Category Archives: Gay Travel Tips

Gay Life Gay Bars Dubai

gay-bars-dubai-travel

We have never been to Dubai, but would love to see it someday. But I find it a little scary!

Paul Ewart   from  news.com.au  says,”I arrived in the city during the height of summer to take a section editor job at a large glossy magazine. My friends back home in London joked about my forthcoming years of celibacy and, though I laughed along with them at the time, as the plane touched down on the tarmac of Dubai’s airport my bravado faltered.
From the get go, I’m under no illusions about Dubai’s official attitude to homosexuality. Soon after arriving in order to secure a working visa I’m tested for HIV (any expat with the disease is immediately repatriated, alongside anyone found to have tuberculosis).

On the surface conditions for gay Dubaiians might seem bleak, but thanks to some quickly acquired gay friends I learn quickly that, despite the legalities, a vibrant gay scene flourishes. In fact, thanks to a huge population of young professional expats, the scene is one of the most multicultural and diverse around.

I break my Dubai gay club virginity at one of the most popular hangouts. Entering via an underground carpark on a Saturday evening, my male friend and I encounter the uneven door policies that are rife throughout gay venues (a vague attempt to curb gay activity).

Men arriving solo or in all-male groups pay more, queue separately and are often denied entry altogether.

Inside, the place is packed to the rafters with a United Nations of men: butch Lebanese and their Asian playthings mingle with trendily dressed Europeans and a smatterings of Australians, Americans, Canadians, alongside Indians and Pakistanis.”

READ  MORE  HERE.

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NOTE 7 Banned from US Airplanes

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The US Department of Transportation has banned Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones on flights after reports of the device catching fire.

Passengers will not be able to take the phones on flights or in their luggage to and from the US from 16:00 GMT on Saturday.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had previously advised against packing the phones in luggage.

Samsung permanently stopped Galaxy Note 7 production this week.

“We recognise that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

“We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident in-flight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”

Samsung recalled around 2.5 million phones in September after complaints of exploding batteries.

While it later insisted that all replaced devices were safe, there were reports that those phones were catching fire too.

The company then said it would stop Galaxy Note 7 production.

“The fire hazard with the original Note 7 and with the replacement Note 7 is simply too great for anyone to risk it and not respond to this official recall,” said US Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye.

“I would like to remind consumers once again to take advantage of the remedies offered, including a full refund. It’s the right thing to do and the safest thing to do.”

Gay Bashing on the Rise

gay-travel-gay-bashing-beware

If you are over 50,  you realize  HATERS  ARE EVERYWHERE – and just because  we have gay marriage, does NOT mean the whole  world  loves  us!   Far  from it!

These young kids, under  25,  think the whole  world  is accepting  and  everyone  loves  gays  and  gays  are welcome  everywhere –  they know  nothing  about  Stonewall or the struggles   of  gays!

 

Most  cities,  I don’t  care  how  “gay friendly”   are less than  10%  gay.  That means, that more than likely,    the other  60%  may support  us,  20%  may be indifferent,  and  10%  HATE US.

Data proves in big cities, just how small we are…A total of 4.8 percent of residents in greater Seattle identify as LGBT, putting the Emerald City in a tie for fifth place. San Francisco is in first place with 6.2 percent, followed by Portland-Hillsboro, Oregon-Vancouver, Washington (5.4 percent), greater Austin, Texas (5.3 percent) and New Orleans (5.1 percent).

In a very gay resort town like Provincetown is a place where we are majority and rule. If you are in the minority – there can always be haters around. In places like Provincetown, the gays outnumber the straights I think – no one is going to start shit there. But I am sure it could happen. Key West is fairly gay – but not as gay it used to be. In Early 2000s, gay tourists started steering away from Key West, seeking out other places to relax and travel to. Puerto Vallarta is really gay – and gays are very accepted there. But most cities, be very mindful. We are on “their turf” and they do not have to accept us.

ALWAYS  BE  AWARE  OF  WHERE YOU ARE  AND WHO IS  AROUND.
PUBLIC  DISPLAYS  OF AFFECTION  ARE NOT ALWAYS   WELCOME.

Gay man attacked in South beach

Moroccan Mob Beat Trans person

Gay Bashing is Up in Dallas

Gay Attacks  increase in London  and Wales

The list goes on and on.   BE CAREFUL, no matter where you are.

 

 

 

Puerto Vallarta Fantastic Deals


puerto-vallarta-gay-deals

16 REASONS WHY NOW IS THE BEST TIME
TO VISIT PUERTO VALLARTA
As the Peso lowers, bargain hunters
will find great deals in Paradise

 With the Mexican Peso at an all-time low, with average exchange rate between $15-$17 pesos to the US dollar, Americans and Canadians looking for last minute deals to Puerto Vallarta will find that this is a travelers market.

Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s top tourism destination. Known for its 100-year-old historic center, the heart of the destination, it is alive with authentic culture, art, nightlife and a range of award-winning traditional and international restaurants.

Beyond the downtown area, Puerto Vallarta makes for a vacation full of activities that all can enjoy. From strolling along Puerto Vallarta’s lively Malecón (beach boardwalk) while relishing in free outdoor live entertainment like the nightly Papantla flying dancers, to riding zip lines across tree tops or swimming with dolphins and sea lions, taking a cooking class at one of the traditional restaurants or enjoying a guided tour of the local art galleries, visitors of all ages can share memorable moments during their fun-filled visit.

