My question of the day – How Can You Afford to Travel?
For those who know me well, they know I love to travel. For me, travel is an essential part of who I am. God has blessed me with the opportunity to travel over 680,000 miles in the last 20+ years to a lot of places. I am very thankful for every journey, every experience, and the new friends made along the way.
I recently posted pictures from Anguilla (a compilation of several trips). I have been traveling to Anguilla since 2005. It is a very special place for me, I have friends there, and it feels like home.
Someone shared a comment that Anguilla was too expensive and they could not afford to go there. The comment was made by a person who makes a lot more $$$ than I do, with the subtle implication that they cannot understand how I can afford to travel (so often) to this beautiful place.
Anguilla is not a cheap destination. It is not Mexico, DR, Jamaica, or an all-inclusive Caribbean destination, but it can be an affordable destination for anyone who chooses to spend the time, money, and effort to travel there, particularly during non-peak season (December – April). Anguilla is paradise, without the trappings of Americanized vacations. No fast food. No all inclusives. No duty free shopping. No shopping malls. No gambling. No jet skis. When I travel to Anguilla, I do not stay at the most expensive resorts (Viceroy, Cuisinart, or Mahaillouana) and I do not eat at the most expensive restaurants. I have found accomodations and local restaurants/eateries that are within my budget. I will even go so far to say that I can stay in Anguilla more affordably than I can in some domestic destinations like Miami, New York City, or San Francisco – where hotel rates can be very pricey.
It is a matter of priorities. I do not have children, an expensive car, expensive home, nor do I shop excessively on designer purses, shoes, clothes, etc. I choose to spend my disposable income on travel. I have traveled over 680,000 miles in the last 20+ years to a lot of places, some far more expensive than Anguilla. I took offense at the subtle implication that I cannot afford to travel to Anguilla.
I chose to post this for those who may ask the question how can you afford to travel. My question is how can you afford not to? I only have one life and I intend to live it to the fullest.
2012: Not a bad travel year
Destinations: Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, St. Louis, and St. Maarten
Longest Flights (Distance): Atlanta – Las Vegas (1,745 miles)
Longest Flight (Duration): Atlanta – St. Maarten (1,704 miles)
Welcome to Flight #2013. I am prepared to take off into the New Year. Attitude is secure and locked in an upright position. Packed and ready to go!
“Travel is my prayer, my meditation. It is the shedding of what is on the outside to see what is within. What makes travel so exciting is that it provides freedom and space to see with bigger and clearer eyes.” ~ Kate Thomas, travelwithkate.com
Travel can be a wonderful, fun, and cool experience, but it does not come without challenges. I was recently inspired by One Brown Girl, mastermind of the Traveling Brown Girls Carnival, which asks a number of Brown girls who write about travel to share their top 5 travel pet peeves. Being the Travelista that I am, with a heavily stamped passport, I was motivated to blog on my Top 5 Travel Pet Peeves. After reading my Top 5, please leave comments below and let me know what your peeves are.
1. The “First Class is Not For You” look.
Over the years, I have traveled in First or Business class for business and personal trips. As a former airline employee, I often received the “First Class is Not for You” look, both from flight attendants and other passengers. While first class is now primarily dominated by very high-value frequent flyers and business travelers, and upgrades are almost impossible to get, the premium cabin is still open to everyone. There have been occasions, particularly on long-haul international flights, where I was asked by other travelers why or how I got into first class. Passengers in first class should be treated equally, regardless of their frequent flyer status, ticket class, etc.
2. Hotels with unclean, tattered, or low quality linen.
Yes, I said it. To my horror, I have had the misfortune to stay at hotels on occasion that did not wash the comforters or sheets. I do not want to stay in a room with linen soiled with lipstick, hair, odors and other things too gross to detail here, that do not belong to me:) Also hate hotels that skimp on the quantity and quality of wash clothes and towels. Old, hard, holey not acceptable. At a bare minimum, hotels must offer guests clean, comfortable, and safe accommodations.
3. Taking my shoes off for TSA security clearance.
Safety when traveling is of utmost importance, but removing my shoes and exposing my socks and/or feet (if I’ve forgotten to bring hosiery or socks) to dirty airport floors is one of my top peeves. No one has any idea how often airport floors are cleaned and sanitized or about the cleanliness of the 2,000,000 or more passengers who has walked the path before you, on that day.
4. The sick traveler, spreading germs…
Yes, I know we all get sick, and sometimes traveling when sick cannot be avoided. I absolutely detest sitting in a confined space with a traveler who coughs and sneezes the entire flight, no tissue or sanitizer in sight. On one international 10-hour flight, I was so luck to travel directly in front of another traveler who looked and sounded like flu, she coughed and sneezed for the entire flight. While I cannot prove it, 2 days later, I took came down with fever, chills, cough and the flu goodness. If you know you’re contagious, please stay off a plane! It simply is not courteous to other passengers and employees you may come in contact with.
