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3 mins read

Black Owned Travel Related Brands For Your Next Trip

Ready to embark on your next adventure? Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a weekend getaway enthusiast, this curated list is your one-stop shop for travel essentials by brilliant Black owned brands.

From sleek luggage to mood-setting candles, informative apps to head-turning bags, these brands will help you travel confidently and in style.

Black Owned Travel Related Brands

Take Off Luggage

Goodbye Baggage Fees: This Black Man Created A Carry-On That Converts To A Personal Bag - Travel Noire

Take Off Luggage empowers budget-conscious travelers. Their carry-on suitcases detach from their wheels, transforming them into free “personal items” that fit under most airline seats, potentially eliminating baggage fees.


Conscious Contemporary Lifestyle Brand – diarrablu

DIARRABLU injects a dose of sunshine into your wardrobe with bold, eye-catching maxi dresses and sleek kimonos designed for effortless style on vacation or at home.

Bright Black

Discover a world of fragrance with the Diaspora Discovery Set. Six mini candles, each containing 0.5oz of wax, offer a delightful 1-2 hour burn time, perfect for exploring a range of scents at home or away.


Trips – SquadTrip

SquadTrip is an online platform designed to make group travel planning a breeze. It caters to organizers by offering a central hub for managing everything from creating a trip website to collecting payments and communicating with participants.


Curiocity is a chain of hybrid hotels, hostels, and travel experiences specifically based in South Africa. They focus on connecting “curious travelers” to the unique experiences each location offers


Enhance your on-the-go style with a handcrafted KariAndGo messenger bag. Made in Ghana using vibrant African fabrics, these bags are the perfect companions for your adventures.


The Everything Travel Blanket by E Marie Travel

Designed for life on the go, this versatile piece effortlessly transitions from a blissfully-soft scarf to snuggly blanket in a snap.


The Akira Fanny Pack features a water-resistant coating and spacious pockets, making it ideal for keeping your belongings safe and dry during any activity.

Cincha Cincha Mini Travel Belt for Luggage - Stylish & Adjustable Add a Bag Luggage Strap for Carry On Bag - Airport Travel Accessories for Women & Men - As Seen on

Cincha Travel offers stylish and functional travel accessories, designed to make your journeys easier. Their signature product is a travel belt that secures your personal bag to your carry-on, freeing up your hands.


BlackTravelBox Offers Beauty Products for The Traveler on the Go

BlackTravelBox® hair and skincare products are made for life on the go, with travel friendly packaging and formulations that make packing, carrying (on), and using them simple and easy.

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13 mins read

Six Historically Black Beaches to Visit This Summer

When we think of black history often times vacation destinations are left out of our dialogue. Our past is well documented with stories of slavery, plantations, and oppressive reality yet little do we hear about how some of our ancestors and those who came before us got to celebrate their lives.

As I decided to write this article I was just thinking about the history of African American tourism. As a little girl I grew up in Florida and the beach was a regular part of my life. I wondered about the history of our beaches in relation to us and discovered some amazing stories.

While many of the historic black beaches in America have seen gentrification and lack of restoration, there are a few which still remain as active and flourishing destinations that you can spend your dollars and enjoy a lovely time. It is estimated that African-Americans spend billions annually so why not get a dose of sun and history in the process?

As Black history month comes to an end I will share with you some of the top historically black beaches and resort towns in America. Grab your swimsuits, pack a bag, and prepare for an amazing summer drenched in your Blackness.

1. Highland Beach (Maryland)

black beaches
YWCA camp for girls hosted at Highland Beach in 1930

This is the oldest of all the black resort towns in America. Founded by Charles and Laura Douglass in 1893, Charles was the son of the well renowned Frederick Douglass.

This beach is located approximately 35 miles outside of Washington D.C. and was the very first black owned resort in the history of America. This destination was birthed from an act of racial discrimination when the Douglass’s were denied entry into a restaurant on Chesapeake Bay.

Charles Douglass then decided to delve into the real estate industry and began purchasing beachfront property and selling lots to his friends and family. Some of its earliest purchasers were notable African American politicians in the DC/Baltimore area including Senators, Congressman and Judge Robert Terrell and his wife, Mary. Terrell was the first black judge in the District of Columbia.

Charles Douglass, the youngest son of abolitionist and activist Frederick Douglass

When Charles Douglass died in 1920 its ownership was transferred to his son Haley Douglass who in 1922 led a movement to make Highland Beach the first African American incorporated municipality in the state’s history.

Today there are approximately 90 homes still owned and occupied by descendants of the original settlers of Highland Beach and the Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center ‘Twin Oaks’ is a local attraction at this distinctive resort destination.

Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Dubois and singer Poel Robinson all made Highland Beach their summer home.

