Yes the Corona Virus has us all in doors and waiting for better days but now is a time for you to think of future travel plans. Yes, travel plans for when we can all go outside and to the airport. With being home, hopefully you’ve been able to save some extra cash that you can put in the travel jar.
Even though plane tickets and hotels cost money, there is one woman who travels at the same rate some of us change our underwear- for all of us that should be daily. At any rate, Cinneah is the queen of travel. She was born and raised ova West but currently resides in New York. Cinn attended Barnard College where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Africana Studies and a Master of Science degree in Management from Wake Forest University School of Business.
She traveled to 25 countries by her 25th birthday. Her new goal is 40 countries by age 30. Aside from her travel expertise she is a Product Developer for American Express and founder of Flynanced – a blog exploring travel and generating wealth. Cinneah believes you don’t have to put your travel aspirations on hold to reach your financial goals. She says, ” I am passionate about making travel, innovation, and personal finance inclusive for the historically underrepresented.” She also volunteers as a Board member for the Black Alumni Council of Columbia University. Her passion for traveling started at a young age. The first five countries she visited were with her parents. (Shout-out to mom and dad, please!)
We at OWS were intrigued with her stories, photos, and mission. We had the pleasure of interviewing the queen of travel for her tips and tricks for not using money as an excuse not to travel. We also picked her brain about her favorite places. Read our exclusive Q&A below:
OWS: When\ how did you start traveling? Cinneah: I am blessed that my family had the resources to take me on vacations as a child. In fact, the first 5 countries I visited were with my parents. Those experiences coupled with more educational experiences in middle school (People to People Student Ambassador) and high school (Elijah Cummings Youth Program Fellow) ignited a passion for travel in me.
OWS: Why did you take the 25 before 25 initiative? Cinneah: I decided as a senior in college that I wanted to set an ambitious travel goal. At that point, I had been blogging (mostly to my family readers) about my travels with study abroad and other trips during college. Again, the generosity of my parents especially my mother helped me cross this goal. For my college graduation gift, my mother sent me on a month long trip around Europe with EF College Break. I was able to visit 9 countries, which helped accelerate my progress. So by 22, I’d been to 20 countries. From there, reaching 5 more countries felt within reach. I am blessed to say I surpassed my goal by my 25th birthday.
OWS: How do plan your trips? How do you decide where to go?
Cinneah: I love to travel with my close friends so most of the trips I’ve planned post-college have been based on our shared interests. For example, Cuba (country #22) ended up being a girls’ trip with friends of mine from college and back home. We all wanted to experience Havana and decided to go before we all were bogged down by school and work. Beyond that, I keep a mental list of places I want to visit and jump at the opportunity to do so when the right deal and options present themselves.
OWS: What advice do you have for someone who wants to travel but believes they can’t afford it?
irst, I recommend really assessing your financial situation. Log into all your bank and credit card accounts and review your last month’s statements. Start by answering these questions: How much did you earn last month? How much did your absolute necessary expenses cost you, like housing, transportation, utilities? How much did you actually spend? What was the difference?
This exercise usually reveals that many of us are not spending our money intentionally and we may be wasting money on things and conveniences that aren’t actually bringing joy into our lives. If you’re struggling with budgeting your money, check out my very first blog post: https://flynanced.com/how-to-budget-101/
OWS: What financial tips do you have for planning and saving for a trip? Cinneah:
My biggest tip is to create a travel fund, which is a savings account you use specifically for travel. For me, I set up a direct deposit from my paychecks right into my travel fund. Since it’s automated, I don’t even have to think about it! I share how to get started with your own travel fund on my blog: https://flynanced.com/afford-to-travel-the-world/
From there, I focus on finding the best deals to save me even more money. I shared my favorite sites for finding airline flight deals on my blog: https://flynanced.com/plan-your-next-trip-in-three-easy-steps/
OWS: When are the best times to travel?
Cinneah: The best times to travel are when you can afford to do so without accruing unnecessary debt. Period. Credit cards, especially travel rewards cards, can be amazing tools to help you reach your travel goals faster but not if you can’t afford to pay off your balance. Beyond that, I believe the best times to travel are when your lifestyle can support them. Do you work full time with vacation time? Use your days to travel. Are you in school with breaks at the end of the semester? Plan a trip over one of the holidays.
OWS: What is the perfect packing list? What should every packing list have?
Cinneah: My essential packing list is a mix of items for comfort and convenience. I never go anywhere without a good neck pillow and eye mask for naps on planes, trains, and anything in between. If traveling internationally to a country with different plugs, I recommend bringing a plug converter so you can charge your devices. Packing cubes have been a recent life saver to fit more stuff into my suitcases. Most importantly, I urge all travelers to invest in Global Entry status. For a one time fee, you’re afforded years of expedited security clearance with TSA Pre-Check (all U.S. travel) and Global Entry (returning to U.S.) every time you fly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve breezed past hundreds of people waiting in long security or customs lines because of this benefit!
OWS: Why travel? What are the benefits?
Cinneah: I travel to satisfy my appetite for adventure, to connect with like-minded people, and to appreciate the beauty of this planet we all call home.
OWS: How long do you usually stay in each place?
Cinneah: The longest I’ve stayed in a single city is five weeks and the shortest is five hours – it really all depends on the nature of the specific trip. I prefer to stay at least a week in far away places with flight times over 6 hours so my body can get adjusted to any time and climate differences.
OWS: What country was your favorite and why?
Cinneah: It’s hard for me to pick my favorite country because I’ve had incredible experiences in so many different parts of the world. I’ll say some of my favorite cities to visit have been Paris (because of its iconic charm), Cartagena (because of the vibrant Afro-colombian culture), Tokyo (because of the food and technology), and Cape Town (because of its stunning natural beauty).
OWS: How do you feel before and after you visit a place? What do you take/ get from each place?
Cinneah: Before I visit a place for the first time, I am filled with anticipation on what I’ll see, experience, and eat. I try to stray off the beaten path a bit in each place I visit. I love to wander and find where the locals hang so I can have a better appreciation for a place beyond the tourist traps.
OWS: What places are next and why?
Cinneah: In 2020, I am excited to get back to the Motherland of Africa by way of Morocco. This country has been on my mind for some time now so I am excited to experience my first place in Northern Africa.
OWS: Tell us anything else you want us to know about you or traveling.
Cinneah: Traveling isn’t just about catching flights overseas, it can also be exploring more U.S. cities as well. While people are usually impressed by my country count, I am also blessed to say I’ve visited most of the big cities across the country. Don’t miss out on experiencing adventure in your own backyard because you’re only fixated on flying internationally.
Flynanced does more than gives us all the tips and tricks for travel. Cinneah is an example of living your passions. She is traveling and spreading her knowledge of financial literacy. Cinneah encourages and inspires us all to explore the world, whether that is your neighboring state or neighboring country. So save some Corona cash and plan your next trip.
*Photos taken from Fylnanced.com