Well Dressed and Well Traveled

Raise your hand if traveling the world was a part of those wild childhood dreams you had. Now fast forward to your present day life. Are you still dreaming or are you making those vivid pictures in your mind a reality? Traveling in itself is invigorating, but traveling to places most only can dream of or see on TV is a whole new world of thrill seeking excitement and exactly what Alex has been doing all year. If you take a scroll down his IG you’d probably say what I did my first scroll, “kinda job I gotta get to travel like this” LOL. Alex is living life like its golden and using some of the world’s greatest destinations as his own personal backdrop. I reached out to him to talk a bit about his amazing trips and get some ideas for a good guys trip.

Book the flight. If you have all of your responsibilities covered, and sometimes, even if you don’t, book the flight. It’ll be worth it.
— Alex Hooks

Erin: What’s the best trip you’ve been on to date?

Alex: Definitely the trip I took to Reykjavik, Iceland in March 2016 for so many reasons. It was the first international trip that I booked with a flight deal, for $180 round trip at that! The deal released one morning and by lunchtime, myself and 6 fellow GroupMe friends had flight confirmations and Airbnb options; practically on a whim. The trip and the city itself was amazing. We saw and did so many awesome things like the black sand beach as well as the eeriest plane wreck as a bonus, the Blue Lagoon, too many waterfalls to name, the Golden Circle, a Chuck Norris bar and grille, ate reindeer, and world famous hot dogs. We partied as if we were back in the states (no, literally I have videos from one night and you can't tell that we're not in Atlanta). We had an unforgettable time. I got to experience a new and unexpected culture, travel with a group of people that I barely knew and got out my comfort zone and learned how to be more comfortable being uncomfortable along the way.

Erin: What advice can you give on traveling solo abroad for black men, especially those with beards?

Alex: One thing I just painfully learned myself on my last trip abroad is to familiarize yourself with the carry-on policies of the airports you're traveling through when it comes to liquids and creams. I had to throw away a ton of products because the airport only accepted quart bags, and not gallon bags like airports in the US. Aside from that, I would encourage bearded travelers to be a bit more patient than usual if you can help it. You're absolutely going to get some looks, some inviting and many not, but take that extra beat to remind yourself that communication cues are different in different places. Stay aware always but don't assume the worst about the folks around you and try not to let the attention get to you. For as much as my beard has gotten me stares and comments during my travels, it's also lead to great conversations and free drinks, so wield the powers of your beard judiciously.

Erin: What’s your pick for the #1 destination for the ultimate guys trip?

Alex: I would have to say Barcelona. If you and your guys have a few days or 10, Barcelona can give you everything your next guys trip needs. Good food, ample beaches, a rich culture, a very strong party scene, access to your vices of choice as well as the rest of Europe. You can spend a couple days on Barcelona's beaches and then catch a $100 RT flight to Amsterdam to get a different party scene. You can share pans of Paella and drink sangria by the gallon on one day, then indulge in the rich history of the Catalans and the Spanish and marvel at Gaudi's work the next. Barcelona was a great time and gave us a good bit of variety, I think it'd make for a pretty damn good guys trip.

I jokingly stated I needed to know what kind of job Alex had because from the looks of those lavish trips, my bank account would be mad at me. I did ask him how could one travel without going broke and he offered some great tips. Try to overestimate the budget and do it as early as you possibly can once you’ve decided where you want to go. Make sure to factor in the exchange rate of currency and fly without checked bags, especially when you will be traveling multiple flights and destinations. Use a carry on whenever possible to avoid the pain of baggage fees and allow for better move through airports

In 2019 I think Barcelona should be added to the list of beaches to hit. I know I’m adding it to my bucket list for sure. I was sold at group eating and sangria by the gallon, Alex has me wanting to book a flight right now! Be sure to follow him on Instagram @thefull_windsor to keep up with his travels and get a good dose of style inspiration, the brother’s fly - see what I did there?

Erin Freeman, Vice President of BMWB

A public relations driven brand strategist, content creator, event curator and podcastor- Erin is a lover of words, fries and beards of course! Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, now residing in the Dallas, TX she provides stellar business consultancy and brand building for personal and small business brands.