Name: Rondel Holder
Occupation: Senior Marketing Manager at ESSENCE and Founder of travel and culture blog dedicated to the young black professional, SoulSociety101.com
Currently Living In: Brooklyn, NY
Travel Motto: Book it and figure out the details after
Favorite Travel Destinations: I love Caribbean travel — the food, crystal clear water, warmth, music and people can't be beat. I've been to about 10 countries in the Caribbean. My favorites are Grenada, Barbados (both of which I am going back to in 2015), Jamaica and St. Lucia. They are definitely not all the same either, so it really depends on what you're looking for.
The Grand Canyon was the most jaw dropping travel experience of my life so far — pictures do not do it justice, neither do words. You MUST go experience it even if it's a day trip from a Vegas vacation. I love to get to Los Angeles as many times a year as possible (I'm a fake bi-coastal but plan to really be one day.) Also London because it's like New York City on steroids.
I also have Iceland, Amsterdam and Turks & Caicos booked for 2015. Luckily my work takes care of most of my domestic travel needs, which so far include Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans and Houston this year. Looking to squeeze in one or two more international trips, which I'm very open to as long as it's Asia or Africa, two continents I don't have enough experience in.
What Makes Him Want to See the Globe: I've always had an obsession with culture. Learning all the nuances that make us different and also seeing all the common ties that make us the same. It's interesting to see how a location and peoples' experiences shape how they look, speak, dance and the influence in their music. It all comes together when you visit a new place. It's definitely one of my favorite feelings in the world!
Ultimate Bucket List Trip: SO MANY! And I'm determined to get this list done in the next three to four years before, God willing, I can start having some children and be willing to slow down my pace of life a bit.
- South Africa
Best Way to Maximize Vacation Days: Doubling up on trips! A lot of times you can get to one place and, instead of going back home, you can travel relatively cheaply to a nearby country. For example, this year when I go to Barbados for the Crop Over Festival, it's only $150 for a quick flight to Grenada from Barbados, so I'm doing those two countries back to back. Same with Iceland and Amsterdam — from Iceland you can get to Amsterdam for $150, Rome for $80, etc. Saves time, money and jet lag recuperation days!
Advice for Those Who Want to Travel More: Don't be afraid to start smaller. People explore the world at very different paces and there's nothing wrong with that! If you haven't done cities in the U.S. like Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans and Miami, maybe start there to get into your travel groove. People underestimate how much the U.S. has to offer. Also there are tons of resources available; make sure you do your research before going to a new country. Learn the customs, how currency exchange rates work, what you might need to pack, etc. Planning those things and leaving my itinerary fairly flexible have led to some great travel experiences.