FOLLOWING ARE 16 BARGAINS TO ENJOY NOW

  1. Dinner at Top Restaurants –  Puerto Vallarta is home to over 300 restaurants ranging from internationally renowned establishments to mom-and-pap eateries offering dishes that go back generations. Dinner for two, including a three-course meal and a bottle of fine wine, at top iconic restaurants like La Palapa, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton favorite beach-front eatery, where they brought all their celebrity friends to party, El Arrayan, famous for its exquisite traditional Mexican cuisine, or Barcelona Tapas, with its grand view of the Bay of Banderas and the city’s Downtown area, will cost less than $120 USD.
  2. Artisan Tequilas – Many ranches and haciendas around Puerto Vallarta offer half day and full day activities including horseback riding, hiking, quad bike excursions and a tour of the tequila plantation and distillery; including tasting of top artisan tequilas and the local raicilla, a spirit of pre-Hispanic origin made from the agave root. Top quality tequila and raicilla will set one back around $20 USD www.haciendadonaengracia.com / www.haciendaeldivisadero.com 
  3. VIP Beach Clubs – Enjoy the beach with plenty of pampering and luxury offered by one of Puerto Vallarta’s beach clubs. Mantamar Beach club has day passes for as low as $350 pesos ($20 USD), with $250 pesos (nearly $15 USD) counted as credit towards food and drinks.
  4. Learn Spanish – Puerto Vallarta is a college town, home to international universities and private schools. A two-week Spanish immersion class at one of the many language centers located in Puerto Vallarta, which also offers the opportunity to learn about Mexican culture and traditions, costs as little as $150 USD a week. www.spanishexperiencecenter.com 
  5. Artworks for Collectors – From the many sculptures that line its Malecon (beach boardwalk) to the fine art galleries that house national and international works Puerto Vallarta is known for embracing the arts. Visitors can explore the town’s numerous arts offerings on the guided ArtWalk tour which operates daily from October to May, making stops at 15 local galleries in the historic downtown area. The ArtWalk is free and most galleries; like Galeria Colectika have not adjusted the prices on art pieces; providing visitors a great opportunity to acquire amazing works of art for a steal.
  6. San Sebastian del Oeste – A 90-minute drive east of Puerto Vallarta sends visitors back in time to a 17th century silver mining village nestled in the Sierra Madre Mountains. This sleeping town of 600 inhabitants is a colonial gem, filled with historic sites and great places to eat. Stoll around town at leisure or take guided tour. A round-trip taxi ride from Puerto Vallarta and back costs around USD $90.
  7. Your Own Private Beach – For travelers wishing to explore the natural oasis and warm Pacific Ocean waters in a secluded setting, Puerto Vallarta offers a variety of ways to enjoy their pristine secluded beaches. Take a round-trip water taxi ride out of Los Muertos Beach to secluded coves or isolated beaches like Colomitos, Las Animas, Boca de Tomatlan, Majahuitas, Quimixto, Playa El Caballo and many others. $20 USD per person.
  8. Charter a Private Boat. Spend the day at sea, snorkeling, fishing, swimming, island hopping or just sun bathing on your own private boat.  Prices start at $866 for 8 hours www.pvmikesfishing.com/fishing-boat-rental-rates 
  9. Viva Tequila Tour – Enjoy a Tequila tour and a live performance of traditional colorful Mexican folklore for about $60 USD a person. www.viviatequila.mx 
  10. Boutique Hotels – Puerto Vallarta’s Downtown and Zona Romantica area is one of the most charming and authentic locations along Mexico’s Pacific Coast, teaming with enchanting boutique hotels, each with its own charm, unique personality and history;  offering the warm and friendly personalized service Puerto Vallarta is reputed for. Rates are as low as $40 USD per night. www.visitpuertovallarta.com 
  11. Mex-Ology: Tequila, Tacos and Mexican Cocktails Tour – Enjoy authentic Puerto Vallarta culture and dining on a unique taco tour with Vallarta Food Tours. Also a fun way to see the Downtown area and a great start to a night of festivities.  www.puertovallartafoodtours.com 
  12. Become a Taco Expert – There are a couple of signs visitors must look out for before buying a taco. 1. Is the location popular? If you see a line of locals waiting to eat at the establishment that’s generally a good sign. 2. When buying tacos from a local street vendor make sure the food is served in plates covered with a plastic for hygiene. 3. There should always be at least two people working the stand, one to serve food and the other to handle payments. Try Ceviches el Güero or Tacos el Cunado where a taco costs less than $1 USD.
  13. Brunch at Canopy River – Take a ride to the middle of the Sierra Madre and enjoy a hearty Sunday Brunch amidst the varied and lush tropical flora and fauna of the rainforest surrounding Puerto Vallarta for less than $20 USD per person.  www.canopytourspuertovallarta.com 
  14. Walk the Malecon – The Malecon is Puerto Vallarta’s heart and where everyone, both locals and tourists, gather for morning jogs, open air yoga classes and daytime or sunset strolls. It also has features some of the most delicious traditional street food, from tacos to corn on the cob with mayonnaise and chili, each for less than $1 USD.
  15. Colorful Local Celebrations – Visiting Puerto Vallarta during any of its local festivals or celebrations that take place monthly, presents a culturally rewarding experience and a chance to see the city through the cultural traditions of its people. From the Day of the Dead to the Gourmet Festival, most celebrations have activities that are free of charge. www.visitpuertovallarta.com 
  16. Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has been working with all its trade partners to offer exclusive discounts when booking is made on their site: www.visitpuertovallarta.com. Visitors can find discounts on activities and stays for as high as 50% off.
Additional information on Puerto Vallarta is available at www.visitpuertovallarta.com

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Rome2rio’s platform is capable of long-distance (inter-city) trip planning as well as local (intra-city) journey planning.

