Travel For Gays and Lesbians

Tour operators, resorts and travel clubs that specialize in travel for gay men and lesbians

Operating for over 10 years, Undersea Expeditions (800/669-0310, underseax.com/) has about six scuba diving trips planned at any given time. Trips include Cozumel, Papua New Guinea and Tobago. Most trips have between 15-30 fellow divers aboard from both genders. However, Undersea does offer trips separated by gender. Lodgings are either land-based or live-aboard (which means you sleep on a boat, and jump right in the water). They invite non-divers to also come along for snorkeling or to just get their feet wet. Tours range between $800-$1,600, and last about seven days.

Spiritual journeys

Spirit Journeys (800/490-3684, spiritjourneys.com/) focuses on gay and lesbian spiritual group journeys to mystic places like Peru, Bali, and Mexico, with participants educating themselves on their own as well as the native's beliefs; rituals are enacted in the course of these journeys along with more standard guide-led sightseeing.

Useful websites and publications

The most important guidebook to travel by men is published by the San Francisco-based Damron. They have several titles at your disposal: the "Damron Men's Travel Guide" ($19.95, published since 1964), the "Women's Traveller," ($17.95), and "Damron Accommodations Guide" ($23.95). Damron has been working to expand its European coverage and now publishes a gay guide to Amsterdam ($12.95). Its titles can be obtained from many bookstores or the Damron Company Web site (damron.com/), where they're discounted (shipping is $5 for the first book and $1.50 for each additional book). You can also order by phone, at full price, on 800/462-6654 or 415/255-0404.

Then there is the Rainbow Handbook Hawai'i. Traveling with the Rainbow Handbook is like traveling with an old friend who has lived on the accepting islands for years. This charming insider's guide is written with a witty and conversational tone. It includes trivia, anecdotes, history, and interviews along with must-have maps and glossary. Of course, no guidebook on Hawaii would be complete without pictures, and the Rainbow Handbook goes above and beyond to deliver. Viewable online, or can be purchased for $25 at rainbowhandbook.com/.

Of course, there's also Frommer's "Gay & Lesbian Europe," an all-in-one volume that marries orientation-irrelevant information such as travel tips, dining, and attractions with descriptive gay- and lesbian-specific information about local gay history, lodging, bars, clubs-even saunas ($24.99 at bookstores).

Some people, especially Europeans, favor the German "Spartacus" guide by Bruno Gmunder, which is available in English. It is the bulkiest of them all, though, and there has been grousing that some of its information is out of date, despite annual editions. Even so, it remains the most complete and oft-quoted international reference, and although it doesn't have a Web site, it's available for purchase for $32.95 at most mainstream outlets, including Amazon.com.

The nation's leading travel newsletter for gays and lesbians is the award-winning "Out & About," published 10 times a year in a handsome, quality format; it covers travel opportunities of a fast-breaking sort, and is obviously more topical than the once-a-year guidebooks are able to be. Subscription information is available at gay.com/.

A few other periodicals can also be helpful. Our World, published since 1989, strives to furnish up-to-date information about operators and current tours by publishing a 56-page magazine 10 times a year (www.ourworldpublishing.com, $25 by mail, $12 online, 386/441-5367). It's well stocked with ads, phone numbers, and details about upcoming packages and tours. Another is the smaller Passport Magazine (passportmagazine.com/), which is a published bi-monthly ($19.95/year, call 800/999-9718) and focuses on first-person articles, recommendations, and tips. For city-by-city entertainment information, flip through the racy pages of "The Guide," distributed for free at gay clubs around the world and available online at guidemag.com/.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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