How travel changed my life!

Miami Beach Spring Break

So there I was March 2007, my first adult trip and first flight ever at the age of 21. I had recently broken up with a long term boyfriend about 6 months prior and badly needed to get out to have fun. Plus I was graduating from college in just 8 weeks. So many things to celebrate and so much hope for the perfect vacation was ahead.

Miami

Was the destination. I swear to God I cannot recall how I landed on South Beach Miami as my final destination with my measly Hooter’s girl budget but I was clearly lead there and I’m so glad I went.

I borrowed luggage from my dad and packed all the cute club clothes and sunglasses I stashed away for that very moment.

Here was my list of Miami packing essentials:

> swim suit

> party clothes, chill clothes

> flip flops

> beach towel

> sunglasses

> hygiene/health items (lotion, soap,vitamins, etc.)

> bikini wax

> hair

> nails

> eyelashes

> swim suit

> sunscreen

I made an appointment and had my first full Brazilian wax ever. That changed my life! So it’s safe to say travel changed my life before the trip even began. (Sidenote: I never felt more confident in a bikini.)

Packed, cute and ready to roll I headed to the airport bright & early.

Arriving at the airport was so intimidating but I knew it wasn’t impossible. I had printed out a list of airport must do’s and checked them all. Luggage weight, ID, more airport things to follow here.

Though I had never took a flight I’ve always been an expectation setter and follower so I left nothing to chance… follow your airline rules it’s not worth the stress!

Ok back to my trip. So I went through TSA without a hitch. The plane was exactly how I pictured it and the ride was smoother than I imagined.

We arrived and the main thing I remembered were the palm trees so beautiful, so scenic and so Miami.

The welcome to Miami sign made my whole life in that moment. It was so late when we arrived but Miami was just getting started. The Cuban cafe downstairs from our hotel was bumping. We did what any 21 year olds would do and checked in, then immediately went to the liquor store to pregame.

We got dressed then headed out on the night. We partied sensibly every night and beached out daily. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Then my life was changed. Forever.

My friend was addressed in a pretty flamboyant manner by a young man and I awaited her completion of this exaggerated encounter. While doing so the friend of the young man or his wingman as they’re called addressed me.

I will forever remember the place and date. It was in front of the beautiful Lowe Hotel on March 5, 2007. Where I met my now husband of nearly 8 years and father of my 2 daughters.

loews_hotel_miami

The encounter was boldly candid we had nothing to lose so nothing was exaggerated. We were 2 people trying to get to our next destination while being nice to our friends and God willing we found more conversation later that night, the next day and the day after that. I don’t believe there’s been a day we haven’t spoke since.

I say all that to say. You never know where travel can take you. My first flight EVER literally landed me on a flight every week from Michigan to Florida for 6 months while dating long-distance. So essentially my first flight took me to meet an amazing husband, 2 beautiful girls and a life I now lead in Boca Raton, FL.

Due to how my husband and I met we have an element of spontaneity and a hunger for travel that’s woven into the fabric of our relationship.

Your travel can find you love or return you home to reconnect with a love that’s lost, or even better it may lead you to a greater love of self.
Who knows?

Here’s one of my favorite quotes that reminds we that there is so much more to see, so many people to meet and so much love to give.

I’m in love with cities I’ve never been
and people I’ve never met.

– Melody Truong

Point is… when you travel you open your life up to endless possibilities. You open your mind up to new ideas and you free your dreams of boundaries.

Changing your life can really be that simple.

Step #1 take more trips.

Got a comment, thought or story please share below. Check out the podcast where I discuss this topic and stay tuned for more interviews from people who’s lives have been transformed by travel as well.

Need help learning to plan travel? Join our next workshop.

How to plan family travel

The holidays are here and summer will be right around the corner.

Now is a good time to plan family travel.

Family travel means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some it includes the elderly, others it could mean a couple and 3 small kids or it could be 30 members under one roof for a weekend family reunion.

Below you’ll find budgeting tips and planning approaches to either family trip configuration your planning.

Budgeting

My #1 budgeting tip for any and all travel is:

Treat your travel budget like a bill.

I highly recommend allocating an exact monthly amount towards travel.

How much?

Budget for travel

Make a list of your monthly expenses total up your disposal income – this means money you have left over after you pay all your bills. Be sure to include rent/mortgage, electric, gas, wifi, Netflix/other, transportation/gas, insurance, nails, hair, child care, food, etc.

What if nothing is left?

If nothing is left then you need to look for opportunities to improve.  Do you really need a $200 hair appointment each month? Can you carpool to save gas money or parking expenses? Are you shopping on Amazon too much? Can you skip those Friday nights out and invite friends over a bottle of wine at home?