 

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Gay Travel Warning – No Grindr London

gay-travel-warning-grindr-london

Gay Travel Mexico City

 

gay-travel-mexico-city-best-attractions

10 things a gay tourist must do in Mexico City

By Sebastián Sáenz @sebastiaenz
(For Spanish – GO HERE)

Attention all gay tourists: Mexico City brings it all! We are talking about one of the biggest cities in the world with so much to offer you’ll need holidays after your holidays just to recover. And even though it’s chaotic, the traffic is constant and it’s packed everywhere, believe me, it’s worth, and you’ll even want to recommend it and come back.

And, before we start, just a few tips. Rush hours are from 7 am to 10 am and from 5 pm to 9 pm, so you might want to stay in one place during those times, or walk if you want to go somewhere. Public transportation is cheap, I recommend to use taxi apps or taxis your hotel gets for you, the subway is usually faster and safer than buses, the Metrobús is ok but usually busy, and as for green options, the city counts with a public bicycle service. Also, this is the second city with more museums in the world, so get ready for a lot of culture. Even though the city is relatively safe, tourists may want to dress discretely, not show huge expensive gadgets everywhere, and avoid lonely streets late at night; just in like most big cities. And of course, this is one of the friendliest cities in the world, so feel free to peck or hold hands in public, since most people are relatively tolerant. So, let’s begin:

 

1: Bus Tour
As a tourist myself a technique that has helped me quite a bit is, as soon as I arrive to a new city, I take the bus tour in order to get a lot of basic information in a few hours, see where everything is, how far things are, and what I want to visit calmly. Mexico City actually has several hop-on-and-off-bus-tours, so manage your time wisely: City Center (more historic), Polanco (one of the poshest areas in the city), South (traditional), Guadalupe Basilica (more religious), Canteens, Lucha Libre, Palaces and Nocturne. Ask at your front desk the nearest station to hop on! turibus.com.mx

gay-travel-mexico-city

2: Chapultepec
This is one of the most beautiful areas in the city, with a huge forest, lakes, cultural activities such as folk performances and ballet, the Anthropology Museum, the Estela de Luz Structure, and the Castle, with a breathtaking view of the city. Subway stations: Auditorio (Orange line) and Chapultepec (Pink Line).

3: Colonia Roma
This might be the best area to eat ANYTHING you want, and for any pocket. In this nice and welcoming neighborhood, most of the best restaurants are on Álvaro Obregón Av. and its surroundings. I particularly recommend the trendy Mercado Roma (Querétaro 225). Stations: Subway- Insurgentes (Pink line) and Chilpancingo (Brown line). Metrobús: Álvaro Obregón, Sonora, Michoacán and Campeche (Red Line).

4: Coyoacán
A very traditional neighborhood. The two main plazas host the church, the kiosk and the Coyotes Fountain. There are plenty of excellent restaurants such as Corazón de Maguey and bars with live music such as El Hijo del Cuervo. A few blocks away you can find the Frida Kahlo Museum and the park, Viveros. A cart churro, a street ice cream and a coffee from Café La Selva are true musts. Subway stations: General Anaya (Blue Line).

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5: Shopping
Our kryptonite. For those who enjoy the best labels, Presidente Masaryk Av. at Polanco is a must, where you would find the up-scale international designers (Polanco subway station, Orange line). For malls with cinemas, restaurants, food courts, and of course, shops; Perisur (Perisur Metrobús station, Red Line), Antara (Polanco subway station), 222 (Insurgentes subway Station, Pink line) and Santa Fe (only accessible by car) might be the best shopping options of the city. And for a cheap and wide variety of art crafts, the Ciudadela Market in the City Center (Juárez subway station, Olive Green line) is THE place. If you are looking for High Mexican Design (not sombreros or ponchos), Pineda Covalín is one of the top fashion houses that portrays traditional designs.

6: Teotihuacán

The heart of the Aztec Civilization. This is one of the biggest historic paros of América, displaying the iconic Sun and Moon Pyramids yoga aficionados love to meditate by. This site is actually about an hour away from Mexico City, and might take a whole day to visit, but it’s worth the road trip. I STRONGLY recommend the Aerostat Balloon Tour, might be a bit expensive and you probably want to book in advance, but the sights are simply sublime (globosaerostaticosteotihuacan.tk). Don’t forget your sun screen!
gay-marriage-mexico-city

7: La Condesa
This is definitely the trendiest area of the city. Young couples, hipsters, fashionistas… everyone wants a piece of La Condesa. Facing La Roma (opposite side of Insurgentes Av.), this neighborhood offers a massive range of restaurants, parks for romantic and canine walks, stores, coffe shops, weekend bazaars, but above all, the best bars to start any memorable night. Any bar on Tamaulipas St., Michoacán St., or around Mexico’s Park or La Cibeles Fountain (such as Wallace Bar or the terrace of the posh Codesa DF Boutique Hotel) is very likely to be quite busy at night, even during the week, but is the place to see and be seen.

