Category Archives: Travel Tips

Gay Travel With a Dildo Lawsuit

gay travel couple-sues-united-dildo

A gay couple is accused United Continental of “extreme and outrageous” conduct over an alleged incident involving a sex toy taped to their luggage, which the men say caused them severe emotional trauma. Back in 2011.

Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger of Norfolk, Va., are seeking damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and negligence in a lawsuit filed in 2012.

The incident allegedly happened on May 21, 2011, as Bridgeman and Borger were returning from a vacation in Costa Rica. The men — who have been together for almost nine years — were flying back to Norfolk on Continental with a 90-minute layover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. (Continental merged with United in 2010.)

Once they landed in Houston, the men collected their checked bags, went through customs, rechecked their luggage and boarded their flight to Virginia without incident.

But when they arrived in Norfolk and went to the baggage claim area, the couple discovered a sex toy had been taken from one of their bags, covered in a “greasy foul-smelling substance” and “taped prominently” to the top of the bag, according to the lawsuit.

United countered that it has conducted a thorough investigation and determined that there is no support for the allegations, spokeswoman Christen David said in a statement.

A district judge initially dismissed the case, but it was reinstated by an appeals court. Continental’s new parent company — United Continental Holdings — has continued to unsuccessfully attempt to get it thrown out. So now it goes to trial!

Packing Tips and Tricks

gay travel packing tips

Make copies of your passport and leave one with friends and another tucked into your bag. Or, better yet, scan your passport and email a copy to yourself. (I make copies of my credit cards also).
Always put a second luggage label on. A suitcase is easily parted from its luggage label. I always use a second one complete with details of your flight and destination clearly listed.
The second you think of packing something, PACK IT. If you wait, you may forget. Packing for a trip is infinitely easier when you’ve just done laundry.
Try not to pack everything you own, EDIT. Pack for the best-case scenario. Think in terms of what you can do without. When in doubt, leave it out. Minimize by bringing less. Experienced travelers try to bring only things that will be worn repeatedly, complement other items, and have multiple. Pack with color coordination in mind. Neutral colors (black, navy, khaki) dress up easily and can be extremely versatile. The website www.butlerbureau.com has video instructions on how to fold a T-shirt and pack a suitcase. Go to YouTube to see Mr. Bean demonstrating how NOT to do it.
Pack more underwear than you could ever conceivably go through. They don’t take up much room, and after a few days on the road, you will feel super sexy when you put on a fresh pair in the morning and again in the afternoon and another in the evening.
Rolling items before shoving them into your suitcase really does save space. Backpackers swear by this method. Rolling works well with pants and sports shirts. Lay the item face down, fold back the sleeves and then roll from the bottom up.
Ironing. Try not to pack anything that requires ironing. Choose fabrics that resist wrinkling or look good wrinkled.
Shoes. Don’t take 5 pairs of shoes. I always try to wear a pair and take a pair. Think universal.
Never check any of the following: expensive jewelry, your toothbrush, your prescription medications, contact solutions, or your deodorant. Airlines mislaid 42.4 million suitcases last year, reason enough never to put anything you would hate to lose in your checked luggage.
Snacks. Wherever you are, wherever you are going, bring snacks.
You will inevitably forget something, either at home or while on your trip. Accept this reality, and pray it is not your passport. Or your partner!

Bad Reviews for Tourist Attractions

bad-reviews-for-big-tourist-attractions

I don’t read movie critics reviews.  And I try not to listen too much to public opinion. Half the time people  hype up a movie, then I see it, and am disappointed, expecting so much more.

That’s why user generated reviews can usually give  you a wide variety of samplings to pick from.

This week on Thrillist  they picked 10 top tourist attractions  and showed  the worst reviews  for them. Let’s face it – many tourist attractions are over rated!

If you want a good laugh – check this out!

Will the Euro Stop Dropping?

euro drops in value vs  US dollar

For US Travelers,  Europe is  a great DEAL!  For the last 10 years, I avoided countries that are on the Euro. Instead, I would go to Prague, Budapest and Croatia – it was always a better deal.  But now with the Euro dropping…..

A few years  ago  1  Euro =  $1.50. This week, 1 Euro  = $1.08

Analysts  say, The euro is going down because several of the key economies of Europe are heading into deflation, which is always a greater fear than average inflation.  European leaders are planning to apply quantitative easing strategies in March that will probably work to reverse the deflation but will likely not strengthen the euro relative to the dollar as QE increases the supply of euros.  The fact is that a weak euro will hurt the USA more than it will hurt Europe as it  impacts tourism from Europe and lowers the cost of imported products and services from Europe.

