You plan the ultimate trip with a dope ass itinerary. You share the trip idea with your family and friends. Everyone seems excited but as you get closer to the date of securing the trip with a deposit, one by one they all back out. Sounds familiar? Almost every traveler has been there. It’s the reason why I created The Globe Trotting Divas. And it’s the reason why you know about The Globe Trotting Divas! Maybe you’ve traveled with us. Or maybe you’ve rocked it solo. What ever the case, rejection finally has no place as more women are arriving to the airport with passport in hand ready to take on their next adventure...SOLO! Don't believe me? Here are 5 reasons why more women are traveling solo. Bucket List Goals When it comes to travel a bucket list isn’t always filled with must-see destinations. Many women have included the goal of traveling solo. They want to see what it’s like to travel someplace alone as solo travel often builds self-confidence and strengthens your mental health. I can attest that one of the best benefits of solo travel is peace of mind and relaxation. If traveling to a Caribbean Island or seeing an African Safari can all go on a bucket list why can’t solo travel?! Tired of Asking Friends and Family The year is now 2020 and I am happy to say that many women have STOPPED putting off their travel plans just because their family and friends won't travel with them. You go, girl! Congratulations on booking your trip and kissing the globe with your passport! Look at you on Social Media...yasss! We see you in Ghana, Iceland, Costa Rica, Jamaica, London and New Orleans doing it big all solo! Motivated by Peers When I was young my Grandfather would say to my sister and I “you never know whose watching”. Today more women are traveling solo then ever before. Some do it because it’s on their bucket list. Others do it because they are tired of asking family and friends. Then there is that group who are highly influenced and motivated by their peers whom they see traveling solo. If you’re a solo traveler, someone is out there following your adventure and it’ll be because of you that they put on their big girl panties, book the trip, pack that carry on and go! So please do keep sharing your journeys and motivating your peers. Travel Clubs Including The Globe Trotting Divas, there are thousands of travel clubs worldwide catering to travelers of all types. From the novice to the most seasoned traveler and all in between there is a travel club for almost every travel style. And with travel clubs being so popular today and pretty much the go-to platform when searching for trips, this has also made a way for women to travel alone with other like-minded women rather having to wait on family and friends. The Globe Trotting Divas was started for this very reason! Social Media You see the photos. You follow the pages. Your favorite Travel Agencies, Travel Clubs and Travel Influencers are amazing with sharing photos of women traveling solo. And if you think you're seeing these pics just because you are following them think again! These photos are showing up on your timeline not only because you follow the page but to also get you pumped up to travel...solo! Gone are the days of practically begging someone to go with you. Welcome to a world where women are no longer afraid to venture out solo. And as long as Social Media lives, the message will continue to be shared. Safe & Happy Solo Travels!
Finding information directly from your smartphone has become the normal way of living. I mean, we use our smartphones to access apps for almost everything from social media to dining to shopping and more. And when it comes to travel, it’s no different. You can shop and book the best travel deals, get updates, and notifications on key information for travel safety, plan the ultimate itinerary for your adventure, make dinner reservations, book a photo shoot and more all from the use of your trusty smartphone. Yes, that mini desktop computer works magic! While there is no shortage of travel apps and each app applies accordingly to your travel expectations and desires, we’ve listed below our favorite travel apps for 2020 and how these apps can change your life. WhatsApp (Android, iOS) Image Credit WhatsApp is a free app for iPhones, Android smartphones, Windows Phone, Mac laptops and Windows PC. The app allows you to send messages, pictures, videos, voice recordings and make voice and video calls over the internet for free, instead of using your mobile network service. The app is compatible, so Android owners can communicate with iPhone owners without any technical issues. Just be sure that you are connected to wi-fi as WhatsApp will use mobile data connection if you are not. This app is perfect for staying connected to loved ones while traveling abroad. You can also create group chats making the app an even more preferred choice for communicating with those who you are traveling with. Duolingo (Android, iOS) Image Credit Getting lost in a foreign city may be one hell of a travel experience in a fun way but how much fun can it really be without interacting with the locals...in the local language? While Google Translate is no doubt one of the top foreign language translator apps known, I especially appreciate Duolingo. Duolingo is a free online language learning app dedicated to keeping learning fun, easy and simple. The app offers over 30 foreign languages to english speakers who are wanting to advance their skills by learning a new foreign language. The lessons are broken down into various levels and are accessible anytime anywhere right from