Welcome to a new decade! I'm starting off my 2020 with a bang by being featured in the January 2020 issue of Uploader Magazine. Uploader Magazine is a new digital and print magazine designed for the content creator community. When the magazine's founder, Cheryl de Marco, asked if she could feature me and my travels in a 3 page spread in Uploader I was initially surprised because I enjoy creating travel content because I genuinely have a passion for it not because I am seeking clout or popularity. Traveling has given me exciting experiences and a way to connect with fellow adventurers. It’s so surreal seeing my name and photos in an actual magazine - I still can’t believe I have my FIRST MAGAZINE FEATURE! This has been something that I have always wanted to accomplish and now it's happened. Thank you Cheryl for recognizing and showcasing my work. What a way to start 2020! I'm excited for all this year has to offer! Check out the screenshots from the magazine feature below and if you are interested in purchasing the digital or print version please go directly to the Uploader Magazine website.
Recently, I got the opportunity to host various interviews and on-camera segments for Cybercrime Magazine. In one of the episodes, I discussed technology and cybersecurity risks with a CEO of a tech company and a C-suite executive at an international bank. I'm incredibly grateful to Cybercrime Magazine for allowing me to be a representative for other young, minority women in STEM fields. Representation matters, especially in STEM professions where women and minorities are barely present. For the full interview, check out the Media section!
I recently finished writing another travel guide for One Day Itinerary where I talk about my Grand Cayman trip. This is my 3rd time collaborating with the travel site and I'm grateful to continue to have the opportunity to work with the brand.
In my guest post for One Day Itinerary, I share a detailed schedule of activities to fill a whole day while in the Cayman Islands. I also share some photos from my vacation.
Check out the Top Things to Do on Grand Cayman and don't forget to like and share the article on social media!
A few years ago, my family stopped exchanging gifts for Christmas and, instead, we go on a family vacation. Since we now live in different parts of the world, Christmas is one of the few times of the year that we’re all together. For our 2018 family vacation, we decided to travel to Grand Cayman.
Grand Cayman is considered an off-the grid retreat for vacationers, offering a perfect representation of the laid-back island lifestyle. The island boasts pristine beaches, luxury shopping and delightful cuisine which is why it should earn a spot on your bucket list. Grand Cayman is part of the Cayman Islands - a group of 3 islands that are also a British Overseas Territory. Grand Cayman is the largest island while Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are the smaller islands.
George Town is the capital of the Cayman Islands and its largest city. In addition to having the international airport and cruise ports, George Town also has a variety of restaurants, shops, and bars. Due to its major attractions, George Town is usually packed with crowds so plan accordingly.
What to Do
Grand Cayman has some of the most gorgeous white sand beaches such as Seven Mile Beach and Rum Point Beach. In fact, Seven Mile Beach has been named one of the “best beaches in the world” by MSN and Trip Advisor. All beaches in Grand Cayman are public so you don’t have to worry about trespassing on private property. One of my favorite memories from the Cayman trip, was talking and walking along the seashore with my sisters. Grand Cayman’s numerous beaches greatly contribute to the island’s charm and appeal.
Cave exploring is an adventurous activity to consider trying while in Grand Cayman. Cayman Crystal Caves charges $40 USD per person for a guided tour through 3 different caves where you can observe underground stalactite and stalagmite limestone formations. A bonus perk is the resourceful guides also double as photographers to capture your moments exploring the cave.
If you’re traveling to Grand Cayman, you might as well include a day trip to the other isles in the Cayman Islands. You can reach Little Cayman or Cayman Brac in a brief 30-40-minute flight from Grand Cayman. In addition to flights, ferries are another mode of transportation to get to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. Both islands offer distinctive attractions - Cayman Brac appeals to deep-sea divers while Little Cayman is known for scuba diving.
Where to Stay
Housing in Grand Cayman can be expensive considering that the Cayman Islands is a popular destination for affluent vacationers and is notoriously known as a haven for storing offshore bank accounts. Even though Grand Cayman is known as an expensive destination, there is still affordable lodging available on the island. You can search for reasonably priced rentals on AirBnB or VRBO. These accommodations are usually cheaper than hotels and a major perk is the ability to use the kitchen to cook which will save you from eating out for every meal while on vacation.
Getting Around the Island
Everything on the island is so spread out so you will need to get a rental car. Most of the rental car companies are right across from the international airport in Georgetown which makes accessing them quite convenient. While the rental car rate is rather expensive at around $150 - $250 per day, it is still a cheaper mode of transportation compared to taking a taxi to every destination on the island. Ride share services like Uber and Lyft are not available on Grand Cayman which is why the rental car companies can charge a premium as there is no other transportation alternative for travelers.
