Fall 2018 Study Abroad Scholarship
We are excited to announce that Wanderlust Revolution has Launched our Fall 2018 Study Abroad Scholarship! We are so excited to give out another scholarship to ensure another young Detroiter can see the world. Please spread the word to anyone you know who will be studying abroad soon. Deadline to apply is October 14th. Please click the link below for more info.
Wanderlust Revolution Fall 2018 Study Abroad Scholarship
Spring 2018 Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient Impact Letter
Congratulations to our Spring 2018 Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient. Seaira is a Junior at The University of Michigan where she recently studied Global Course Connections (GCC) in Dodoma, Tanzania! “While abroad I will be sure to check my privilege and actively engage with the culture by asking Tanzania natives about their culture, especially the things that I do not understand. Furthermore, I will be sure to enter the communities as someone who is there to learn and not as someone who has something to give to those communities.” Seaira had a life-changing time in Tanzania and Wanderlust Revolution was so happy they can help this amazing soul see the world.
The Wanderlust Scholarship was truly a blessing in regards to impacting my experience during my study abroad trip in Tanzania. Receiving the funds from the Wanderlust Scholarship helped to ease the financial burden of an international trip. Traveling abroad is a very expensive endeavor and though I received some funding from the University of Michigan, everything in regards to my study abroad program was not covered. Specifically, the Wanderlust Scholarship contributed to my food costs, transportation costs, and some emergency situations. During the trip an unexpected costs came up and the funds from the Wanderlust Scholarship allowed for me to easily cover that cost without much worry. Receiving the funds from the Wanderlust Scholarship truly allowed for me to have an amazing experience in Tanzania. I had the opportunity to focus completely on developing my knowledge of Swahili and to explore Tanzanian culture. My goal for my study abroad trip was to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Swahili and to gain some insight into a culture that was similar to my own. As someone who is Kenyan-American, I have always wanted to connect more with that side of my heritage. Regardless of the fact that I am second-generation Kenyan, that part of my heritage is super important to me. When I chose this program it was to aid me in learning my family’s language to act as a gateway to me learning our tribal language (Kikuyu). I also wanted to experience African culture first-hand to hopefully connect more with my Kenyan heritage and the Wanderlust Scholarship afforded me that privilege. While in Tanzania we got to do some amazing things such as visit Tanzanian Parliament and meet the Speaker, visit different markets, see some traditional dances, and go on two amazing safaris. My experience in Tanzania was so enlightening and so life-changing and I can’t wait to travel back to Africa again. I know that this would not have been possible without the Wanderlust Scholarship and I am forever grateful.
Wanderlust Revolution Spring 2018 Study Abroad Scholarship!
Wanderlust Revolution 2018 Spring Study Abroad Scholarship
We are excited to announce that Wanderlust Revolution has Launched our Spring 2018 Study Abroad Scholarship! So excited to give out our first one. Please spread the word to anyone you know who will be studying abroad soon. Deadline to apply is April 1st. Please click the link below for more info.
Wanderlust Revolution 2018 Spring Study Abroad Scholarship
YOUR Movement is apart of THE Movement
How I worked full-time and traveled to 16 countries
2017 was the year of manifestations for me. After my first solo trip, I realized I didn’t need to wait on others to see the world. I then set a goal of visiting 27 countries by my 27th Birthday. I don’t want to paint this fairy tale picture for you all in which you believe that anybody can travel. No they cannot! Especially “those people” who have been socially, politically and economically oppressed for centuries now. However, I had a goal so I had to make a plan. How was I going to see the world on a teacher’s salary?
Fortunately enough for me, during the beginning of my travels I had a few financial advantages that worked in my favor. First off, I am a very very frugal individual, I live with my parents, I don’t go out much and I believe in saving money at all costs. I am actually a minimalist at heart which makes me feel like I can cheat at this game called “adulting.” Beyond that though, I utilize a few different strategies with a goal of seeing the world.
Deals Not Trends
I determine my travels not on the latest trend but based on the deals. The deals determine where I will go next. I am loyal to several flight deal websites: “Scott’s Cheap Flights” and “Skiplagged” are a couple of my faithfuls. Whenever I find an amazing deal I can’t resist, I go for it! Which saves me thousands of dollars in the long run as my rule of thumb is never spending more than $500 on a plane ticket. For instance, Iceland and Sweden would have never crossed my mind as a travel destination for me in 2017 until I saw that I can travel to both of those countries for a mere $300 and I am so glad I booked that ticket.
