Language Courses: Study Spanish, French or Creole in Caribbean

Knowing the language of a country is in direct correlation with comprehending the culture.
Although language is one form of communication a traveler can utilize, it is still one of the most important factors while traveling. I’ve noticed many travelers interested in language courses in the Caribbean. Specific interests are learning French and/or Creole in Haiti, and learning Spanish in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, or Cuba. Continue reading…

Travel Safety Tips from Four Times I was Robbed Backpacking the Caribbean

In the three-month backpacking trip that inspired this website, I was robbed FOUR times. Traveling throughout Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico was one of the greatest adventures of my life. But to say it was perfect is a lie.
Three of the four times I was robbed happened in ONE WEEK.
By the second time, I was robbed my family and some friends told me to come back home but I replied with a big, fat NO. These things can happen anywhere in the world, even in your own hometown. I wasn’t going to stop just because I had some bad juju.
Continuing my trip taught me not to run away from places or situations when it is not working out in my favor.
I learned some valuable lessons on how to be careful and keep my things safe when traveling. Continue reading…

Volunteering in the Caribbean

Volunteering is an act of kindness where someone gives their free time to others and/or a certain cause. Although, at times, our kindest actions aren’t the best choices when it involves other people, this act of kindness is human nature.
In a 2009 New York Times article, biologists had recently discovered a distinctive side of humans, besides the common theory that we are vicious and selfish.
After testing very young children, they came to the conclusion that helping others is innate.
But Dr. Tomasello finds that helping is not enhanced by rewards, suggesting that it is not influenced by training. It seems to occur across cultures that have different timetables for teaching social rules. And helping behavior can even be seen in infant chimpanzees under the right experimental conditions. For all these reasons, Dr. Tomasello concludes that helping is a natural inclination, not something imposed by parents or culture.

No wonder we are drawn to helping others when they are most vulnerable. I remember in 2010 when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, the humanitarian response was overwhelming. People from all over the world were flocking to the country to lend a hand. The help was so abundant that the Haitian government encouraged people to hold off on coming to the island because the Port au Prince airport and the city itself were not equipped to handle that many people.

While volunteering and serving others is one of the greatest noble acts we can do for each other, scenarios like the one above occur often in volunteerism. We want to help but we hardly think about how our help will impact, in this case, the country and the people.
Writer of The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, Shannon O’Donnell, puts it well in a guest blog post on

One of the hardest things for new, eager volunteers to understand is that not all organizations – even nonprofits – are doing good, necessary work that ethically develops the communities and ecosystems where we volunteer our time. For that reason, take a step back from the planning and instead learn more about core problems facing development projects when they bring in Western volunteers and ideas.

It seems to become clearer that part of serving others is knowing how to serve what they need and want, instead of what we want or think they need.
In addition, there are other kinds of volunteer positions travelers can and do participate in such as farming, helping out at a guesthouse or hostel, or teaching someone a new language (of which I will speak later). However, these positions should also be held in high regard by, for example, being respectful of the community and the environment you’re working in, and the host you’re working for.
Here are a few suggested organizations for volunteering in the Caribbean, including websites to find organizations on your own. Continue reading…

How to Save Money for Travel

save money


I was recently interviewed by Travel Latina, a platform that features women of the Latin American and Caribbean diaspora traveling the world. One of the questions, Alexandra of TL asked me was what advice I would give to those who have traveled a bit and want to travel more but don’t feel like they have the money to spend on traveling. How to save money for travel?

This is such a common question that merits its own post or maybe even five. There are so many ways to save money for travel and during traveling. It’s all a matter of finding the best way that works for you. I’ll give suggestions for both, all of which I use myself. But first, I want to give you a helpful tool that has helped me since I invented it.

I’ve made many mistakes with money in the past. I used to spend all my hardworking paychecks on clothes and going out. I always paid full price for everything. I didn’t care to save or put myself on a budget, but my perspective began to change when I decided I wanted to buy my own car at 20 years old.

At the time, I was working a $10 an hour job at a bank. Surely, one would think that wasn’t enough to buy a car and maintain it in New York City but I did. I wasn’t rollin’ in a BMW but I had my very own ’98 Toyota Corolla and I was extremely proud. In fact, it only took me a few months to save the money because I learned to budget strategically.

When we think about achieving a goal such as going on a travel vacation or buying a car and we don’t have the money or have other priorities, we think it is impossible to accomplish it. This can overwhelm us. Instead, I’ve come to find it’s better to break down the goal into steps. This idea works especially with money. Saving over time while having a plan is the best method. Here is my special money-saving formula on how to save money for travel!

For those who are working/have a steady income, you will need:

1. Amount of money you earn per week
2. End goal amount to make your trip happen
3. Number of weeks you have until you quit your job…ahem, you go on your vacation

Then calculate everything:

Divide the End Goal by the Number of weeks until your trip which will equal the Amount of money you’ll save per week

For example:

Let’s say I plan to backpack Cuba for two months. My goal is to save $3,000 in 19 weeks. If I plug it into the formula, it would be:

End Goal ÷ Weeks until your trip = Amount of money to save per week
$3,000 ÷ 19 weeks = $157 per week

I would need to save $157 per week to meet my goal. If you subtract this amount from your average paycheck weekly, the money left over will be for your usual living expenses. If your end goal amount is unrealistic, then either adjust it to fit your reality OR keep reading below.

Okay, so what if you don’t have a job? Let’s say you’re in between jobs, or maybe you don’t earn enough money in your current job. We can brainstorm:

Sell unwanted things on eBay or Craigslist: If you have valuable items such as classic vinyl or old college textbooks, that you don’t want, sell them! Or you can create something people would buy like handmade jewelry or comic books.

Start an Indiegogo or GoFundMe campaign: This may be a great way to have family, friends, and strangers support your travel journey but you do have to think of a real and persuading campaign story to get people to donate. It may be because you want to visit your grandparents in your home country that you haven’t seen in ten years. People probably wouldn’t fund it if you want to lay out on the beach with a cocktail and catch a tan!

Work an odd job: babysitting, dog walking, or house cleaning. A job that pays will help you closer to your goal – whatever it may be. These jobs can be found on popular sites such as, and

Limit your usual unnecessary expenses: We can spend so much money on food, coffee, cable television, and going out! Eat breakfast at home, make lunch to go and snacks, and eat dinner when you return home. Make your own coffee at home or stop drinking it altogether. Eating a banana actually boosts your energy just like coffee. Replace your monthly cable bill with a one-time Apple TV purchase and get Netflix for $7.99 a month. And finally, when you go out, put yourself on a budget – a strict one! Stick to it no matter what happens.


After taking many, many trips I’ve found the traveler, especially the backpacker, spends most of her/his money on flights, accommodations, food, and ground transportation.


Prices of flights vary according to the season you are traveling in. I think flight scanner is one of the best flight search websites/apps that exist because it’s easy to navigate, they pull up the cheapest flights possible and their ‘Everywhere’ feature can come in handy. As you can see below, you can select the home country and the destination to ‘Everywhere.’ Skyscanner will search for the cheapest flights around the world! You can also do this with countries. Let’s say you’re going to Spain and want to know the least expensive city to fly into, select the whole country and you’ll get exciting results.

Continue reading…