8: City Center
Of course the Historic City Center has to be on the list. At “El Zócalo”, tourists can find the National Palace (with murals of Diego Rivera, Frida’s husband), the Cathedral, Bellas Artes Palace, the Central Alameda, the Templo Mayor Museum, and the pedestrian Madero Av. (with shops and restaurants). The quintessential traditional restaurant is Café Tacuba, but I recommend the terrace of the ancient Mexico Hotel, with the best view of El Zócalo. Subway stations: Zócalo (Blue line) and Bellas Artes (Blue and Green line).

9: Nightlife
What you’ve been craving. Even though there are LGBT clubs all over the city, this is how I would arrange a crazy weekend of tequila shots and phone numbers: one trashy and cheap night at the City Center’s Marrakech Salón, Marra 2.0 and La Purísima (Bellas Artes subway station), one trendy and up-scale night at Envy (only Friday) or Guilt (only Saturday) (Polanco subway station), and a universal night barhopping at Zona Rosa (Insurgentes subway and Metrobús stations), the gay district. The pink zone has clubs for all, such as Lollipop (with Karaoke), Nicho (for bears), El Taller (underground just for men), Botas (strip club) and Kinky (probably the most popular). The key is to get to Amberes St. and just go with the flow.

10: Reforma

The Mexican Champs Élysées. On this avenue tourists will find the emblematic Angel of Independence Monument (the symbol of the city), the Diana the Hunter Fountain, the National Auditorium (where Coldplay and Shakira have performed, just to name a couple), Chapultepec and Zona Rosa, and it’s also very close to the City Center. It is the perfect way to finish any week since, on Sundays, the central lanes are closed for bicycles, roller skates, roller blades, dogs and baby strollers during the day. Stations: Subway- Chapultepec, Sevilla or Insurgentes (Pink line). Metrobús- Reforma (Red line).

Tipping Tips Around the World

tipping gay travel world

It’s hard enough trying to convert currency in your head while traveling – let alone, guess what kind of tip to leave someone.

Luckily we have apps for that!  Know when to tip and how to present the tip in over 30 countries. Tip the right amount in restaurants, hotels, taxis, salons and more. Global Tipping App for iphones.

For Android we have Tipping Bird.  This crafty accompaniment to your app collection handily helps you add a gratuity of an acceptable amount depending on what country you’re dining in. We know what you’re thinking – isn’t a 10% tip pretty customary? Nope!

In the USA the average tip is around 19% (since hospitality does not pay crap in the US) , in the Dominican Republic you’ll be disgraced if you don’t put down 10%, 6% will suffice in Norway where they make a decent hourly wage, and for the generous folk of Iceland, a tip is not necessary at all. In fact, in many locations worldwide, incorrect tipping is a topic that leads to great tension and offence.  Thankfully Tipping Bird is here to guide you on what percentage of the bill is the right amount to put down.

One small piece of advice – check your bill to see if a gratuity is already included in the expected payment. Overpaying can be just as offensive in some cultures as underpaying.

No Travel Warnings for Puerto Vallarta

puerto vallarta no travel warnings

The May 5th 2015 update to the US Department’s Travel Warning and the June 1st Travel Advisory by the Canadian Government to Mexico do not include a warning to the city of Puerto Vallarta.

There is no travel warning to Puerto Vallarta. The U.S. Department’s Travel Warning as it pertains to the State of Jalisco highlights rural highways and areas that border states to the south, almost 250 miles from Puerto Vallarta or the distance between New York and Boston; or Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Similarly, Canada’s Travel Advisory asks that visitors to the State of Jalisco “Stay in tourist areas and follow local media closely. If you do venture outside urban areas, exercise extreme caution, including on major highways. Avoid traveling at night. It is not safe to travel near the border with Michoacán.”

Read more here.

Mexico Tourism Launches New Gay App

gay mexico app gayde

MEXICO’S Federal Secretary of Tourism is promoting new gay travel app MéxicoGayde (@MexicoGayde), reports SDPnoticias.com.

The app promises to list all gay-friendly destinations in Mexico including bars, restaurants, theaters, spas, exhibitions and NGOs. MéxicoGayde will also allow you to review and rate venues.

Download MéxicoGayde here.

Meal Sharing – Bringing People Together

gay meal sharing travel

Meal sharing sites are bringing people together, over food.

MealSharing.com – Find a home cooked meal in over 450 cities worldwide!

Meal Sharing brings people together over home cooked meals. Our mission is to build communities through shared resources, facilitate deeper cultural exchange, and encourage people to cook at home to enable a healthier lifestyle.

“We want to make it possible for people, who otherwise would probably never meet, to get together and have a good time over food. We want to make that experience safe and enriching for everyone involved.”

EatWith.com – Eat With is  a passionate community of food lovers and world travelers.

EatWith hosts share a talent for making amazing meals and a love for welcoming people into their homes to share them. Join us around the table to experience the most creative, gourmet and handmade meals your city has to offer.

EatFeastly.com – Inspired by his travels and unique food experiences abroad, the exceptionally bearded Noah Karesh wanted to unlock the diverse food and cultural potential of Washington, D.C. Flooded with too many impersonal and sterile restaurants, he sought to reintroduce the original social dining option: the home cooked meal.

