Tips for black solo female travelers
As a black woman solo traveler, I've had the opportunity to explore various parts of the world and learn so much about different cultures. But, let me tell you, it hasn't always been easy. As a first-generation traveler, I've learned a lot through trial and error. So, I'm here to share with you some tips that I believe are essential to making your solo travel experience a lot smoother and more enjoyable!
First things first, let's talk money.
You don't want to waste your hard-earned cash on unnecessary expenses, so always exchange your currency at an ATM or local currency exchange instead of the airport. Trust me, their rates are usually sky-high, and you want to get the most out of your money.
Onto the essentials.
Ladies, you want to stay clean and fresh while traveling, so I always pack feminine hygiene wipes and sanitation wipes in my luggage. Walmart has a great section for luggage-friendly wipes that come in handy, especially when traveling where toilet paper isn't always available in remote locations. So, be sure to add these to your packing list.
You also want to stay hydrated on your travels, and I recommend bringing your own water bottle to refill. I like to carry two glass bottles, but be mindful that glass isn't always practical as it's not great for sustaining temperature. But hey, I don't mind drinking warm water, and it saves me money on buying water bottles while being more environmentally friendly.
When it comes to transportation, I always try to avoid random taxis and opt for Uber or Grab if I'm in Southeast Asia. Even better, try to get your own driver whom you can keep in contact with throughout your trip. In Bali, for instance, you can get a driver for a full day for just $30. I mostly use this service and met my driver through word of mouth from other black solo travelers.
Let's talk hair care for my fellow kinky ladies. You're going to need to pack your own hair products because they're not always readily available abroad. I like to bring a little bit of Shea Moisture, a bottle of conditioner spray by Carol's Daughter, a container of Eco Gel for the humidity, and my wash-and-go essentials. And, if you're wearing protective styles like twists, be sure to bring the necessary products to maintain them.
Also If you have any hair products that can't be brought in their original container, don't worry, you can buy smaller containers at Walmart and refill them with your products. This is a real lifesaver when you're traveling and don't want to carry full-sized bottles. Just make sure to label them correctly and ensure you buy a bottle that has the number of ounces listed on it. Some airports require containers to have ounces listed on them, so it's always better to be safe than sorry. Trust me, I've learned this the hard way!
Now, onto fashion! When packing for your travels, don't forget to bring clothes that are breathable, comfortable, and suitable for the climate. I love wearing linen sets and plisse outfits while exploring, and it's great to be dressed up for photo shoots. Some of my favorite vacation brands are Pretty Little Things and Jluxlabel.
Moving on to health, you want to protect yourself from insect bites. Mosquito spray is a must if you're traveling through Southeast Asia, but surprisingly, I didn't need it that much. I was able to find 100% DEET spray at Walmart that sprays on like lotion. Just be cautious because it can melt plastic, so don't get it on your sandals or plastic clothing.
Dealing with unpleasant situations
Lastly, let's talk about dealing with unpleasant situations. Unfortunately, racism and discrimination can happen anywhere, even while traveling. When I was in Bali, some Chinese tourists decided to "compliment" me during my photoshoot by saying I'm "beautiful just like a monkey". When I asked them to repeat, they were already scurrying in their way before conflict could unfold. Despite the interaction, I advise new travelers to not let envy trifle your beauty and continue to enjoy your trip regardless. And please, don't be shy to get a few words back.
So there you have it, my top tips for solo travel as a Black woman. I hope these tips help you have an incredible travel experience, full of adventure and unforgettable memories!