your smartphone. So rather using a translator app, in just a few minutes a day you can learn a new foreign language. Not only will you be impressed but so will the locals. PackPoint (Android, iOS) How many times have you packed for a trip as if you were not returning home? Or, you under packed and wish you would have over packed? If this is you, PackPoint is here to change your life! The app is an online organizer creating an ideal packing list for your trip or planned activities. Just tell it where, when and what you’ll be doing and a customized packing list will be created for you based on your destination, length of stay and the weather. Once your list has been created, you can share the list with anyone who will be traveling with you. While the app is free, you also have the opportunity to upgrade to PackPoint Premium for $2.99 where you can connect to Tripit, EverNote and customize your list accordingly. LoungeBuddy (Android, iOS) Image Credit Let’s face it no one and I repeat...NO ONE likes connecting flights when traveling. Unfortunately, it’s just the way air travel goes. But who says having a 4 + hour connection can’t be rewarding for your pain and suffering as you patiently await your next flight? Sure you can walk around the terminals eat and people watch to melt time, but who wants to do that for 4 + hours? Especially when there is a luxury lounge with complimentary wi-fi, food, drinks and comfortable chairs and sofas awaiting you? Gone are the days where airport lounges are only accessible to frequent fliers. And with the help of LoungeBuddy you can now access and purchase a lounge pass for your next trip. The app houses most major airports and airlines worldwide allowing you to purchase lounge access from 2 months up to day of departure. Access to the lounge area starts at $25.00 and will vary by airport and airline. XE Currency Converter (Android, iOS) Image Credit Just like you monitor airfare you also want to be mindful of foreign currency exchange rates. After all, who wants to be short changed on a trip they worked so hard to save up for? Foreign currency exchange rates fluctuate according to the stock market, so it can change at any time. The best way to stay updated and ensure you are getting the best rate in exchange for the maximum dollar is to download XE Currency Converter. The free app gives live updates of currency exchange rates plus the app works well offline. Have you tried any of our favorite 5 Travel Apps? Is there an app we should consider? We welcome your comments and please share our blog with your social media audience, family and friends. Anitra, The Travel Chik is founder of The Globe Trotting Divas, a premier online Travel Club connecting women and men to off beaten path travel experiences around the world. She is also owner of Wallet Happy Vacations Travel Agency located in Philadelphia, PA. Wallet Happy Vacations specializes in group travel to the Caribbean Islands, Africa, Asia and parts of Europe.
5 Reasons Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone At Least Once
In contrast of being founder and organizer of the Globe Trotting Divas Travel Club, one of Philadelphia’s premier Travel Clubs focusing on authentic, culture driven, off the beaten path travel experiences for women, after taking my first trip to Jamaica alone in September 2016, I attest that every woman traveler should experience solo travel at least once. It was my 40th birthday and, like most I wanted to pretend I was happy turning the Big 4 0 and who other than Jamaica, my favorite Caribbean Island to join in on the celebration! So, on September 6, 2016 I excitedly, yet nervously arrived to Philadelphia International Airport to board my Southwest Airline flight en route to Montego Bay, Jamaica. It was Negril and Riu Negril All-Inclusive Resort who I chose to entertain me for the occasion. Before arriving I had conducted in depth research and created a well thought out itinerary of how I would spend my time and navigate throughout the island. I felt perfectly safe but I should also note that this trip to Jamaica would make my 7th visit but first time traveling to the island alone. After my return home I felt renewed, restored and ready for my next solo vacation. Here are my 5 Reasons Why Women Should Travel Solo at Least Once Over Come Fear Traveling alone affords the opportunity to overcome fear. If your biggest fear of traveling alone is safety in depth research of your host destination is the obvious. But upon arrival apply common sense during your journey. After all, there are some places right in your current place of residence that you know not to be at after a certain hour. Will the same not apply while traveling? Familiarize yourself with the laws of the country you’ll be visiting as well. Another fear you’ll overcome is the fear of speaking with strangers. My oh my I quickly became used to speaking with and holding great conversations with great people that once appeared as total strangers! Build Your Own Schedule Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE group travel! But traveling alone allows you to be on your own schedule. Sightsee at your leisure, sleeping in or rise with the sunset, hang out with locals without your friends asking more questions than the FBI. Whatever it may be the choice is yours and no confirmation is needed. Recreate Yourself The most important moment you’ll have while traveling solo is the opportunity to regroup, rethink and recreate yourself. While traveling solo in Negril I took a day to inhale new thoughts, clear my mind and reflect on things that required