This is where I say travel is not for the rich it is for the disciplined. Anyone can afford to go to the same destination as Beyonce the difference is, of course, you can’t plan last minute as she can, nor can you rent out an entire floor of a building but that doesn’t mean you can ball on a budget. The key is discipline in planning and budgeting.

How to budget travel for a larger group

Again- treat the travel expenses like a mandatory bill.

  1. Determine the number in your group
  2. Choose a location based on distance
  3. Determine location by calculating the drive time, gas cost and flight cost 
  4. Narrow it down to 1 or 2 areas visit Homeaway.com and Airbnb  to determine the rental cost and sleeping space 
  5. Narrow that down to the location that has the best accommodation for the amount of money
  6. Divide the total accommodation cost by the number of FAMILIES, not people in your group (This is where you retain people, this way your cousin with 8 kids can still afford to come, and your solo sister will most likely be ok with paying the same amount for the benefit of having everyone together). 
  7. From there calculate the number of people and plan for about $65 per person per day for 3 meals (this is cooking and eating sensibly indoors not dining out). 
  8. Add that amount (Example: 8 people x $65= $520 for groceries )
  9. Take the grocery money + the rental accommodations= X
    Then take X and divide it by the number of families. 
    That results in the total amount per family due.
  10. Take the amount per family and divide it by the number of months left until the agreed upon 

Family Trip Planning

  1. Determine the number in your group
  2. Choose a location based on distance
  3. Determine location by calculating the drive time, gas cost and flight cost 
  4. Narrow it down to 1 or 2 areas visit Homeaway.com and Airbnb  to determine the rental cost and sleeping space 
  5. Narrow that down to the location that has the best accommodation for the amount of money
  6. Divide the total accommodation cost by the number of FAMILIES, not people in your group (This is where you retain people, this way your cousin with 8 kids can still afford to come, and your solo sister will most likely be ok with paying the same amount for the benefit of having everyone together). 
  7. From there calculate the number of people and plan for about $65 per person per day for 3 meals (this is cooking and eating sensibly indoors not dining out). 
  8. Add that amount (Example: 8 people x $65= $520 for groceries )
  9. Take the grocery money + the rental accommodations= X
    Then take X and divide it by the number of families. 
    That results in the total amount per family due.
  10. Take the amount per family and divide it by the number of months left until the agreed upon.

    There you have it! You’re on your way to a great family vacation. Remember take small steps toward planning your trip every day even if it’s only 30 minutes and within a month or two your trip will be planned. 

    Leave your questions and comments below I’d love to hear from you.

    Until next time … design a life you love. 

    Kristiana 

List of Travel Essentials

It takes much time to pack your travel bag properly if you don’t know the ultimate list of travel essentials for a carry-on bag. No matter whether you are packing a wheeled bag, backpack or a tote bag, this article will offer a list of ultimate must-packs for women.

Remember this travel essentials’ list as it will work like a tool for telling you what you need on your trip. With these travel essentials, you’ll be ready for everything your trip throws at you. So, let’s dive in!

1. Accessories and Bags- If you’re wearing casual clothes, good accessories can make a big difference. They will add grace to an outfit and make you stand out from the crowd. You should pack bags, scarves, watches, jewelry, and sunglasses for your trip to look stylish.

2.Clothing- If you’re planning for a trip, you must pack t-shirts, shirts, cardigan, sweater, lightweight jacket, jeans, skirts, leggings, and socks. Depending on what you
are planning, choose a more elegant outfit.

3.Rose Water Spray- Staying fresh on a long trip can be a little tricky. Don’t forget to pack your rosewater spray to have a dewy fresh face look and feel. Rosewater is perfect for soothing, hydrating and reducing bacteria on the skin.

4. Thayers Alcohol-Free Cucumber Witch Hazel Toner Facial Mist- Thayers Alcohol-Free Cucumber Witch Hazel Toner Facial Mist- Make your skin look younger and beautiful with this face toner. The organic ingredients in facial toner helps eliminate clogged pores and reduce dark circles and scars.

5. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer- Formulated with vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and other nourishing ingredients, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer gives soothing hydration and broad-spectrum SPF 30 to the skin. Hydrate your skin with this tinted moisturizer!

6. PROcure Hydrocortisone Cream + Calendula- Formulated with natural ingredients like Calendula, Arnica Montana, Epsom Salt, Aloe vera, Coconut oil & Olive oil, PROcure Hydrocortisone Cream + Calendula promotes healing of cuts, burns, reduces inflammation and repairs the skin.

7. Toiletries- Besides the clothing and all important stuff, you’ll also need self-care toiletries. It is recommended to bring a toothbrush, hair products, deodorant, hand sanitizer, blow dryer, quick-dry towel, prescription medicine, and a few painkillers.

