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What It’s Like Traveling As A Plus-Sized, Black Solo Female Traveler


by Mercie Phipps



Traveling is a transformative experience that allows us to explore new places, immerse ourselves in different cultures, and create lifelong memories. However, for plus-sized, black solo female travelers, there are unique challenges that can arise along the journey. In this article, we will delve into the realities and experiences of being a plus-sized, black solo female traveler, and provide valuable insights and tips for navigating the world of travel.


Traveling as a plus-sized individual can present its own set of obstacles. From uncomfortable airplane seats to the scarcity of clothing options in foreign destinations, the physical aspects of travel can sometimes be uncomfortable and challenging. Additionally, societal pressures and body shaming can fuel insecurities and impact one’s confidence while exploring new places. It’s important to acknowledge and address these challenges in order to empower ourselves and promote body positivity throughout our travel adventures.


On top of dealing with the challenges of being plus-sized, black solo female travelers also have to confront stereotypes and racism. Unfortunately, prejudice and discrimination can still be prevalent in many parts of the world. It’s essential to navigate these situations with grace and assertiveness, while also advocating for equality and respect. By sharing our stories and experiences, we can contribute to breaking down stereotypes and fostering a more inclusive and tolerant travel community.


The decision to embark on solo travel as a black woman is a bold and empowering choice. It allows for personal growth, independence, and a deeper connection with oneself and the world. However, it can also come with its own set of concerns and considerations. Safety is a top priority, and it’s important to research and be aware of potential risks, while also taking steps to protect oneself. Building confidence, setting boundaries, and staying connected with loved ones can be instrumental in ensuring a positive and secure solo travel experience.


The Challenges of Being Plus-Sized

Being plus-sized while traveling can present unique challenges that can impact both the physical and emotional aspects of the journey. It’s important to be aware of these challenges and find ways to overcome them in order to fully enjoy the travel experience.


One of the main challenges for plus-sized travelers is the discomfort that can arise during long flights or bus rides. Airplane seats are notoriously narrow, making it difficult for those with a larger frame to find a comfortable position. It’s important to research airlines that offer wider seats or consider upgrading to a premium seating option to ensure a more comfortable journey.


Another challenge that plus-sized travelers face is the limited availability of clothing options in certain destinations. While larger sizes may be more readily available in Western countries, it can be a struggle to find clothing that fits well and suits your style preferences in other parts of the world. It’s helpful to pack versatile and comfortable clothing, as well as doing some research on local shopping options or online retailers that cater to a wider range of sizes.


In addition to physical challenges, plus-sized travelers may also encounter societal pressures and body shaming while traveling. It’s important to remember that your worth and enjoyment of the trip should not be defined by your size. Embracing body positivity and practicing self-acceptance can help overcome any negative feelings that may arise. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community, whether online or through travel groups, can also provide encouragement and a sense of belonging.


Furthermore, the fear of judgment or negative comments from others can be a barrier for plus-sized travelers in fully embracing the adventure. It’s essential to remember that everyone has the right to travel and explore the world, regardless of their size. By focusing on the experiences, connections, and personal growth that travel offers, you can rise above any negativity and make the most out of your journey.


Overcoming the challenges of being plus-sized while traveling requires resilience, self-acceptance, and a determination to create your own narrative. By embracing your body, advocating for inclusivity, and seeking out supportive communities, you can ensure that your travel experiences are positive and empowering, allowing you to fully enjoy the wonders of the world.


Dealing with Stereotypes and Racism

As a plus-sized, black solo female traveler, it’s unfortunate but important to acknowledge that stereotypes and racism may be encountered throughout your journey. While it can be disheartening, there are strategies and approaches you can use to handle these situations and promote understanding and acceptance.


Firstly, it’s crucial to remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity wherever you go. Do not let stereotypes or racist remarks undermine your self-worth or dampen your spirit of adventure. Surround yourself with a strong support system, whether online or through travel communities, where you can find understanding and encouragement.


When faced with stereotypes or racism, it can be helpful to respond with grace, assertiveness, and education. Engage in open conversations, sharing your experiences and perspectives to challenge preconceived notions. By showing that you are more than the stereotypes, you can help break down barriers and foster a more inclusive travel community.


Additionally, it’s important to research and familiarize yourself with the local culture and customs before you travel. Understanding the cultural context of the destinations you visit can help navigate situations with sensitivity and respect. Learning a few key phrases in the local language can also go a long way in demonstrating your genuine interest in and respect for the culture.