my attention. I was at a peace of mind and took the day to write out my thoughts, plans and reflections on life. You’ll Meet New People Go ahead and book without your friends! You’ll meet new people along your journey. During my trip I met lots of wonderful people from all over the world. I danced, took a tour and ate lunch with complete strangers. And later those strangers became friends whom I still connect with. For someone like myself who can be extremely shy being social with strangers certainly caused me to come out of my shell and the one thing I discovered was that it’s OK! You’ll Build Self Confidence Traveling solo will help build your self-confidence. It pushes you to dismiss the limits you set for yourself. You’ll find that zip lining brings out the adventure side you’ve kept bottled up and that eating snails isn’t so bad after all and traveling through the city alone without your friends or significant other is actually a great idea because you can sightsee at your leisure. Even more, you’ll discover that you can’t wait to do it all again! Have you traveled solo? What was your experience? What would you like to add? #solotravel #negril #jamaica #RiuResorts #Allinclusive #Birthday #confidence #meetnewpeople #recreate #reinvent #women
4 Reasons Why Every Woman Should Take a Girls Trip
If the truth be told, every woman knows there is nothing like an outing with the girls! A chance to let down your hair and be yourself are oh so rewarding in the presence of your squad. Those reasons alone are enough for any woman to consider a weekend getaway with the ladies. And in case you've been rejecting invites to getaway with your squad here are four reasons you should go! Reconnect Even friendships can feel lonely when you haven't seen your friends for a while. And this is especially true if you live in different cities. This in itself is worth planning an annual getaway with the ladies and reconnect like the good ole days. Getaway from Every Day Life As women, it's no secret we carry the weight of the world. And, at times, the burden can be unbearable. Our daily routine can pack a pretty stressful punch. And that alone is a fantastic reason to accept the invite for a Girls Trip. So, prepare for takeoff, put your phone in airplane mode, sleep on the beach, have wine for breakfast, dance the night away, stay up late, and don't regret anything! Let someone else care for the family, house and work. You Can Be Yourself We've all been in the midst of "fake fellowship" at some point in our lives. But fake has no place when you are with the ladies who know you better than yourself and accept, embrace and love you for you. For that reason alone, who wouldn't want to spend a weekend with a squad like that? Girls Getaways allow you to be YOU! No Rushing Sometimes our schedules can be so busy and hectic that even when we do agree to meetup with friends time is still limited and you find yourself rushing through to ensure an on time arrival for your next commitment. But thankfully time has no place on a Girls Trip. #blackwomen #women #travel #girlstrip #TheGlobeTrottingDivas #Vacation #Getaway #Reconnect #Beyourself #friendship #life
If you’re like me, the second someone says let’s go, you’re ready! You really don’t need a reason to travel. Just the fact that you are over worked and stressed is good enough. Now, while that may work for you and I, there are lots of people out there who actually need a “reason” to come out of their never changing 4 wall city to see what the rest of the world has to offer. Yup, they need a reason to travel! If you fit the script of requiring a reason to travel, I hope that after reading the next few paragraphs you’ll begin planning for a future trip! Take a Break Before You Break Down Let’s face it, in today’s world many of us have lives that are so hectic and busy that even taking a deep breath needs to be scheduled. But after a while the constant on the go can have a negative impact on us physically, mentally and emotionally. This is why we all need to take a break before we break down. If you’re over worked and stressed out, why not treat yourself to a nice vacation? Don’t you think YOU deserve it? There is nothing more rewarding than some ME time! A nice weekend getaway to the beaches of Florida or even better, the Caribbean Islands. Or maybe a few days away in a popular city you’ve never visited. Notice how refreshed you’ll feel upon your return home. Not to mention I am sure you’ll want to return soon! You May Loose Vacation Time Now in days not too many employers are allowing employees to rollover their Paid Time Off (PTO). Therefore, you are in a situation where you must either use it or loose it. Why would anyone want to loose their deserving PTO? Even if you only get away for a weekend or two at least you use some of your time. But don’t loose it! Quite often people will not travel due to the myth that travel is expensive. You don’t have to take a luxury vacation that will have you cashing in your 401k. There are lots of vacation package options available to you. In fact, you don’t even have much to do with so many Travel Agencies coming back to our finger tips just find the right Travel Professional specific to your destination and they’ll handle the rest. The good part about Travel Agencies is that, not only will they do research for you but they’ll customize your travel package, apply discounts that are not available online and even offer a down payment and flexible payment program. So you don’t even have to pay in full unless you choose to. It’s kind of like vacation on lay-a-way! #PTO #vacation #Break #TravelTips #travelagencies
