Black & Abroad’s travel tips for the summer

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We met a black-owned cross-platform travel and lifestyle company, black and foreign, to help our readers prepare for their summer trips. The award-winning platform is transforming travel with these simple travel tips and their new launch, the first of its kind Black elevation map.

The award-winning platform curates and empowers international and culturally conscious luxury travel and adventure moments for Black travelers. The black community spent an estimated $101.9 billion on leisure travel before the pandemic. As the number of trips is expected to increase during a post-pandemic travel boom, Black & Abroad co-founders Kent Johnson and Eric Martin discuss how to better prepare for the holidays and offer resources to guide you in your travel.

Black & Abroad is known for its award-winning “Go Back to Africa” ​​campaign. Now, the Black Elevation Map is kicking into high gear, providing an interactive, aggregated online community guide that showcases Black-owned businesses across the country to spark additional cross-community support, discovery and connection.

Find out below how to prepare for your next vacation.

1. Research and advice on how to plan

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Source: Black and Stranger

Eric: When choosing a destination, you only have one thing to remember: keep an open mind! I always say that when planning a trip, there are 5 seasons to consider: spring, summer, fall, winter, and last but not least the shoulder season. The shoulder season is the period between high and low traffic periods for a destination. During these times, flight and hotel prices are much cheaper than usual, making it the perfect place for someone looking to relax and unwind without the hassle of the usual large crowds. Not to mention it’s a perfect way to travel during a pandemic.

You do not know where to start ? Say less. For flight deals, I typically check at least four sites: theflightdeal.com, faredealalert.com, skyscanner.com, and skiplagged.com. For deals on high-end hotels and Airbnbs, remember it’s shoulder season, so prices usually drop anyway due to lower demand.

2. Destinations that champion and celebrate the black experience and culture

Black and Black Alien Altitude Map

Source: Black and Stranger

Kent: Weekends are perfect for quick getaways to places that thrive in the summer heat. For example, foodies should head to cities like New Orleans for restaurants on every corner offering Creole and Southern cuisine. Even your most popular destinations like Miami can be havens for diaspora food. Not far from the shores of Miami Beach, you’ll find Little Haiti with its multitude of restaurants to choose from, as well as restaurants throughout the city that are steeped in Afro-Cuban and islander influence due to the city’s close ties to the Caribbean.

For longer summer trips, you can’t go wrong visiting cities in Colombia (which has the 3rd largest black population outside of Africa), like Cartagena or Cali. These two cities are full of cultural experiences that speak to the many facets of the black experience.

There are also many island destinations that host carnivals in the summer, such as Bermuda. Although it is one of the youngest carnivals, it is also the fastest growing in the world, and everyone is starting to take notice. But don’t worry, the Bermuda Carnival is the perfect place to start your carnival journey as a beginner, because it’s not as daunting as the ultimate experience in Trinidad and Tobago, but just as fun. and inclusive than any other carnival experience. This week-long experience is a great way to get to know the island, which also offers plenty of opportunities to learn about the island’s black history and relaxing atmosphere.

3. Build a route

Black and Black Alien Altitude Map

Source: Black and Stranger

Eric: The most enlightened route has three elements: variety, flexibility, balance. Whether you’re traveling solo or in a group, an equal mix of these ingredients in your trip can allow you to spend more time having fun and enjoying the experience. Variety is very important as it presents you with many cultural intersections. Take a map of the city, divide it into four quadrants, and make it a point to visit a restaurant, museum, historic site, beach, or club in each quadrant during your trip.

Make sure your dates and times are flexible by keeping the itinerary loose. Weather, travel times and most importantly jet lag can sometimes be unpredictable, so always allow time in the itinerary for these cases, especially if you are traveling with your team! Speaking of jet lag, it is important to also plan a few hours/days of rest in this itinerary. There’s nothing worse than not being able to remember much from the trip because you were sleepwalking throughout the experience. This is where the concept of balance comes into play. You want to go home feeling energized and refreshed, not like you just ran a marathon.

4. Airbnb versus hotel

Black and Black Alien Altitude Map

Source: Black and Stranger

Eric: Of course, it all depends on the circumstances, but I’m usually the team of two. If I’m traveling with a group of good friends or family, I’m always up for a [Air]BNB. This makes the group experience much easier. Now, for solo travel, though, I’m the team hotel for several reasons. I once rented a BNB on a solo trip to a small European island and immediately realized from the reactions of the neighbors that I was the only melancholic bro this small town had seen in a long time. I ended up canceling after a few days and booked a hotel a few miles away where the guests were much more diverse. I also love that hotels have common areas where you can eat, drink and socialize with others.

5. Resources once you arrive

Black and Black Alien Altitude Map

Source: Black and Stranger

Kent: If you decide to go on vacation to the United States, using our black elevation map (blackelevationmap.com) is a great way to identify things to see, eat and experience in a city. The website takes cultural data, such as data on the black population, historical markers, black-owned businesses and social media activity, and visualizes points of interest on a searchable elevation map of United States, city by city. The platform lets you bookmark and save all the places you find, create an itinerary that you can send to yourself or anyone joining your trip!

Wherever you venture, a great way to discover great places in a city is to search for hashtags on social media (eg #bestfoodinAtlanta #BlackownedChicago, etc.). We all like to share our experiences, so social media can be a great place to see how others have experienced a city as a way to plan your own visit. Platforms like Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram are great for spotting trendy or local favorites.

6. Approach the locals and understand the culture

Black and Black Alien Altitude Map

Source: Black and Stranger

Eric: I would always recommend doing your research on cultural differences beforehand. For example, here in the United States, a firm handshake combined with eye contact is a sign of respect. Do that in Japan and you’re going to have a major problem where a bow is a much bigger sign of respect. You also want to dig into people’s language beforehand. You don’t have to be fluent, but I’ve found it’s still a great way to spark conversation with locals to learn more. It is also a sign of respect for them that you are willing to try to communicate with them in their native language.

Another thing to remember is how and when to use your camera, especially with locals. When taking pictures of/with them, you always want to ask permission. It might not be a big deal here in the US or Europe, but in parts of Africa I’ve seen people approach groups of kids and use them as props for a while IG. Before taking this picture, do you always ask if it would go to Europe or America? This will really help put things into perspective.

7. WFV (Holiday Work)

Black and Black Alien Altitude Map

Source: Black and Stranger

Kent: Remote work has increased dramatically over the past couple of years, and for the black community, the number of professionals switching cabins for cabins has also seen an uptick. Airbnb recently conducted a remote work and vacation survey and found that 72% of Black remote professionals surveyed had lived in at least one different location since 2020 and actively planned to take better advantage of the location flexibility of the workplace in the near future.

When considering where to stay for a “workcation,” black professionals are most drawn to beach towns and larger cities above mountains or rural areas, and according to survey data, the Caribbean was the top location choice for black professionals looking to work remotely.

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