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19th century Photo of Highland Beach Residents
The Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center, housed in “Twin Oaks”

2. American Beach (Jacksonville, FL)

On Amelia Island and Founded in 1935 American Beach is Florida’s first African American beach. Located in Jacksonville this tourist destination was founded by Florida’s first black millionaire Abraham Lincoln Lewis and his Afro-American Life Insurance Company.

Another beach which came to fruition in defiance of segregation and Jim Crow laws, Lewis saw this as a safe haven that his friends and employees could peacefully enjoy themselves. The streets along the beach are all named after the African American founders and their families.

As tourism grew the beach known as “The Negro Ocean Playground” became sprinkled with food, lodging and entertainment. It was place of refuge for black people during a time when other beaches were out of their reach due to segregation. On any given weekend you might see Ray Charles, Zora Neale Hurston or Hank Aaron having a good time.

The beach saw a decline as it was struck by Hurricane Dora in 1964. Many of its tourists began vacationing elsewhere after the Civil Rights Act desegregated beaches. It still however remains a popular destination and historians and preservationists have been committed to preserving its heritage. When you visit be sure to check out The American Beach Museum which documents all the history of this fascinating place. If you seek a quieter spot to enjoy the ocean and sand it would be well worth paying a visit while passing through Jacksonville or visiting beautiful Amelia Island or Fernandina Beach.

3. Oak Bluffs/ Martha’s Vineyard (Massachusetts)

For more than 100 years African Americans have flocked to this area on Martha’s Vineyard. One of President Obama’s and the late Maya Angelou’s favorite vacation destinations this tourist area boasts a rich history rooted in black culture and remains lively today.

Some of its first dwellers were runaway slaves and indentured servants. During the era of segregation Martha’s Vineyard was always a popular beachfront for white tourists and thanks to Charles Shearer the son of a slave and her white owner, he turned a beach cottage into the first Inn where African Americans could lodge. This began the expansion of the black community on Martha’s Vineyard.

black beaches
African American residence in Martha’s Vineyard began in the Oak Bluffs neighborhood at a small inn called Shearer Cottage, which was established in 1912
President Barack Obama visits Oak Bluff on Martha’s Vineyard (Darren McCollester / Stringer / Getty Images)
Visitors at Dorothy West’s Oak Bluffs cottage, now a site on the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard. (Credit Julia Cumes for The New York Times)

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has dedicated an exhibit to honor the work of Charles Shearer entitled “The Power of Place” and features the history of Oak Bluffs and how it has empowered African American culture. It celebrates a myriad of black writers, political and social leaders, musicians, and thinkers that have traveled to the area.

When you visit Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard be sure to take a tour down the African American heritage trail where you will get a chance to view historic homes of people in our history.

4. Sag Harbor (Long Island, NY)

black beaches
Photo courtesy of Hamptons Mouthpiece

We all have heard of the luxurious destination known as the Hamptons, and Sag Harbor is the black wing of this popular and affluent beachfront. It was an enclave for generations beginning in the early twentieth century. If your pockets allow for some time up north this summer during a trip to New York you will find some great history in this town.

After World War II during segregation Sag Harbor developed a robust community of African Americans. Working class black families were able to purchase land and start development in the area. Over the years thankfully Sag Harbor has been able to fight off gentrification and property development and keep its roots in tact. Keeping its identity has remained important to black residents. Today as you visit you will still see a community of middle class families with a population of doctors, lawyers and other professionals.

5. Atlantic Beach (South Carolina)

Known as the “Black Pearl” located between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, Atlantic Beach remains the only current black owned beach in the nation.

Many of the properties are black owned and operated which include hotels, gift shops, restaurants, and night clubs.

Atlantic Beach hosts ‘Black Bike Week’ every year which draws large crowds of African-Americans to its shores.

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Atlantic Beach is nestled in between Myrtle and North Myrtle Beach in North Carolina

6. Gullah-Geechee Islands (South Carolina)

If you are looking to venture or remain in the South the Carolina’s offer a nice mixture of beach destinations. Hilton Head Island and the Charleston area are both areas which also offer a historical mix. The area known as the Lowcountry is the site of Gullah tradition.

Gullah Geechee Culture in my opinion is not as well taught in discussions of black history. The irony to this is that the Gullah/Geechees have preserved their history more than any African American community in the United States.

The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of Central and West Africans and were enslaved together on these isolated islands which stretch along the U.S. coastline from North Carolina down to St. Johns, Florida. They developed a Creole language and today continue to preserve African practices in arts, crafts, agriculture and edible cuisine.

If you are visiting the Carolinas, Hilton Head Island, or the Coast of Georgia you can take part in several attractions to further your education of this history.

