Tag: Travel

TRAVEL: Port Antonio is Jamaica’s Hidden Gem

(Image: VisitJamaica.com)
(Image: VisitJamaica.com)

Looking for an island getaway, and considering a retreat to Jamaica? Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are great, but why not try something different? Jamaica’s resort town of Port Antonio is described as picture perfect— a panorama of nature’s finest work.

On any visit, travelers to this secluded gem can explore the majestic Blue Mountains, swim in the Blue Lagoon, raft the Rio Grande, relax at Somerset Falls or discover Nonsuch Caves.  A visit to Port Antonio would be incomplete without a sampling of its world famous jerk chicken or pork in its original home.

“Visitors to Port Antonio are always in for a special treat with its diverse and laidback offerings of adventure and natural beauty,” said Paul Pennicook, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “With more travelers seeking authentic local lifestyles, Port Antonio, the birthplace of jerk cooking, is a great option for those wanting to experience the best of Jamaica’s cuisine, history and adventure.”


Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour: A remarkable way to see the island, this riding tour takes sightseers down the mountainside and along rolling hills. Ideal for singles, couples or families who wish to experience and photograph the world-famous Jamaican Blue Mountains and lush, tropical countryside – all while riding in the fresh Jamaican air.

Rio Grande Rafting: One of the more coveted outings in Port Antonio is a bamboo rafting tour down the gently winding Rio Grande.  Originally used as a means of transporting banana crops from the local plantations to the bustling harbor, the rafting tours are now a popular leisure activity once championed by the likes of Hollywood icon Errol Flynn. Legend has it that Flynn enjoyed gathering his well-heeled guests for midnight rafting excursions under a canopy of stars. Experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the river and its ecosystem, including a bird sanctuary (parts natural wonder and serene escape), man the bamboo rafts. Swimming in the river is perhaps the best part of the journey.

Somerset Falls: Somerset Falls is a world class setting for guests to chill out, take a swim and refresh.  Spanish settlers, who occupied the island over 400 years ago, built aqueducts and dams that are still visible today. The breathtaking waterfall is hidden in the rainforest, where the Daniels River cascades down a narrow gorge of lush ferns. Here, sun worshipers can settle in for a lovely day of sunning, relaxing and bathing in picture-perfect deep rock pools.


Port Antonio thrives on its seclusion, intimacy and luxury, offering visitors an array of inns, beachfront cottages and villas, such as:

Great Huts, starting at US$89 per night including breakfast: www.greathuts.com.

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, starting at US$236 per night including taxes: www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com.

Goblin Hill Villas, which ranges from US381 to $450 per night, for a 2 bedroom villa, including a housekeeper: www.goblinhill.com.

Trident Hotel, which ranges from US$540 to $990 per night including breakfast, depending on the season: www.geejamcollection.com.


Jamaica’s diverse history has impacted its culinary offering. The cuisine features a mix of  cultural influences  – Chinese, European, Indian and African – creating an eclectic and tasty combination that is uniquely Jamaican.  Port Antonio is well known for its jerk pork and chicken, particularly in Boston Bay, but a number of the area’s inns and villas are known for their gourmet dining. There are a variety of restaurants which provide excellent Jamaican staples including fresh seafood.  Some of the popular spots include Dickie’s Best-Kept Secret and Bryan’s Bay for local fare, Restaurant Mille Fleurs, at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill for eclectic Euro-Caribbean cuisine, Woody’s Low Bridge Place and Anna Bananas for a fun family atmosphere or Bushbar at Geejam Hotel for sophisticated Asian-influenced Jamaican cuisine.

article by Kimberly Wilson via blackenterprise.com

TRAVEL: Tim Howard and Angela Simmons Bring Sportiness and Style to Marriott’s Inclusive #LoveTravels Campaign (VIDEO)

Tim Howard, Angela Simmons

Tim Howard, the American soccer goalie who won our hearts with his unforgettable, valiant efforts during the World Cup and the artistic style maven, cultural icon and entrepreneur, Angela Simmons, are featured in the latest installment of Marriott International’s beautiful, all-inclusive extension of its #LoveTravels campaign.

