Now these points are going to touch on travelling to places where Black people are extremely in the minority based on my experience.
- You will be stared at and possibly pointed at; it’s completely unavoidable. You will get lots of stares from lots of people. This could be off-putting especially if you weren’t expecting it. However, after a while you do get used to it and choose to focus more on enjoying yourself . The amount of attention you get also greatly depends on which part of the country you are in and if they are used to getting tourists. As a note, I have found most stares to be harmless in the sense that it’s pure curiosity and perhaps shock, and though it might seem antagonistic I haven’t found it to be so. I say this because when I do have to communicate with the locals, which in my case is often, they are usually friendly. Of course, I try to be sensible when picking who to talk to. I have heard of people touching people’s faces in awe of all the melanin, but that has never happened to me before (thank God!)
- Sadly, again depending on the country and region of country, you may get creepy men paying you attention – more than usual at least. This is the worst part for me as I suspect this is often based on prejudices and sick stereotypes they might have about Black women. This could also be scary if you are on your own. Solo female travelers in general need to be careful. The best tip I can give is to just ignore, as you normally would at home, and keep it moving. Also, its always great to have someone you can contact in the country if in trouble. I also try to make sure I know the numbers to dial for emergency services in the country I’m in.
- You will not find your foundation/powder shade so make sure you don’t run out! It’s hard enough finding a shade that matches you exactly in diverse places like London so don’t dream of finding a variety of dark shades in places where there aren’t many black people. The reason is obvious, the market is little, the demand is not significant enough for wide ranges to be stocked.
- People might think you are a celebrity, even though you look nothing like said celebrity (sadly lol). You might get called Naomi Campbell or Beyoncé, do enjoy the moment of fame.
All in all, travelling for me has been great and I haven’t experienced any racism or damaging reactions from people. People have been super kind and hospitable. I do think this is the case for most Black female travelers. People will be curious but its usually harmless.
The color of your skin should not affect places you can travel to, yes you have to be wise and having a local or a group of friends is always helpful. Having said that, if locals advise you to steer clear of some areas, it’s often smart to do so. I know for the super adventurous that could be annoying though, but its important to consider local advise.
p.s. – Some might consider this bad advise or contradictory to last paragraph above but I think its worth saying. Never let people’s opinions of a particular culture and place completely put you off going to a place. Sometimes its scaremongering, sometimes its legit, its up to you to research and know for yourself if the trip is worth it and how you can make it as safe as possible. The News makes some countries sound like a cesspit of violence but sometimes it’s just regions of said places. Do your research and make your decision.
After all “you’ll never know until you go”
4 thoughts on “Few things to expect when travelling as a Black Woman”
I find all your reasons valid . In Paris last summer in a Sephora on Champs Élysées I was told “we do not carry your kind of brown color” . I do notice I get a lot more male attention abroad than I do at home . Curiosity is definitely the cause
Thanks for your comment! How rude, the insensitivity in that statement is just beyond, and in central Paris of all places. One of my biggest travel fears is losing my makeup cos I know it will quickly turn into a #nomakeup holiday lol! Yh, I think its mostly harmless curiosity.
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Great post! Yes I definitely agree that curiosity is the main factor of the attention black women get when they travel. Staring can be really annoying at time, but I’ve come to just expect it when I travel to certain countries. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with curiosity, it’s just human nature, but some people need to have common courtesy to know that staring can be considered as rude. But I don’t let it bother me too much.
I had my first experience of racism abroad in April on a girls holiday to Gran Canaria. I’m actually in the process of writing a blog post about this experience. Although it was a horrible experience that nearly ruined my trip, there was no way I could let this take away from the great memories or prevent me from future travels out of fear of something similar occurring.
Thank you Debbie!
Yes! I wish people would remember their manners and realize the staring makes people uncomfortable.
I look forward to reading your post about the incident in Gran Canaria. I definitely agree with your take on things like that, I also try to make sure prejudices do not destroy my time and stop me from soaking up all the new things in a new place! I think every traveler has at least one horrible story but we can’t let such kill the travel bug, we risk losing great experiences if that happens. Most people are kind and welcoming, I believe.
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