When planning a trip the first step is deciding where to travel. The next decision is probably who to travel with. Many people prefer the independence of solo travel. Others prefer traveling with a partner or a group. Group travel can be great when you find like-minded people to travel with.
Many of us enjoy traveling the globe and have done so for decades. However, we don’t often see that reflected in the mainstream media. My husband and I have been avid world travelers for more than 30 years. We have also enjoyed learning about destinations by watching television shows hosted by people like Rick Steves, Samantha Brown, and Anthony Bourdain; all good hosts, but none of them looked like us. We longed to see travel hosts who portrayed travel experiences that really appealed to us.
We got excited in 2009 when we found BlackAtlas, a social networking site from American Airlines that connected Black travelers to content about many of the places we travel. They made some wonderful videos, hosted by Nelson George in destinations all over the globe. They were very well done, and can still be seen on YouTube. But the concept didn’t last.
Apparently, 2009 was a good year for showcasing Black travelers because the Travel Channel began to air a show, hosted by NFL linebacker Dhani Jones, called, Dhani Tackles the Globe. The series followed Jones around the globe as he learned how to play international sports and simultaneously explored the culture of each location. The show was very well done, and Dhani was an excellent host…. It was canceled after two seasons.
These days it is rare to see Black hosts of travel shows. The Travel Channel will occasionally have a Black guest host, but they are few and far between. It’s easy to speculate about why “our” shows don’t last. Perhaps due to low viewership numbers….perhaps due to lack of advertising support. Whatever the reason, we Black travelers need to begin producing our own content. Not many of us have the financial wherewithal to purchase television networks or make feature films. But most of us have cameras and smartphones that can take good quality photos and videos. And sharing them on social media is free. We just have to be committed to sharing them….with each other and with the world. Much of our history has been lost or left out of the history books because we didn’t write those books and it wasn’t in the interest of the authors to portray us in a positive light. Guess what? They’re still not interested in doing that. But we can do it ourselves, by creating our own visual travel legacies.
My husband and I had that in mind when we started the Black Folks Too and Black Boomers Travel Too Facebook groups a few years ago. Both are vibrant, positive groups where folks share their travel photos, videos, blogs, and experiences daily. As the groups began to grow, planning group trips was the next logical step.
Our first group trip was in 2014 when we went to London and Paris.
Since we’d all met on Facebook, we didn’t meet in person until we arrived at our London hotel. It was a great trip.
In 2015 we took a group to China and toured Beijing, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai.
Black Folks Travel Too likes to cater to a variety of travel interests, so we also sponsor group cruises. That has enabled group members to bring friends and family members of all ages. We only book them on the newest mega-ships; so there’s something onboard for everyone. In 2016 we sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.
In 2017 we sailed on the Harmony of the Seas. We just returned from our 2018 group cruise, where we returned to the Harmony of the Seas for an eastern Caribbean sailing. It was a wonderful cruise that included members of our Black Folks Travel Too and Black Boomers Travel Too groups.
Since many of our group members are foodies, recently created another Facebook group, Foodies Travel Too, where we share our culinary adventures and restaurant recommendations, both in the U.S. and abroad. We’ll be planning some food and wine tours for that group in the near future.
We are excited to announce that our 2019 group trip will be a land tour – a 9-day tour of South Africa where we will visit Johannesburg, Capetown and Kruger Park. Dates are May 18-26. All of the details are posted on our Black Folks Travel Too web page www.blackfolkstraveltoo.net. Everyone is welcome, so if you’re interested, contact us right away.
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