With the weather starting to break and the world gradually opening back up, traveling while Black has never been so simple as buying a flight and booking a hotel. There is always an extra set of actions Black people must take to ensure their safety and well-being. Unfortunately, not all Black travelers are aware of all the precautionary measures they should take before traveling and as a result, they have been subject to discrimination.
It’s no secret that there are still some areas in the world that aren’t as progessive in fighting racial discrimination. This is why it’s so important to do your research on the location you’re traveling to whether you’re traveling abroad or within the states.
In 2020, we saw the realities of how Black people were being treated in China due to the rise of COVID-19. Black residents were being turned away at hospitals and restaurants, evicted from their homes, and harassed by police and local officials. For Black people that have never been to China, they probably would have never expected that something like that would happen there.
In an effort to help my fellow young Black travelers, I’m sharing my three most essential tips for travel preparation.
Do your research on you travel destination
For Black travelers, it’s essential to do research on whatever location you plan on travelling to. You should know how the natives behave towards Black. Seek this information from a Black traveller and maybe even a Black resident. Sometimes tourists don’t experience discrimination, but the Black people that actually live in the area your visiting might have a completely different perspective.
ALWAYS look at the Hotel and AirBnb reviews
AirBnb has an infamous history of their host being discriminatory, but they have made some recent efforts to try to combat the issue. According to Kristina Byas from Million Mile Secrets, “Airbnb teamed up with Color of Change to launch Project Lighthouse, a US initiative that will “uncover, measure, and overcome discrimination when booking or hosting on Airbnb.” Although AirBnb is taking preventive measures to fight discrimination, they still cannot control how your host will treat you once you’re there. That’s why it’s worth it to read all of the reviews to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you book. The same goes for booking a hotel. Tripadvisor is a great place to get in depth reviews on hotels.
Understand the difference in culture
Depending on where you travel, you must know that there are people in certain places in the world that have actually never seen a Black person or a person of color of any kind. Out of curiosity, you might get approached by people asking to touch your hair or take photos with you. Just know you have the right to decline.
For more information on traveling safely visit the site millionmilesecrets.com.
By Kayla Crittle, University of Kentucky Alumni
Instagram / Twitter: kaylamarieily