Get to know the Black travelers changing the travel industry from the inside out.

By Bianca Lambert
June 18, 2020
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Travel+Leisure

Traveling while Black can present some challenges. We've heard the stories of racial discrimination, seen the videos of the mistreatment of Black bodies, and Roger Ross Williams even created the now Emmy-nominated documentary, Traveling While Black, to further document our experiences.

The fact is, the tourism industry still lacks diversity, from PR representatives to management, and that's part of the problem — especially since Black Americans contributed $63 billion to the tourism economy in 2018. The world and travel industry might be changing slowly, but the 2013 launch of Travel Noire was one of the first online communities to amplify Black voices visually and editorially.

Founder Zim Ugochukwu created a safe space for the Black traveler to be seen. Many travel influencers, journalists, and creatives have also leveraged their skills and love of travel to create even more space for the Black voice and presence in travel. Each person on this list has built their online community from the ground up, and they all offer different perspectives, because Blackness isn't a monolith. Keep scrolling to get to know the Black travelers changing the travel industry from the inside out.

Ciara Johnson: @hey_ciara

Ciara's Instagram tagline is "Quit my job to travel the world solo." We love to see it. If traveling solo is on your bucket list of things to do or you simply want to live vicariously through her feed, go ahead and hit the follow button. Beyond her wanderlust social media feed, Ciara's blog is full of resources for future and seasoned solo travelers with stories like "I Have a Confession: Solo Traveling Scares Me. Here's Why I Go Anyway."

Asiyami Gold: @asiyami_gold

Asiyami Gold is an OG travel influencer and entrepreneur who knows how to create a visually stunning grid. Her magazine-like aesthetic has helped this multimedia creative build a following of 313,000 (and counting), and she has even developed a travel-inspired clothing line called A.Au.

Karl Shakur: @karl_shakur

Karl Shakur is a Kansas-based adventure photographer whose work gives you it's time to book a trip envy with a side of I want that photograph on my wall. He shares a great deal of his work via Instagram, but venture over to his website to see more.

Oneika Raymond: @oneikatraveller

Oneika Raymond is a tri-lingual (she speaks English, French, and Spanish) former educator who turned her love of travel into a full-time media career. The new mom has visited over 115 countries on six continents, and hosts Travel Channel's One Bag and You're Out and Big City, Little Budget.

Nathan Fluellen: @worldwidenate

Nathan Fluellen is the creator, executive producer, and host of World Wide Nate: African Adventures. He has visited 60 countries across six continents and often shares his surfing adventures with his 73,000 followers on Instagram.

Kellee Edwards: @kelleesetgo

Kellee Edwards is a licensed pilot, advanced open water scuba diver, and journalist. What can't Kellee do? She made history as the first Black woman to host a TV show on the Travel Channel. Edwards is now the host of Travel + Leisure's new podcast, Let's Go Together.

Gloria "Glo" Atanmo: @glographics

Call this creator, coach, and educator Glo or GLOprah because she uses her platform to elevate and encourage others. You can catch her speaking candidly about her experiences traveling while Black coupled with aspirational IGTV gems about everything from "Why Most Dreams Tend to Fail" to "motivating her community" to "Learn to Be Your Own Validation."

Danni Washington: @danniwashington

Danni Washington's Instagram is where science meets travel. The Emmy-nominated correspondent is the co-host of CBS's Mission Unstoppable and co-founder of  Big Blue & You (with her mom), a non-profit with a mission to inspire and educate young audiences about marine conservation.

Olivia Christine: @ochristine

Say hello to Olivia Christine — or O. Christine, as her community affectionately calls her. Olivia is from the Bronx and is all about wellness and travel. That can likely be attributed to her experience living with Lupus, which she manages while traveling. The world traveler has visited over 35 countries and uses her voice to share wellness tips, travel tips, and inspiration on both her Instagram and on her blog.

Francesca Murray: @onegrloneworld

Francesca Murray is an LA-based lifestyle content creator, guidebook author, and award-winning travel expert. She is a trusted voice in the travel industry, and through her online platform, One Girl One World, she inspires millennials to embrace the culture, enjoy the food, and engage with locals as they travel. Known for her natural hair, Francesca is passionate about encouraging self-love and believes that life is a journey — so why not travel in style?

Yaya: @handluggageonly

Yaya is half of the duo known to many as Hand Luggage Only, the blog founded in April of 2014. If you're planning a trip, you'll want to use their extensive gallery of destination guides to plan your next trip. You will find detailed entries that can help you find the best hikes, food, and accommodations in your desired city. Each guide has fresh photos and some even have video content to help bring the city to life.

Sam Muchai: @muchaii

Sam Muchai is a Nairobi-based aerial photographer, and his photographs make you feel like you've stepped off the tarmac into the scenery you're looking at on your screen. If you fall in love with a snap on his grid, you can purchase prints here.

Hermon and Heroda Berhane: @being__her

Name a better duo than Hermon and Heroda... we'll wait. The London-based, Eritrea-born siblings don't see their deafness as a disability, but as something to embrace. Through their blog and Instagram presence, they share their travels, style, and personalities.

Jibril Ows: @_jibraeel_

Jibril's Instagram profile is enough to make you book an impulse trip without any guilt. But what if we told you he took it a step further and merged his passion for travel and fitness into nine-day fitness camps in Bali. Yeah, sounds pretty cool to us too.

Lee Litumbe: @spiritedpursuit

Lee Litumbe is a self-taught photographer who enjoys creating and sharing "off the beaten path" experiences. With 224,00 followers, this adventurer has managed to build a space that lets her community know their dreams are possible. Litumbe also hosts Spirited Pursuit retreats in scenic destinations like Zanzibar that are filled with creative workshops, so you leave your vacation relaxed and fulfilled.

Jessica Nabongo: @thecatchmeifyoucan

Jessica Nabongo is the first Black woman to travel to every country in the world. On Oct. 6, 2019, she arrived in her final country, the Seychelles. Nabongo doesn't just give us visual travel inspiration. She fills her blog and Instagram captions with useful travel tips and one-of-a-kind stories about what she learns and experiences on her adventures. She has now founded Jet Black, a boutique luxury travel firm that helps plan group "Black Jet Jaunts" and private trips to countries in the African diaspora and beyond.