His vision: to create a marketplace where passionate cooks could connect with adventurous eaters seeking more authentic and social dining options by offering home cooked meals in a cook’s home. In lowering the barriers to entry for cooks to share their skills and stories with the world, he wanted to let cooks monetize their passions and provide exciting new food opportunities for eaters.

Gay Travel Kyrgyzstan…NOT

anti lgbt map Kyrgyzstan

Last  October, the Kyrgyz version of the notorious Russian law against “gay propaganda” passed its first reading by a vote of 79 to 7. Following one more reading, the bill will reach President Almazbek Atambayev’s desk, where it is almost certain to pass into law. Legislators even proposed that the minimum sentence for making reference to homosexuality be increased from one year to three.
Kyrgyzstan’s close affiliation with Russia inspired the law, and the Kyrgyz version is even tougher. To protect “traditional Kyrgyz values and families,” the law states, any “positive image of nontraditional sexual relations” will be prohibited. Anyone caught distributing a photo, writing an article, or posting on Facebook about homosexuality will face up to a year imprisonment.

Gay Travel Around The World

25 must see cities in your lifetime!

From Paris to Prague –

From  San Francisco to New York –

gay travel asia gay travel best cities gay travel budapest hungary gay travel paris france

Shanghai  to Dubai!

Take a look at these breathtaking travel photos and see whats next on your list.

(NOTE – NOT ALL OF THESE  PLACES  ARE  GAY  FRIENDLY – BUT MOST ARE)

 

Book your next trip with the help of Dave at Donovan Travel!  1-800-942-1280

Gay Travel Tips For Europe

gay travel tips europe

The Gay European Tourism Association (GETA)

has launched an information campaign to educate LGBTI travelers touring Europe.

GETA’s new website explains the ‘difference in legal and social attitudes to homosexuality across Western, Central and Eastern Europe,’ so LGBTI travelers are aware of how homosexuality is treated throughout European countries.

Using countries like Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Russia as case studies of how society and laws might treat LGBTI people differently, GETA advises: ‘It is for individual LGBT travelers to decide what countries they wish to visit but as a rule, the further east you travel in Europe, the more careful you need to be about public displays of your sexuality.’

‘Most countries in Europe welcome LGBT tourists,’ said GETA’s Executive Director Carlos Kytka, ‘but there are a few simple tips to make sure your trip is safe.’

  • Check the legal position of the countries you are planning to visit using ILGA’s Rainbow Europe guide.
  • Remember that legal recognition and social acceptance may not be at the same level, particularly as you move east.
  • Be particularly careful in the former Soviet Union states where actions that could be construed as being overtly homosexual (like holding hands, kissing in public, and insisting on double beds in a hotel) may bring you to the attention of the authorities and anti-gay vigilantes.
  • Be careful when using social media hook-up sites which may be used for entrapment.
  • Cities tend to be more gay friendly than the countryside so adapt your behaviour accordingly.

The GETA website also includes a European map from the International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association (IGLTA) ranking countries by their respect of human rights.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/5-travel-tips-lgbtis-touring-europe230914#sthash.taLuQOds.dpuf

Travel Tips: Mistakes NOT TO MAKE When Traveling

 

DID YOU KNOW -Your passport is not always valid right up to the expiration date?! Russia, China and the U.A.E., among others, require that a passport be valid for AT LEAST 6 MONTHS past the date of your flight home.  26 European nations require that passports be valid for AT LEAST 3 MONTHS past the date of your flight home.  You can check the State Departments website for entry and exit requirements. travel.state.gov

 

Time wasting  So you cut corners and are staying at a hotel with no concierge. And you are trying to figure out on your own, how to find a doctor, how to get tickets, how to write a note to your Czech driver instructions on where you need to go … no worries – walk over to the nearest 5 star hotel and go to their concierge!  They are always happy to help anyone in need – even if you are not a hotel guest. It’s nice to give them a tip for their help!

Bring a travel first aid kit
with you – saves you time hunting around a city for first aid needs: Pseudoephedrine (nasal decongestant, helps with “ear pop” from planes) ibuprofen (or other pain killer), decongestant,
NyQuil, bandages, pepto bismol,  imodium, hydrocortizone cream. You will not believe how often
it will come in handy.

VIP PERKS – Traveling and celebrating a special occasion?  Make sure your hotel knows that! Many hotels give free upgrades to milestone birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Hotels want your stay to  be memorable.

Credit  Card Fee’s out of the country – many credit  and debit cards add on a 3%    foreign transaction fee. Not so much anymore. Capital One started waving fee’s a while back – now Chase has 10 travel-rewards credit cards that waive surcharges and can even include free checked baggage.  And they are FREE for the first year.

I Can’t Carry On my Carry On?  More and more the overhead bins are exploding as travelers try to cram everything they have into a carry on, to avoid checking luggage.  Many people also put valuables, jewelry, designer belts, cameras and tablets in the carry on,  to keep them safe. So what happens  when the bins are full and you are told you must surrender your carry on?! Keep all your valuables together, in a small bag, inside your carry on,  that can easily be grabbed out at the last second and stored under your seat.

I start packing 2 weeks before I leave. The second you think of packing something, PACK IT. If you wait, you will forget.


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Barb Snelgrove on Gay Travel to Vancouver

 Barb Snelgrove is a true Vancouverite
(second generation, to be specific) and she loves her hometown! Barb is a
reporter with OutlookTV/OUTtv, writes for various on-line publications
and hosts QueerFM RELOADED Radio on 101.9FM. She has won numerous awards
for her work as a LGBTQ community advocate and will be inducted into
the Canadian Q Hall of Fame later this year. 