There is nothing more exciting than knowing you are just days away from visiting a destination for the very first time. Even more, you’ll be guests of one of the island’s luxury resorts. Those were my exact feelings as my first trip to Barbados became closer. Knowing I was staying at Hilton Barbados Resort, considered one of the island’s more luxury resorts increased my excitement for the trip even more. But more than that, simply knowing I would be guest of the Hilton brand alleviated any thoughts of possible disappointment. I mean after all, it’s Hilton, right? Photos of the resorts rooms and overall layout, the beach and reviews on how well hotel staff took care of their guests were all things I anxiously awaited. May 4, 2017 arrived. After a rather long day of travel nothing seemed more fitting than to get straight to Hilton Barbados, our host resort. Upon arrival, almost immediately everything that I looked forward to experiencing had quickly taken a U-turn. Hotel Check-In Awaiting in line for Hotel Check in took approximately 20 minutes. Once at the counter we experienced an additional 10 minutes for completing the check in process making it a total wait time of 30 minutes. As a Travel Professional and seasoned traveler, I am aware that Check in can be a bit lengthy but never have I experienced it being 30 minutes. Room Cleanliness After discovering what was identified as Sugar Ants in Rooms 460, 172, and 459 and another type of bug unidentifiable in Room 505 (yes we were changed that many times due to ants and bugs taking over) we were finally accommodated with Room 109. But unfortunately Room 109 was not equipped with two double beds as required so a roll away bed was brought in. I should also point out that during the process of playing “Musical Rooms” with Hilton Barbados, we experienced rather poor customer service from management and often was given the attitude that we should get over it. Water’s Edge Bar, Beach and Infinity Pool By far the staff at Water’s Edge Beach Bar were the only staff members executing Hilton’s expected level of customer service. Their smiles, friendliness and willing attitudes are what stood out most and went a long way. The resort lies on 2 beautiful powder sand beaches which would be the only reason I’d ever visit again next to the infinity pool! Hotel Staff Customer Service I must say that the level of customer service delivered by the front desk @ Hilton Barbados Resort could certainly use an upgrade. When a customer is bringing a concern to your attention you should never blow them off or make statements like “You ARE in the Caribbean Islands”. Even if you are tired of the situation being presented, make things work. If the situation is being handled correctly at the customer expectations chances are you won’t hear about it again. Overall, I’d have to say that the Beach Bar Staff certainly knows customer service and Hilton Barbados should consider allowing Ramon the manager to train the entire resort staff. Why We Checked Out a Day Early After having to interact with a front desk staff who expressed no concern for the matter at hand and having an Assistant Manager tell us “changing rooms like this is unheard of you are in the Caribbean Islands” there was simply no need to stay. Not did the message project that of negativity it also produced a foul tone. There are some things you should never say to a customer even if it sounds right to you. My overall experience with Hilton Barbados Resort could have been far better if the front desk staff were trained in areas where it mattered most; customer service. Even after advising the hotel’s front desk that we decided to shorten our stay no empathy of any sort was expressed. I felt like we were a problem to this resort and its staff. With Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados only a few feet away and a host of lodging options lining the St. Lawrence Gap area certainly Hilton Barbados was not the only option. Further, as a Travel Professional often we showcase travel catalogs and websites to our clients along with providing knowledge through training or personal travel experiences when it comes to booking clients vacations. However, while the catalogs and websites may go hand and hand to getting a customer’s yes, I am glad I experienced first-hand the lack of exceptional customer service projected by the hotel staff @ Hilton Barbados Resort. I now know that not only is Hilton Barbados Resort not a good fit for me it also is not a good fit for my clients. Have you ever had a major room issue with a hotel you stayed at? What was the outcome? Did you revisit that particular hotel or resort? Would you? #HiltonBarbados #Hilton #CustomerService #Room #Staff #Checkout #TravelProfessional
