This article about professionals traveling came my way just in time. Every working woman needs to take time for herself!
I just returned from a weeklong trip to the sunny (ok, most days cloudy) and beautiful island of Barbados.
Some may be wondering why I chose this title for my post. Well when I told people I was going alone, some eyes popped open as if this is a new phenomenon. Hey!! BLACK GIRLS TRAVEL TOO! And yes we too can do it alone. I’m 33. There are things I should just be doing by now in my opinion. Solo travel is on that list.
Hi. My name is Tiffany. And I use the selfie stick.
Why pay a travel agent when you can do the dirty work yourself?
The trip was booked for the day after my last day of work and I was packed days before that! This is one teacher who ain’t playin’ with summer break. Let the fun times begin as soon as they possibly can!
It’s another reason I chose to go alone. Of course traveling with my girls would’ve been ideal, but I had a short window of time as to not miss the deal and no time for others checking calendars, transferring funds, ‘n such.
Solo dolo and loving it!
I also didn’t care to plan with others and have to compromise on what I wanted to do. Though I knew sitting on the beach EACH. AND. EVERY. DAY. would’ve suit me, I couldn’t utilize my passport to simply beach bum it everyday. I used the time between booking and departing to create an itinerary with possibilities. Now, I didn’t create a straight up schedule because vacations for me don’t have to be rigidly planned. I searched the hashtags #Barbados often on Twitter and Instagram to see what people were saying about it and to get an idea of what was available. I heavily searched Trip Advisor as well (I value reviews in this site).
Through social media, Trip Advisor, and suggestions of friends who had been before, I had a strong list of things to keep me busy before and after checking to make sure the Caribbean Sea and sand were still in tact….and please note, I checked on them each and every day.
I didn’t do everything on my list, but did do most in addition to things I hadn’t considered thanks to the suggestion of the hostesses for the guesthouse.
Bamboo grows taller than I could’ve expected!
Bus ride from Bridgetown, the capital.
Snorkeling…but not without wondering whose mouth has been on this breathing tube. 😒
Horseback riding with Ruby
When searching on Airbnb, I was purposeful in looking for a place safe enough for a single female traveler and ON the beach; even a walk across the street would’ve been too far. And thanks to wonderful reviews, I found the perfect spot, a beach house named Cleverdale.
Airbnb reviews were on point for this beach house.
THIS was my view from the front porch each and every day. Wow. You can’t tell me my God ain’t amazing!!
Cleverdale housed up to 5 couples (individually locked bedrooms with bathrooms). There was a shared kitchen and living area which everyone kept clean because we’re grown. Everyone was respectful of one another’s space and food and I even wound up hanging a couple times with one housemate who was there for the latter portion of her trip alone as well. *hi Tara*
I walked to the beach daily, tried several local dishes, had a few rum punches (not many because a girl traveling alone needs to be alert), didn’t change my earrings even once nor did I put on any jewelry besides my Fitbit, and I kept it simple by not styling hair or wearing makeup! It was a trip, not a fashion show.
I am having trouble rating my activities but I suppose sitting on the beach and getting my glowing, caramelized tan was number one.
So perhaps I burned a bit. But I promise I used SPF 50 daily and from the looks of the clouds, one wouldn’t have believed the sun could still have so much power!
Following tanning would’ve been horseback riding and seeing portions of the countryside inaccessible via car. Then the catamaran trip would be next. The group was kind and we all talked and enjoyed one another’s company while snorkeling with big turtles and Nemo’s crew.
For a cool 20 million (USD) you can own an apartment next door to Rihanna inside this grand establishment. Or you can just ride by in a catamaran and wish like me.
Lucy and I chatted most of the way. They fed us so well and I almost took a nap on that trampoline.
Somewhere in that ranking is my tour of the island. I don’t want to make that last on my list because I really was fascinated with the culture, the homes, and the history within the island. I visited all but one parish during my visit.
Lest I omit the food! I ate flying fish on several occasions, pudding & souse, cou cou salt fish (which I absolutely adored), an amazing mahi mahi & shrimp dish, coconut turnover (fresh out the oven and moist bread that I promise I can still taste), and more. This foodie says mission accomplished!!
I am fully aware the meal pictured above doesn’t look desire able BUT the taste proved otherwise. And below are fish cakes. This item was on most menus.