Open-Jaws & Long-Hauls
Another technique I use is booking open-jaw flights and long-layovers. An open-jaw is a round-trip ticket where you leave a different airport than you originally arrived which gives you a chance to see two cities for the price of one. I usually book my open-jaws through ITA Matrix which is a bit tricky to navigate at first but gives you much more flexibility than other flight search engines which ultimately results in cheaper flights. Long-layovers also have this privilege which means you can spend up to a day in a city waiting to go to your final destination. This was how I was able to explore Beijing and Frankfurt this year. Some people hate long-layovers but I love them, especially if they give me a chance to see a new city. Beijing even had layover tours where your guide will pick you right up from the airport and will assess your itinerary based on how much time you have until your next flight.
Credit Card Travel Rewards
I also used my credit card points to book a flight last year. My recent flight to Rome cost me only $11 because I used my credit card reward points to book the flight. The credit card I use is Chase Sapphire Preferred. The card comes with a lot of benefits such as free trip insurance, baggage delay insurance, delay reimbursement and 2x the points that can be redeemed for cash so they are basically paying for you to travel. As a fair warning, the card does have a 25.99% APR so if you cannot pay off your card every month to avoid the interest rate then you might want to weigh your options before getting this card. But if you are thinking about getting the card, they have a 100k point in branch deal for 4k in the first 3 months. That’s worth about $2000 bucks in travel credit itself. Worth it!
I save a lot of money by staying in more affordable Airbnbs and Hostels. I believe I only stayed in a hotel once while abroad and that was only because I was with my son and wanted him to have all the amenities. If you are a person that values an upscale lodging experience then you may struggle a little with this one but I spend very little time in my room when I travel so a bed and shower is all that is needed for me. I have spent as low as $10/night for a room while abroad. I have even “Coachsurfed” once which is staying with a local for a night or two while you learn more about their culture and they learn more about yours (which was absolutely free may I add!) and to top it off, I made a lifelong friend in the process. Worth it!
The ultimate thing that helped me travel more in 2017 is I learned to master the “50-30-20 Rule.” If you guys are not familiar with the rule it says:
- 50% of your income should go to living expenses and essentials. This includes your rent, utilities, and things like groceries and transportation for work.
- 30% of your income should be used for flexible spending. This is everything you buy that you want but don’t necessarily need (like money spent on movies and travel).
- 20% of your income should go to financial goals, meaning your savings, investments, and debt payments (such as credit card payments).
This financial rule has supplemented and disciplined my life so much. The most difficult part is being consistent and committed. 2017 was the most compromising I have done in all my life. The main things I gave up was eating out so much and impulse buying. And mostly all of my 30% flexible spending went to my travels every check. My 2018 goal though is to flip this rule so that 50% goes to savings, 30% goes to bills, and 20% goes to wants because my ultimate goal is to save as much as possible in 2018.
It also doesn’t hurt that I am an educator and fortunately for us, we get a lot of what many people would call “breaks” but what educators would call “restitution for unpaid overtime.” I use that time to recharge, reflect and pour into myself which I don’t often get a chance to do and I do this by traveling. My students will tell you that I rarely take days off. Last year, I only took a day off to dispute a traffic ticket in court and another day off because my son was sick; the rest of my 12 PTO days were strategically planned for traveling in extension to the winter breaks, spring breaks, etc. I also work extremely hard at my job so when I take a day or two off for whatever it may be, it is looked at as something that was earned not given.
So as you can see no I am no drug dealer, no I don’t travel for a living and no I don’t run a lucrative business that grosses insane amounts of cash each month. I am blessed to have traveled to 16 countries in 2017 and hope to travel to a lot more in 2018. I think as a generation we need to stop assuming that traveling is such an expensive endeavor (it can be but it doesn’t have to be.) I suggest you do your own research, assess your funds and JUST GO! So in 2018, don’t ask any questions, don’t wait for others to join you, don’t ponder on the “what if?” Honestly, JUST GO!
