I visited The Bahamas, my breath was taken away when I touched down in Eleuthera. Eleuthera is roughly a quick 30-minute flight from Nassau. Even though it's relatively close, I felt like I was in a different world. My group rarely ran into large groups of tourists when in Eleuthera, and it felt like a genuine and authentic experience.

When in Eleuthera, you can easily visit Harbour Island. The island isn't accessible by plane, so you have to take a quick ferry ride to get there, and it won't disappoint. Exploring Harbour Island is the best and most fun by golf cart. Also, once back in Eleuthera, I loved evenings driving down the winding coast. Pure bliss. If you're looking for a jaw-dropping place to stay, look no further than The Cove.

2. Instead of Tulum, try Oaxaca City.

Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Alberto Lama / 500px / Getty Images

When the pandemic first started, Americans quickly realized that Mexico was the only place that took them in, and it was packed. If your timeline was anything like mine, then you saw that everybody was in Tulum. In case you forgot, here's a funny reminder:

Tulum is gorgeous, of course, and you should visit if you desire. But let's not stop there! Have you heard of Oaxaca City? This place is steeped in history and Mayan culture. You'll be far from tourist crowds and will get a truly local experience. Some places to visit in Oaxaca are Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, and Zipolite.

The buzzing streets of Oaxaca are colorful and vibrant. You won't find too many chain restaurants or massive nightclubs. Unlike the busy beaches in Tulum, you won't find that here. The beaches are free from huge crowds year-round, and you can visit beaches in towns such as Zipolite, Mazunte, and San Agustinillo.

3. Instead of Rome, try Ravello.

Ravello view.

Ellen van Bodegom / Getty Images

When in Rome, right? However, let's talk about when in Ravello! This Italian city is situated above the Amalfi Coast. The streets are lined with stunning architecture and piazzas. When I visited in 2016, it gave no tourist vibe at all. Ravello is a breathtaking place to venture off to for a deep and authentic Italian experience. I remember being greeted by locals every morning when I traveled there. If you're looking to go with a group as I did, they're a few Black travel groups planning. Another fun thing to do in Ravello is taking a boat ride to Capri and spend the day exploring the island!

4. Instead of Tokyo, try Kyoto.

Japanese woman walking in bamboo grove, Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan.

Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

Iconic art, futuristic vibes, beaming lights line the streets of Tokyo. I loved the time I spent in Tokyo, but I could not get over the days I spent strolling through Kyoto. Kyoto gave me a sense of traditional and historical Japan. While in Kyoto, there are a plethora of temples and shrines to visit. I loved partaking in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony that I booked through Airbnb Experience; it was truly memorable. You can also spend the day being entranced by the beauty of Bamboo Forests.

5. Instead of Joshua Tree, try the Lost Coast.

The sunset seen on the south of Lost Coast.

Cavan Images / Getty Images

If you're not ready to venture off abroad just yet, I had to add one domestic destination. California is jam-packed with wonders outside of visiting the Hollywood Sign. Have you heard of the Lost Coast? You may not have cell phone service while visiting, but you'll be entranced by the beauty of this rugged coastline that you won't mind. The Lost Coast is about 200 miles north of San Francisco in Humboldt County, California. It's an underdeveloped wilderness and provides a perfect backdrop for a spectacular scenic drive, hikes, and backpacking.

Are you ready to trek through these new destinations and discover the unknown? If heck yes, then grab your travel bae or girlfriends and start planning.

Featured image by Bob Thomas / Getty Images

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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