Travel For Gays and Lesbians
Tour operators, resorts and travel clubs that specialize in travel for gay men and lesbians
If you don't like to go camping without your microwave, Rainbow RV (rainbowrv.com/) is the largest GLBT RV/Camping club in North America. For a membership of $12.95 per year, you get discounts to select gay campgrounds, an online newsletter, a gay campground directory, and invitations to gay RV rallies and events. Also check out the California-based non-profit gay RV club Traveling Our Way (travelingourway.org/), with 230 members and membership of $20 a year.
So be it B&B, home swap, camping, or in an RV, there is no reason gay travelers should have to pay anymore than anyone else to have a great vacation-you just need to know where to look.
Camp it up
Many of us don't like getting dirt under our fingernails, and you may have given up camping long ago after a stint in the Brownies, but gay campgrounds have been a steadily growing trend in North America. Not only do they tend to be social havens for rural gays and lesbians, they offer city-slickers a chance to let their hair down (as well as their trousers, since a large percentage of them are clothing-optional). Needless to say, camping and its grown-up sister RVing are a fun, budget way to travel. Gay Camp USA (campgayusa.com/) lists over 75 gay and gay-friendly campsites across North America (and even one in England), all for low rates, and some even offer work-exchange for camping on the property-now that's budget living!
If you don't like to go camping without your microwave, Rainbow RV (rainbowrv.com/) is the largest GLBT RV/Camping club in North America.
For a membership of $12.95 per year, you get discounts to select gay campgrounds, an online newsletter, a gay campground directory, and invitations to gay RV rallies and events. So gas up your Winnebago and get going!
Five tour operators that stretch your dollar and your mind
A majority of gay tour operators blatantly market their products as upscale, luxurious, and far from affordable. Thankfully, a handful doesn't. You can always check out the round-up of twenty monthly best buys from gay operators listed on the useful and up-to-date web site www.gaytravelnews.com. Here are profiles of five specifically cost-conscious tour operators serving the gay market:
Gay Jet (800/9-GAYJET, gayjet.com/): Only a couple years old, Gay Jet has quickly become a budget leader, offering all kinds of air/hotel packages around the globe. Amazing deals include three nights in Europe with air for $489, or seven nights on two Hawaiian islands for only $625, air-inclusive. Moreover, their web site is a plethora of gay travel info, from an events calendar to travel bulletin boards, and you can also book online gay-friendly hotels, car rentals, and flights. Alyson Adventures (800/8-ALYSON, www.alysonadventures.com): Specializing in outdoor adventures, Alyson recently joined forces with the large and more staid Hanns Ebensten Travel (although both will keep their respective identities). Alyson's trips include biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, scuba diving, rafting, and other active adventures, at reasonable costs (starting at $1,195 for a week). Most meals, activity costs, accommodations, and parties are included in their pricing.
Inta-Aussie (800/531-9222, inta-aussie.com/): The Australia-based mainstream tour operator Inta-Aussie has jumped into the gay and lesbian travel market full force, with incredible deals to Oceania and the South Pacific for dirt cheap, thanks to their volume discounts. Deals start at $999 for five nights' hotel in Sydney, air-inclusive from the West Coast. Their Sydney Gay Mardi Gras package is $1,799 for air-inclusive five nights' hotel, a city tour, a harbor cruise, and a ticket to the actual Mardi Gras party (over $110 each themselves).
2Afrika (877/200-5610, 2afrika.com/): This gay-owned Africa tour operator is little known in the gay market since it specializes in mainstream travel, but their gay-friendly deals to the world's second largest continent can't be beat. 2Afrika promotes a $999 package to Cape Town from the East Coast, including air and five nights' accommodations, as well as info on the gay scene and even a gay tour guide if needed. They also offer packages to Ghana and Senegal for not much more, as well as week-long safaris in Kenya and Tanzania starting at $1,795 including air, all meals, and fairly upscale accommodations-much less than their competitors.