5. Airports and hotels with no free wifi/very expensive wifi.
The travel experience can be challenging and time consuming on a good day, throw in weather delays or flight cancellations and it can be a lot worse. It is important to be able to stay productive and connected to work, family, and friends when you’re on the road. Charging exorbitant rates for wifi in airports and hotels, is just plain wrong. The most exorbitant rate….on a business trip to Europe, $32 per day for hotel Wifi access, that’s just not cool.
Last pet peeve, which I will not go into here is unruly, screaming children on planes. I love children, and it’s a sensitive topic, so I will not officially add it to my list. I will just say that some parents do not exercise any control over their children, and it is a fact that children screaming, kicking, and refusing to sit down are disturbing and stressful to other passengers. Thank you for listening to me rant, it’s been fun. I hope you’ll join me in sharing your travel pet peeves.
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” — Unknown
It’s time….life has kept me really busy. Today’s feature post is about dressing with savvy while traveling. I was inspired by a recent CNN article, ” Why Look like a Slob While Traveling?. If you are like me, you people watch while in airports and on airplanes, it can be fascinating. First, we’ll start with what NOT to wear:
2. Sweat pants or cutoff sweat pants
3. Ladies: See-thru clothing of any kind
4. Men: baggy pants or jeans revealing your body parts or underwear
5. Tshirts with offensive, lewd, or foul language
6. Clothing that is too small or too tight
7. Never wear white. (Generally very difficult to keep clean in the airport and airplane space)
8. No headscarves, headwraps, etc.
Historically, airline travel was synonymous with professional, business, or church attire for both men and women. As we evolved into the 90’s, this trend changed dramatically. What we see today is a reflection of the evolution of society and our values, with individuals not adhering to any norms. Now, moving along to my advice for travelers..here are some tips to assist with wardrobe selection.
1. Comfort is king! (Choose fabrics that are comfortable, lightweight and wrinkle-resistant)
2. Clothing should be clean and pressed!
3. Choose solid colors in black or neutral tones. (No USA flags, stars, stripes)
4. Wear comfortable shoes. (Shoes made for walking, not the 5 inch heels some women wear to the club)
5. Bring along a sweater, jacket, or scarf for layering as temperatures vary inflight.
In closing, travel is fun and adventurous, however , the way we dress while traveling does not need to be over the top. While travel attire is a personal choice, we need to remember clothing is a reflection of who we are (our personal brand). Traveling is now a commodity, in a public space, and our attire should not be offensive to TSA, airline employees, or other travelers, particularly children. I welcome your feedback on this topic, make it a great week!
Where is Anguilla: Caribbean, Latitude 28 degrees, Longitude 63 degrees
What Anguilla Is: Chic, Hot, Very Private, Ultra Exclusive, Paradise
What Anguilla is Not: No duty-free shopping, no chain hotels, no casinos, no cruise ships, no fast food chains
Size: 16 miles long, 3 miles wide (tiny)
Beaches: 33 totally fabulous beaches
How to Get There:
Option 1: Fly to St. Maarten (SXM). Nonstops from Atlanta, New York, Newark and Miami (American Airlines, Continental, Delta, Jetblue, and United). Take a 12 minute public ferry from Marigot or private charter boats from Princess Juliana Airport.
Option 2: Fly directly to Anguilla (AXA) Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport via Cape Air, Liat, or private jet. Limited flights via San Juan and St. Thomas.
High Season: December 15 thru Mid-April.
Hotels: Viceroy Anguilla, Cuisinart, and Cap Juluca are top luxury resorts. Lots of private villa options.
Golf Course: Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa
Nightlife: Elvis Beach Bar, Pumphouse, Johnno’s are all top spots for dancing and reggae bands on Friday and Saturday nights.
What I enjoyed most about Anguilla:
Beaches (Rendevous Bay is my personal favorite)
Sunsets (Mead’s Bay is spectacular)
Food (Fantastic roadside BBQ, Delicious Seafood, and french bakeries)
Spas (Viceroy Anguilla is my favorite)
Music – Sunday afternoons at Gwen’s Reggae Grill with the Scratch Band on Shoal Bay East
- Rental car is a must (taxis are outrageously expensive)
- Driving is on the left
- Roaming with US cellphones is expensive, texting and internet are more affordable options to stay in touch.
- Anguilla has a 20% government tax on hotel and restaurant charges
- Anguilla has an additional 15% service charge added to restaurant bills, service charge = gratuity
- Carry sufficient cash to cover ferry rides ($15 per person each way) , departure taxes ($20 per person), and gratuities
- Be prepared with all over the counter medications, sunscreen, and toiletries you may need, these items tend to be very pricey
- Water is a very precious commodity on Anguilla, you are encouraged to limit showers and water usage
The secret to Anguilla: Hidden paradise….ultimate place to relax and rejuvenate.