Girls trip to Barbados – canceled.
Solo trip to Peru – canceled.
Family trip to France – canceled.
Those were all the international trips that I had planned for 2020….and thanks to Ms. Rona, they ALL got canceled or postponed 🙁
Look sis, when it comes to traveling, 2020 basically put an unwelcome, electric fence around our passports. Yes, I said electric fence. Because every time we try to reach for our passports, thinking we’re about to go somewhere overseas, we get shocked back to reality – sending a reminder that nah girl, you aren’t going anywhere.
However, the fact that 2020 has canceled international trips isn’t all bad news – we can still travel. We just have to do it domestically. That’s why this fall is all about traveling within the US.
Traveling within the US has its benefits
Hold your groans, sis.
Traveling within the US isn’t bad. I really enjoy it. However, if you were one of the groaners, I don’t think you realize how beautiful your own backyard is and how many wonderful adventures await you. Let me prove it.
I’m going to do a series on the best places to travel in the United States. I plan to include everything from unique road trip destinations to the best fall weekend getaways. I’ll also share the best fall vacation spots and black-owned spots to check out. And in true Tiff fashion, of course I’m going to be sharing some great brunch spots in each post. I’m calling it the ‘No Passports Needed’ blog series, housed on my Travel blog.
But before I begin to share trip ideas in future posts, I first wanted to share a few benefits of US domestic travel to get you excited. Plus, it will help you warm up to the idea of how great traveling within the US can be.
1. Sis, you get to explore what’s in your own backyard
During the months of the full coronavirus lockdown, a lot of us started going on walks around our neighborhoods (me included) as a way to get out the house, safely. Honestly, it’s something I probably wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for all the gyms/restaurants being closed. My evenings and weekends are usually more reserved for happy hour hopping and mimosa-sipping. Anywho, I digress.
So, I’d go on walks every weekend and, here’s the thing, I started noticing things that I never noticed before. Like there’s a park in my neighborhood, with a whole trail sis – who knew! And I noticed that the neighborhood extended wayyy further than I thought (like did they just secretly build all these new houses during COVID?). Oh, and I saw a cool tree swing that I made a mental note to one day get for myself. I met new neighbors (from afar of course; I’m friendly, not reckless). Honestly, I saw, noticed and experienced a lot of things that I probably never would have in the pre-COVID world.
That same mentality goes for traveling within the US. You’ve likely traveled to a few destinations in the US before. However, you probably wouldn’t really be focused on US domestic travel if it wasn’t for COVID restricting you to the borders of the US. But here’s the cool thing, there are soooo many cool and unique places in the US. Trust me on this one; you’ll get a chance to explore some pretty unique places here if you just open your mind to it.
2. Sis, you get to save your coins
Okay, this point right here is a double win! International trips are def usually pricier than domestic travel in the United States. So, while we’re temporarily restricted from most other countries, STACK. YOUR. COINS. SIS. Since you can’t take that trip to Greece or visit an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica this year, save that money.
Then, next year (fingers crossed) when we’re able to safely start traveling internationally again, you’ll have some money stacked up to go to the places that you really want, and brunch the way you really want in those overseas locations. So, until then, you can travel at a more “affordable” rate in the US.
If you have trouble putting your travel money aside or saving up to travel, here are some ways that you can save your travel money:
- Set up a travel savings account (a*k*a* your travel fund). Then, set up an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck each week to be deposited into that savings account.
- Give up (or cut back on) something that you normally enjoy/indulge in on a regular basis. Things such as daily coffee (instead, make it yourself at home), regular weekend brunches (instead, do at home brunches with your girls), or secretly sponsoring your weekly Amazon shopping addiction.
- Sell clothes that you aren’t wearing anymore. Poshmark or Ebay are great places to sell your old, unwanted clothes and make a little extra money.
3. Sis, you get to support local tourism and local businesses
One of the greatest feelings is supporting other people, especially small business owners. While there’s nothing wrong with shopping at a Louis Vuitton store in Spain or waltzing into Coach in Montreal, why not spend some of your coins at a local boutique in Charleston, SC or a bed and breakfast in Savannah, Georgia.
Unfortunately, as we both know, small businesses were really hit hard due to COVID-19. And if you have money to spend, why not spend it in your own backyard, supporting local businesses. Honestly, it’s a win-win. Yeah it’s cool to say that you got a new Louie bag in Spain (I’m not going to argue with you about that one, sis). However, it’s also pretty cool to have a one-of-kind piece from a local boutique shop. Just saying.
