I recently sold all my stuff to travel full-time, and when I told people I was moving abroad, the No. 1 question I got was: "What are you going to do with your hair?" After scouring YouTube and blog posts, I wasn't too confident that I would be able to find someone to do my natural hair in Mexico. Everything seemed so complicated, like a hit-or-miss situation. Well, I finally found someone to braid my hair in Cabo within a week of being here! (So if you need a stylist in that area, feel free to book an appointment with Jane. She did an amazing job.)
I still hear Black women say one of their fears of traveling is figuring out what to do with their hair. I'm here to encourage you. Here are my tips for taking care of your natural hair while traveling:
1. Talk to locals.
Google was OK in helping me find a few hair salons, but it doesn't compare to talking to the people who actually live in the location where you'll be traveling. One afternoon, I was walking around the downtown area and struck up a conversation with one of the store workers. That conversation led me to ask if she knew anyone who braided hair, and boom! I was shocked by how easy it was. I simply showed her a picture of the hairstyle I wanted and she immediately knew someone who could do it.
When I'm back home looking for a stylist recommendation, I'd usually ask people, so the same principle applies when traveling.
I suggest talking to locals about everything while you travel. Not only does it help you get out of your comfort zone, but you'll come across places, neighborhoods, restaurants, and events that Trip Advisor can't keep up with.
2. Stick to your go-to hairstyles.
When traveling, I love wearing braids. I've tried wigs and weaves, but because I like to be extremely active and not just lay on a beach (which is totally fine, by the way), those hairstyles usually start to look unkempt after a few days.
I know that if I hit the road with braids, they'll last one to two months which gives me enough of a window to find someone who can redo them when it's that time.
3. Practice at home.
It's always good to know how to style your own hair. It doesn't matter if your hair is relaxed or natural, have a few go-to styles that you can do on your own without the addition of added hair. I have one to two hairstyles in my back pocket that I can do without stress. Hello, flexi-rod set!
Learn how to take care of and maintain your own hair, and experiment with the products that work best for you.
4. Look for essential ingredients.
It's a good idea to pack the right amount of hair products for the length of your trip. When traveling, your favorite hair products might not be available abroad, or, if available, they might not be easily accessible. If you need to shop for hair essentials abroad, look for key ingredients that your particular hair needs. I always try to get products with water as the first ingredient or those that include light oils.
Beauty supply stores such as Sally Beauty Supply have international locations that might have a few familiar natural haircare products. You can also search online for your favorite brand and budget for the cost of international shipping.
5. Use social media.
Social media is also a good tool to use when looking for someone to style your natural hair while abroad. Just make sure you're searching in the correct language. For example, the word "braids" in Spanish translates to "trenzas," so using the hashtag #trenzas brought up more specific results for stylists actually near me.
Also, for any country you are visiting, there's probably a Facebook group for women living abroad who rock their natural curls and styles. Search for keywords such as "Black women," "Black people" and "natural hair" with the name of the country you're traveling to, and a list of results for specific Facebook groups should appear.
And if all else fails, throw on a hat, travel the world, and live your best life, girl!
Featured image by Dominique Jackson/xoNecole
I started dreaming about moving abroad when I was about 21 years old. I remember returning from a two-week study abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland having my eyes and mind wide open to the possibility of living overseas. This new travel passion was intensified after graduating from college in 2016, and going on a group trip to Italy. I was intoxicated by my love for Italy. It's hands down my favorite place. However, my post-grad life was one twist and turn after the next. I'm sure you can relate.
The pressure to find a "real job," start my career, launch a business, date, make new friends, move to a new city, and so on. I felt this immense internal pressure to be settled and have my life nice and neat. Honestly, It was anything but. Any time I talked about travelling, I was usually met with questions such as: "What are running from?" Or projections such as "That's so expensive," "Sounds dangerous," or even "You probably haven't found someone cause you travel too much." Ouch, that last one hurt the most.
All of these comments made me hesitant and afraid towards taking the leap. The opinions of others seeped into my mind causing me to think that maybe I didn't have what it takes, and that I would end up broke and homeless in the middle of some remote region. However, there are some dreams I just can't shake. Obviously, the pandemic halted my travel plans, but if we're being honest, I was afraid of the nomadic lifestlye long before 2020.
