Photo Credit: Kristin Braswell | Founder Crush Global Travel
This Black Travel Expert Is Customizing Road Trips To Support Black Business
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Kristin Braswell, the founder of Crush Global Travel, had to change her business model as the world went on hold.
“I saw a market for Black travelers, in particular for the group and individual experiences.,” she told Travel Noire when asked why she launched the company.
It started in Havana. I’ve done road trips in Portugal, in Mexico and in Paris, and digital trips as well.
“The whole idea started from me being a travel journalist for years and having all of these incredible experiences meeting locals around the world [and] learning so much,” she said. “I was trying to figure out a way to be able to provide those experiences to people that I had myself.”
Braswell has always made sure the experiences she offers are as authentic as possible–fusing more localized experiences in the trips.
“Whether you’re eating in a local Cuban family’s home versus going to Floridita in Cuba or, having tour guides directly with people who may not be on TripAdvisor, but they have a wealth of knowledge that they can provide to the client a very personal experience,” she added.
She used her international business model to create dope road trip experiences here in the U.S. in the midst of COVID. Here’s what she told Travel Noire that people can expect:
Travel Noire: Is there always an emphasis on finding Black-owned businesses?
Kristin Braswell: Yes, absolutely! Wherever possible, it’s not even a second thought: I’m always looking to work with Black people around the world. In Cuba, there are several artists that I work with, from musicians to salsa instructors to painters, that I still keep in touch with. When I’m sending clients there, 100% of what we create for them goes into local business-people’s hands.
For my experiences in the Sahara Desert, I work with a Black tour guide, and he drives people through the desert. It was really important for me to do because I’ve always empathetic towards people in the travel industry.
Sometimes we can all lose sight that there is someone behind the scenes who made this possible, and they’re not staying at the same luxury hotel. Sometimes, they drive two hours to get home and are putting on a happy face.
I really wanted to think of a way to empower those people, especially if they’re working for big chain hotels, a way that they can make money directly outside of that.
Travel Noire: Tell us about these exciting road trips you’re offering.
Kristin Braswell: They are CrushGlobal Road Trips. I’ve started to use the hashtag #roadready. When you go to crushglobaltravel.com, and go to the navigation, you’ll see all the different options.
Like many people this year, regardless of industry, I found myself in a position where I was like ‘okay, I am a travel business owner and the world not to travel.”
I said, ‘what do I need to do to pivot?’ and it became about it being domestic, whereas I’ve always focused on international.
I think that especially in light of 2020 and all of these cries for allyship and supporting Black businesses, I thought that it would be a great opportunity for a lot of non-Black people actually to put their money where their mouth is. They could support these road trips as well.
It’s a great way for the movement of the Black boxes on Instagram, which was very trendy, to actually translate into a form of allyship and support for Black-owned businesses with these domestic road trips.
I worked very closely with tourism boards for like the past month and a half. They filled out surveys, gave me the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, and [information] on what’s open or what’s not. That was really instrumental in creating these guides because I think what makes them special and reflects today.
Let’s say you want to make the Southern California road trip, and you want a very coastal food itinerary. The itinerary will be four-to-five days morning, noon, and night, including Black-owned businesses wherever possible.
The guide is in chronological order. If there is a hotel that we suggest for you, then there’s a Black-owned bakery five minutes away to go to after breakfast, for example. After that, you drive 10-minutes, and there’s a museum, and after that, you get on the road.
The next day will have how long it will take you to get to the next point, and we’ll suggest a winery to stop at on the same highway.
The guides feature seven different themes for every type of traveler, including, City to Sea Southern Guide, Escape the City Guide, From City to Wine Valley Guide, Great Baecation + Friend Guide, Great Outdoors Guide, Nature Lovers Guide, Southern Food and History Guide and Wine, Food and Beach Lovers Guide. CrushGlobal also offers personalized road trip itineraries anywhere in the U.S., and travelers can sign-up for more information.