Marriott has done something special and smart here with this branding campaign. They are encouraging travelers to not only share their own travel experiences (via social networking) but promoting the feeling of true comfort and connectivity that enriches our lives — and all lives. The original content video series featuring notable individuals like Tim and Angela, launches alongside visually stunning images presented in an online portrait gallery and display ads. Through these digital experiences the passion of travel and following one’s personal journey are highlighted.

Tim Howard

“I was inspired by Marriott International’s idea of #LoveTravels, and thought it was an incredible opportunity to share my love of soccer as well as my other personal passions,” said Howard. “#LoveTravels is about elevating travel beyond basic necessities and making it more about the people walking through the door. It is about feeling comfortable with who you are and tapping into that sense of belonging for the ultimate travel experience.”

In the clip below, see the extremely likeable Howard wax about how love travels with him. He lights up when he speaks about traveling to see his children, for a job that he loves and even when the destination is purely for relaxation.  Love certainly travels with this diverse athlete, and it’s refreshing to hear his personal story and about his inspirations:

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10 Tips For Managing Allergies While Traveling

african american family beach travel

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s hard to enjoy yourself if you’re worried about how your allergies may act up. Outside of your usual routine, it can be challenging to manage food and pollen allergies in new environments, but it’s not impossible. Careful preparation before traveling will not only make things smoother for you, but also help you avoid a life-threatening allergic reaction or inconvenient sinus discomfort that could cost you a trip to the doctor instead.

Use these tips to help allergy-proof your next trip.

Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, with the number steadily increasing, especially among children. According to Dr. William Calhoun of the University of Texas Medical Branch, it’s extremely important for people with food allergies to be even more cautious while traveling and “watch their dietary intake.”

  • Read labels and ingredients when shopping and eating away from home.
  • Bring your own snacks, especially if you’re on a flight serving peanuts and you have a peanut allergy.
  • Carry an ID card that lists all foods you’re allergic to, as well as your emergency contact information. You can present this card at a restaurant, or have it on you in case of a medical emergency.
  • Pack extra medications, including your epinephrine autoinjector. An epinephrine autoinjector, sometimes called by the shortened brand name Epipen, is the only treatment for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that can include difficulty breathing and closure of the throat.
  • Translate your allergies if traveling abroad in the language of your destination. Resources are available online to assist you.

Environment Allergies

From outdoor pollen to indoor dust and pet dander, several things in your environment can trigger an allergic reaction. Dr. Clifford Bassett, director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York, recommends being extra prepared no matter what environment you think you’re traveling to.

  • Bring dust mite-proof allergy covers for pillows and mattresses to protect against dust mites in unfamiliar sleeping quarters.
  • Pack a big hat and sunglasses to keep pollens out of your hair and eyes. The bigger the better!
  • Request a pet-free hotel room or floor.
  • Research the pollen levels in your destination and plan outdoor activities accordingly. You can check pollen levels via the National Allergy Bureau website.
  • Bring saline nasal spray to keep your nasal passages moist, especially on long, stuffy flights.

If you have serious allergies, or are planning an extended trip, the best prep may be to consult your doctor first!

Visit the BlackDoctor.org Allergy center for more articles.

article via blackdoctor.org

Five Easy Tips for Healthy Eating While Traveling

Trying to stay healthy while traveling can be the most stressful part of a vacation. Temptation is everywhere! Meal prepping and counting calories take a backseat when carbs, fat and sugar galore are all over the place and you’re in a relaxed state of mind because you’re not home. Well, to avoid the bloat and the guilt that travel eating can bring, follow these tips and keep that waistline in check on your next vacation.

1. Avoid thinking you have to indulge just because you’re on vacation. Grilled protein instead of fried, salads with light dressing are all great options to pick at restaurants. I make sure to specify that what I order is not cooked in butter or heavy oil.


