Women In Travel Summit 2015 Part II

Manicures and photobooths!  I managed to arrive in heaven. Well, not really but this was all the pampering a girl needs to be happy. During the break, I was torn between attending a bloggers revision workshop or holistic scheduling break out session. I chose, How to get ish done and still have time to do yoga (The holistic scheduling session). I learned some pretty cool techniques, but most, I was already familiar with. When you have a 9-5 job, and manage two blogs and one website like I do, it’s imperative to hone your time management skills.

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IMG_1503 IMG_1506Cashing in on You was the next talk and it was absolutely empowering.

One of the questions asked was What would you do differently if you knew for sure that the only real currency you have in life is you?

When you start to think like this, you begin to take risks. If the only currency in life I had was me, I would have to do three things better:

  1. Network
  2. Make lasting relationships
  3. Get rid of the fear of rejection and take more risks

Even though this was a hypothetical question, this is really a great way to put things into perspective. I need to start thinking of myself like currency and know my worth because I have tons of value. Heck, I am a goldmine. You, who are reading this, whoever you are and wherever you maybe should do the same.

Other Takeaways from Miss Catrice:

  1. Know why you do what you do and why you are the best at doing it
  2. Be very clear about your brand
  3. Do not be afraid to stand out

Tip #3 about standing out, resonated with me most. It’s very important to be the person that stands out. Whether it’s a bright blazer, crazy hair, an amazing broach, always have a conversation piece on hand when a new opportunity presents itself at a conference or maybe even an event.

Follow @catriceology for some more personal and professional branding tips.

IMG_1517 IMG_1521My next break out session was about the boring and monotonous world of SEO. SEO is search optimization, and if a blogger wants to find success, their website/blog should come up on Google’s 1st page and not its 22nd.

Three tips I learned was:

  1. Making Google like you is all about creating amazing content that people love and share
  2. Publish up to date and real-life content that people care about
  3. Brainstorm the common terms and phrases you think people use to search the broad topics of your blog site

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Shortly after a delicious lunch, my last break out session of WITS15 day one would commence. I was torn between “Press Trip Travel,” which I believe would’ve been totally beneficial to me or “Meeting the Global Challenge of Educating Women Through Media: Soulful Travels with Grannies on Safari” I chose the latter and I am happy I did. Grannies on Safari did something to my soul. They were so cute and they have amazing chemistry. Most of all their session was almost like a call for action for us travelers to do more for others abroad. There are women across the world in Africa and India who can’t go to school because they don’t have sanitary napkins to wear while on their periods. That should never be the case. We have to use our platforms to bring awareness to these issues and help our sisters (and brothers) reach great heights in their lives even if they are miles away.

Grannies On Safari have a show on PBS and you can Click here to visit their website.

IMG_1526With Day One of WITS 15 down, I was feeling overwhelmed. I needed to connect with the many people that I met that day, but I also needed to take more action. I have more than one platform, one is even geared towards the empowerment of women and even though I’ve made progress with all of my platforms, this conference made me realize, that my work has just begun. I needed to make more of an impact. Do more, heck, maybe even rebrand. That night, I had a feeling of non-complacency. If I learned anything from this conference it was that change and growth were on my horizon.

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Deserted in Dubai

I woke up bright and early to head to the Dubai mall to purchase a selfie stick. I know, very vain, but it seemed like we were the only tourists in Dubai without one. Besides, it would be useful for our desert safari. This selfie stick was kind of a big deal.

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Addicted to the art of negotiation, we went back to the Deira Gold Souqs for more souvenirs. We would soon learn, Dubai is the best place to negotiate because, in my experience, shops in Abu Dhabi were more expensive and not as willing to. I searched for the Arab scent. It’s a scent that you cannot help but smell when passing some of the men in Dubai. Someone told me Musk and Rose were the ingredients. Yet, the guy trying to sell me this scent was a crook, so I left the souq without it!

Dubai is infamous for its traffic. We were going to be late for our pick up to the desert, which was scheduled for 3:30PM. We were stuck in traffic for about 30-minutes and arrived back at the hotel at 4PM. The driver, who picked us up was so nice. We thought we would be the only ones on the safari but he then drove to a residential area of Dubai to pick up an older Irish couple and their granddaughter. The minute I saw we would be on this desert safari with gramps and granny, I knew we were in for trouble. They would probably warn the driver not to go so fast and blah, blah, blah.

For about an hour we drove on a highway until it gradually turned into the desert. The brown sand was beautiful. We got out of our jeep to meet with the other group of jeeps that would be traveling with us to our secret location in the desert.

IMG_0512Kydee Williams

IMG_0394As we were zooming through the high sand dunes like a roller coaster, up-down, to the side and around, granny asked the driver if he could slow down for her granddaughter who was getting car sick. I nudged Myllz and rolled my eyes. Really? Did I pay to go slow on the sand dunes? Who goes slow over sand dunes? I guess we do. I was so annoyed!