My StL homies on my social network feeds got a kick out of this one😉
The people on the island were very nice. They answered questions when I asked and some even walked me to my destination since there are few street signs (and they wanted to hear my country grammar as one police officer called it lol. Sigh thanks Nelly.) And I’m guessing I posed as a Barbadian on occasions because when others were being asked to purchase a handmade trinket or allow their hair to be braided, peddlers would skip right past me. *yes* Due to the size of the island, I did run into the same people at times but I didn’t mind that. It actually added to the safety level for me.
Mr. Cleveland here placed the rims of his bottles in the sand and popped a squat despite my telling him I wanted to read a bit before the rain started. BUT this connection came in handy when in the bus terminal in town attempting to board the correct one to my parish. Thanks Cleveland.
A few communication tips…
Prior to leaving the states, I emailed my immediate family who I speak to often so they’d know where I was staying, how to contact the hostesses if necessary, and how they could communicate with me.
Hallelujah for iPhones! I spoke to and Facetimed those users easily while in my guesthouse or at a restaurant with wifi. Hey happy-go-lucky-Android-users, y’all phones suck for travel purposes! But there were apps like groupme and whatsapp that made it possible to communicate with those folks. We just couldn’t text directly.
I read several articles for travel advice including this and this.
I chose not to buy a SIM card or a prepaid phone and relied on wifi for the most part. My Sprint iPhone and my mom’s extra AT&T Alcatel cell each had international plans (Sprint’s not as good because Barbados isn’t one of the 22 countries they cover). BUT per minute it was still over $1 to talk and an arm and a leg to text from both of using cellular data. This allowed me to disconnect while out because I turned data off on both phones the entire week and only used one a few times to call Barnes, my driver while there. (This by the way seems to be the norm as several visitors to Barbados had specific drivers they’d call on.)
3 things I wish I knew before I went…
1) I didn’t know what to expect price wise. I learned through my island tour guide, Stephanie, that Barbados is considered cheap compared to other touristy spots like Jamaica or Trinidad. I hadn’t even thought to see what the dollar was worth there and what food and excursions would cost. It was recommended that I buy groceries and cook some days. *hard side eye* I’ll stick with eating out.
I ate so fast I didn’t get my own pic of this dish but it was mouthwatering!
I don’t want to cook in real life. This vacation on the beach was a fantasy so I was not about to catch the house on fire using a gas stove that requires one to light the eye. Nope. Not I. I did however spend about $100 Barbados dollars ($50USD) on groceries for a light breakfast snack each morning before I began the days journey.
At $16BD/$8USD I didn’t have a glass of OJ each morning…and you can see why. The local guava/pineapple juice was better than Tropicana anyway.
The cost of meals in restaurants depended on location and “hole in the wall level.” I could satisfy my hunger at Braddies’s or Sharkey’s (pictured above) in the St. Lawrence Gap area for around $20-30BD. But the awesome pasta dish from Mojo’s was $45BD and didn’t come with a salad or bread.
2) It wound up not being a problem, but I really didn’t research their crime level nor safest communities to the fullest extent. I googled Barbados news and read a few articles before I left but relied on reviews from those who recently stayed in the guesthouse for my safety level. While chatting at length with a Barbados police officer he shared that their community is rather safe. My island tour guide even said you’re most likely to walk in and they’re chillin’ drinking Guinness. While walking my dog this morning I saw the same number of police cars driving around as I did during my entire stay in Barbados (three).
She also said rich and poor live across the street from one another in many parishes and that the government has subsidies in place to help the citizens (like with housing and food, not insurance, but that’s another story…just don’t get sick there).
Homes like this would be directly across from resets costing residents hundreds to thousands per night. But this adds to their low crime rate, according to my tour guide.
I didn’t expect to see government housing on an island. Not sure why I thought housing projects were an American thing.
3) Take two beach towels! Mine was DONE by day 4, but I didn’t want to buy one. I packed light and didn’t plan to check a bag plus I had already purchased so much. So next time I’ll pack two!
I’m sad my trip has come to an end but grateful for the opportunity. I thank God there were no incidents during my travels and I am happy to be flying in to see my family.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I hope another deal comes around next year because I want to go back. If anyone would like to sponsor this or future trips, my Paypal account is available for tipping. 😉
Follow these pages on Instagram for travel inspiration: Glographics, lasmorenasdeespana, briiitastic, siempregirando, inspiredpassport, soulsociety, travelnoire, travelisthenewclub, shessooverdressed, nomadnesstribe
Interested in seeing other rentals from the hostesses of my guesthouse?Click here.