When children are grown and live independently, essentially leaving the nest, the parents become empty nesters. As children grow and become young adults, parents’ focus can now be more self-centered. Parents tend to do things for themselves, and travel becomes more of a priority. Traveling as an empty nester is quite different from traveling with kids and family.
The empty nest syndrome occurs when parents experience loss and sadness as the last child leaves home. When my youngest left for college, I went through a period of depression and felt a loss of purpose. I had been fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom, and with nothing else to focus on, my life felt empty. It’s part of why I started EbonyTravelers, to find and explore my purpose.
When the children leave the nest, the ultimate understanding is that adult life is beginning, and life as a parent must also continue. There is a realization that parents can start a new chapter after spending two or more decades focused on their children. So, the idea of travel without constraints becomes a strong desire, and travel plans start to emerge.
For many empty-nesters, the focus is on the experiences that travel gives. For many empty-nesters, travel is no longer about just visiting places but enjoying the journey and the different experiences. Now that the children are gone, there tends to be a bit more disposable income. Travel tends to include premium travel and lodgings and involves more adult interests, like dining at more sophisticated restaurants and taking bucket list trips.
Once parents get used to the empty house, they look forward to seeing more of the world and visiting new places. They no longer must coordinate with school holidays or family schedules; they are free to travel whenever it suits them. Travel varies from beach getaways, romantic escapes, and African safaris to bucket-list destinations. Travel destinations are limitless with more money to spend and more time on their hands.
My travels now take on all the hallmarks of empty nester travel. I have more time to travel, so my trips are longer, my hotel choices are more first-rate, my dining experiences are more bespoke, and my travel is more premium. I highly encourage travel as an empty nester. Planning travel gives you something to look forward to and a great way to mark the beginning of the next phase of your life. Take advantage of your time and resources to travel the world. Have you traveled since becoming an empty nester? Are you encouraged to enjoy that phase of life? I’d like to know, comment below.
For those who don’t know about Juneteenth, it’s important to learn about its history and its significance. Juneteenth celebrates the actual day that slaves in Texas found out about their freedom. Galveston, Texas, is recognized as the birthplace of Juneteenth. On June 19th, 1865, it was there that the announcement and enforcement of the emancipation proclamation were made. More than two years after it went into effect. On June 19th, 1865, the Union army made it to Galveston, Texas, to notify slaves that the civil war had ended and slavery was abolished. The name Juneteenth is a combination of June and nineteen.
As of 2021, Juneteenth is now a new federal holiday. I thought it only appropriate to celebrate it this year in the place where it all started, Galveston, Texas. My friends and I joined the influx of tourists to Galveston who reflect and celebrate black history. Additionally, we came to acknowledge Jubilee Day, best known as Juneteenth, and its importance in/to black history. More importantly, we participated in a unique camaraderie with other black visitors doing the same.
As an immigrant, Juneteenth is part of my journey of understanding all black cultures. For years the joy of celebrating Juneteenth has been a fact of life for many blacks. Galveston, Texas, has for years been part of the commitment to progress for black people. Now that Juneteenth is recognized as a national holiday, it represents freedom and equality for blacks and every human being.
Amongst the now common protests of police brutality and the recognition of structural racism, the recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday is essential. Most Americans celebrate July 4th as their independence. However, for many blacks, that independence was not a reality.
My friends and I celebrated by eating and shopping at black-owned businesses. This Juneteenth was an opportunity to celebrate the now widespread recognition of the Juneteenth holiday. For me, it is just as important to celebrate my blackness as it is to keep fighting for black equality. Galveston on June 19th is the ultimate representation of that celebration.
Have you celebrated Juneteenth before? Did you celebrate Juneteenth this year? How has this made an impact/impression on or in your life? I’d like to know.
You can never be too prepared for travel. There are plenty of things to consider before you travel to make your travel experience a much more pleasant one. I discussed a few ways of travel preparation in a prior blog post. Here are a few more ideas to think about before you travel.
When traveling internationally, mobile phone charges can be an unexpected expense. Remember to turn off cell service roaming before you leave the country to avoid roaming charges. If you try to do this in an international destination, you may be charged for the time trying to complete the effort. Try to arrange for a global cell service plan with your carrier before you leave the country. You can often use a phone for dollars a day rather than dollars a call if you choose an international package for the duration of your time out of the country.
Notify credit card companies
Without prior approval, using your credit card in another country can be problematic. Your card can be flagged for fraud, and you may not be able to use it. To prevent this, notify your credit card company before you travel to avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment of having your credit card declined. Additionally, getting in touch with your credit card company from another country and verifying yourself will be a hassle you can avoid.
Try to have some local currency before you enter the country. Currency conversion fees can differ where you choose to convert your money. Also, converting before you leave on your trip will give you an idea of the exchange rate, so you know before you go. If you plan to take local transportation, having local currency can be helpful. Knowing and understanding foreign currency also prevents you from being taken advantage of as an unaware tourist.
Using an ATM in a different country can be expensive with built-in foreign conversion fees and daily changing exchange rates. Research what bank or system your bank card or credit card is affiliated with before you go so you can avoid unnecessary expenses.
