How Travel Looks Different For People of Color

We are lucky enough to feature this blog post from two female travelers in the Wild Bum community. Wunmi and Sophia, from Thrify With a Compass shared this on their own blog in June, and we are happy to repost it here, on our blog, in honor of Black History Month. These are 10 stories from real travelers, all in their own words. They give us insight as to how travel looks different for people of color. For the full post click here.

As two people who write about travel experiences, there is a huge part of travel that is often left out of the narrative. We reached out to some of the most influential women of color in our travel community to shed light on their travel experiences, and the response was overwhelming.

These 10 stories, depict how travel looks different for people of color. We encourage you to read these stories, empathize with their experience, and create more space for these voices to be acknowledged. We are thrilled to be able to amplify the voices of these incredible, diverse travelers.


I am a proud black female traveler. Despite not always feeling welcome in certain states or countries, I feel liberated and fortunate to be able to experience different sides of this globe. One of the main reasons we started “Thrifty With a Compass”, is because travel did not always seem attainable growing up. As a first generation Nigerian American, the idea of travel growing up did not look the same as my white neighbors. My immigrant parents were fighting to make a name for themselves for the first time in America, which often meant multiple jobs and a wide disparity between “need to have” vs “nice to have”.

Find more from Wunmi: @THRIFTYWITHACOMPASS


I was born on a refugee camp in the Philippines to a Vietnamese family seeking asylum from North Vietnam. I didn’t have the “normal” childhood most Americans experienced—no family vacations or traveling. The first time I ever traveled was when I was 10 years old, and I went to live in Vietnam for the summer. The second time was for a conference in college. I was so excited to fly to a new state for a new adventure, even if it was just school-related and not for personal. I packed my digital camera and took pictures of everything! From the hotel resort, to my food, because I wanted to keep the memories and share the experience with my parents. Why not, right? Most American tourists would take pictures of their trips and no one would question, right?

Find more from Sophia @THRIFTYWITHACOMPASS


Travel has had a profound impact on me as a person of color, and as an immigrant. My bicultural upbringing was fraught with an inferiority complex. At home, I was the eldest daughter of a Filipino immigrant family, trying to uphold their precious traditions. In a predominantly white city, I was a novelty —part of the 1% of Asians living in this small coastal city in Massachusetts. Every day felt like a war with my identity—I was not fully Filipino, not fully American, and definitely not a white American at that. But growing up, my dad worked for the airlines and took advantage of the family flying benefits as often as he could.”

Find more from Millette @THENEXTSOMEWHERE


When it comes to my experiences of traveling while black, I acknowledge a certain amount of privilege in the fact that I am mixed race and have a lighter skin tone. It is, however, something I have to consider whenever I travel. One way this affects me, is the obligatory “racism in [insert country]“ google search before choosing a destination, the results of which have sadly put me off visiting some countries, at least on my own. Another thing is the occasional stares.

Find more from Imani: @IMANI_ESCAPES


No matter how many times my boyfriend and I plan and prepare, the one thing that always makes me anxious about traveling is the airport. With my boyfriend being Black and myself being Filipina, I know we get looked at differently during our travels. But there’s something about the airport that makes me feel like I know something, no matter how small, will come up.

100% of the time when something happens, or when one of us gets pulled aside to a different queue to wait much longer, it’s my boyfriend. Whether it’s a carry on or luggage that needs to be double or triple checked, it’s always him. One terrible experience we had in Iceland was to check the carry on he had that was full of action figures we had bought from London. They opened the luggage, opened every single box, and put them back just terribly. Mind you, if you travel, you know how strategic you have to be to make sure your souvenirs fit a certain way. If that was me carrying the carry on, would I have gotten pulled aside?

Find more from Rubilyn @RUUUBS


Traveling is one of my greatest loves. However, as a queer brown woman, often times it can be stressful to research places to see how friendly they are to brown queer women. Although I’ve traveled abroad to many countries, some of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve had traveling have happened right here, in the United States. One experience I had was in North Carolina during Dreamville Fest. A day after the festival, my sister and I chose to explore downtown. Unaware that we had ended up in a predominantly white part of town, we came across a very cute cafe. We decided to go in and order some ice cold teas.

Find more from Nanda: @FEARLESSNANDA


Like so many of my black brothers and sisters, I do have fears of how I will be treated because of my skin color. My experience being black in America has meant being the only black person in a class or on a team at work, getting followed or watched in a store, people touching my hair without permission or asking if this is my real hair, having to search what racism is like in a place I want to travel to or move to, just to name a few. I believe that travel is meant to be an opportunity to immerse yourself in other cultures, to deepen your knowledge of this vast world, and to take time away from the monotony of the daily routine.

Find more from Melissa @THEGLOBALGHANAGIRL


As a mixed-race woman growing up in the UK, I was aware from a very early age of the racism and microaggressions that were present everywhere. I’m half Mauritian and half white English, but have been called everything from Paki and Black bitch, to dirty exotic and even Black scum. My family has always been big travelers and I’ve spent the last 6 years full time traveling.

Find more from Lucy @ABSOLUTELYLUCY


I’ve traveled to a lot of places with friends and my husband on the East Coast. Traveling while black for me, can be emotionally draining. I remember going to South Carolina and taking back roads. I love the back roads! But my heart sped up when I saw confederate flags flying, or neighborhoods that seemed like my color wouldn’t be welcomed. I tried my best to silence my fears and hope for the best. But my emotions ran.

Also, in South Carolina. There’s so many historic plantations that are main attractions for tourists. I couldn’t help but to think of the many black men and women who suffered at the hands of white people on those very same plantations. My people. My ancestors. The same plantations that many people get married at even today. It hurt my heart to see it in a South Carolina tourist guide book.

Find more from Mal @MALEEKMEDINA


Once I started traveling solo my confidence grew so much, it allowed me to live my life to the fullest with little regrets. I started my page, because whenever I searched for travel inspiration on Instagram, I was advertised to look through mainly white travel pages. There is little representation of black travelers ESPECIALLY black women. One of my favorite adventures is when I traveled solo to Southeast Asia. I visited 4 countries in a month; Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia. Representation is so important, because not only did my long, grey, faux locs attract a lot of attention, so did my skin color.

Find more from Ky @OHITSKYB

We feel honored to share the stories of these 10 travelers, and so thankful that our community members are willing to share their stories. To read the full post, and hear more from these ladies, check out the original post. It can be found right here:

Wild Bum

Wild Bum