Things to Remember
Americans usually enjoy a favorable currency exchange rate while abroad due to the relative strength of the American dollar. However, in the Cayman Islands, the American dollar is the only national currency that is weaker than the Caymanian dollar. So, if you’re an American traveler and don’t exchange your currency before your trip, be prepared to lose some money due to the conversion rate.
Check out more pics from my Cayman Islands trip below (click on the photos to view in full size):
Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed on OPEN - a live cable show on the BronxNet TV channel in NYC. I talked about how millennials can save money, pay off debt and still afford to travel. It was a great experience and I'm looking forward to more TV appearances in the near future!
Click here to watch the segment!
As a proud Nigerian, I'm excited and honored that Naija Nomads asked to interview me about my solo travel experiences.
Naija Nomads is a travel brand that curates trips in Africa and highlights Nigerian travelers around the world.
Click here to read the full interview!
A few weeks ago, One Day Itinerary asked me to write a travel guide based on my trip to Tulum, Mexico. I'm excited to collaborate with this travel site for a 2nd time.
In my guest post, I share history about Tulum, tips for traveling there and pics from my recent trip.
Please check out my article Top Things to Do in Tulum on One Day Itinerary and provide any feedback!
After only spending around $600 on my Mexico solo trip, I wanted to plan another budgeted solo trip. Cuba requires all travelers to purchase a travel visa to enter the country, so I knew this trip might be slightly more expensive but I was up for the challenge. My airline (United Airlines) sold travel visas at the gate for $75 however each U.S. airline sets their own prices for Cuban travel visas.
Let me start off by saying I do speak Spanish which made my solo trip to Cuba much easier. For example, in Viñales, I met some locals while I was out in town shopping, we started talking and made plans to meet up the next day so they could show me their favorite places. If I didn’t speak Spanish, I wouldn’t have been able to converse with them and would not have received the invitation to hang out. One of the highlights of my trip was when Cubans thought I was Cuban or Colombian because of my Spanish skills!
In Havana, I enjoyed wandering the cobblestoned streets, eating from food stands and dancing with a salsa band in the vibrant Plaza Vieja neighborhood. While Havana is still a developing city without some amenities such as Internet, it’s still more modernized compared to the Cuban countryside. So if you are looking for an authentic, cultural experience it’s recommended to spend more time in other parts of the island.
During my stay in Havana, I stayed in a casa particular. Casa particulares are private homes that people open up and invite guests to stay in for a small fee. Casa particulares are an economic way to stay in Cuba and it gives you the opportunity to interact with local Cubans and immerse yourself in the culture. Also, it helps the Cuban economy since the average Cuban salary is about 20-30 CUCs per month (1 CUC is equal to 1 USD). You can book a casa particular when you arrive or by emailing a hostel or hotel ahead of time and asking them to reserve a room.
While I was staying in Havana, I took a day trip to Varadero, a town mainly known for its beaches and clear ocean water. I felt a day was sufficient to spend on the beach so I didn’t plan to spend more than a few hours there. Note it takes around 1.5 hours to drive to Varadero from Havana so plan accordingly. I hired a taxi driver for the day to take me to Varadero and back which was quite expensive. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to get to Varadero, you can take a “taxi collectivo” (shared taxi with other passengers) for 20 CUCs each way.
After a lackluster stay in Havana, I was pleasantly surprised by my “casa particular” in Viñales. Even though it was in the countryside, there were new appliances in the room and bathroom. I was greeted with a huge dinner upon my arrival at the house. Also, every morning the house owner prepared a delicious breakfast. I highly recommend the following casa particular (Casa Ernesto y La China: firstname.lastname@example.org) if you ever visit Viñales.
Viñales is a town with much natural beauty so there are many outdoor activities to do. There’s a Viñales Bus Tour that you can catch every 1.5 hours in front of the church located in the town square or at any of the other tour stops. The hop-on, hop-off bus tour takes you to different sights in and around Viñales such as Cuevas de Indios (Indian caves), Mural de la Prehistoria, and Parque Nacional. For only 5 CUCs it is a great deal. Walking is another great way to explore the natural beauty of this place and a horseback riding tour is a good way to see the town as well.
Like I mentioned before, while I was out and about in Viñales, some locals started talking to me and we eventually made plans to meet up the next day. We ended up hiking for 2 hours to reach a secluded natural swimming pool in the mountains. It was an amazing experience to be guided by a local who showed me one of their favorite places in Viñales. Some other activities you can do in Viñales are go on some of the farm tours like tobacco, coffee or potato to see how the crops are grown and harvested. You also get to taste the goods too!