If you encounter racism or discrimination, it’s important to prioritize your safety and well-being. Trust your instincts and remove yourself from any unsafe or uncomfortable situations. Connect with local authorities, embassy, or other reliable support systems if necessary. Always make sure to have emergency contact information readily available and share your travel plans with trusted friends or family.


Remember, the actions of a few individuals do not define an entire country or culture. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that racism and prejudice exist globally. Despite this, traveling provides an opportunity to challenge stereotypes and build bridges of understanding. By fostering connections and engaging with different communities, you can promote acceptance, respect, and cultural exchange.


Ultimately, resilience, self-assurance, and a commitment to educating and learning from others are key in dealing with stereotypes and racism as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler. Your presence and positive interactions can help reshape perceptions, inspire others, and contribute to a more inclusive and empathetic travel community.


Solo Travel as a Black Woman

Solo travel can be a transformative and empowering experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in new cultures, gain independence, and build confidence. As a black woman traveling alone, there are unique considerations to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enriching journey.


One of the first things to consider is the perception of black women in different parts of the world. In some countries, black women may be seen as exotic or objectified, while in others, they may face racism or stereotypes. Researching the cultural climate and attitudes towards black women in your chosen destinations can help you prepare and navigate potential challenges.


Safety is always a top priority, and it’s no different when traveling solo as a black woman. Before embarking on your journey, it’s advisable to research the safety of your destination, including any potential risks or areas to avoid. It’s important to trust your instincts and take precautions to minimize any potential risks, such as avoiding walking alone at night or staying in well-reviewed accommodations.


Building a strong support network is essential when traveling alone. Connect with fellow black travelers or join online communities specifically for black women travelers. These communities provide a platform to share experiences, advice, and support. Engaging with others who have similar experiences can help navigate challenges, brainstorm ideas, and find solidarity in your solo travel journey.


Additionally, seek out opportunities for cultural exchange and meaningful connections. Engage with locals, participate in community events, and embrace the chance to learn from different perspectives. By immersing yourself in the local culture, you not only enhance your travel experience but also challenge stereotypes and foster mutual understanding.


While it’s important to be aware of the potential challenges that exist, it’s also crucial to approach solo travel as a black woman with a positive mindset. Embrace your uniqueness and celebrate your heritage. Your presence as a black woman traveling independently can challenge stereotypes and inspire others to pursue their own travel dreams.


Remember, your voice matters. Share your experiences and stories through platforms like blogs, social media, or travel forums. By amplifying your voice and sharing your journey, you not only empower yourself but also serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement for other black women considering solo travel.


Solo travel as a black woman offers a valuable opportunity for self-discovery, personal growth, and empowerment. By breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and embracing the adventure, you pave the way for a more inclusive and diverse travel landscape, inspiring others to confidently embark on their own solo adventures.


Body Positivity on the Road

Body positivity is a powerful mindset that allows us to embrace and celebrate our bodies as they are, regardless of societal beauty standards. Maintaining body positivity while traveling is essential for a fulfilling and enjoyable journey as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler. Here are some tips to promote body positivity on the road.


Firstly, it’s important to remember that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and hues. Embrace your body and focus on the amazing things it allows you to do and experience during your travels. Celebrate your strength, resilience, and the joy of exploring new destinations, rather than fixating on any perceived flaws.


Avoid comparing yourself to others. Traveling exposes us to a diverse range of people with varying body types. Instead of feeling insecure or judgmental, shift your focus towards appreciating the beauty and uniqueness of each individual you encounter. Embrace the beauty of diversity and let it inspire you to celebrate your own body.


Pack clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Choose pieces that flatter your body shape and reflect your personal style. Prioritize comfort over societal expectations and wear what makes you feel great. Remember, confidence is key when it comes to embracing body positivity.


Document your journey through photography. Capture your experiences and adventures, whether it’s standing in front of iconic landmarks or indulging in local cuisine. Let these pictures serve as a reminder of the incredible experiences you’ve had and the joy you felt, regardless of how your body may appear in them.


Engage in self-care rituals on the road. Take time to pamper yourself, whether it’s indulging in a spa treatment, practicing yoga, or simply finding a quiet moment to relax and recharge. Prioritizing self-care can help boost your confidence and reinforce a positive mindset.