Marrakech: The Red City
Morocco definitely earned its spot as my most memorable solo trip of 2017. I always get questions about why I haven’t traveled to Africa yet out of all the countries I’ve been to. My simple answer here is AFFORDABILITY. It’s funny cause White America always yelling go back to your country but if they really wanted us to go back then they would make those tickets a lot more affordable but let’s analyze this situation. Africa does not need to be so expensive to get to but it is so that we won’t go back so that we won’t learn our history, our worth, our culture, our people. When I got my passport, I told myself I would not step on any European soil until I touched Mother Africa’s first! That was until I saw those Mother Africa plane ticket prices. It is my mission to know thyself before I know any others but I also have to be realistic about my finances as well. Some people will turn their eye to Africa (all 54 countries) for reasons that encompass global anti-blackness altogether like Africa is poor, war-torn and dangerous. The fact that many people still view Africa as disenfranchised and not a “vacation” spot is the real issue here. Africa is the second largest continent on Earth. There are so many beautiful beaches, cultural customs & traditions throughout the countries in Africa that most people don’t know about. I’m not here to convince anyone that Africa is a good choice for them to explore but I’m glad I finally got there and with a nice flight deal, Morocco was my Gateway.
I got a flight deal alert about Morocco from Chicago for only $465 which is a deal I couldn’t resist as I often don’t receive flight deal emails to anywhere in Africa in general. My outbound flight was a red-eye flight and seemed very quick and effortless as I went from Chicago to Lisbon and Lisbon to Morocco. I arrived in Morocco and the first thing I did was head to the ATM to get some local currency. Morocco is not one of those places that is credit card friendly so the ATM is your friend. If you forget or run out, there are many ATMs all around Marrakech so no worries here. I took the airport bus service (line 19) to get into the city for 30 Dirham which is about 3 US dollars. The bus runs every 30 minutes so it was very convenient and much cheaper than the $30 private transfer my Riad was offering me. If you are not really a bus person, you can always take a taxi for a bit more cash. The taxi drivers will sometimes though try to convince you that the airport bus is not running just so you will ride with them so be cautious of this. The bus lets you off right in front of Jamaa el Fna Square which is the heart and center of Marrakech and only a short walk from my riad.
A Riad is traditional house in Morocco. From the outside, the riads are plain walls, but ducking through the heavy wooden doors reveals beautiful, peaceful courtyards that are a little bit of paradise. Now once I got to Jamaa el Fna it was very hard to navigate my way to my riad being that Marrakech doesn’t really have streets or street signs. I would suggest downloading MAPS.me, an app you can use offline to help you in your navigation around the city. Locals saw me with my suitcase and saw me looking flustered and of course flocked to me in order to help (for a small fee of course). I could have easily found the place on my own with a little more time but they were persistent and wouldn’t take no for an answer so they safely guided me to my riad and I thanked them with 40 dirham which they made it seem like wasn’t enough but accepted it anyways.
There are so many beautiful riads in Marrakech and most can be booked through Airbnb, I stayed in Princesse Chacha Riad which was in the heart of the city but a little isolated so I didn’t have to listen to the hustle & bustle late at night. Most riads also come with a light breakfast every morning. Mines did and it was delicious. It mainly consisted of 2 bread dishes with jelly, yogurt, coffee, fresh squeezed juice and of course tea. I spent that day exploring the city and just getting lost in the Medina alleyways (which is very easy to do by the way so make sure you’re careful). At night, the street performers come alive and it can be entertaining to watch but remember no entertainment in Marrakech is free, they will want royalties especially if they see you are taking pictures or videos. So I would suggest to just try to live in the moment instead of trying to capture everything unless you are ready to pay the fees.
Honestly being in the Medina can sometimes be exhausting and overwhelming. For instance, one lady came up to me and grabbed my arm and insisted to do a henna on it, I constantly said no and tried to yank my hand away but she persisted then tries to ask for a payment for it when I blatantly told her i didn’t want it and won’t be paying for it. Now, I recognize that the people there are just trying to survive so I respect the hustle but sometimes the haggling wasn’t worth my peace of mind and I know I was especially targeted being a solo black female traveler. But on Day 2, I kinda got the hang of things and became an expert in saying “La Shukran” which means “No, Thank You” in Arabic. The souks are a great place to shop, especially at night as it seemed like things were much cheaper at night. Just be prepared to leave the item you want and know there are a thousand other places that sell the same thing so be reasonable. Always bargain down for any gift you buy. Never accept the first price they quote. Be confident in your bargaining and shop around.