8. Travel Wipes – Catching any kind of ailment on the plane can severely spoil your trip. So, you should not take the risk. Disinfect your tray table, seat and everything else you will touch on the flight using hygiene travels wipes which will kill many bacteria and viruses.

9. Sunscreen – Wearing sunscreen on your face is a must when you are traveling. And you must apply it in flight as well, particularly in case you are sitting in the window seat. You can get harmed by the UV rays of the altitude. Use a sunscreen which is chemical-free and features a skin-softening structure also. Choose something which is scentless, matte, and lightweight.

10. Lip Balm – Instead of lipstick, it is good to pack a moisturizing lip balm. Don’t forget your lip balm to keep your lips hydrated and free from chapping throughout the flight.

11. Compression Socks or Tights – In case you will be sitting in a flight seat for a long, i.e. more than 4 hours, you need to change the pair of compression socks or tights for supporting blood circulation in your legs. This prevents blood clots which is a serious symptom of sitting for a long and keeps your feet from falling asleep.

12. Footwear – When it comes to packing active footwear for your trip, choose the right style for the activities you want to enjoy during your trip. Don’t forget to pack durable waterproof hiking boots to enjoy running or biking.

13. Foldable Duffel – In case you are carrying all your carry-on travel essentials in a small handbag, you certainly need to carry packable, lightweight duffel on hand to tote with other essentials you are thinking to carry during your trip.

14. Just-in-case Travel Kit – Instead of keeping stain removers, safety pins, wet wipes etc. separately, Just-in-case Travel Kit is a must-have while traveling. Just order the one to pack for your long trip!

Remember the above-mentioned list whenever you pack your bag for a domestic or international trip.

How to Plan a Road Trip

leaves-thanksgiving-fall

With the holidays near an affordable alternative to flying is to take a Road Trip! 

Although road trips do take more time getting to a destination compared to flying, road trips hold an intimacy that flying just can’t match.  Road trips allow flexibility in where you go, who you can take along, and what memories you can make on the way. 

Basically road trips rule out most of your travel excuses: travel cost too much, I decided last minute, I don’t have enough vacation days, not sure where to go and the list goes on. 

Road trips allow you the flexibility to drive one major or small city over for 2 nights if choose. Who said adventures only take places thousands of miles away? I have had some pretty great trips within 200 miles from my home. That’s less a 2.5-hour drive.  

I particularly find road trips convenient for family travel whether that’s a larger group of people on varying budgets or toddlers in tow.

Here are my must-do tips for planning road trips that I use often and I plan to use for my road trip to Alabama this week: 

Must-do tips for planning road trips

black-guy-in-road-fall-road-trip
  1. Rent a car if your car is unreliable. Nothing is worse than being stuck on the side of the road when you should be relaxing. Priceline has pretty low prices starting at $10.95 per day for a rental car. 
  2. Double check your credit card perks for free insurance for the rental. Save that $60 at the rental car pick up desk by booking your rental with a credit card that covers rental insurance. Just call the 800 number on the back of your credit card and ask about your rental insurance perks then use that card to book at Priceline or another online rental booking provider. Then kindly turn down the insurance at the check-in desk. 
  3. Clean the car! Rental or not, we sanitize every inch of the car and clean it to ensure maximum comfort on the road. 
  4. Double check the oil, tires, windshield wipers and outlets for charging devices. 
  5. Check that all tire changing essentials are in the vehicle.  
  6. Bring a real map. I know it’s 2018 but strange things have happened in 2018. One can never be too safe or sure most rest stops have maps just pick one up in route. 
  7. Use GPS with caution know that they are not always accurate the usual Google Maps and Waze are idea here. 
  8. Do use the Google or Waze traffic predictor to avoid traffic rushes if you have a specific destination in mind. 
  9. Preload your phone or iPad with movies, music, subscriptions, audio books and of course podcast!
  10. Pack wholesome snacks. Junk food sounds like a good idea for the first hour then it’s all bad. Fuel up wisely to keep up the energy and momentum. 
  11. Pack light. Save space and gas.
  12. Get off on exits with multiple gas stations or use a gas station app for the best prices. A couple of my favorites are Waze and Gas Buddy
  13. Plan lodging at least roughly. Have an idea of what is available in the area your routing to and you should also look into availability. Hotel Tonight is a cool app for last minute bookings.
black-girl-peaceful-tree

14. Do stop to smell the roses. The whole point of a road trip is seeing new and cool things. Stop and explore. 

Have an cool road trip resource or story? Please share in the comments.

Until Next Week… Enjoy your Thanksgiving and as always.



Design a Life You Love,

Kristiana 


Listen to the How to Plan a Road Trip Podcast

black_woman_lights

How do we live more satisfying lives?