Seek out body-positive travel communities and resources. Connect with like-minded individuals who share similar experiences and learn from their journeys. Online platforms, blogs, and social media accounts dedicated to body positivity in travel can offer inspiration, practical tips, and a supportive community that uplifts and encourages you.


Lastly, remember that your worth and enjoyment of travel are not determined by your size or appearance. Embrace the adventure, the learning experiences, and the connections you make along the way. Traveling as a plus-sized, black solo female is a statement of empowerment and resilience, and your journey should be filled with positive self-reflection and experiences.


By practicing body positivity on the road, you pave the way for a more inclusive and accepting travel community. Embrace your body, challenge societal norms, and inspire others to love and embrace themselves as they are, encouraging a more inclusive and diverse representation in the world of travel.


Finding Accommodations and Transportation

When it comes to finding accommodations and transportation as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler, there are several factors to consider to ensure a comfortable and stress-free experience. Here are some tips to help you navigate these aspects of your journey.


When it comes to accommodations, research is key. Look for hotels or guesthouses that prioritize comfort and inclusivity. Check if they have spacious rooms, sturdy furniture, and amenities that cater to a variety of body types. Reading reviews from other travelers, particularly those who share similar needs or body types, can provide valuable insights.


If you prefer alternative accommodations like vacation rentals or homestays, communicate your specific requirements with the hosts beforehand. Be clear about your needs and any concerns you may have. This can help ensure that your stay is comfortable and meets your expectations.


When it comes to transportation, consider the accessibility and comfort of different options. If you’re traveling by air, research airlines that offer more generous seating arrangements, such as wider seats or extra legroom. It’s worth exploring the possibility of upgrading to premium economy or business class for added comfort, especially for longer flights.


If you’re using public transportation, check for accessibility features like ramps or elevators, especially if you’re carrying heavy luggage. Some cities may also offer transportation cards or passes that allow for unlimited travel within a certain timeframe, which can be more convenient and cost-effective.


When booking transportation services like taxis or ride-sharing apps, don’t be afraid to communicate your needs to the drivers. If you require extra space or assistance with luggage, let them know in advance. It’s better to have a comfortable and stress-free journey, so don’t hesitate to advocate for your needs.


Online travel forums and communities can also provide valuable insights and recommendations regarding accommodations and transportation options for plus-sized travelers. Connecting with other travelers who share similar experiences can help you gather firsthand information and make informed choices.


Ultimately, finding accommodations and transportation as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler requires research, communication, and advocating for your needs. Remember that you deserve to have a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience, and don’t hesitate to seek out accommodations and transportation options that prioritize your comfort and well-being.


Navigating Cultural Differences

Traveling to new destinations exposes us to different cultures, customs, and social norms. As a plus-sized, black solo female traveler, it is essential to approach cultural differences with respect, open-mindedness, and a willingness to learn. Here are some tips to help you navigate cultural differences during your journey.


Do thorough research before you travel to understand the cultural norms and customs of the countries you plan to visit. This includes learning about appropriate dress codes, greeting gestures, and taboos. Being aware of these cultural nuances can help you navigate social interactions and show respect for the local culture.


Adopting a humble and open-minded attitude is crucial when encountering different customs. While some practices might seem unfamiliar or even uncomfortable to you, remember that cultural differences are what make our world diverse and beautiful. Embrace the opportunity to learn from and appreciate the local traditions.


Make an effort to learn basic greetings and phrases in the local language. This simple act shows respect and can help break down barriers and facilitate meaningful connections with locals. Locals will appreciate your efforts, and it can also serve as a bridge to understanding their culture on a deeper level.


Observe and follow the lead of locals in terms of behavior and etiquette. Pay attention to how people dress, interact, and behave in different settings such as religious sites, markets, or public transportation. Mimicking their behavior can help you blend in and show respect for their cultural norms.


Be mindful of your body language and tone of voice. Non-verbal cues vary across cultures, and what may be acceptable in one country may be perceived differently in another. Take cues from the locals and adjust your behavior accordingly to ensure effective communication and avoid misunderstandings.


Respectfully ask questions and seek to understand rather than passing judgment. Engaging in conversations with locals, asking about their traditions, and expressing genuine curiosity can foster cultural exchange and deepen your appreciation for their way of life.


It’s important to acknowledge and challenge any preconceived notions or stereotypes you may hold about other cultures. Embrace the opportunity to expand your understanding, challenge your biases, and celebrate the diversity of our world.


