Frequently asked questions
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about this website, travel, blogging, wellness, and life!
Q1. Why is your site called O. Christine?
Because OliviaChristine.com and Olivia.com was taken. I'm pretty sure one is a LGBT cruise company.
Q2. Where are you from?
Depends who's asking. If you are American: my ethnic background is Hispanic. My family comes from Puerto Rico, but as you know PRs are the biggest mutts out there - making me part Belizean, Italian, Spanish, and of course African #BlackGirlsRock - so there's that (aka #IdontknowwhoIam).
If you are from outside the Americas: I am American, from NYC.
Q3. How'd you get into travel blogging?
I used to model so I've had a website since 2006, I believe. In early 2014 I was looking for freelance work (in an effort to quit my job) but found that everyone wanted published writing samples and blog knowledge (not my cute PDF presentation) which was the new big thing. I started writing about a life changing trip I'd just taken a few months before as a solution and it blossomed from there.
Q4. How do I start my own travel blog?
You can start a travel blog fairly easily. To get started open an account with Squarespace, Wordpress, or Blogger. I love Squarespace. Then you have to buy a domain. I use GoDaddy but want to switch because I don't like their misogynistic marketing tactics.
Q5. How do I travel for free?
This topic bothers me because it is so misleading (which is why I wrote the question because it is also awesome for SEO, heyyyy). "Free travel" doesn't exactly work like that. There is no such thing as "free travel" unless it is given away (with no expectations) because everything we offer in exchange is worth something (including our time).
Yes, you can travel for free (monetarily) by working with companies that sponsor you, as an influencer. In exchange though, you have to do a ton of blog / social media work for them and be on your best professional behavior at all times. You must also have a reasonably sized audience (for brand exposure). No vacation.
Another way to travel for "free" is to sign up for credit cards that give you airline or hotel points so that your daily expenses actually mean something in this crazy world. Or barter your way across the globe by volunteering on farms and in hostels in exchange for room and board.
Q6. How do I get more followers?
Be honest. Be genuine. Be engaging. Offer something unique.
Q7. What documents do I need to travel?
A passport, for sure. If you are from the USA, then find out how to apply for your passport, here. Then, depending on what country you go to, you might need a visa to enter. Go to the destination country's government or tourism website to find out if they require a visa for visitors from your country. Give yourself at least 2 months to figure out this information because passports take about 6-8 weeks to process and visas may take 4 weeks.
Q8. Do I need vaccinations to travel?
Each country is different. While routine vaccinations are always recommended, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to find out what vaccinations your destination country requires. I always use this site before going to another country.
Q9. What is proof of onward travel and why do I need it?
Some countries like to make sure you are really visiting for vacation and not trying to stay forever (illegally) so they require you to have your return flight booked before arriving. When booking your flight, your airline will tell you whether that country requires it. When you arrive and go through immigration, you will be asked to show it. I usually just show them my confirmation email on my phone and it's all good.
Q10. Do I need travel insurance?
Most medical insurances don't cover international travel. By getting travel insurance you and your trip become insured. Confession: I've never purchased travel insurance. BUT I still recommend people do it, even though I am not listening to my own advice.
Q11. How do I choose accommodations?
I love Booking.com (affiliate link becasue I love them so much) for finding hotels and hostels. The reviews are always spot on and they have awesome cancellation policies. I also use AirBnb if I am with a group or can't find an affordable hotel (here's a $35 off AirBnb discount for first-timers). Lastly, if I am really in a last minute pickle, the app "Hotel Tonight" is AWESOME for finding nice hotels for deep last minute discounts (use my code OPEREZ38 to receive a $25 Hotel Tonight discount on your first booking - must be over $135)
Q12. Where can I find cheap airfare?
Skyscanner is great for reviewing flight options beyond just the major airlines. If you are a student, STA is another awesome option for finding cheap flights.