Q: What are the best tips for travellers to get up-to-the-minute info about LGBT events and happenings during their trip here?
A: The Trifecta of local LGBTQ Vancouver info can easily be found online. In addition to Tourism Vancouver’s site [www.tourismvancouver.com], there are two great sites called GayVancouver.net and GayVan.com. Also be sure to plan a trip to gay Vancouver institution Little Sister’s Bookstore [in Davie Village] – they will be happy to offer ideas!

Q:
Vancouver has many gay men’s bars and Davie Village seems to have
plenty of men, but is there a favourite club or neighbourhood haunt
where it’s relatively easy to meet women?

A: Vancouver’s
LGBTQ landscape is always evolving, and many of our bars are happily
mixed (Fountainhead Pub, Junction, Oasis). But for hot girl-on-girl
action, check out FlygirlProductions.com or monthly events such as Lipstick Jungle (at Ginger62) or LaLa Salon. There is a thriving scene on Commercial Drive and many “pop up” events are centered there.

Q: What are a couple of Vancouver’s “hidden gems”?
A: La Bodega Restaurant
(operating at the same location for over 30 years – they must be doing
something right). Main Street, for great window shopping. Granville Island
always offers lots to see; and while you’re there, rent a small boat by
the hour and view the city from a water perspective. A picnic dinner on
one of the West Side beaches (our fave is Spanish Banks) is a great
idea for watching one of our amazing Vancouver sunsets. 

Why Should You Use a Travel Agent?

 When the internet exploded, many travelers went out on their own, searching, looking for deals and bargains, booking things themselves – I never understood that. Why would I want to spend HOURS doing all the work – when a travel professional probably knows most of the answers!

  They know what deals are happening – they know how you can save money –  there  are over 100  REASONS to use a travel agent –

here are just a few…..

 Convenient One-Stop Shopping
Travel agents can
handle every aspect of your trip from airline tickets to lodging,
ground transportation, activities, tours and more.

 Consumer Advocate
If you should have a problem during your trip, travel agents can act on your behalf to see that proper restitution’s are made.

Expert Guidance
Travel
agents are experts in helping travelers get where they need to go and
in helping to create possibilities most people never would have dreamed
were possible.

 Save Time
Avoid the headaches and let the travel agents call around and do all the time consuming work of planning a complex itinerary. 

 Choice
Travel
agents offer you an array of options and price quotes from a variety of
travel suppliers, giving you the upper hand when making your final
travel decisions. 

Less Stress
Planning a trip
can be stressful. There are so many options and details to worry about.
Travel agents do the work, resulting in less stress for you. 

 Updated Information
Travel
agents are constantly communicating with the travel community, thus
giving you the most up to date info on airlines, hotels, car rental
agencies, travel visas, and other travel services to consider as you
plan your trip. 

Customer Service
Travel
agents offer that “personal touch” to your travel planning experience-
Offering help and advice that a website cannot provide.

 Travel Expertise
Many travel agents are
considered experts in the area you are traveling to and have probably
already been to your chosen destination.

 Best Value for Your Money Spent
Travel
agents can help you to make your dollars go farther while you are
away.  They have access to finding all sorts of deals ranging from
flights to hotels to dinner recommendations. 

 
 Location, Location, Location!!!!
Travel
Specialists can help you to find a place to stay pretty much anywhere
you desire.  If it’s a hotel with a view of the ocean in Hawaii or a
jungle hut in the Nilgiri foothills, a travel agent can help you make it
happen. 

 Knowledge of All the Ins and Outs
Travel specialists can help bring you up to speed on the local laws and regulations of wherever your travels take you. 

 Avoid International Flight Confusion
Travel specialists can help organize those confusing international flights that internet search engines don’t cover.

  Personalized Trips
A travel agent can prepare you a personalized trip based on where you want to go and what you want to do.  

 Where to Go to Avoid Kids
Want
to go somewhere without children running all over the place? A travel
agent can help you to find excellent retreats that are open to adults
only. 

Local Traditions 
Travel
specialists can update you on all local traditions and customs of
places you are visiting, so you make a good impression. For example, in
Japan many people expect their visitors to take their shoes off before
entering their homes. 

 Complicated Itineraries Made Simple
Travel
experts can take care of all the details for those complicated around
the world itineraries and all the extra headaches that go with them,
such as hotel and transportation along the way. 


 Special Deals Worked Out in Advance – Travel
agents may have a relationship with certain tour operators and could be
able to get you a special price that might not otherwise be available. 

 Difference in Days to Save Money
Instead
of playing around with dates on the internet for hours, your travel
agent can advise you on any changes to your travel dates that might save
you hundreds of dollars.

 Staying In-the-Know of Daily Promotions
Travel agents get emails and faxes of daily money saving promotions. 


 They Are Considered Travel Experts and Specialists – Wouldn’t you rather have a travel expert plan your trip rather than a pre-programmed website? 

 It just Makes Sense to Use a Travel Agent. 
 They’re Out There… Use Them
Why do the work if someone else like a travel specialist can.  

 Travel Agents Must Be Doing Something Right.  They Sure Have a lot of Business 

Travel
agents still sell 51 percent of all airline tickets, 87 percent of all
cruises, 81 percent of all tours and packages, 45 percent of all car
rentals and about 47 percent of all hotels. 