It’s a “Catch 22”  I guess; Americans are expected to  pour millions of dollars into the Old World as the value of goods and services decreases overseas.  But there is only so much money to go around…U.S. could  see a shortfall of tourists, which could wreak havoc on cities that depend on income from their vacations. Among those metropolises is New York City, which could experience a drop off of up to $30 billion in tourism dollars in the next year, or 50 percent of the current total, according to the New York Post.

Who knows?!

 

 

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.

Chicago hotel deals

chicago-hotel-deals

There are LOTS AND LOTS of March events in Chicago!  And until  February 15th, you can grab a sweet  hotel  deal, 50%  off  your March stay!!

 

Polar Plunge March 1st.  St Patricks Events March 7th. More St Patricks March 15th., Local Food Expo March 19 , Pet Expo  March 20th, Tattoo Convention March 20th, Beer festival, Flower Show and on and on!   Check out the calendar HERE.

 

best hotels boystown lakeview chicago

 City Suites    Willows    Majestic                        
USE  CODE   BGC  WHEN  BOOKING!!    
Chicago is an amazing city year round! And during the week, many of the clubs and bars run specials, so it’s  a great time to save money, and make new friends!
 
Visit  Best Gay Chicago for the latest information!

 

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.

What European Countries DO BEST

gay-travel-europe

One of my favorite general interest sites I follow, THRILLIST, did a cute round up of European Countries, that I wanted to share.

The European Union has 28 member countries, and much like snowflakes, they’re all special in their own way. Every country excels at something — and to that end, we found one thing every EU nation is the best at… even if it’s having the most experience working with robots.

Click here to see the full map, or on the stats to see the methodology.

BEST European Countries for Food and Drink

best food drink world italy

While Italy is NOT the gayest European city, it did rank as the best food and drink in Europe – not surprisingly.

THRILLIST  recently ranked all 48 European countries  by food and drink. Italy, France and Spain  were on top. Followed next  by  Germany, Belgium and Croatia.  – At the bottom of the list were countries like Andorra, Monaco and  Montenegro. Check it out HERE.

 

PHIND Information to Landmarks

phind-gay-travel

Anyone who has ever explored a new city or even their hometown has come across something that they wanted to learn about.

Until now, they were limited in ways to access the information. Available today on iOS, PHIND is a new, easy and fun way to explore life by doing what comes natural to us, taking photos. PHIND gives users information on locations, attractions and landmarks with a one-button push. Combining the two words of photo and find, PHIND gives users a wealth of information in an easy-to-read tile layout about what they are currently looking at.

 

“The idea for PHIND came to me when I was in London admiring the Wellington Arch,” said PHIND Co-Founder & CEO Rishi Jhunjhnuwala. “At the time, I didn’t know what it was and I wanted to learn who created it and why it was there but had no way of knowing besides doing a generic text search and combing through the hundreds of results. With PHIND, all that is needed is a simple photo and anyone can access all of that information and more in seconds.”

PHIND has access to over 100 million photos of locations, attractions, landmarks, and places in its database. If a traveler uses PHIND to take a photo of the Santa Monica Pier, they would receive a vast amount of information on the Southern California landmark including restaurants, bars and attractions, to name a few, that are available nearby. PHIND also works on smaller landmarks like statues by providing information on the artist and the history of the piece. Complimenting its patent-pending visual search algorithm, PHIND narrows its search results down based on the user’s location. All of this is done in a matter of seconds.

 

Additionally, PHIND builds contextual bridges that aggregate information on locations from Foursquare, Yelp, and Wikipedia along with many of the other major content providers to present historical facts, photos, reviews, hours of operation, social media profiles and more. PHIND also easily connects users to Uber to help get them to any destination.

PHIND works across the United States and in key international cities all over the world. Future releases of PHIND will see Android compatibility, the ability to share locations on social media accounts, purchase tickets for attractions and more.

 

PHIND is available for download in the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/phind/id898016251?mt=8. Users can sign-up for a PHIND account either by using their Facebook account or signing up for a native user ID. 

(ANDROID  IS  IN THE  WORKS!)