Now out of all the amazing things I can say about Marrakech, the thing I want to highlight most is their food. Moroccan Tanjine, a hearty stew of vegetables and meat cooked in a claypot, would have to be the best thing I ever ate on vacation and I literally ate it everyday, twice a day in different varieties. It was so flavorful and the herbs and spices sit on your tongue well after you are done with the meal. I would suggest going into one of the alleyways and getting a meal from a low-key, untouched restaurant. From my experience, those are the restaurants with the best food. I had the best chicken Tanjine at La Porte du Monde. Listen, the food in Morocco is unmatched.
The trip to the Atlas Mountains is a must do if you ever go to Morocco. I’ve never experienced air so crisp and clean and you get to indulge in the Berber Culture, descendants of the pre-arab indigenous people. They usually live in the mountains away from the city life and they are very hospitable when you come into their village. The have a very communal atmosphere and I bought a lot of stuff there because everything they make goes back into the community as a whole. I even was able to help a group of Beber women produce argan oil to sell in their village store and was able to have a nice home cooked meal with the family and was even able to ride camels into the sunset at the end of the day.
I would also recommend the Ouzoud Falls tour through Viator. We hiked the waterfall which was for sure a dangerous excursion but so worth it. We were able to ride in a boat under the waterfall then had lunch under the falls where we were accompanied by monkeys. Afterwards you are able to do a little shopping which is a little cheaper than the souks in Marrakech. The views from the waterfalls are scenic and serene. I also did a gardens tour through Viator where they take you to 3 gardens in Marrakech, the biggest and most explored being Jardin Majorelle. Jardin Majorelle is great but the other gardens are also breathtaking.
For a break from all the exploration, you can escape the streets for a traditional Moroccan hammam spa treatment. I got my hammam at Amouna Spa convinced to go there by a tout from Senegal, he showed me the spa and it was very warm and clean. I decided to go on my last day in Morocco right before I headed to the airport. It was such a relaxing experience. You first start off in a relaxing room where they serve you tea then you go to the bathhouse where they bathe you in a steamroom and completely renew your skin and spirit, it’s followed by an amazing one hour aromatherapy massage. This experience cannot be missed when you go to Morocco. The food and this hammam was the highlight of my trip.
You can take bus 19 to get back to the airport for the same price you came on. Please make sure you get to Menara Airport atleast 3 hours in advance, maybe even 4. It was pure chaos when I arrived, lines were out the door and nobody could tell me where to check in for my flight. Prepare to go through about 3 checkpoints before you get to your gate to board. It was about 20 of us who had to cut through lines because the guidance was so bad, we were almost about to miss our flight. I flew into Brussels then Brussels to Germany.
Had a 23-hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany and Frankfurt can definitely be done in a day. I got a 24-hour transit ticket and was able to travel around the city on all transportation. I even rented a bed for cheap at the convention center there. My highlight of Frankfurt was visiting The Stadel Museum. I absolutely love art and this museum is equivalent to the Louvre in Paris. I spent 3 ½ hours here and still felt like I didn’t see everything. A must visit when you are in Frankfurt. I was a day early for the Christmas Market that everyone raves about in Germany and was upset watching them set everything up but I visited the red light district and had the best doner sandwich and pomme frites that made up for it. Frankfurt is nonetheless a business city so not really an ultimate travel destination. Beyond that though, assertive white supremacy is real in Frankfurt and you will feel it.
Morocco is a no-brainer!! Go! & indulge in the history and architecture and savor the experience. I shall be back Morocco!
- I booked most of my tours through Viator. They usually have coupons.
- Do the Merzouga (Sahara Desert) tour and watch the stars under the night sky. I planned to do this but didn’t have enough time but everyone says it is amazing and a nice break from Marrakech city life.
- Download Maps.me or Google Maps offline. If you have TMobile, Morocco is not a country that is covered under their plan.
- The taxis will often try to rip you off. Nothing in the city is ever over 50 dih, even at night. I never rode the taxi though for this reason plus Marrakech is very walkable. If you are not a walker though, use the hop-on, hop-off bus.
- You will be offered Tea wherever you go, it’s their form of alcohol so if you don’t like tea, you better acquire a taste for it before you go.
- Speaking of alcohol, alcohol is scarce in Morocco. I don’t drink but the people I went on the tour with said they walked miles to get to a supermarket that sells alcohol and was stared up and down and gawked at for showing up to the checkout line with it.
- Most people in Morocco speak Arabic & French and only some people speak English. Learn a few phrases in either of these languages to communicate more effectively.
- Everything is fresh in Morocco as they grow everything there. Try something fresh like some fruit or nuts.
- It’s cheaper to fly into a Barcelona or Lisbon instead of Morocco directly. So fly to one of those cities and then catch a cheap local flight into Marrakech.
- Take a visit to Ben Youssef Madrasa which use to be an islamic learning center and bask in the architecture and beautiful array of doors.
- Cafe de France is a really popular restaurant for great views of the square during the night time. But go somewhere more local for your foodie needs.
- Don’t get scammed by the people in the Square!
- Try a Moroccan Cooking Class as Well! Sure to be a great experience.
- Stay in a Riad instead of a Hotel.
- Get a local guide as there is so much history and culture in Morocco, they can pour into you the most knowledge.
- Dress modestly and respect the culture.
Passport Support Giveaway Winner: Zone 2!
To alleviate stress, I listen to my music and draw. I don’t listen to music specifically made here in America, I listen to music from all over the world. Granted, I don’t know a lot of languages and I always have to look up the lyrics but these songs and music videos speak real truths. These songs have actual meaning to them and are conveying a real message. I realized that’s how culture is outside of America, where they have a different scale of what is important and what isn’t. I want to visit these places and talk to the natives and learn more about their culture rather than just Googling it. Since I am a hands-on learner, it’s my goal and my dream to see more of the world outside of America.
What I learned from getting my passport stolen abroad, TWICE!
Before traveling to Colombia, I never thought I would be in the conundrum I was in. The fact of life remains that you can be in the most developed of countries or one that is in a state of turmoil, your passport can get stolen anywhere and everywhere. It was our first day in Colombia & we went to the mall of course to do a little shopping. I remember reading somewhere to take your passport with you wherever you go because some countries require you to show it at random (first mistake!). I also was not cautious at all about keeping it discreet and out of sight (second mistake!). I just didn’t think someone would go for my passport. My wallet & money of course were as secure as gold right at my hip but my passport was carelessly lounging on top of my shopping bag as we continued to walk through the mall. We got to the food court & I immediately noticed it was missing. I didn’t panic at first as I just assumed it was hiding in my bag or backpack somewhere. We got back to our room & I tore everything apart looking for it to no avail. We went back to the mall to try to recover it the next day still to no avail, I said forget it and tried to enjoy the rest of our time there until I couldn’t put it off anymore.
The third day came and luckily I had amazing friends who stayed in Colombia who helped me through the process of obtaining a new passport as I came to terms with the fact that it was stolen. We had to take a bus to the next city to file a police report then I had to book a flight to Bogota where the US Embassy resides to apply for a new passport. The process was daunting & took all day. I first had to go to a processing place right outside the embassy to get my picture & all my documents processed for a whooping $70. Extortion, I tell you! I didn’t know this & unfortunately didn’t bring enough money for this as they only accept cash. And they will tell you the astronomical price only after they have processed your picture & all your documents. I waited there for a couple hours as she wouldn’t let me go until I paid them. I assured them that I would come back after I came from the embassy. I did not, I tried to go to the bank nearby to obtain some cash but none of their banks nearby worked with my card. I still feel horrible to this day but in reality it was only $15 and there was no way I was about to get stuck in Bogota because of a greedy extortionist. I paid the $130 passport fee & luckily got my passport just in time to catch my flight back to Cartagena and enjoy one last memorable night there. Thank God this was not a solo trip because if it wasn’t for my sands and friends who lived there, I honestly can’t tell you what I would have done.