 It Makes Traveling Easy
Once you find a good travel agent, your dream vacation is just a phone call away. 

We highly recommend Dave at Donovan Travel!


Donovan Travel
Let Dave help YOU with YOUR next Trip!
1-800-942-1280     E-MAIL THEM



Gay Travel Warning – Jamaica is ANTI GAY Still

NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN JAMAICA!  

A “cross-dressing” teen was allegedly “chopped and stabbed” to death
by a mob in Jamaica earlier this week, according to local media reports.

Dwayne Jones, a gender-nonconforming 17-year-old,
was attending a river party in St. James on the night of July 21 when a
mob allegedly set upon him, according to radio station Irie FM. He was
dressed as a woman and was dancing with a male when another female
attendee told a group of partiers that Jones was actually a man, the
report notes. One of the men went up to Jones and groped him,
discovering he was a male. 

Jones was chased and later “chopped and stabbed” to death, Irie FM reported.

Explosions were also heard, and police were called. Authorities eventually found Jones’ dead body on a nearby road “with multiple stab wounds and a gunshot wound,” according to the Jamaica Gleaner.   More  at  Huffington Post

CHICAGO is VERY  GAY  and GAY  FRIENDLY!

Stay at one of these hotels in the heart of BOYSTOWN!


Use CODE BGC When Booking!

CITY SUITES HOTEL

THE WILLOWS

MAJESTIC HOTEL

Exclusive Interview about LGBT Travel Safety and the U.S. Department of State

By Sophie Needelman


The LGBT travel niche has become a thriving economist force in tourism
both domestically and abroad. Given the diversity in backgrounds and
experiences around the world, LGBT travel safety is being promoted more
and more on a political level to promote awareness and education across
all realms of society. For better or for worse, a destination’s attitude
toward the LGBT community is an important factor to keep in mind when
planning travel and tourism details. The U.S. State Department is
spearheading the efforts of promoting and circulating LGBT travel
information online by developing resources and support regarding travel
for the LGBT community. Consequences for engaging in homosexual activity
vary around the world, so it is important to have an understanding of
the context of where you are traveling.

GayTravel.com’s
CEO Steve Rohrlick was recently invited to a roundtable with the State
Department in D.C. to discuss the importance of promoting LGBT travel
safety for Americans traveling abroad. This roundtable consisted of a
variety of government officials and leaders from the gay travel
community to start a dialogue on how the government can facilitate
travel safety awareness. Specifically, the State Department has put
together an online forum of resources:http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/lgbt/lgbt_5887.html

Since
the roundtable, GayTravel.com got the inside scoop through this
exclusive interview with GayTravel.com CEO Steve Rohrlick, as well as
Jack Markey, the Division Chief for Africa in the U.S. Department of
State’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management about
LGBT travel safety. Check it out!


GT: How did you get involved in the State Department’s roundtable on LGBT Travel Safety abroad?

JM:
I am a division chief in the Office of American Citizens Services and
Crisis Management.  This office – publishes information about safety and
security concerns for U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad.  Our
State Department Travel Warnings and Country Specific Information
documents are two good examples.    We recently started a systematic
expansion of the information we provide to LGBT travelers through our
Country Specific Information sheets. A roundtable discussion on how U.S.
citizens obtain important travel information overseas was a great way
to highlight this, in addition to highlighting the debut of our LGBT
travel information page.

GT: What sort of perspective were you able to offer the group on the needs of the LGBT travel community?

JM:
An informed traveler is a smart traveler.  LGBT travelers needed access
to official, accurate and timely information that is also relevant to
the specific concerns facing LGBT travelers overseas.  It’s important to
know whether certain over-the-counter medications are banned in some
countries, or that certain styles of dress are frowned upon by the local
community.  But it’s even more critical for travelers to know whether
there are cases of harassment, threats, or violence directed towards
LGBT persons in a particular country, or that a country criminalizes
consensual same-sex sexual relations, with legal implications.  Finally,
it’s important for LGBT travelers to have the assurance that they can
turn to consular officers at U.S. embassies and consulates for help if
they run into trouble abroad.

SR: The team at gaytravel.com
fully supports what it is the state dept is doing. One of the things
that became apparent from the meeting is that it takes about 6 months
for the State Department to update any changes in a specific location.
That is understandable with all the destinations they are covering.
However things can change significantly in a six month period. I
suggested that With the power of the internet gaytravel and other LGBT
travel related websites could help facilitate feedback from LGBT
residents and travelers in a real time fashion, thus enhancing the great
work the State department is already doing.

GT: What are the goals of the State Department regarding LGBT travel safety and how are you able to contribute to their efforts?

SR:
The state dept. is responsible for all U.S. citizens once they leave
the United States. The travel safe program is good for all travelers,
and with the recent developments also address specific issues relevant
to  LGBT travelers. We plan to utilize the power of internet and our
network of millions of travelers at GayTravel.com-to track on the ground
changes in a more timely manner. As part of our site redesign this
Fall, we plan to add an RSS feed from the State Department, along with
our own updates with regard to attitudes and treatment of LGBT
individuals around the globe.

