Charly left Haiti when she was just a child, yet Haiti never left her. Ever since she came to the United States when she was 12, the natural beauty of this island nation has continued to lure her back. Now she wants to share Haiti’s beauty with the world.
Charly, 29, is the co-founder of Haiti Nou La, a travel company that specializes in trips to Haiti. In many ways, the business is an extension of herself. She loves to travel and wants to visit as many countries as possible.
One look at her travel schedule and you know she means business.
A resident of Harlem, NY, this globetrotter just returned from St. Lucie and Martinique. Later this month, she’s heading to Nicaragua with friends to celebrate her 30th birthday.
In July, she’s going to Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Ghana. In August, while still in Africa, she’ll visit the Ivory Coast and Senegal. In August, she heads to Haiti and in December to Spain and Morocco.
Haiti Nou La
Translated from Haitian Creole, Haiti Nou La means “Haiti, we’re here.” The travel company leads group tours and plans itineraries for those going to Haiti on their own. Their first group tour was in February with a group of five people.
“It was really good. Everyone had a lot of fun,” Charly said.
The next trip is set for August, and spots are still available.
An experienced traveler, Charly knows a thing or two about making a trip successful. Here are a few of her tips.
Find the Right Credit Card
When planning a trip, Charly looks for a credit card that offers travel points. Preferring to travel with a small amount of cash, she’s a frequent visitor of the Points Guy website.
Additionally, she looks for a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Her current favorite is Chase’s Sapphire Reserve Visa Card.
Besides a great points system, the card comes with the added benefit of access to over 900 airport lounges worldwide.
Planning and Preparation
Charly plans her trips months in advance and keeps a separate checking account for her travel expenses. Every two weeks, she adds a portion of her paycheck to her travel account.
By the time the next trip arrives, she’s fully funded and ready to go.
Traveling on a Budget
Charly works for the NYC Department of Education and has the summers off. During the first few years of traveling, she searched online and found jobs as an au pair in Italy and Spain for the summer.
“Anyone can afford to travel if they just get creative,” she said.
As an au pair, she got to spend the summer in Europe rent free. Plus, she negotiated with her hosts beforehand to have her weekends off, time she used to visit neighboring towns.
In 2015, after encouragement from a friend, Charly took her first trip alone, traveling to Europe.
Since then, she travels solo whenever she can’t find others to join her.
Traveling alone has many benefits, she insists, and can be a lot of fun.
“You have a better opportunity to meet people when you travel alone.”
For this same reason, she doesn’t like to rent a car while traveling. Besides saving money, traveling by bus or train gives her the opportunity to meet others and make new friends.
For more information on Haiti Nou La, email [email protected] or visit their Facebook Page.
Written by Matthew Allabastro