Is traveling truly a privilege?

While I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to not only dream about this big, beautiful world, but also for the ability and resources to explore every corner of it. In this place of gratitude, however, I also recognize and acknowledge the privilege of it all. I encourage everyone I encounter, whether through my blog, social media platforms or just in conversation, to travel far and wide, and sometimes, insensitively, suggest that they just manage their money better to afford this. But I know that mismanagement doesn’t come into play when there is just a lack of available disposable income or even unfortunate political circumstances, and I think it is important that we talk about it.

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As this is a lifestyle for me, a hobby, a passion, I submerge myself in it, travel groups, blogs, listservs, meetups, you name it, and the message across a lot of these scenes tends to scream, “PRIVILEGE”. There is nothing wrong with privilege, some people are literally born with it, it is just important to acknowledge this fact and to be self-aware.

I frequently receive comments or hear statements like, “I wish I could travel, too!” or “I would love to come on your next trip!”, and my response is usually somewhere along the lines of “you can”, “it can be affordable”, “everyone can travel”. And though I do think most can, and wish everyone could, I realize this is not a fact for a large portion of people. Whether its due to physical restraints, mental, monetary or even legal or weird political matters, not everyone will have the opportunity to go and it’s important that we as travel bloggers or aspiring influencers keep this in mind.

Growing up in the inner city of Pittsburgh, PA, in a single parent household, we did not have a ton of disposable income, but we did travel when we could. After attending University, graduating and starting my career I began to have more money to fund my travel hobby, taking yearly excursions with various friend groups. When approached with the topic of privilege, me a black woman, a double minority living in the US, I thought to myself, “this isn’t about privilege, I work hard for my money and for whatever I have,” and I think back to my childhood and what I would consider to be my tough times. I also think about the long hours of studying for my degree, the time spent preparing for job interviews and then the long hours working towards my professional goals. I earned this. Right? I might have been lucky, but I worked hard to put myself in these positions to be lucky, I had to earn my “luck”. But even in this state of, “I worked for this,” I had to face the facts.

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This is not to say that I have an infinite amount of money to travel to whatever luxurious destination I desire, I do not. I instead make use of a few resources that I will share here in hopes of helping save someone few coins!

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Card. I earn rewards by purchasing things I would normally buy anyway through my card and pay it off monthly. I can redeem for flights, hotels, rental cars or even gift cards. This credit card also carries travel insurance when I book using it, amongst other perks.
  • Scott’s Cheap Flights. There is a free or paid version of the site, I only suggest the paid version if you travel more than 4x a year. You’ll get almost daily email alerts of flight deals, you’ll get more deals and sometimes more deeply discounted deals via the paid version.
  • Hopper App. You can put in your travel destination and dates and watch your flights to determine when the cheapest time to buy will be.
  • Skyscanner. A website that allows you to search for cheap flights.
  • Travel Noire. Black owned blog that sends travel related articles and flight deals right to your email by subscribing to their listserv.
  • Travelocity. Similar to Skyscanner
  • Kiwi. Similar to Travelocity/Skyscanner
  • Google flights search w/ browser on Incognito mode. Prevents websites from storing your information such as travel dates you’re searching and then jacking up the price. Read more HERE
  • Airbnb. Affordable yet safe lodging.
  • Facebook Groups- Female Travel Buddies, The Black Travel Movement, Girls’ Love Travel. Flight and hotel deals as well as money saving tips are frequently posted via these platforms.

There is also a reputable site that allows you to purchase your flight in installments , I have not used it but have heard great things, airfordable.com.

Long story short, in life we have privileges that not everyone will be able to enjoy and it’s important that we are aware of this. This is no different for traveling, despite how hard we are working to afford the travel, there is still privilege in being able to work, have a credit card, get a passport, get a visa, have internet, book a flight and all of the other steps that take place in traveling. Once we embrace the fact that privilege does not need to be associated always with a negative connotation, we can embrace this fact with less hesitation. I felt compelled to write this piece, after worries of sounding braggadocious or elitist, as this is not my intent, I share from a humble place.

I will not stop sharing my adventures, as it is therapeutic for me to recap them and hopefully, insightful to the audience that references them. I will, however, be even more detailed and informative through my sharing, to continue to inspire and educate, while immersing myself completely in every experience, living eternally in gratitude and appreciation.

Now catch me on my next journey via my IG @fitflyflournoy

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