JM:
One of the top priorities of the State Department and the Bureau of
Consular Affairs is protecting the lives and interests of U.S. citizens
abroad.  Keeping travelers informed and updated with the latest and most
accurate information helps U.S. citizens travel safely.  One of the
best ways for U.S. citizens to stay connected to this information is
through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which also allows loved
ones in the U.S. to locate you in times of distress or emergency. 
Additionally, travelers should also visit travel.state.gov
to get the latest country-specific information, and make sure they have
adequate  health and travel insurance for emergencies. LGBT travelers
should read our LGBT Travel Information page, and review the linked
resources.  Our Country Specific Information for LGBT travelers is
undergoing a systematic expansion.  All of this information is reviewed
and updated at least every six months.

GT: Will you/how will you continue to stay involved with the State Department and its efforts to promote travel safety?

JM:
As I mentioned earlier, my office – the Office of American Citizens
Services and Crisis Management – publishes information about safety and
security concerns for U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad.  In
addition to our Country Specific Information and Travel Warnings, we
also publish information for niche market travelers, available on our
Bureau of Consular Affairs website.  We have information for older
Americans, Americans retiring abroad, medical tourism, voluntourism all
on our website, and a related website for students planning overseas
studies or travel.

SR:
GayTravel.com will definitely stay in touch with the State Department-
they are providing a valuable service to all U.S citizens. We plan to 
harness the power of the global LGBT community to provide additional and
more current safety related information on the gaytravel.com
website in a more real time version as an enhancement to what the State
Department is doing. The work both organizations do are complimentary
to  one another so it is absolutely a priority a priority for us to
remain involved.

GT: How should safety and homophobia influence travel for the LGBT community?

JM: Safety should be a top priority for every overseas traveler.  We
never tell U.S. citizens that they can’t travel to a particular
location, but we do make every effort to provide them with an accurate
assessment of safety and security concerns abroad for them to use in
determining their own acceptable level of risk. LGBT travelers should
carefully consider the laws, customs, and culture of the countries they
are planning to visit, and decide what measures they want to take in
order to protect themselves.  Good judgment and knowledge of local laws
and customs before traveling abroad will help ensure personal safety.
LGBT persons traveling abroad for leisure have the option to decide
where they will travel.  Business travelers and younger persons
accompanying their parents may not have the same flexibility in choosing
where to travel, and may find themselves in a country where the culture
or custom  where there are criminal penalties simply for being LGBT.

SR:
At the end of the day that is really a question that each traveler
needs to answer for themselves.  A smart traveler is a safe traveler, so
you have to do your homework in advance.

GT: What resources are available for the LGBT community regarding travel safety abroad?

JM: The State Department publishes Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts,
Country Specific Information, and a wide range of facts sheets on our Travel.State.Gov
website.  We also have an LGBT Travel Information page that identifies a
number of resources, both general and LGBT-specific, for LGBT
travelers.  You can download our free Smart Traveler App, available
through iTunes and Google play, to have this travel information at your
fingertips. If you sign up for our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), you will also have up-to-date safety and security messages sent
directly to your email inbox when you’re abroad by the nearest U.S.
embassy or consulate. 

Finally,
but very importantly, you can contact the American Citizens Services
(ACS) Section of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Consular
officers there may be able to help you if you run into problems
overseas, especially if you feel that you can’t approach the local
police or encounter difficulties with local authorities.  Consular
officers will protect your privacy, and won’t make generalizations,
assumptions, or pass judgement.  They also monitor and record incidents
U.S. citizens report to them about the treatment they receive from host
authorities.  Our embassies regularly raise issues of concern,
especially inappropriate treatment or harassment of our citizens, with
relevant officials.

GT:
What can members of the LGBT community do to promote travel safety both
at home and abroad? How can LGBT travelers get involved in these
efforts of the State Department?

JM:
Perhaps the best thing that individual travelers can do is to research
their travel destinations before leaving home, and make wise decisions. 
And by all means, let your friends and family know about the
information on our website and the resources, like STEP and our Smart
Traveler App, that we offer.  LGBT media, travel, and business
organizations can place our icon on their websites to direct visitors to
the LGBT information on our website.

SR: We plan to proudly display the LGBT State Department icon on the gaytravel.com
site and to provide access via an RSS feed. We will also have a
methodology on the next version of our site for LGBT travelers and
citizens to inform the LGBT community at large as to their observations
on the ground wherever they may be.

Being Gay and Gay Travel in Costa Rica

GAY TRAVEL to Costa Rica has dramatically increased over the last 10 years.  However, it’s NOT in the top 10 gay friendly places to visit!

While certain politicians, such as former president Óscar Arias, have
expressed some support for LGBT-rights, Costa Ricans tend to be socially
conservative when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity
issues, in large part due to the strong influences of the Roman Catholic
Church and cultural traditions about machismo.
Gay friendly? Gay tolerant? Is their really such a thing as GAY Costa Rica, and are the Ticos really THAT accepting of the gay traveler. The answer is “YES,” but with a few caveats. First, the Tourism Board here understood a long time ago, that GAY people have plenty of cash to spend, and after all, ‘Green’ is ‘Green’ no matter who’s spending it. Costa Rica doesn’t CARE if you’re GAY, but they damn sure don’t want to see GAY.  Don’t Ask, don’t tell, don’t hold hands. Don’t act GAY!  They do not want to see it!  So, here’s a  take on traveling Costa Rica as a gay person or couple and what you may or may not be able to get away with. Check out our video on Gay Travel in Costa Rica .

The CostaRican Times did a great article about BEING GAY IN COSTA  RICA