Carry small currency
Having local or foreign currency in small denominations can be a lifesaver when you arrive at an international destination. Some businesses and people will prefer the US or other foreign currency rather due to instability with their currency. It is also safer to have cash in small denominations than trying to get the correct change back in your own or foreign currency.
Have you had any unexpected hiccups with forgetting to plan for international travel? I’d like to know.
As a person of color, being seen as a “different” traveler is not a novel experience. Having “locs” (or dreadlocks as they are commonly referred to) and being able to occupy spaces where people of color are not normally seen makes me appear different to many and sparks curiosity. I’ve learned to embrace being different and to see it as a positive experience. Here are five ways you can make your presence as a different traveler a more pleasurable experience.
1.Smile. Even in the face of obvious displeasure, it throws off those who tend to see you differently. It takes less energy to smile than it takes to frown and often gives you a sense of power not expected. Most people can’t help but wonder why you are smiling when they think you should not be. Positivity wins every time.
2.Embrace being the object of attention. This is yet another way to remain positive in the face of being made to feel different. Enjoy reading or listening to a book, or watching a movie, if you prefer solitude. Sooner or later, your comfortability appearance will actually become real, and you won’t even notice the looks.
3.Be open to curiosity. I have found that being open to having conversations or answering queries that respect my boundaries to be more informative than invasive. I have had many conversations about my hair and have learned to embrace curiosity to teach my culture to people.
4.Embrace being different and love the skin you’re in. No two people are the same, and everywhere you go, whether the destination is local or international, you will be different from the people surrounding you, be it in features or culture.
5.Know that just as you seek to gain new experiences and knowledge by traveling, many others are doing the same. Traveling opens us up to new worlds, and to many, we as travelers are part of their experience. An open mind is the best luggage you can carry.
Have you experienced being a “different” traveler? Has it been a positive or negative experience? I’d like to know.
Traveling alone can be challenging whether you are an adventurous person or not, and no timing or circumstance can make the journey ideal. As with all travel, the key to traveling is preparation. When traveling solo, you should give thought to some safety precautions. These five tips are not all-inclusive but are meant to help those planning to travel alone.
1.Share your information with someone, whether it is a family member or a friend. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. If you’ve planned an itinerary, share it with someone and in the age of social media, stay as connected as you can.
2.Upon arrival, take note of your surroundings and the people around you. Do they look like tourists, or do they look local? Is there anyone you notice who is paying particular attention to you? There will always be locals trying to provide transportation upon arrival, but pre-planned transportation or recognized taxi service is always a better option.
3.Get an idea of the travel time to your destination. When making reservations, take note of the driving time and/or distance to know if your ride is taking longer than usual. Often, taxis will take the scenic route to increase the fare, but knowing timing lets the driver know you have an idea of your destination and that you are an aware passenger.
4.When checking into your room, ask at the check-in desk for a floor plan. Some people prefer to be close to the stairs, while others prefer to be near an elevator. Seeing a floor plan lets you know the general area of the floor you will be staying on, and you can request a change before you leave the check-in desk.
5.Check the room as soon as you get in. Hotels are not perfect, and you might be checking into an occupied room. Check closets and bathrooms before closing your room door completely. Use all deadbolts and locks when in the room and always check before opening your door, even if you expect service from the hotel.
I could add so many other tips, but these are some of the most common guidelines that come to mind. Traveling solo can be wonderful, but it’s best to do it safely. What are some of the tips you would give if you’ve traveled solo before? If you haven’t, were these safety tips helpful? I’d like to know.
Starting your travel journey does not have to be fancy or extravagant. I’m often asked where would be a good place to start traveling? There are plenty of options, from the Caribbean and Mexico to Europe and Asia, or even a cruise. The answer lies within the individual and what they are looking for from travel. However, there is some guidance I’d like to share if you’ve never traveled before.
Start with a staycation if possible. It is one of the easiest ways to get to know what to expect when you travel away from home. It also gives you some experience in knowing what you like, and what you don’t without spending money on airfare.
A staycation allows you to learn about the hotel check-in process. Many first-time travelers are unaware that the hotel check-in times are usually afternoon or later. This often leaves first-time travelers with a wasted day of idling in the hotel lobby with their luggage waiting for their room to be ready. A savvy traveler plans out arrival times based on hotel check-in or arranges with the hotel for early check-in or luggage storage.
A staycation goal is to mimic a vacation setting, so it allows a non-traveler to assess what accommodations the hotel has to offer. While this might not be ideal on a planned overseas trip, many “staycationers” want to enjoy the benefits a hotel might offer that they do not have at home. This allows them to experience what they might want and not want in a hotel stay.
Another benefit of a staycation is that it often includes dining out at a unique or different restaurant. This allows non-travelers to consider what they might like from their dining experience. Many unique restaurants are not about the value, and if you are looking for value, then a more named restaurant might be a better choice. It can be frustrating while on vacation to go out to a nice restaurant and come back to the hotel to order room service because you’re not quite full.
Finally, a staycation gives you options that you might not have on a paid vacation. You might want to stay with a friend or two, which will let you know if they will make for good travel companions. You will also most likely have transportation or know your way around the city so that your options for entertaining yourself are much more plentiful.
These are my ideas on beginning your travel journey, and they may not be appropriate for everyone. However, the only way to start traveling is to do just that, and if a staycation is your start, then enjoy. What started your travel journey? I’d like to know.