The Gullah Heritage Trail Tour on Hilton Head Island will drive you through compounds and stop at several historic sites. This includes ‘Mitcheville’ the first freedman village in the United States. The Gullah Geechee Visitor Center in Beaufort is also a quick drive away.

The Penn Center on St. Helena Island is a former school for freed Sea Island slaves and offers several tours, presentations, and a museum which exhibits the history of the school.

If you are visiting the Charleston, SC area the McLeod Plantation, Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture, and the Gullah Tours will all give you a thorough background.

black beaches
black beaches
Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island

Honorable Mentions

Definitely worth noting are a few other historic black beaches which are now less developed or that no longer exist. These beaches all have a significant black history that can be researched or traveled to if you are one who seeks to explore outside of your vacationing.

  1. Chicken Bone Beach (Atlantic City, NJ)
  2. Idlewild (Michigan)
  3. The Inkwell (Santa Monica, CA)
  4. Bruce’s Beach (Manhattan Beach, CA)
  5. Freeman Beach (Wilmington, NC)
  6. Carr’s Beach (Annapolis, MD)

Happy Vacationing!

black beaches

By Angela Dennis  a Freelance Writer and Blogger residing in Knoxville, TN

-Tony O. Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)

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6 mins read

How to Negotiate The Ultimate Vacation with your Employer

In many areas of the world, work is only a part of life with enough time off to actually enjoy the money you earn. In fact, Europeans are among the least-deprived vacationers with some nations across the pond offering up to 30 days off. T-H-I-R-T-Y! Meanwhile here in the US, the average worker gets 15 days and most use only 11 days – leaving around 500 million vacation days unused.

Why don’t we take vacation we’re owed? Reasons often include busy work schedules, feelings of guilt about being away, money, or fear of a negative perception from one’s boss. To this I say, no more! We deserve more time off! Various reports prove a healthy-work life balance not only leaves employees feeling recharged and motivated once they return to work, ultimately creating a more productive worker bee but also reduces stress, absenteeism and expenses.

So, this is a story about how to negotiate the ultimate vacation – a sabbatical – specifically if you haven’t had a life changing event like giving birth or hitting a 10-year work anniversary, often a requirement for most US employers. About 2 years ago, I was at a crossroads.

I felt I was done working in the ad agency world, tired of NYC, ready for warmer weather year round (Hello LA) and thought a major shift, like a move across country, could afford me some time off for traveling abroad. But then something happened. Changes at the company provided me room to flourish and lead projects for the biggest and highest profile clients in the agency.

I produced 4 TV spots in 5 months, got promoted and was working the way I saw fit. I realized this job is what I make of it. And I decided to make it mine. However, I couldn’t shake the insatiable itch to explore unknown lands so, after feeling extra inspired by a few glasses of wine, I decided to ask my company for three months to travel. Here’s how I did it: Find the right time. This is crucial. Is there a period during the year that’s particularly slow at work? This is the ideal time to go.

I was able to determine that October through the beginning of the year would be slow – I had finished all my major projects and one of my clients was going to be on maternity leave during this time. Plus, the holidays and New Year create a slower-than-usual pace at the office, making it easier to digest. Express love for your job. I wasn’t interested in quitting, coming back, having to find a new job and proving myself all over again.

Up until this crossroads moment, I didn’t think it was possible but I had learned to love my job and the people I work with. I made sure to express this sincerely to the powers that be and worked with my team to garner support and develop a coverage plan while I was gone. Also, I’m pretty sure the fact that I wanted to come back sounded like music to my company’s ears given the extreme turnover in agencies in NYC. Make the case: it’s a win-win. Once you’ve found the right time to go, for how long and expressed you want to come back, think and focus on what the benefits are.

They get a happy-as-a-clam employee who will probably be more loyal than they could ever imagine and they wont have to go through the horrendous process of interviewing, finding your replacement and getting them up to speed quickly. In the grand scheme of things, a few months isn’t that long of a time away and you’ll return refreshed, motivated, and ready to jump in the saddle when you get back.

So did it work? Yes! Yes it did! I negotiated the terms of my leave of absence (3 months, unpaid) and left for my stint in Southeast Asia which was the inspiration for my blog: Out of Office, Gone Living. To anyone who is thinking about doing that backpacking trip for an extended period of time, I say go for it. Or, at least try to figure out a way you can make it work if your job is of concern – you might be surprised. The answer is always no unless you ask.


Ola Abayomi is a blogger living in New York City. In 2015, she was lucky enough to spend 3 glorious months backpacking through Southeast Asia. That sabbatical inspired her blog Out of Office: Gone Living.  Follow Ola’s adventures on IG @ola_ola_ayy.