I got back to the US & traded in my 3-month limited validity passport for a full-validity one and said to myself I learned my lesson. So I thought, until 5 weeks later my sands & I were back for another adventure in Costa Rica. Embarrassing enough, I got myself in the same exact predicament I was in just a mere month ago. This time, the thieves were even more sly than they were in Colombia. We got to Costa Rica really late at night & decided to chill in the airport for a few hours until the morning hit and we could take a taxi to our Airbnb. Now I am pretty sure my passport was stolen even before we sat down which is crazy because, how? Again, I noticed my passport wasn’t on me & like before I didn’t panic. We enjoyed our trip & I literally didn’t speak of it until the last day. We got back to San Juan from Quepos & I tried to make an appointment with the passport agency only to find out it was a National Holiday, Memorial Day and the embassy was closed. Just my luck. I had to book a whole separate flight home because of this. I waited until the next day & went to the police station to file the report, can you believe they laughed in my face and told me that they are going to get a lot of money for my passport because of my skin complexion, I look more like I am afro-latino & they get more money for more unique looks. They went through this long spill about the stolen passport industry in Costa Rica & I found out that Costa Rica is the stolen passport capital of the world. I was confused, I told them. Why would they steal my passport? There is no way the US is going to let them in with it especially after I reported it stolen. They said they aren’t trying to get into the US. They use US passports to hop countries to transport illegal goods. They won’t question a US passport as quick as they would a latin-american one, especially a woman’s passport. I could do nothing but laugh with them & said I hope they don’t low-ball my passport because I am priceless. Thankfully the process to get a passport in Costa Rica was way less stressful than it was in Colombia and I didn’t even have to deal with any extortionists. I paid the $135 processing fee yet again and I was in and out. What was sad though was the 20 other people standing with me who had their passports stolen as well. One couple from Houston said they stopped for literally 3 minutes to look at alligators over a bridge when they got back in their car & all their things were gone. I was shocked. We connected over our pain & I rode with them back to the airport.
I got back to the US and tried to trade my limited validity passport in for a full-validity one again but they said nah, not this time sis. They interrogated me, asking if I was a drug dealer or illegal immigrant and so on and so forth. I said no repeatedly but that would be the second time I would be applying for a passport that year. They basically told me I wasn’t responsible & gave me a 1 year validity passport for the price of a 10-year one until I can prove that I am responsible enough to have my real passport back. I was so hurt but had no other choice but to accept the limited validity one and learn from this situation yet again. Never underestimate the value of a passport, the Goldest Gold!
What I Learned:
Always make color photocopies (a few copies) of your important items, especially your passport and ID so you can prove who you are at the embassy. Even make copies of your credit card as well, front & back. Email these copies to yourself in case you misplace them.
Bring a photocopy of your passport & visa wherever you go so you can show officials whenever you have to instead of risking carrying around a full passport.
Keep your bag with all your important things like your passport locked up in a locker or safe whether you stay in a hotel or a hostel.
Never put anything you don’t want stolen in your back pocket, in a crowded area in a big city, that valuable is as good as gone.
When traveling overseas make sure you know where the local US embassy is and the quickest route there. As well as the nearest police station.
Report your passport stolen with the US Embassy as soon as you find out. Also before you depart for your trip, register with the STEP Program through the US Embassy. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate so they can have your trip on file in case of emergencies.
Be careful when you are jetlagged on that 1st day when you get to your destination. When you are tired, you make mistakes and are not as vigilant. A power nap can sometimes make the difference between getting robbed or not. My passports were both stolen on the first day I was there.
Have travel insurance and make sure you know exactly what it covers. Sometimes certain programs will cover the cost of your stolen passport in the form of a reimbursement. Sadly, my insurance did not.
Make sure you have way more cash with you than you intend to spend for emergencies or make sure you have an accessible debit card with you to take out money from the ATM. Call your bank ahead of time to let them know when and where you are traveling to so they won’t shut down your card thinking it’s fraud. I suggest even bringing 2 cards, just in case.
Have a backpack that can be carried in the front or even a fanny-pack so your valuables are in front of you instead of the back of you.
When you take passport photos you always get at least 2 copies. Take the extra one with you in case you have to obtain an emergency one abroad. This will save you a little money.
Make sure you always check to make sure your passport is safe & sound. Better to find out it is lost on Day 1 than the last day when it’s time to go home.
Keep your passport in a passport cover. It will cover the fact that you are an American and you will probably be less likely to be targeted.
Never give your passport to anybody even the police. If they demand it just give them the photocopy and that should suffice.
Stay positive & don’t panic. Don’t make your situation worse by being a pessimist completely ruining your whole trip.
Passport Support Giveaway: Zone 2!