I couldn’t wait to get to our secret desert camp. The first thing I did was ride the camels. They were so cute. Scary but cute. I almost wanted them to spit so I could see it in person but their mouths were covered.

The scary part of riding a camel is when they come up and come down. It’s sort of like levels. Some of the camels have no sense of space and will be all in your face. Camels are very treasured by the people in Dubai. It’s a serious crime to harm them.

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10 Overseas Travel Prep Tips

It’s officially summer folks, which means a lot of us are traveling. Having recently come back from an extensive overseas trip, I have some valuable tips that I want to share with you if you are planning on traveling this season:

1. Passport

Don’t forget your passport. This is probably the most important identification you will have for your trip. Make sure you allow enough time to get a new or renewed passport if need be.

2. Pack Light

With the hikes in baggage prices, avoid overpacking your bags.

3. Exchange your Money before you Leave

The exchange companies overseas will charge fees like you have never seen before. Please avoid them by all costs (pun intended). Also, get a list from your bank of their affiliations with any other bank in the country you are traveling to so you can easily retrieve money without high-cost fees and exchange rates.

4. Research

Do your research on any country you are visiting. I can’t emphasize this enough. A lot of countries all over the world operate differently from us in the United States. There are so many blogs, book stores, google maps, and review sites like Trip Advisor and travel agents out there that can assist with all the information you will need for your upcoming trip. Use these resources; it’s so vital.

5. Itinerary

Probably the most important piece of paper you will have is an itinerary or a breakdown of how your trip should go (even though a few changes may occur). Make sure to have a list of places you are visiting, dates, hotel names and addresses, phone numbers, confirmations, etc. Everything you will need to survive while out of the country should be included on this list.

6. Download Important Apps

There are amazing travel apps out there for smartphone users. On my recent trip to Europe, I downloaded “What’s App” as a means of texting and MagicJack to make international phone calls to my family for free. It’s amazing what you can discover on the App Store.

7. Know the basics

If you are traveling to a country that speaks a foreign language, know the basics words such as hello, good-bye, how much? Where’s the bathroom? So you can communicate with the locals

8. Maps of Train Systems

I think it’s very important to get familiar with different countries’ metro systems (before traveling) so you won’t get lost or overwhelmed. Also using the trains can help save money on otherwise expensive taxicabs.

9. Beware of Pickpockets and Robbers

It seems as if tourists have an invisible sign on their forehead which says “ROB ME.” Some people can spot a tourist from a mile away and with that being said, it’s always wise to be cautious of your belongings, your purse if you are a lady and your passport. You would never want an ideal vacation to go sour because something was stolen from you…what a nightmare.

10. Be Open-Minded

Indulging in another culture unlike your own could be frightening. However, you have to go into an experience wanting to take it to the fullest. Let your hair down and enjoy the lifestyle of foreign cultures. Try different foods, dance in the streets, sleep in, relax and just enjoy life. You never know what you will learn and you may also discover, people across the world are just like you in a lot of ways.

Kydee Williams

Travel Style 101: Shopping

I did all my shopping before I left; it’s just too expensive to shop in Europe. Nevertheless, in this photo-driven world that we live in, it was important for me to look the part while in Europe. I wanted each of my outfits to be reflections of my personal style and the countries I was visiting. To start, I researched the traditional and/or stereotypical looks of each country. I then tried my best to imitate:

When I think of…

  • London, I think preppy, I needed a trench coat
  • Paris, I think romance, I needed a beret, soft colored outfits and black
  • Venice, I think nautical, I needed stripes like the Gondola guys
  • Rome, I think of a historical metropolis, I was thinking something along the line of gaudy Donatella Versace
  • Barcelona, I think excitement and liveliness, I needed bright colors
  • Amsterdam, I think Kydee all the way…Boho-hipster

Kydee style boardFor fashion inspiration, I resorted to magazines that illustrated European influenced styles, specifically Harper Bazaar magazine and clipped out tons of photos that fit the looks I was going for. Now I needed to shop:

  • Thrift Shopping: Thrifting was the best. I got a lot of European styled skirts and shoes that set the tone for some of my looks
  • The Fashion District: The garment/fashion district in NYC was my go-to spot for D.I.Y projects. I was attempting a tutu skirt and tassels on my heels
  • Zara: If you know me, then you know that my favorite store since I was 15-years old has always been Zara. I found some really cute things including leopard pants that were expensive ($70) but cute.
  • Forever 21 + H&M: I got a lot of accessories, leggings, shirts, and sweaters from these stores. I also got my walking shoes.
  • Banana Republic: I found my trench coat and blazers here…perfect for the conservative looks.

Ky’s Style Tips:

  • Take pictures of your outfits before you pack them. It’s great for memory and keeping track of what you are actually taking
  • No pictures? No problem…just use an excel document or the reminders app on your iPhone as a checklist

 

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Kydee Williams Kydee Williams

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