Total Expenses for Cuba Trip
$280 – flight (round trip, nonstop)
$75 – Cuban travel visa
140 CUC – casa particulares for 7 nights (20 CUC per night)
380 CUC – spending money (for taxis, food, souvenirs/gifts, activities)
520 CUC + $355 = $875
Check out more pics from my Cuba trip below (click on the photos to view in full size):
When I found out The Uncharted Co was looking to sponsor travel bloggers’ hotel stays in Singapore, I jumped at the opportunity to apply because YOLO! Then when they notified me that they accepted my application, I couldn’t believe it my dream would soon be a reality because I had never traveled to Asia but have always wanted to. Singapore is both a city and a country that has much to offer. This island was formerly under China’s rule but is now recognized as its own autonomous city-state.
The official language of Singapore is English so there’s hardly a language barrier when communicating with people in the country. Another advantage about Singapore is its safety. As a solo female traveler, safety is extremely important to me. When I was talking to locals, they said Singapore rarely has any crime which can partly be attributed to its strictly enforced laws. Can you believe in Singapore the penalty for smuggling illegal cigarettes into the country is death? The only time I really saw police was at the airport which emphasizes the fact that there is hardly any crime on the island.
Taxis are definitely the way to get around Singapore because they are cheap and will allow you to quickly get from one side of the island to another. For example, 10-15 mins of taxi service costs about $15 Singapore dollars. Singapore also has a highly-rated public transportation system which is cheaper than taxis.
Hotels & Hostels
Some of the most popular luxury hotels in Singapore are Marina Bay Sands, Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton. The advantages of staying in one of these places are easy access to rooftop views, 5-star restaurants, and other high-class amenities.
However, if you don’t want to spend $300+ dollars per night for a room, I would highly recommend Singapore hostels such as 5 Foot Way Inn, Bunc and Hive. These accommodations are affordable, offer private rooms or dorm style rooms and most provide free breakfast. Some hostels even include unique amenities such as bikes for rent or “capsule beds” which are small pods that enclose around you making for a memorable sleep experience. Since all of the hostels are located in cultural districts of Singapore such as Little India or Chinatown, you will be able to explore authentic music, food and art while interacting with locals and other travelers.
I stayed at Bunc and it was my first time staying at any hostel. It was a unique experience where I got to hang out with other young ladies from China, Austria and UK. I also liked that Bunc was in the middle of the Little India neighborhood so I got the chance to explore that side of Singapore that most tourists do not get to see.
Things to Do
I'm glad I applied for the travel blogger sponsorship because otherwise I would not have ventured to explore a wonderful country. Thank you Uncharted Co!
Check out more pics from my Singapore trip below (click on the photos to view in full size):
Chichén Itzá is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World along with the other UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Taj Majal, Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Roman Colosseum, Christ the Redeemer statue, and Petra, Jordan. After graduating with my 2nd master’s degree last month, I figured it would be a perfect chance to treat myself and check Chichén Itzá off my bucket list. I flew into Cancun and used Cancun as my base during the trip and took day trips to Chichén Itzá and Tulum.
For both of the day trips from Cancun to Chichén Itzá and Tulum, I booked them through MyCancunTours. I highly recommend MyCancunTours because they have numerous tour options at affordable prices. The tour company picked me up from my hotel and shuttled me and other travelers to the tour locations. (If you are staying in the Hotel Zone or in other certain hotels close to the airport, MyCancunTours offers complimentary pickup and drop off included in their excursions.) After the excursions, the shuttle conveniently dropped me off at my hotel. The price of both tours was roughly $35 USD which included an entrance ticket to see the ruins as well as lunch on the tour bus.
On the way to Chichén Itzá, stopping in Valladolid is a must for travelers. Valladolid is mostly known for its Spanish influences, classic cars and picturesque buildings with walls painted vibrant colors. Throughout Valladolid, you can find street peddlers selling handcrafted trinkets and goods which makes the town a great opportunity to interact with locals and immerse in Yucatan culture.
The Chichén Itzá tour operated by MyCancunTours is a full day excursion that is filled with other activities such as swimming in a cenote, visiting a Mayan village where you can eat a traditional lunch. It was definitely a surreal experience seeing Chichén Itzá up close! It is one thing to see a historical monument on TV or read about it in a book however it's a whole different feeling to see it in person. I found myself being amazed and speechless at Chichén Itzá ruins.
You can’t come to Cancun and not make a stop in Tulum so I decided to check it out and see for myself if the hype about Tulum was valid. Compared to the ruins at Chichén Itzá, the Mayan ruins in Tulum are less impressive. However, Tulum makes up for this with its gorgeous beaches and clear ocean views.
Check out more photos from Chichén Itzá & Tulum below (click on the photos to view in full size):
Lola is a multimedia journalist. This blog is a space for her to share budget travel tips and her travel experiences.