In the tireless pursuit of all things travel, we came across an exciting all female travel community called Travelbff. The women of Travelbff work diligently to grow and support female travellers around the globe regardless of travel style, location or destination while providing inspiration for new adventures. We sat down with the founder Justine to learn more.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for travel.
When I headed to the US in 2009 to work in the hospitality industry I never imagined that it would change my life the way it did and introduce me to the world of traveling. What started as a year abroad, quickly became the beginning of a never-ending obsession with exploring new destinations and different cultures. Through work and school, I have since traveled to more than 20 countries on 4 continents.
How did you decide to put everything down and decide to travel the world sharing stories?
When I went on my first solo trip in 2016 I realized that regular life just wasn’t for me. I was dreading to go back home and decided it was time to live the life I desired. I have been saving ever for a year and am finally going to full-time travel this August. Finding inspiration in the beautiful things that life has to offer is my real passion. Sharing it with the world and encouraging others to do the same is what keeps me motivated.
What advice would you give avid travelers on areas where they can find savings in order to make a trip affordable and enjoyable at the same time?
Flexibility is key! In order to get the best savings, travelers have to be flexible with their dates and their preferences. The best offers are usually outside of the regular season or tourist destinations, but just as amazing. Another insider tip I have been using for a while is travel pirates. They do a great job finding travel hacks and sharing them with the world.
What destination have you visited that provided you the most “eye opening and life changing” experience?
St. Lucia! I was lucky enough to live and work on the island for six months in the past. The people and the island were absolutely amazing, beautiful and full of energy. As a girl from a western country, a small island with limited resources might sound boring and daunting, but it taught me to appreciate the little things in life. I mean, why be stressed if you can enjoy a fresh coconut from the palm tree in front of your house.
What are your best pieces of advice you can give travelers about keeping safe when visiting another country
Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home. I like to think that people will take advantage of you if they feel they can. So don’t walk through a dodgy street all by yourself in the middle of the night, don’t get so drunk that you can’t walk with people you just met and don’t flash all your money and credit card details in front of strangers. Instead be vigilant and careful about your surroundings and the company you keep.
What is an experience that you would tell travelers out there that is a must?
Visiting an elephant sanctuary or national park. While traveling to Thailand this year, we visited an elephant sanctuary and spend a day with the elephants. Experiencing elephants live was astounding. They are very observant and sensitive the environment, which is surely not easy being that big. I enjoyed every minute of it and hope to meet more animals in their natural habitat during my travels.
Where was the best place you’ve had a drink (could be coffee) ? What are your recommendations?
The best place I ever had a drink was at the W Barcelona, one of my favorite hotels ever. The hotel chain is known for hiring a beverage manager that is solely responsible for following food trends and coming up with new ways to include them in cocktails. I had a signature martini and enjoyed the breathtaking view of Barcelona.
Is there a particular country/city that totally surprised you and exceeded expectations?
Yes, that would be Budapest. Before moving there for work, I always thought of the East as a cold and conservative place. I was shocked to see how wrong I was. With its old architecture and charming streets, Budapest is now on the top 3 of my favorite places in the world. It doesn’t matter when you plan to visit, it is always worth it.
What would you say to those people that have the urge to travel and explore, but have fears about the unknown?
Go for it! You never know what you can do until you try. Every fear that we have is a direct result of the stereotypes and prejudices different experiences in our lives taught us. The problem is when you let those assumptions stop you from living an authentic life. A life in which you can honestly say ‘I tried and I don’t like it’ instead of ‘I didn’t try because I’m not sure I would like it’, is more authentic and honest.
What are your must pack items as a solo traveller?
Plastic bags, a small carry on backpack and a first aid kit. As a solo traveler, you need to be prepared for everything, which these 3 items almost do. You will learn that plastic bags are essential to keep your luggage dry. You can put dirty laundry, wet socks or lotion in them and prevent them from spilling. A small carry-on backpack is always handy, especially when the airline loses your luggage and it’s the only bag you can use for two to three days. Finally a first aid kit. Basically self-explanatory. Great help when you have blisters from walking, sunburns or a headache.
Who are your 3 favorite accounts to follow on Instagram?
I love following inspiring women from our community, that are proof that you don’t have to be one of the big travel bloggers to travel the world. My three favorites are: