A’Dia Gaskins received her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Agricultural…
Traveling has allowed me opportunities to broaden my views on life and people. Since the start of my travel adventures at the young age of nine, I’m blessed to say I’ve explored 19 different countries and been immersed in a number of cultures, all without regret. And Sis, so can you!
I’m sure many of you are patting your edges and asking “How?” Well, the answer is quite simple: Do your research and set up some plans. If you’re new to travel there may be some misconceptions you have about places you’ve yet to explore and your ability to get there. So let me help you usher those Negative Nancy thoughts out the door to bring you one step closer to your jetsetting dreams.
Money, money, money. The most common misconception about traveling is the cost (Whewwww girl, I know). But there are so many resources available to help you take advantage of discounted trips to some of the most drool-worthy destinations for you and your squad. You can even book trips a year or two in advance — thanks to tour companies like Gate1 Travel and Ritz Tours — to help cut down the costs. And we can’t forget about those flights. Sites like Travelzoo can give you access to cheaper flights, little to no change fees and mega discounts. But before you get too excited, make sure you do your research on travel companies and websites to ensure credibility.
It’s also critical to understand the importance of traveling during off season or peak season. Trust me, there is a difference. Peak season for domestic travel is usually during the summer. So if you have plans to fly across the US in June or July, expect airfares and hotel stays to be a bit pricey. Peak season for international travel, however, differs from one country to the next. Once again I say, “Do your research.” If you’re planning to fly out of the country, check for weather, cultural observance and other events. All of those details can affect your travel costs and overall experience. No one wants to be on a beautiful island in the middle of the rainy season. The research can take time but the trip will be well worth it!
“I’m uncomfortable being in new surroundings.” “I’m too afraid to get on a plane!” Fear is an emotion that often controls our actions and prevents us from taking that initial leap. But I’m here to tell you to do it scared! Do it afraid! Don’t let fear steal away an opportunity for you to experience a world beyond your own.
Now if it’s the flight that scares you, there’s not too much I can do to help with that. Transparent moment: planes still give me the heebie-jeebies even after all this time. But it all comes down to the time I travel. Early flights save lives. “Why,” you ask?
If I’m traveling domestically I try to take the first flight out. With the early morning tussle — getting dressed and dealing with people at ungodly hours — I can find my way back to sleep once I’m settled in my seat. Same thing for international flights. Now trying to sleep when you’re anxious can be tricky, so make sure you do whatever is necessary to be comfortable. Make a calming playlist to listen to during the flight, wiggle into that cute and comfy lounge set you’ve been saving and snag a cocktail. Relax and release, Sis. Personally, I’ve noticed takeoff can be the roughest part. But if you can make it to sleep before the jets kick in, you’re pretty much good to go!
I can’t travel alone!
Ummm….yes you can. Solo travel is a vibe. But before you make that decision, do your research! Make sure the country you’re visiting is relatively safe. Check all the facts. Read reviews from other solo travelers. Many travel groups including Sister Traveling Solo and African American Travelers openly welcome solo wanderlusts. The best part about traveling is meeting new people and connecting with others. Who knows…you may find a new friend along the way!
For those of us who need a little extra support or accountability, I suggest recruiting a travel partner. Traveling with another person can help lessen expenses and reduce some of that anxiety you have about being alone in a new environment. Whatever decision you choose, make it sooner than later. Don’t waste any more time!
I don’t know where to go!
No destination in mind? Ask yourself a few preliminary questions…
Do you favor hotter or colder climates?
Are you into festivals or are you more of a shopper?
Are you a thrill-seeker or do you prefer to lay by the beach?
Know your preferences. Know yourself. Know what brings you joy. The most important part of determining where you want to go is knowing what you like and setting up your intentions for your experiences. Having a purpose for your trip — whether it’s to immerse yourself in culture, indulge in self-care or enjoy time with nature — will help narrow your search. Once you’ve locked in on a few destinations, do a little digging on the web to find some must-see sites, beautiful views and cute aesthetics. Because let’s be honest, it’s all about the aesthetics. *insert selfie here*
Planning a trip can be tedious! Researching destinations and trying to organize with travel companions can become stressful. However, planning in advance is beneficial to breaking down the cost and leaving you with peace of mind. Even if you’re afraid to travel alone or if you just need a quick burn-and-turn trip to switch up your views, do it anyway. Take that leap, Sis! Experience a different culture. Visit a new place. Don’t wait…get on that plane!
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A’Dia Gaskins received her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and a Master of Business Administration from Trinity Washington University. During the day, the DC native enjoys her work in Compensation and Performance Management. Other times, she is immersed in a good book, experiencing new cuisine, or planning her next adventure. Traveling as a little girl provided an early start to her passion- learning about other cultures. A perfect day for A’Dia is waking up in a different city or country or time at the beach. She currently resides in the city that she loves most.