Remember that cultural differences should be viewed as an opportunity for personal growth and a chance to develop a global mindset. By approaching each culture with respect, curiosity, and an open heart, you can foster meaningful connections, gain a deeper appreciation for the world, and contribute to a more inclusive and understanding travel community.


Safety Concerns and Precautions

Ensuring your safety as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler is essential for a smooth and enjoyable journey. While traveling, it’s important to be mindful of potential risks and take necessary precautions to protect yourself. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your travels.


Before you embark on your trip, thoroughly research the safety situation of your destination. Familiarize yourself with any travel advisories or warnings issued by your government. Take note of areas that may have high crime rates or are deemed unsafe for tourists.


Be mindful of your surroundings at all times, especially when in unfamiliar or crowded areas. Be aware of pickpockets, scams, or suspicious individuals. Keep your valuables secure and avoid displaying signs of wealth or carrying large amounts of cash.


When it comes to accommodations, prioritize safety and select reputable options. Read reviews from previous guests to ensure they have a good track record in terms of security. Consider staying in well-lit and well-populated areas, particularly if you are traveling alone.


When out and about, inform someone trusted about your itinerary and keep them updated regularly. Share your contact details, accommodation addresses, and any planned activities. It’s important to have a reliable point of contact in case of an emergency.


Consider investing in travel insurance that provides comprehensive coverage. This ensures that you are protected against unforeseen events such as accidents or medical emergencies. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, including any specific coverage for solo travelers.


Trust your instincts. If a situation or person feels unsafe or uncomfortable, remove yourself from it. It’s better to be cautious and take preventative measures than to risk your safety. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help or contact local authorities if needed.


Research local customs and cultural norms to avoid inadvertently offending or disrespecting locals. Being mindful of cultural sensitivities can help you navigate social interactions more smoothly and reduce the risk of unintentional misunderstandings.


Connect with other travelers or locals through online travel communities or forums. They can provide valuable insights, share safety tips, and even offer advice specific to your destination. Additionally, joining group tours or activities can provide a sense of security and companionship.


It’s important to note that safety concerns can vary depending on the destination, so it’s crucial to stay informed and adapt to the specific circumstances of each place you visit. By staying vigilant, taking necessary precautions, and trusting your intuition, you can minimize potential risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience.


Building Confidence and Empowerment

Building confidence and empowerment as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler is not only crucial for a successful journey but also for personal growth and self-discovery. Here are some tips to help you cultivate confidence and empower yourself during your travels.


First and foremost, embrace your unique identity and be proud of who you are. Recognize that your worth and value as a traveler are not defined by societal beauty standards or stereotypes. Celebrate your individuality and the strength it takes to embark on solo adventures.


Set realistic expectations for yourself and your journey. Understand that travel, like life, may have its ups and downs. Embrace the challenges as opportunities for personal growth and learn to adapt and overcome obstacles along the way. Each experience, positive or negative, contributes to your overall development.


Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for your trip by researching your destination, understanding the local customs, and familiarizing yourself with potential challenges. Knowledge is power and being well-informed can boost your confidence and help you navigate unfamiliar situations with ease.


Engage in self-care practices throughout your journey. Prioritize your well-being by taking time to recharge, rest, and indulge in activities that bring you joy. This can include anything from pampering yourself with a spa day to taking a break from sightseeing to read a book or enjoy a cup of coffee in a local cafe.


Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Whether it’s participating in adventurous activities, striking up conversations with locals, or trying unfamiliar cuisines, pushing your boundaries can help you grow and develop a sense of empowerment in unfamiliar environments.


Connect with other travelers or locals who share your interests or experiences. Seek out travel communities, online forums, or social media groups that focus on body positivity, solo travel, or cultural exchange. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network can provide a sense of belonging, encouragement, and inspiration.


Share your journey through blogging, vlogging, or social media platforms to not only document your experiences but also inspire and empower other plus-sized, black travelers. Your stories and insights can help challenge stereotypes and encourage others to embark on their own adventures.


Focus on the meaningful experiences and connections you make during your travels. Engage with the local culture, engage in conversations with locals, and immerse yourself in the destination. Embracing the richness of new experiences can boost your confidence and empower you to overcome any self-doubt.