There is nothing like being asked to plan the ultimate group getaway and you have no idea how to get started. Even with all of the ideas and suggestions gathered from the group of attendees there is still no light as to where to turn for guidance on planning the ultimate group vacation. The only thing that clings to mind is you cannot let your group down since they trusted you to plan an epic group travel event. Sounds familiar? As a Travel Professional I organize group travel events on a regular basis so I am well familiar with the stress planning can take on group leaders. That’s why I felt it was necessary to share the below tips for planning group travel so that the next time you are asked to be a group leader it will be a smooth sail. Travel Party Everyone loves gathering for family & friends social events so why not gather to talk travel? Hosting a Travel Party is a hit! As a Group Leader, this is the perfect way for you to present a fun group travel event and take in any ideas and suggestions from those you will be traveling with. Make your party fun and lively by creating a theme. For instance, if it’s Jamaica that you’ll visit, play a mix of Reggae and Dance Hall, serve authentic Jamaican cuisine and show videos of Seven Mile Beach and Rick’s Café in Negril. Or watch all of the fun as Cool Runnings Catermaran Cruise sails to Ocho Rios so travelers can climb the infamous Dunn's River Falls. What ever the case, Jamaica is home to a host of beautiful beaches, attractions and exciting activities available to indulge in while on the island. And watching videos and listening to the local vibes of the island will help set the tone for your vacation idea and help pull in the “Yes! I’m in!” Passport Party If you and your group will be traveling to a destination where passports are required, hosting a Passport Party is fun and creates even more excitement for your upcoming adventure. Remember that passport processing is currently estimated at 4 - 6 weeks so your Passport Party should be planned not long after your Travel Party. It is a good idea to check all requirements and review the passport application process with your group as well. Payment Social Payment Socials should be made fun, simple and easy. Consider hosting two for your group; 1 to collect initial deposits and the second to collect final payments. Because many people choose not to be financially responsible for collecting large dollar amounts on another party’s behalf, often it is a good idea to invite your Travel Professional to these events. They attend the social, speak with your group and collect their deposits and payments leaving you, the Group Leader out of any risk or financial responsibility. Most Travel Agencies including Wallet Happy Vacations will also present additional payment options such as online, payment by phone or by mail. After Party Once your group returns home from your epic travel adventure, host an After Party to discuss your travel experiences. After, repeat the above tips to plan for your next group travel event. Have you been asked to organized your family and friends group vacation? What do you think of the tips above? #GroupTravel #Planning #TravelAgency #Passport #Party #OchoRios #RicksCafe #SevenMileBeach
Often, the excitement of traveling and experiencing a new destination, atmosphere and culture sets the stage for how we will pack our luggage. For many travelers who are visiting a destination for the first time, luggage is often packed as there are no plans to return home! Since you’ve over packed, you now have checked baggage fees to face. And what can be more mind boggling then seeing the cost of checked baggage fees amount to more than a single monthly utility expense? Below I’ve shared a few tips and suggestions on how to pack light by only bringing items and clothing you will actually need while on vacation. If you lighten your bag by packing only the essentials, you can actually save $50 or more per trip! Tip#1 Consider Where You Are Traveling and The Length of Stay Pack your bags according to your length of stay. A 4day/3night getaway requires minimum amount of changing clothes and you’ll most likely not count your travel days. So based on your length of stay, pack only for the days where you will be at your destination for full days. For instance, if traveling to Las Vegas for 4days/3nights leaving on Saturday returning on Tuesday pack clothing for arrival night, Sunday and Monday. Tip# 2 Apply The Shirt to Pants Rule We’ve all heard of The Shirt to Pants Rule, right? Well it applies even when traveling and especially if you want to pack where you’ll avoid paying an additional $50 or more round trip for your luggage to fly. Basically, the rule says this: for every 2 pairs of pants or shorts in your wardrobe, there should be at least 3 shirts that will match making it look as if you have 3-4 different outfits. Pack your luggage accordingly! I’ve also used this rule when packing footwear. Pack footwear that you can dress down during the day and dress up at night. I personally recommend the interchangeable sandals by SUNSMILES. You can purchase soles in colors black or wood and there are a host of color and design options for laces where you can change them up as you please. This makes for perfect packing as you only have to bring along 2 pairs of sandals while the laces to change with your soles can easily be packed inside a smaller sized zip lock bag. Plus, it will appear as if you have more than one pair of sandals! Tip #3- Packing Cubes Packing Cubes are the most convenient way for packing articles in your luggage. They are designed to limit clutter while allowing additional room in your suit case. They are usually sold pre-packaged in quantities of 4 - 5 cubes ranging from sizes small to extra-large. You can purchase Packing Cubes at most retail stores or online where luggage is sold and prices range from $9.99 and up depending on where you purchase. I purchased my first set of Travel Cubes 2 years ago from Groupon and they are still being used! In sum, before you begin packing consider where it is that you are traveling and for how long. Then, apply The Shirt to Pants Rule and use it for packing footwear as well. Consider investing in a nice set of Travel Cubes as packing will become easier and more accommodating. Once you’ve applied these tips you’ll be carrying on while cashing in on savings from checked baggage fees.