2. Pile on the veggies! Avoid heavy sides. Traveling alone tends to make me bloat and breakout. I’ve found that tons of veggies with my meals cuts down on both!

3. Pack some meal prep. When I know I’ll be traveling for a few days, I pack protein shake packets in my checked luggage and do a meal replacement each day. If you’re traveling within the U.S., you can even pack other items like nuts, trailmix and nutrition bars to have healthier snack options at hand.

4. Protein is your best friend. This is especially true when you’re hungry at the airport. With the exception of a few forward thinking airports, most hubs only have fast food dives to choose from. Even still you can cut down on the guilt when ordering by choosing lean proteins.  And pick things that are Grilled, broiled, steamed, roasted, baked or poached.


5. Grocery shop. If you’re roadtripping it, invest $20 or so bucks in a cooler and pack fresh fruits, veggies and deli proteins to munch on. If your staying in a hotel, take advantage of the mini fridge! When I’m flying out of town the first thing I do after check in is find where the grocery store or Bodega is and buy fruits and healthy snacks to keep in the room (think almonds!) so I don’t have to rely on room service or the mini bar when I get hungry.

article by Devi Dev via blackamericaweb.com

TRAVEL: Five Exotic Places You Can Go Without a U.S. Passport


Longing for a long-distance getaway but don’t have a passport? No problem! We’ve found five faraway places overseas where, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, you won’t need to bring a passport.

Puerto Rico

The island of Puerto Rico (officially an unincorporated territory of the United States) has long been a favorite of travelers from the contiguous 48. Inexpensive airfare from Spirit, Southwest, and JetBlue makes Puerto Rico an economical option for East Coasters. And its Isla de Vieques, a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2013 winner for best island in the Caribbean, offers visitors a bioluminescent bay to kayak and unspoiled beaches to explore. In a 2012 referendum on the territory’s political status, a record 61% of Puerto Rico’s voters were in favor of eventual statehood, so we may one day welcome the island as the 51st. Even so, right now, you can explore its wonders without a U.S. passport.

United States Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands lie mere minutes away from Puerto Rico by plane. Made up of three main islands—St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John—plus a scattering of smaller isles, the U.S.V.I. see some 2.6 million visitors each year. In fact, tourism and rum (things we think go very well together) make up the majority of the islands’ economy. Each island has its own unique appeal. St. John, with its national parkland and legendary diving, will charm true escapists. St. Thomas is a shopper’s dream, with countless boutiques and jewelers, as well as two bustling cruise terminals. And Dutch-flavored and diverse St. Croix is a favorite of luxury-seeking honeymooners. Find accommodations of every stripe, from St. Thomas’ smart Ritz-Carlton to the luxe and immersive Caneel Bay resort on St. John.

Note: Travelers will need to have a passport to visit the neighboring British Virgin Islands.


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Passport 101: How to Apply, Renew or Replace

united-states-passportsThe process of obtaining, renewing, or updating a passport is exactly what one would expect when working with a government agency: tedious, mind-numbing, and overly complex. While you’ll find everything you need to know about the often befuddling process on the U.S. State Department website, we’ve made things a little simpler for you by breaking down the basics—from forms to fees to IDs—and providing helpful links to the appropriate forms and websites.

Getting your first passport

To get your first passport, you’ll have to show up in person. Make an appointment at an acceptance facility or passport agency; search for the one closest to you here. You likely live near a facility where you can get a passport. Many post offices and even some public libraries can accept passport applications. Arrive at your passport agency with:

• Your filled-in DS-11 application form.
• Evidence of U.S. citizenship. Find a list of acceptable documents here.
• Valid identification. Find a list of acceptable ID here.
• A photocopy of the front and back of the identification you’re bringing on clean, white 8½” x 11″ paper.
• Your application fee. For a first-time adult passport, the total fee is $135.
• Passport photos. You can read more about the specifications for passport photos here. But most major drug stores, such as Walgreens or CVS, will sell appropriately sized passport photos that comply with government standards; this makes things a little easier.