After being laid off twice, and paying off my student loans, I felt peace and alignment to make this dream a reality. Now that I'm abroad, I'm thankful I did it in God's perfect timing for my life.
If you're ready to move abroad or simply head in the direction of travelling more, here are the steps I took. Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it, the time will pass anyway. So with that mindset, here are 5 things you can do to prepare for your move abroad.
My plans to move abroad got delayed on multiple occasions. But delayed does not mean denied. Looking back, each move set me up for something better. It's easy to want to chase our passions, and keep up with whatever is trending on social media. Yes, travel is one of my passions, but so is being financially stable. For a season, I focused on my financial life. I took side jobs to help me pay off debt, and developed discipline. You don't have to accomplish everything in one day. There is time. No rush, just diligent steps in the right direction. In the end, we'll all get to where we're supposed to be.
Save. Save. Save.
I know Instagram has conveyed that folks hastily quit their "corporate jobs to move abroad," and that's a cool story, but it's not mine. Take your time to save and create a strategy to move abroad. Identify what type of travel experience you want, and be open. Build out at least six months of an emergency savings, start a travel savings account, create a budget and stick to it. Tokyo will be just as amazing in 2022 or 2025. But do you know what's not fun? Not being able to afford basic life expenses. Save, sis.
Study. Study. Study.
Reading articles like this is a great start. I've taken free courses, read books, followed my favorite travel accounts, consumed blog post after blog post, and all the resources about moving abroad I could find. We are in the information age, so anything you want to find or know is literally at your fingertips.
Your Friends Ain’t Coming. Take Action Anyway.
Your life is yours, and that's it. This is your dream and vision, no one else's. Having a travel buddy, bae, or whatever else is great, but don't let that be the only thing holding you back. Now is a perfect time to live the life of your dreams. A meme was trending on Instagram recently, it said: "Your purpose ain't a conference call." The people who are supposed to be on the journey with you will come, but you have to take the first step. It's absolutely scary. I'm still processing the fact that I sold all my stuff to move abroad, but I did it.
Find Your Travel Crew.
Now, once abroad, there are plenty of resources to find like-minded people. Facebook groups and hashtags are great places to start. If you want to ease back into travelling, then finding a group trip through companies like Dipaways and Wind Collective are great places to start. Work up the confidence to talk to locals or book group tours. We're all looking for connection and friends out here, so remember you are not alone in your desires for community.
To follow along with my journey, check out my Digital Nomad Vlog #1: Saying Goodbye, Surfing, and Natural Hair below!In this video, I show y’all goodbyes from friends and family, an empty house/co-living tour, a morning surf trip, and what’s the heck I’m doing with my hair,...
Featured image by Getty Images
It feels like the world has jolted back to its regularly scheduled ways. Most major cities have lifted some, if not all, COVID restrictions, the vaccine has rolled out, and it seems like everyone on social media is outside. Plus, this new outside is a lot more expensive than what most remember before the coronavirus upended their lives. If you're ready to go outside, I hope your pockets can keep up!
With flight prices increasing, there are a few tried and true methods to snagging cheap tickets no matter the season. I've had the most luck in scoring cheap tickets by using my Chase Sapphire points strategically. I recently got a one-way ticket from Ohio to Detroit for $19.00. In addition to a free night stay at a hotel in the city. Once, I got a ticket for using my points for only $5.00 for a one-way from Washington D.C. to Ohio.
Being budget-savvy is one strategy I used to help pay off my student loans. One of my motivators to paying off $30,000 in loans was to give me the freedom to travel more. There is an art to finding a cheap plane ticket. Clearing your history browser, booking on a Tuesday, and being flexible with dates are standard methods for booking an inexpensive flight. Besides searching on popular sites like Kayak and Expedia to find deals, there are a plethora of others you should triple check before purchasing.
Here are six sites where you can search for cheap tickets, discounts, and more.
1. Google Flights
What might seem familiar to some is not common to all. I was a bit shocked when I realized a few of my friends haven't heard of Google Flights. This site is where I begin any search for cheap plane tickets. With its simple interface, it's easier to compare flight prices across different airlines, and the calendar function makes it simple to see what flight prices are like at various times during the month.