Finally, practice self-love and embrace your body at every stage of your journey. Remember that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and hues. Treat yourself with kindness, respect, and compassion, both physically and emotionally. By cultivating self-love, you can radiate confidence and empowerment throughout your travels.


Building confidence and empowerment as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler is a continuous journey. Embrace the challenges, celebrate your successes, and embrace the transformative power of travel as you discover the incredible person you are. Travel with confidence, resilience, and a belief in your own unique power to conquer the world.


Connecting with the Travel Community

Connecting with the travel community is a valuable way to enrich your journey, gain support, and foster meaningful connections with like-minded individuals. As a plus-sized, black solo female traveler, finding these connections can be particularly empowering. Here are some tips on how to connect with the travel community:


Join online travel communities and forums that cater to diverse travelers. These platforms provide a space to share experiences, ask questions, and receive advice from fellow travelers who may have similar backgrounds or share common interests. Engaging with these communities can offer valuable insights and a sense of belonging.


Connect with other travelers through social media. Follow travel-related accounts that celebrate diversity and inclusivity. Engage with their content, share your own experiences, and use relevant hashtags to participate in conversations around travel. This can lead to meaningful connections and the opportunity to connect with other plus-sized, black solo female travelers.


Attend travel events and conferences. Look for gatherings that focus on promoting diversity and inclusion in the travel industry. These events provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, network with industry professionals, and gain valuable insights and inspiration.


Consider volunteering or joining group tours. These activities allow you to connect with other travelers who share your passion for exploration and cultural immersion. Volunteering can also provide a unique way to engage with local communities and make a positive impact during your travels.


Participate in local activities and workshops. Look for cultural or community events where you can engage with locals and fellow travelers. This can give you a chance to learn from others, share experiences, and build connections that can last beyond your trip.


Start a travel blog or vlog to share your unique perspective and experiences as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler. This not only allows you to document your journey but also serves as a platform to inspire and empower others who may be considering their own travel adventures. It can also attract readers who resonate with your journey and offer valuable insights and support.


Connect with locals and seek their input. Engage in meaningful conversations, ask for recommendations, and show genuine interest in their culture and traditions. This not only helps foster connections but also provides a deeper understanding and appreciation of the destinations you visit.


Attend meetups or gatherings organized by travel communities. These events bring together travelers from various backgrounds and can provide a space for networking, sharing stories, and building friendships that extend beyond your travels.


Remember to approach these connections with an open mind, respect for diversity, and an eagerness to learn from others. Embrace the opportunity to share your own experiences and perspectives, while also being receptive to the insights and stories of fellow travelers.


Connecting with the travel community as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler not only offers support and camaraderie but also helps break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and foster a more inclusive travel community for all. Embrace the connections, share your journey, and inspire others to embark on their own transformative adventures.



As a plus-sized, black solo female traveler, navigating the world of travel comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Throughout this article, we have explored the various aspects of being a traveler in this unique intersection of identities and have provided insights and tips for overcoming obstacles and embracing empowerment.


From dealing with stereotypes and racism to building body positivity and confidence, the journey of a plus-sized, black solo female traveler requires resilience, self-acceptance, and a commitment to self-care. It is important to approach each new destination with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a sense of curiosity about different cultures and perspectives.


We have discussed the importance of finding accommodations and transportation that prioritize comfort and inclusivity, as well as the significance of navigating cultural differences with respect and understanding. By prioritizing safety and taking necessary precautions, solo travel can be a fulfilling and empowering experience for black women travelers.


Connecting with the travel community, both online and offline, offers a supportive network, a platform for sharing stories, and a source of inspiration. By embracing the power of community, plus-sized, black solo female travelers can challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and foster a more inclusive travel landscape for all.


In conclusion, traveling as a plus-sized, black solo female is a testament to strength, resilience, and an unwavering desire to explore the world. By embracing body positivity, self-acceptance, and cultural exchange, each journey becomes an opportunity for personal growth, empowerment, and the creation of lifelong memories.


Remember, you are not defined by societal norms or stereotypes. Your worth as a traveler and person transcends physical appearance or size. Embrace your unique identity, celebrate diversity, and strive to create a more inclusive and accepting space within the travel community.


As you embark on your next adventure, may you find joy, confidence, and empowerment in every step you take. Your presence as a plus-sized, black solo female traveler contributes to the diversity and richness of the travel landscape, inspiring others to embrace their own unique journeys. Happy travels!