Renewing a passport

You have two options here: Either you have your old passport or you don’t. If the former’s true, you can apply through the mail as long as your most recent passport is undamaged, was issued when you were at least 16 years old, and isn’t more than 15 years old. If you are nodding “yes” to all of that, simply mail in your old passport with the required documents and photos, and you’ll receive a new one in the mail in roughly four to six weeks. (Don’t worry. You’ll get your old passport back.) Here’s what you need: Form DS-82, your renewal fee ($110 for an adult), passport photos, and your old passport. Get more information about renewing a passport through the mail here.

Keep in mind that if you’ve changed your name since your last passport was issued, include an original certificate or court order that documents this; those without such papers must apply for a renewal in person.

Don’t have your old passport? Then you can’t get a passport renewed by mail. Head to a passport agency in person.

Continue reading “Passport 101: How to Apply, Renew or Replace”

10 Travel Apps To Make Any Trip Better


From Clutch Magazine:

Smartphones are a way of life these days. I take mine everywhere, and look at it approximately 3,458 times a day. With so much time and attention lavished on our mobile phones, isn’t it about time they did something useful for us? As we come to the end of our two weeks of wanderlusting, we’ve compiled a list of 10 smartphone apps that’ll help make any trip easier and more enjoyable — from booking tickets, to what to bring, to how to chat up the locals. These apps will help you get the most out of your phone, so you can get the most out of your trip.

Take a look at our list, and share your favorite apps in the comments!

1. PROBLEM: I need to get my travel plans together!
TripIt will help you plan your next vacay and all from your smartphone. You can create custom itineraries and plan everything from your rental car to your hotel to excursions.

2. PROBLEM: But what do I bring?
PackingPro allows you to create lists of what you need, where you’re going and what to bring, so you’ll never be without a toothbrush, pair of undies or weather-appropriate jacket again.

3. PROBLEM: I just got to town and my hotel lost my reservation. Where do I stay?
Hotel Tonight helps you find great last-minute places to stay at deeply discounted rates. Available in 12 countries and in close to 100 destinations, the site’s options are carefully curated designer and boutique hotels, so you won’t get stuck staying at a crappy Red Roof Inn or something. A warning: Because of the high-end selection, even discounted rates can be on the pricey side.

4. PROBLEM: But what’s that really going to cost me?
I’m a zillion percent guilty of treating foreign currency like it’s Monopoly money. Onanda Currency Converter provides quick and easy conversions for 126 currencies, along with the option to add your bank’s international currency fees.

5. PROBLEM: Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!
Help Call automatically detects your location and provides a direct connection to local police, fire department and ambulance services. You also have the option of contacting — by dialing or by simply shaking the phone — a pre-set emergency contact.

6. PROBLEM: How do you say “Want to make out?” in Farsi?
Converse helps you quickly and easily translate what you want to say from English into any other language. That way you too can have beautifully profound conversations with French waiters!

7. PROBLEM: Uh, what’s that sign say? Do not enter? 
World Lens translates signs, placards and posters by simply pointing the app in the direction of the written words. Works in Spanish, German, Italian and French, so far.

8. PROBLEM: Cabs are expensive. Where’s the nearest metro stop?
 is an app that connects you to more than 160 subway systems around the world.

9. PROBLEM: I want to take pictures like a pro, without having to carry a huge camera around. 
Photosynth allows you to create panoramic, geo-located and interactive photos on your smartphone. You can then post them up to your Tumblr, blog and Facebook page to make all your friends jealz.

10: PROBLEM: I want to learn about that building without having to pull out my guide book every five seconds.
Okay, Google Goggles is amazing. You can use this app to find out information about virtually anything. Just aim the app at a painting, a famous landmark, a storefront or, really, whatever you want, and it will provide you with information about that thing.