As we all know, traveling is not that simple especially for people who have been systemically oppressed for centuries now. But we see it as an act of resistance in our sweet country of Amerikkka and therefore really want to normalize black travel especially amongst our young people. Therefore, Wanderlust Revolution will be doing a bi-monthly passport support giveaway exclusively for our young people from Detroit. We want to help as many young Detroiters as we can get their first official passport! Many people ask us why are we catering solely to Detroit. Well, we believe that we have an untapped market of young people in Detroit whose meager surroundings have instilled a sense of ambition which needs to be properly supported and we are looking forward to doing just that. Detroit is very personal to us & before we lay hands on the rest of the world, we must first start in our own community.
If you would like to help our Passport Support Initiative in any way please email us at email@example.com.
Ultimate Guidebook: To ICELAND
Iceland Air – I know a lot of people fly WOW Air to Iceland which is a budget friendly airline which is a perfect embodiment of a “no-frills” airline. So if you want to save a few coins & don’t mind having a Spirit Airlines equivalent flight experience then by all-means go with them. I actually will be flying with them for a future trip so I will check back in to let you guys know how it goes. I flew with Icelandair all for a mere $352. They allow a stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days, COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE! So in retrospect all I paid for was my trip to Sweden. This is all a strategic move Iceland has made to get tourism rates up, which they have been very successful at in the last couple of years. Icelandair was a pleasant flight experience. I flew from Detroit to JFK on United then JFK to Rekjavik on Icelandair. No bag fees, nice legroom, great customer service. The only slight disadvantage I could think of is their lack of food service aboard. This wasn’t an issue for me as I took a red-eye flight & was sleep 80% of the time & almost always eat before I get on a flight.
Keflavik Airport & Transport to Rekjavik – If you are staying in Iceland, then the airport won’t be as much as a hassle but otherwise be prepared for the hustle & bustle. I got to the airport at 9am & couldn’t check into my hostel until 2pm. So I lodged at the airport for a couple of hours. It was a little chaotic. This could be attributed to the fact that Keflavik is a transient’s airport & there is just not enough space to accommodate the traffic. Not enough space to sit, eat or even go to the restroom. They do have a lot of nice restaurants at the airport & also free wi-fi. My favorite spot was Joe & The Juice mainly because they play non-stop trap music through the day. Enjoyable but again crowded. As far as transportation, you can catch the Flybus to and from the airport for a mere $50. It is clean and convenient and leaves every 30 minutes. There is heat and wi-fi on the bus as well. You will see the Flybus kiosk/desk as you are exiting the airport and this is where you can buy your tickets. The bus dropped me off right at my hostel. Took about 45 minutes to get there. You can also take the Airport Express which is the same concept.
Currency/ATM – I did not exchange currency in Iceland. I recommend you don’t either. Iceland is pretty plastic friendly. You can use your credit card almost everywhere. I even remember one of our tour guides saying he hasn’t seen real cash in so long because everyone uses their cards in Iceland. In any case though, never exchange your money at the currency exchange desks. They charge you ridiculous rates. Go to the ATM instead & save some money & save some time on waiting. Money is useful to have for tipping although tipping in most European countries is not common, especially Iceland. It is literally frowned upon as the tax & gratuity is almost always already included anyways. Some people feel better if they have a little bit of the local currency on them though. So use your discretion but I got by fine with just my card.
Communication – My T-mobile plan allows me to send free text messages & I communicate verbally over Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. Wi-Fi is also very easy to find in Iceland. Even the tour buses had free Wi-Fi.
Lodging – I suggest doing an Airbnb and securing that in advance. Like well in advance! I tried booking an Airbnb 2 months prior & most were already booked. The cheapest I could find was one for $70/per night & it was inside a luxury tent in the wilderness. No ma’am. This was a huge mistake on my part so I opted for a hostel instead. Now hostels are great to stay in, especially in Iceland, if you want to save a little money. I am a person who doesn’t really care for certain luxuries but I value privacy. So if I could get a room with just a bed that’s all mine, I’ll be fine. So hostels aren’t always my first choice. In this case though even the hostels were almost fully booked. I had to go with a 16-bed hostel/mixed at Kex Hostel. It was in a very convenient location in Rekjavik with a very nice atmosphere & I met some amazing people in the process. Hotel rooms were astronomical prices but if you enjoy that luxury, by any means, do what suits your boujee-ness.
