Photo: Marvin Joseph

How I Travel: Excellent Solo Travel Tips from Rachel E. Cargle

By Albert Cortez

Embark on a transformative journey with Rachel E. Cargle as she unveils her invaluable solo travel tips, offering a roadmap to not just explore the world, but to discover oneself in the process.

Key Takeaways
  • Rachel emphasizes the profound impact of solo travel on personal growth and empowerment. Discover how embracing solitude can be a catalyst for self-discovery.
  • Uncover Rachel's strategies for immersive cultural experiences. From local cuisine to community engagement, learn how to go beyond tourist attractions and truly connect with the heartbeat of a destination.

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Reimagining rest is a topic activist and educator Rachel E. Cargle addresses in a chapter of her new book, A Renaissance of Our Own. Cargle, who also started the Loveland Foundation, which provides free treatment to black women and girls, uses travel as a means of self-reconnection and self-calming. “I discovered this butterfly garden in Puerto Rico, and it was in the bathhouses in Japan. She explains that it’s near the river in Jamaica. “Discovering fresh approaches to ground myself and find contentment in my relationship to precisely where I am inspires me greatly.”

Cargle talked with Condé Nast Traveler about her self-described “memoir and manifesto,” released this week, and other topics, including traveling alone, crafts in airports, and hotel swimming. 

How travel aids her writing:

Traveling is one of the most apparent methods to satisfy my curiosity, as I consider myself curious. As a writer, travel opens doors to my creativity since I write at my best when traveling by bus, train, or airplane.

The way she settles down when traveling:


I prefer to unpack everything fully. I usually carry a little speaker with me since I like music and it is rooted in me. At home, I prefer listening to specific morning music while brewing coffee. It has a lot of jazz. After that, I have some more pop music on my get-ready playlist. You can play it on your phone, of course, but when I use a little speaker to blast music across the room, it transports me to my desired location.

What she carries onto the aircraft:

I usually pack my carry-on luggage with my favorite lotions, lip glosses, books, and crossword puzzles to keep my skin happy. Earphones, ear vitamins, immune boosters—anything to calm me down when I hear folks sneezing around me. I also enjoy crocheting when flying, so I always pack yarn and a needle.

The journey she would never forget:

I quit my job in 2016 and decided to spend some time traveling the world. I was working virtually, and all I brought was a carry-on. Some folks responded positively when I asked if I could write articles for them virtually or create content. I was living paycheck to paycheck; as soon as I had money, I would purchase a ticket somewhere else. Do you recall working for your room when staying at hostels as part of Workaway? I was cleaning and working at the front desk. I visited Hawaii, Phoenix, Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto in Japan, and then traveled to Thailand. That was my first time abroad alone, and I had a fantastic experience.

The hotel features that she emphasizes are:

I enjoy an excellent room service menu. Additionally, I genuinely enjoy swimming laps, so I take great pride in finding a property with a pool.

One place she believes more tourists ought to visit: 

Kingston, Jamaica, is often overlooked. Travelers visiting Jamaica focus on Negril and Montego Bay, two of the country’s most beautiful destinations, but Kingston is often overlooked. All people want to do is visit the beach. I have a property of my own in the Kingston Hills, and the hills and mountains are equally beautiful as the ocean.

The location she could visit a million times and never grow bored of:

Arizona’s Sedona. I think black people don’t have that much Western experience, and Sedona is such a lovely location. For years, my friends and I have expressed our desire to turn Sedona into the next Martha’s Vineyard—a place to congregate annually and visit throughout the summer. 

Her top recommendation for solo travel:


Since there are several ways to travel, my advice for traveling alone is to write out your goals for the trip! Reading, listening to new music, and exploring artistic niches are all part of the solitary travel experience—as it’s when. I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to visit that museum with me. It may be a period of reflection and self-indulgence. The fact that traveling alone forces you to meet new people is one of my favorite things about it. The guy eating noodles next to me at a Japanese hostel was someone I traveled with and met someplace else, but we became lifelong friends. Being less concerned with who you come with opens up new relationships and friendships.

In addition to her bookshop, here are the locations in her hometown of Akron, Ohio, that she suggests:

Sweet Mary’s Bakery is so ridiculously delicious. They make these incredibly amazing savory croissants that make me anxious. Additionally, I would go to the Akron Public Library, among the nation’s greatest libraries. The excellent and outdoor Akron Art Museum is located directly across the street. The Metro Parks include hiking, canoeing, and bird watching, which is my favorite. I have never seen anything like the parks in all the locations I’ve been to.

The next place she wants to go is:

I have a great desire to visit Rwanda. I haven’t had enough time to appreciate East Africa fully, and there is much variation among the diaspora. Being in the American South, Jamaica, and Accra, West Africa, gave me a lot of unique experiences. How [Rwanda] will permeate me and my perception of my blackness intrigues me.


  • Rachel E. Cargle, activist and educator, uses travel as a means of self-reconnection and self-calming, finding inspiration in places like a butterfly garden in Puerto Rico and bathhouses in Japan.
  • As a writer, Cargle believes that travel opens doors to her creativity, and she often writes best while in transit, whether by bus, train, or airplane.
  • When traveling, Cargle unpacks fully, carries a speaker for music to transport her to her desired location, and packs her carry-on with skincare items, books, crossword puzzles, earphones, ear vitamins, immune boosters, and crochet supplies.
  • Cargle emphasizes the importance of setting goals for solo travel, embracing solitude for reflection and self-indulgence, and enjoying the opportunity to meet new people and form lifelong friendships while exploring new places.

Join the LUXURIOUX world, and discover a new level of opulence. Our editors and writers are dedicated to finding what is truly the best in class across many facets of life. Experience the finest things only your imagination and money can afford.

By subscribing to our newsletter(s) you agree to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy & Cookie Statement

Solo travel is not just about the places you go; it's about the person you become along the way. Embrace the unknown, relish in your own company, and let the journey unfold – that's where the true magic happens.- Rachel E. Cargle