When planning ahead, Skyscanner is an excellent option to help you track flights. You can download the app and input in your flight information and Skyscanner will send you an alert when the price drops. Using this feature allows you to score the cheapest ticket at the right time. I also love the different options it gives you when booking a flight, such as showing you the fattest route vs. the cheapest way.
3. Scott's Cheap Flights
Now for Scott's Cheap Flights, you'll need a paid membership to use, but one of my old coworkers used to swear by it. They pride themselves on "doing the work for you." They have two tiers of membership: Elite and Premium. Once you sign up, you input your information, such as your departure airport. Then watch your emails for the deals to start flowing in, and most deals are between 40-90 percent off.
Hopper is an app that uses a data-driven approach to search the interwebs for the cheapest plane tickets and then delivers them to you. I've used the app to help me book a plane ticket from Ohio to Japan for only $600 in 2018. The app predicts future flight prices with 95 percent accuracy. When I plan for a trip, I always turn on their alert settings to make sure I get the best deal.
5. Cheap Tickets
Cheap Tickets is a great tool to use, especially if you're a student. By verifying you're a student, you can get 18 percent off select hotels with their promo code. Their flight search engine also helps you compare prices and deals to find the most budget-friendly ticket. Their website also hosts tons of content with tips for new travelers and more.
Using a VPN might be tech-savvy, but it doesn't have to be. Downloading a VPN to your computer is relatively easy. According to VPNMonitor, "A VPN allows you to change your IP address to another location while keeping your browsing activity anonymous — this way, you can browse flight deals from around the world without booking sites tracking your data and increasing prices."
Downloading a VPN, plus clearing your cookies and browsing history, and even searching for a flight from a private browser can help lower flight prices.
See you outside, sis! (Safely, of course.)
Featured image by Getty Images
If you love Airbnb just as much as I do, don't fret. I've mainly used Airbnb for most of my travels and have even met amazing people when using the platform. Like the night I grabbed cocktails with my host after attending a conference in Austin, I was thankful for their warm welcome to the city since I traveled there alone. Or even the time I used Airbnb Experiences to book a tea ceremony in Kyoto, Japan, I still keep up with the host today, and we often talk on social media. I haven't tried the Airbnb Adventures feature yet, but hopefully, I can snag one of those trips with the world starting to open back up.
However, Airbnb doesn't simply accommodate all the needs of travelers. With remote work becoming increasingly popular and the needs of travelers evolving, it's best to look at all the options we have when looking for a place to stay. Some travelers are looking for spaces that foster a sense of community; others are looking for the best remote work set up, while others need a space that still feels like home.
If you're a rookie traveler or looking to start your nomadic life, these options might be the best fit for you.
Outsite is a platform that has co-living and co-working spaces for professionals. With an Outside membership, you can book aesthetically pleasing and Pinterest-worthy housing abroad and in the states. You can book short- and or long-term stays for each space. If you're looking to be a part of a community while country-hopping with a trusted place, Outsite might be a good fit for you. Some of the other benefits of being a part of their community are monthly deals, partner perks, and even a reward program.
WIFI Tribe is a tribe of nomads traveling together in different chapters across the globe. This option is excellent for people looking for their travel crew while testing out the nomadic lifestyle. With WIFI Tribe, you stay in a co-living/co-working space for about four to six weeks with other members of the tribe. You can pick and choose what chapters you want to be involved in. You have to apply and go through an interview process (which I've done!). Once you're accepted, you can pick what chapter you want to be part of. For 2021, a few trips they have planned are for Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Ecuador.
Noirbnb is similar to Airbnb, but was created out of the need to accommodate and celebrate Black travelers. Founder Stefan Grant created the platform after experiencing discrimination while staying in an Airbnb. You can also host your home on this platform, if you're looking to make extra income. They also provide a concierge service for customers, looking for a luxe experience. If you're looking to support a Black-owned, booking site, don't overlook Noirbnb.
Sonder describes itself as a "game-changer" in the travel space, noting that, "Hotels aren't always hip. Hosts aren't always reliable," on their site. I've stayed in a Sonder home while visiting Atlanta, the chic and modern apartment truly felt like mine for the week. When I stayed I felt like I had the perks of a hotel, and the seamless check-in process made me feel like I wasn't staying in someone's home. Sonder is currently in about 30 cities and 8 countries, so you'll have plenty to choose from. The price range is reasonable, and I've found Sonders for sometimes as low as $80 a night.
