Social content is a major travel influencer: 87 percent of Millennials use Facebook for travel inspiration, and more than 50 percent use Twitter or Pinterest. Millennials say seeing where their friends on social platforms go on vacation holds weight when deciding their own trips.
British born Ghanaian from London, Jess recalls her first travel memory visiting Disneyland Paris aged 13, “being surrounded by all that magic it really is a very happy place”. We didn’t travel much when I was a child but I had friends who regularly did so I always dreamed of visiting these places they described. And 13 years on, I’ve travelled and seen more than I imagined!
TES: Why do you like travelling?
Jess: For me, it’s a way to literally escape to new worlds and increase your understanding and tolerance of different ways of life. I also find it’s great for showing you how strong you are as you may find yourself in situations that never happen at home and learn a lot from those challenges.
TES: Your best travel tip/advice?
Jess: If you’re not travelling in the peak of peak season and have days to be flexible, I wouldn’t plan all your activities before you go, especially if you like meeting other people. You don’t want to commit to something to then find out that there’s a better option after you arrive. Also it’s usually cheaper and can be better suited to you to book things in the country rather than online.
TES: Top 3 travel essentials
Jess: My power bank (as I rely on my phone get me around, especially offline maps like Triposo and Google Maps), my packing cubes and alcohol hand gel (because getting sick abroad is no joke!)
TES: The best place you have travelled to and why?
Jess: Ghana because it’s the motherland and the connection I felt was so strong when I landed. For me, it was the HD version of everything I had learnt from my parents from the food, the beautiful kente outfits and general love from my fellow country people. I saw how much tourism potential it had to offer 3 years ago which makes me so happy to see that people have been visiting more recently and planning to for this year (and I will be too again!).
TES: Group or solo travel?
Jess: This is a hard one but I would say group travel just takes it. It’s great for splitting cost, sharing ideas and memories when there plus you’ll always have those joint memories once you’re home. Group travel where more than one person contributes to the planning of things makes such a difference! And you still have the option break away from the bigger group if needed.
TES: Where have you been inspired to travel to lately and why?
Jess: The Middle East! Particularly to Petra and Lebanon which I’ve seen and heard good things about recently. I’ve not ventured to that part of the world yet and the culture intrigues me so I look forward to checking them out soon!
TES: What is the most adventurous trip you have been on?
Jess: Peru because I spent more time in my hiking gear than I’ve ever done before! We did Machu Picchu and the incredibly hard Vincunca (Rainbow) Mountain hike which has to be the most beautiful mountain view of my life. There are so many other outdoor activities to do there mixed in with culture which makes it a great country to visit.
TES: Ever felt vulnerable during your travels? How did you overcome it?
Jess: Yes. As a black female traveller, I expect to get some stares when I travel to certain places. However the most intense experience I had was unexpectedly for me in Milan. Which was weird as I saw plenty of black people speaking Italian everyday so visually I wasn’t that unusual. There wasn’t much I could do so I tried smiling at people which often made them smile back or look away. Failing that, I on occasion had to enter a staring contest until they backed down!
TES: What foods do you bring with you when you travel?
Jess: I pack a few carb snacks like crackers and crisps which I can munch on if I’m on a plane/bus and if I’m away for a long time, I add in tea bags. I like trying out local food and will buy snacks from local supermarkets too so I avoid bringing too much from home.
TES: Things that annoy you about travelling?
Jess: When people don’t prepare themselves for which seat they have on planes or trains. Before I board these modes of transport, I’ve looked at my ticket many times and keep checking it so I know exactly where to go. I can’t stand people wandering about, trying to figure out which number or letter they’re sitting in, even asking people if that’s their seat when it clearly isn’t theirs..lol!
You can follow Jess and her travels via her blog.