In a day where Kanye embarrassed Black America by displaying the highest level coonery during his White House visit with Trump, Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc on Florida’s Panhandle, Saudi Arabia — a vital U.S. ally is being investigated for conducting beheadings, and a Kardashians is meeting the President of Uganda, literally all at the same time.

I beg the question… honestly a million questions but let’s start with this one.

How do we live more satisfying lives?

That is a complex question. Depending on who you ask it can lead to even more complex answers. I have been meditating on this question for years it seems and the only answers that come to me time and time again are.

In order of importance:

Increased Spirituality/Hope – For me that’s Christianity
Authentic Love – Family, friends, neighbors, support circles, community
Vision/Goals – New experiences that inspire new thoughts to lead to new goals

Spirituality & Love – I believe we can live more satisfying lives if we have a hopeful mindset that we are not doing this daily walk in life alone. Research has proven time and time again that we are connection heavy beings 
we desire a sense of community and love. Both spirituality and love from friends and family provide that.

Now if for some unfortunate reason you don’t believe that it is possible where you are, perhaps you can find it – many people do by following the next few points in this article.

Vision & Goals – If we have better life experiences we can shape better visions for the future. Naturally, if we have better visions we can plan more fulfilling goals. If we have goals that are challenging but realistic we won’t give up or get stuck in the same ol’ same ol’.

In 2017, only 33% of Americans surveyed said they were happy. In 2016, just 31% of Americans reported the same. Reported in a study conducted by The Harris Poll (https://theharrispoll.com/ )

It’s obvious that the majority of Americans are unhappy because goals and values are centered around things that wouldn’t make you happy even if you had a million years to achieve them. We all know them: money, sex/beauty, power, and fame.

Do we boast money, sex/beauty, power, and fame in our country’s motto?

No, but we might as well. Here’s a list of the top paid celebrities of 2018. Our culture is celebrity obsessed so it is important to consider this lens when discussing this topic.

Peek at #3? What the actual what?

Forces Top Paid Celebrity List 2018

Money, sex and fame are Kylie Jenner’s sole brand components and she is #3 on the list next to people who have perfected their crafts over 10+ years at the minimum.

The brand that rakes in most of her earnings has only been around for 1 year and 10 months. Some of the people on this list has been building their careers for longer than she’s been alive. Kylie also ranked in $900 million this year and next up was Judge Judy at only $400 million so not only is she #3 but she is #3 by leaps and bounds.

Kylie Cosmetics has sold more than $630 million worth of makeup since its founding in February 2016.

To be very clear most of these people are doing work that isn’t exactly the noblest so I don’t mean to single her out entirely. I used her as an example because of her scope of influence and short tenure in the industry.

Additionally, I respect the amount of work athletes, artist and actors have to put in to achieve the level of professional success required to reach this list; I cannot say the same for Jenner.

I love makeup more than the average girl so I am not knocking the category but I do have an M.S. in Marketing and can assure you the make-up she sells is not what got her $630 million dollars.

Americans bought because Kylie exudes money, sex/beauty, and fame.

Do they know they won’t get money, sex/beauty, and fame from a lip gloss?
Consciously, yes of course! But they don’t care it makes them feel empowered even if only for a moment.

What if I told you there’s a better way.

A way to feel lasting fulfillment that lingers in the soul.
A way to escape, grow and fall in love all at the same time.

The advertising industry wants your minority dollar to buy red bottoms/sneakers, bags, cars, sunglasses, cologne/perfume, and even Kylie’s lip kits for the lips they modeled after you.   👀

But what they don’t target your minority persona for are all those experiences that will truly enrich your life; like travel.

Travel is the only thing that makes you richer.  


There is nothing else that you can buy, other than educational tools like books and seminars, that will actually make you richer on the inside and expand your mind to limitless possibilities.

Here at I Choose the Latter you will learn how to budget for travel, plan for travel and where to travel.  You will be exposed to is the realness on how to elevate  beyond these borders lingering in our minds from our American programming. Think of it as Minority Elevation – Decoded.

Welcome Aboard… Check out my podcast for further discussion on the topic and sign up to be alerted on new post. 

Kristiana White Black Travel Advocate

Welcome

Here at I Choose the Latter, you will learn how to plan eye-opening vacations, budget for travel, and how to elevate beyond those borders lingering in our minds from all the scarcity mentality American programming.

Basically, you’ll learn a better way.

A better way to spend your disposable income.
A better way to invest your time off.
A better way to impact the lives of other minorities in your circle.

A better way to live.
A way to feel lasting fulfillment that lingers in the soul.
A way to escape, grow and fall in love all at the same time.

Think of it as Minority Elevation – Decoded.

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I will give you the juicy details here and give you the insights as to how I decided to write about the topic on my podcast, answer any questions about the post, and give you actionable next steps to make your travel dreams a reality.