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I’ve been dreaming of the day that I could pack up my bags and take my talents outside of the United States. Finally, 2 months sigh of turning 25, I made it and I’m super stoked to share my experience with you.
Why am I almost 25 and just now getting to experience what it’s like traveling outside of the U.S.? Well it’s just not something that I watched people around me do. Besides the occasional job related trip, I never watched my parents travel for leisure. The only time I experienced traveling as a kid was traveling back & fourth from my House in Harlem to see family in Brooklyn. Other than that, I traveled vicariously through my favorite sitcoms (i.e. Martin when he took Gina on the Wedding trip from hell). It wasn’t until I got to college (Hey HU) where I saw so many young black people traveling to places other than Miami and Los Angeles.
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I was determined to take my first international trip by the time I turn 25 in July and I couldn’t be more happy that I finally got to do it. Here’s just a little of summary of the woes I faced and revelations I came to traveling abroad my first time.
For starters, getting a passport was nerve racking af
I gave myself more than enough time to apply for my passport and leave room for any mishaps in case my passport wasn’t accepted. Call me vain but I was super scared that my passport wouldn’t be approved because of the fabulous passport I took at Rite Aid. I decided to do my photos down the block from my house so my makeup could be fresh. I couldn’t risk spending 10 years with a ugly passport photo–no ma’am. Honestly, I felt like they didn’t fit the guidelines but shoutout to the government for letting me slay in my passport photo. I could go on all day about the struggles of getting a passport but I think I’ll save that for another day.
Planning a trip within the U.S. give me anxiety, so you can only imagine how much anxiety I got from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, I didn’t even plan the trip for real–my older sister did. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the hell out of the Dominican Republic & I can’t wait to get out the country again.
Packing was harder than ever
Every time I go on a trip I end up packing a large suitcase full of a 100 outfits I won’t even wear and unnecessary items that could be left at home. To put it into perspective, on my last weekend trip to DC I packed 3 cosmetics bags, a medium suitcase full of clothes and a backpack with idk what in it.
Though going to the Dominican Republic would be my first time leaving the country I was determined to pack light for two reasons.
- All of the extra baggage was not needed–point blank period
- I’d be saving myself major coins in the long run not paying to check my bag & risking my baggage being lost going to another country.
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Staying at an all inclusive resort probably was the best decision ever made in life
I don’t know why I thought a regular hotel or airbnb would be an option but thank God for my older sis who is a veteran at this international travel thing. A resort is the way to go for a few reasons. I stayed at Splash Memories in Punta Cana, DR and it was such an amazing resort and memorably experience. Here’s why I’ll almost always stay at an all inclusive resort when traveling internationally:
- Safety– while I consider myself poor af, people in foreign country’s (specifically criminals) look at Americans as targets. I hear stories ( that could definitely be false) about American’s being robbed, hurt and even kidnapped in foreign countries. A resort is a gated community for vacation goers
- All inclusive food & liquor--I don’t have to be in another country to know just how quickly food and drink expenses add up. Not having to worry about ditching out extra cash for food and drinks (and still having plenty) was heaven sent.
- Nonstop entertainment–Even though we ended up leaving the resort for a day we didn’t really NEED to. There’s always something to do on a resort and it’s hard to ever get bored. From poolside bars, to the waterpark, Splash memories was definitely a great choice for a family vacation. Shoutout to you sis!
Turning up is great but sometimes you gotta do it for the culture
It’s nice to be somewhere new enjoying the weather and scenery but you definitely need to get out to see how the people live on the day to day basis. I’m not telling you to run off to a random hood somewhere and putting yourself in danger. Book an excursion or guided tour where you get to learn more about the country and the culture.
My family booked an excursion through Punta Cana Adventures where we got to visit the island Saona, enjoy some local food, a natural pool and get away from the resort life for a few hours.
I could go on forever about how my first international trip went but there’s more to come. Starting with Cancun for my 25th bday this July. I think it’s safe to say I caught the international travel bug and I love it. If you haven’t visit Punta Cana or DR in general I’d definitely recommend it. Everyone was so pleasant and the country is beautiful—good vibes.