I'm pleased to announce that my article "Lola's Top 10 Ways to Save Time & Money on Your Travels" is published in the February 2020 issue of Uploader Magazine. In the article, you will find practical tips to search for the best flight deals and other useful travel hacks. As mentioned in my previous blog post, Uploader Magazine is a magazine committed to promoting content creators and providing creatives with material to improve their artistic work. I am incredibly thankful to the founder & editor-in-chief, Cheryl de Marco, for featuring me again in the magazine. Check out the screenshots from the published article below and if you're interested in purchasing the digital or print version please go directly to the Uploader Magazine website.
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.
My birthday is December 29th so I usually plan a trip for my birthday which also doubles as a New Year's trip. This year for my birthday, I decided to travel to Puerto Rico again. My first trip to PR was 6 years ago with one of my college friends. This time around, I went with my boyfriend and I felt blessed to experience new adventures while I was there. Two days after we left to go back home, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico. I'm thankful to God we were not stranded or caught in the earthquake frenzy. The whole experience served as a reminder that life is short and you should count your blessings. In Puerto Rico, we got the opportunity to sail a boat in the Caribbean Sea, ride ATVs in the jungle, explore El Yunque Rainforest and wander around Old San Juan. Overall, this birthday trip was exactly what I needed after a crazy year and it helped me relax and recuperate so I could start off 2020 refreshed!
Pictures to come soon!....
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: email@example.com) 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):
Lola is a multimedia journalist. This blog is a space for her to share budget travel tips and her travel experiences.