Calling all my #vanlife fam! Please refer to here and here if you have not seen people living unconventionally out of decked-out vans. OutDoorsy is the perfect site to experience a van and or RV life without having to cough over a massive amount of money. There is a wide range of choices you can choose from. If you need an off-the-grid experience and want to see what it's like to live, cook, and chill in a van all while waking up to views of beaches or mountain tops, then don't look over this site.
Summer 2021 travels seem to be in full swing for some folks, so switch up your trips by choosing a unique places to stay.
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
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If you're looking to move abroad one of the roadblocks you will inevitably face is deciding which visa to apply for. Pre-pandemic, most travellers used tourist visas which would allow visitors to stay in a country for up to 90 days. However, it's technically illegal to work on a tourist visa, and with the new restrictions and risk of travelling during COVID, leaving a country briefly and returning is not as simple as it used to be.
As we start to dip our toes into what this new way of travel looks like, more and more people are ready to take the leap of a faith into moving abroad. Bahamas, I'm looking at you.
In response to the new wave of remote workers caused by the pandemic, most countries have found a solution to meet the growing need of people who want to live, work, and play in the country for a longer period of time: Digital Nomad Visas.
Digital Nomad Visas requirements vary from country to country, and we rounded up all you need to know. This type of visa allows travellers to stay in a country for an extended period of time, so up to two years without being subject to that region's tax laws and without having to go through the process of obtaining a residency visa or citizenship.
So sis, it's time to have your passport and Black-owned sunscreen ready, cause summer 2021 is right around the corner and the world is calling your name! (Safely, of course.)
Central and South America
Cost of the Visa: US$40
Length of Stay: Up to 4 years
Income to Prove: Have proof of income of US$1,945 monthly over the past six months; or at least US$32,400 in overall account balance.
Costa Rica: Rentista Visa
Cost of the Visa: $250
Length of Stay: Up to 2 years
Income to Prove: Have to show proof of $2,500 monthly for the next two years; or S$60,000 deposit in a Costa Rican bank
Antigua & Barbuda: Nomad Digital Residence (NDR).
Cost of the Visa: $1,500 for one person, $2,000 for a couple, $3,000 for a family of 3 or more.
Length of Stay: 2 years
Income to Prove: $50,000 per year
Where to Apply: https://antiguanomadresidence.com/apply-now/
Barbados: Barbados Welcome Stamp
Cost of the Visa: $2,000
Length of Stay: 1-year
Income to Prove: $50,000 per year
Where to Apply: https://barbadoswelcomestamp.bb/apply/
Cost of the Visa: $2,000 per individual $3,000 for a family of 4.
Length of Stay: 1-year
Income to Prove: Provide details of self-employment or employment from an entity based outside of Anguilla
Where to Apply: https://escape.ivisitanguilla.com/apply/
Cost of the Visa: Around $100 and you will need to pay additional in tax stamps
Length of Stay: 1-year
Income to Prove: You are required to make a minimum of €350 EUR per month in either income or savings
Czech Republic: Zivno
Cost of the Visa: Around $100 fee, plus a monthly fee of $80
Length of Stay: 1-year
Income to Prove: Have proof of at least €5,587 EUR in bank account (per person)
Cost of the Visa: Around $80 to $100 fee
Length of Stay: 1-year
Income to Prove: Earn at least 3,504 per month for the last 6-months to be eligible
Where to Apply: https://vm.ee/en/visa-application-forms
Cost of the Visa: Around $70 to $100 in fees.
Length of Stay: Varies
Income to Prove: Have proof that you make at least €600 EURO every month
Cost of the Visa: $287
Length of Stay: 1-year
Income to Prove: About $5,000 monthlyWhere to Apply: https://www.visitdubai.com
Mauritius: Premium Travel Visa
Cost of the Visa: Varies
Length of Stay: 1-year
Income to Prove: Show documented evidence to support application such as purpose of visit, accommodation; etc.
Where to Apply: https://www.edbmauritius.org/premium-visa
Featured image by Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
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.
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