Excursions – Since I was based in the capital city of Reykjavik, it was very easy to do day trips. First, I would recommend doing a free walking tour of Rekjavik. Great way to see the city. On the tour, take a stop at the Phallological Museum. It’s the only one in the world & very interesting may I add. For day excursions, I used BusTravel Iceland & GrayLine Tours. Booked both through Viator. The Bustravel Tour was a Southern Iceland tour which was very nice. It included waterfalls, glaciers, volcanos & historical sites in Iceland. The Grayline Tour group was the company who took me to the Blue Lagoon. Very convenient experience as the buses left every hour. Both of these tours picked & dropped me off right from my hostel in a smaller bus then took us to the bus terminal where we boarded a bigger bus. Bustravel & Grayline have a nice northern lights tour as well on the nights that visibility is high. Would be amazing to experience that. I recommend booking all tours through Viator as they have very good customer service if your tour falls through. If you are an adventure enthusiasts, go on a Silfra Dive between the continents or go on an exclusive volcano tour. Most people do the Golden Circle tour but that tour didn’t seem too exciting to me but it is a popular one so if you have time, put it on your list. Excursions were very expensive so many people recommended renting a car & doing the excursions on your own. That’s one way to do it especially if you aren’t solo. If you love Game of Thrones, they also have an excursion dedicated to this on Bustravel Iceland.
The Blue lagoon excursion was great. The Lagoon is man-made & an experience to witness. If you opt for the Blue Lagoon excursion, book online at least a few days in advance as the Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most visited attraction which means tickets sell out quick. I’d say go before 3pm before the “tours” start. There are several other geo-pools u can try in Iceland. Secret lagoon is one & it’s less touristy, crowded and less expensive. If you rent a car, this may be a better option.
Food – Food is overall one of your biggest expenses in Iceland. Bring snacks to offset the cost or do a quick grocery store run & cook for yourself. Many hostels & hotels also serve breakfast for a fee much cheaper than what the restaurants will charge you. Everything I had in Iceland may have been expensive but it was well worth it as everything was delicious & fresh. When in Rekjavik, search along the main street and you should be able to find something that fits your fancy. Look up food suggestions on Tripadvisor before you go to make your life a little easier. You can find places to eat traditional Icelandic food (fermented shark/whale and all-things fish) but I am extremely allergic to fish so I wasn’t interested. But if you are vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian, you won’t have a problem finding food that adheres to your dietary restrictions. You can drink the water straight from the tap too. It is perfectly safe and clean. Pure Icelandic water straight from the springs. Places also tend to close early, so try to seek dinner as early as you can or make reservations in adavance.
Durum – Breakfast, brunch, & lunch place with a variety.
Bravo – Right on the main street, Lauvagenour. Great atmosphere & cozy.
Grillmarkadurinn aka Grill Market – A nice, fancy restaurant. Try the Meat Gourmet (lamb, duck, beef) with potatoes & greens.
Eldsmidjan – Great pizza spot. They have a lunch special. Medium 2 toppings for $16. But try the Rustica. Very good.
Braud & Co. – I had the best cinnamon roll here amongst other pastries. Iceland loves their pastries, dairy, and coffee.
HAPPY HOUR: You MUST download the app Reykjavik Appy Hour so that you can find where the affordable drinks are for happy hour. This is especially good if you do a day where you explore Reykjavik the city. There are some pretty dope spots to have a drink in Reykjavik.
- Iceland is a ridiculously clean country.
- Take a South Coast Excursion. Hike the waterfalls, go to the black sand beach and marvel at the beauty.
- When you buy your souvenirs try to do it at 1 place if you spend more than 6000ISK (around 60USD) at select giftshops you turn your receipt in at the airport and get the taxes back.
- Be prepared to travel 1-2 hours just to get to most tour locations outside of Rekjavik. I strongly suggest that you pack a lunch and/or snacks for the tours that average from 5-10 hours. This will save you a lot of money. If you stay at a hostel, pay the breakfast buffet fee & pack a deli sandwich from the buffet.
- Everything in Iceland is about 3-4 times what you would expect to pay in the US. Budget accordingly.
- There are lots of Americans and people from the UK visiting Iceland. Those two regions make up about 60% of the tourists to the country. In this case, take the opportunity to meet new people.
- Iceland is the safest country in the world. The crime rate is almost non-existent here.
- Be open-minded & explore.