You are catching those flights. You are taking those flicks for the gram. Your melanin is glowing as you lay on that white sand beach. You are living your best life.
I am putting that in the universe for you.
There is nothing like Black female travel! It is Black Girl Magic being sprinkled all over the world. However, it can come with a lot of pressure and even more concerns.
Is it safe to go here? How do I react if I experience racism or sexism? How do I take care of my hair or skin while abroad?
A part of society tries to brainwash us into thinking that travel is not for us -- whether it is out of fear or lack of representation. I am here to tell you: Don’t listen to those haters! As Black females, we not only belong in the travel space, we OWN it, too. Our $68 billion Black dollars is proof of that.
Whether you are an experienced Black female traveler, a novice, or a dreamer ready to take that first step, this is the blog post for you! I asked 20 of my fellow Black Travelistas to share their insights and tips on frequently asked questions such as “How have you navigated being a Black female traveler in countries where you’re the minority?” or “What tips do you have about Black hair care and Black skincare when traveling?”
You got questions, I got answers!
Table of Contents:
1. What's been the best thing about traveling as a Black female? What’s been the hardest thing about traveling as a Black female?
3. Where have you experienced the biggest racism while traveling? How did you navigate that experience?
8. How has your experience differed from traveling as a Black female in the USA vs. traveling while Black abroad?
9. How do you deal with family members and friends who have concerns of you traveling as a Black female?
10. What is one piece of advice or words of encouragement you would offer to a Black female traveler who has concern about traveling?
11. How do you find Black-owned businesses/culture/vibe/people when traveling, especially in places where it is not so obvious?
FAQ 1: What's been the best thing about traveling as a Black female? What’s been the hardest thing about traveling as a Black female?
Winter (left) & Sandra (right)
WINTER: The best and hardest thing about traveling as a Black female is sometimes feeling that you are exotic. This is the best because if I travel to a place, not only am I being introduced to a people or culture, I am also introducing them to my culture through every interaction. I also consider this the hardest because sometimes the way people interact makes me feel “other”. Maybe I don’t belong.
For example, on my trip to Southern Italy, I experienced both the best and the hardest. The best happened when I visited a local restaurant in the Old Town of Barletta with my Asian companion. We asked our server to bring us what he recommended. At the end of our meal, we met the manager and despite neither one of us speaking each other’s language, we had a very pleasant conversation. It was a unique experience and the best meal I’ve ever eaten while traveling internationally! The hardest part was being stared at by locals wherever I went, even throughout the duration of my flight back home. Being constantly stared at hearkened back to a time when exotic “human” exhibits were the rave in zoos across Europe. After a while, it is not a very comfortable feeling.
SANDRA: My personal experience traveling solo as a black woman has been extraordinary. I've been embraced everywhere I’ve gone. I’ve been traveling for over 30 years. I’ve been to over 60 countries. Some many times over (Jamaica, St Maarten, the Bahamas, and Aruba). I’ve never encountered a racist moment abroad.
I’ve had several encounters here in America. Especially in the south. Challenges have been language barriers and sometimes cultural adjustments. I’ve had to eat some things I didn’t like or want in order to not be disrespectful.
I suggest studying the language and culture before traveling. To read more about studying the language before travel, check out Learn the Language Before You Visit
FAQ 2: What do you look for or research in a destination before you visit as a Black female traveler?
Niqua (left) & Bisola (right)
NIQUA: Culture, food, history, and adventure is very important to me when I am looking for a destination to visit. Black culture is especially important as one of my main goals for visiting the US is to experience and learn more about us. Safety is also a top priority as well. I research locations and their surrounding areas, read reviews, calculate the distance between certain locations and transportation options
BISOLA: Personally, I research the general safety of the city and the areas to avoid. Every city, no matter how nice, always has areas that aren't as safe. Therefore, it's best to know where those are and avoid them, especially at night. I also research if there are any cultural norms or dress codes to adhere to. If I'm visiting a majority Muslim country, for example, then I would know to pack outfits that are less revealing to respect the culture there and reduce the chances of unwanted looks.