4. Sis, you get an extra layer of security + safety
On top of the three reasons mentioned above, traveling in the US right now provides an extra layer of security and safety. Since we currently live in a world where the borders of countries have been opening and closing sporadically, traveling domestically just adds an extra layer of security and relief not having to worry about border issues. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about being out of the country if another COVID spike happens. Over time, I think we’ll be able to travel again internationally. However, for at least the rest of 2020, it’s probably best to be in your home country because we really just don’t know what else this virus has in store for us.
Now that you know some of the benefits of traveling within the US, hopefully you’re at least a little more excited. So, now, I want to drop some ideas on the types of domestic trips you can take.
Traveling within the US: Trips for all types of travelers
From solo travelers to girlfriend getaways, there are a range of the different types of trips you can take. You have to figure out what type of trip works best for you. Personally, I love solo trips and girls’ trips the best!
Calling all my i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t female travelers! (I know I’m not the only one who raps Webbie’s song in their head when writing out the word ‘independent’ lol). Ladies, traveling within the US is a great way to get your feet wet when it comes to solo traveling. It gives you an opportunity to start off somewhere that you’re comfortable/familiar with and know the culture. Then, once you get some experience under your belt, you can graduate to the overseas solo travelers club.
For starters, maybe consider a trip to Portland or San Diego; those are both great solo female spots! Particularly, places that are walkable or have good public transportation are good spots to try out.
- Travel to Portland. Visit the Japanese Gardens, peruse Powell’s City of Books (the largest independent bookstore in the US) and experience Portland’s quirky, hipster culture firsthand.
- Travel to San Diego. Spend a day at the biggest urban park in the United States, Balboa Park, then relax at La Jolla Beach in the perfect 70 degree weather.
Calling all my girl squads, girl gangs, girl tribes (*insert whatever name you call your group of girlfriends*)! Who said that traveling domestically, with your girls, can’t be fun? From basking in the sun on a sandy beach to visiting wineries, there are so many cool girls’ trips that you can take. A full blog on this topic is coming soon 🙂
- Head to South Beach and hit up the sandy beaches and spend a few nights at the luxurious Fontainebleau Hotel (don’t forget your mask).
- You and your girls should visit Fredericksburg, Texas, the underdog that’s coming for the title of America’s Wine Country (Napa, watch your back). This town has plenty of charm and a Texas-size selection of wineries!
Calling all my girls who aren’t here for a long time, but looking for a good time *Drake voice*
I know that everyone doesn’t have the luxury of time on their side; sometimes a weekend is all you have. No worries, there are a ton of great US domestic travel destinations that you can go to. Whether being on the beach, in the mountains or simply relaxing is your thing, there’s a lot that you can do in just a weekend.
- Spend a weekend glamping (a*k*a* luxury camping) at Terra Glamping in East Hampton, NY (about 2.5 from NYC) or in Maine at Sandy Pines Campground.
Calling all my road warriors who aren’t scared to spontaneously jump behind the wheel of a car and drive for a few hours!
Road trips are awesome, specially during a pandemic. They just give you an extra layer of comfort and security, because you’re in your own car with the people you choose. Honestly, it gives you some sense of relief, since you don’t have to be crammed in like sardines on a plane for hours next to a bunch of people that you don’t know.
Another plus is that, if you do a road trip, you’ll automatically have transportation when you get to your destination. So you don’t have to worry about figuring how you’ll get from point A to point B. Or worry about whose going to order the Lyft this time. There are so many reasons why road trips are great, but I’ll also cover that in another blog post.
- If you’re on the West coast, consider driving to one of the numerous national parks like Yosemite National Park or Sequoia National Park.
- If you’re on the East coast, consider doing an Overseas Highway trip from Miami to Key West (be sure to get a slice of key lime pie at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe when you get to Key West).
- If you’re down South, consider driving to New Orleans for some cajun cuisine and beignets.
- If you’re up North, consider taking the transcontinental road trip on US-2, making stops along the way at the Space Needle in Seattle and Glacier National Park in Montana.
- If you’re in the Midwest, consider taking a trip to Austin, Minnesota for some of the best BBQ in Minnesota. Also, be sure to plan a stop at the SPAM Museum (yes sis, it’s a real thing).
Traveling within the US is the move, sis
As I outlined above, there are a ton of great reasons to travel within the US. As a recap, just a few of the top ones include:
- You get to explore what’s in your own backyard
- You get to save your coins
- You get to support local, small businesses
- You get an extra layer of security & safety
What other major benefits am I missing, ladies?
P.S. I’m going to be sharing a lot of specific travel tips, recommended destinations, and brunch suggestions. So, continue to keep an eye out for more posts in this blog series!