 

For more information, please visit http://www.phind.it, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/phindapp and follow them on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/phindapp.

 

Be Prepared When Traveling Abroad

travel tips be prepared

It is important to be prepared and to expect the unexpected wherever in the world you may be. By preparing carefully you can prevent serious and costly problems for you and your family or loved ones.

Country travel advice and advisories – Get country-specific information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues. No matter where in the world you intend to travel, make sure you check http://travel.state.gov/ for valuable information.

Travel documents – Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport. Carry a photo copy of your Passport and Visa as well. It does not hurt to leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with friends or family, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

Always pack a small First-Aid Kit – While we live in 2014, not 1914, and you can find modern medicine anywhere in the world, I always pack a small first aid kit with some basic essentials just to be safe. Why waste time searching a strange city for eye drops, Pepto Bismol or Imodium? I take Tylenol, stomach illness medicine, eye drops, Band-Aids, scissors, hydrocortisone cream, anti-bacterial ointment, and a small supply of doctor-approved antibiotics. I can usually find a pharmacy when I need one, but if they do not understand your needs, it can be a difficult situation. So in case of an emergency it’s good to have these items handy.

Cash and Cards – I always keep one back-up credit card and bank card with me in case of emergencies. You never know when one bank might decide to lock your account for suspicious activity without telling you (yes, that has happened to me), or when you might get robbed. I recently had my bank account information stolen while I was traveling in Europe. My bank had to deactivate my card and if I had not had a second one with me, I would not have had access to any money.

With the advent of the chip credit card, many countries do not take the American-style credit card anymore (cards with just a magnetic strip). While you should be able to use a credit card pretty much everywhere, you never know when you might not. One of my cards was rejected in Denmark because it lacked a chip, and I had to run to a bank to get money. We get used to using credit cards, but it is always good to have a little cash. I myself prefer cash. You usually get the best exchange rate on cash and avoid credit card foreign transaction fees.

One of the most important things I ever learned as a Boy Scout (they did not know I was gay way back then!) is their motto to always “be prepared” and as I’ve grown up and traveled the world, I’ve found this to also be a travel truism.

Best Way to Pack….Roll Clothes

rolled-clothes-pack-tight

I just tried this recently and it works!   Why did I not know this?!

Roll, Roll, Roll your clothes....Roll, don’t fold your garments.  Rolling takes up far less space, and allows you to more easily organize your bag.  This tip came from sailors who have very limited space for personal gear, so they know!

The New York Times asked flight attendants how they manage to pack over 40 garments in one suitcase, and it all boils down to one trick: roll your clothes to save space and avoid wrinkles.

Any feedback on this???

 

 

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

Airplane Travel and Flying with Service Dogs

travel with your dog airplanes

Flying with Service Dogs

Flying with a service dog requires you to prepare in advance. Most airlines have specific rules and requirements for trips that depart from and connect through regions of extreme temperatures. Check your airline before you consider booking your flight; or you can opt to travel early in the day when you are certain that temperatures are cooler for your service dog. When flying with your dog, know that your dog will fly in a pressurized, heated and cooled section. Temperatures as well as pressures will be the same as they are in the passenger cabin.

Packing for your dog
• Ensure that you have your dog’s leash, collar or harness along with identification tags. You are advised not to take off your service dog’s identification tag while traveling. You never know, your dog can get lost and ID tags will make certain that he will find his way back to you.

• Make an effort of carrying motion sickness remedies. You need to consult your vet concerning medication or natural remedies that can alleviate motion sickness for your service dog, and the symptoms to look out for.

• Carrying along full paperwork for you service dog. This should include: license paperwork, proof of rabies vaccine, vaccination records, along with any other paperwork that you may need when boarding airplanes and crossing borders.

 

emotional-support-animal-airlines

Important considerations you

                                need to make in advance
Most airlines may expect you to make at least forty eight hours notification, in advance.

Documentation is usually demanded when you do not provide credible assurance as far as your service dog is concerned. When making reservations, you are advised to request for a convenient seat. Inquire if they can have the seat next to you blocked, in the event that your service dog is large. This is usually not recommended, but chances are that they can block a seat for you if the flight doesn’t sell out.

Security checkpoints at the airport may present some challenges. First and foremost, make sure that your service dog does not wear any tags when going through metal detectors. This is to avoid any unnecessary search for you and your dog. You can also opt to go through the metal detectors first and then your dog; this way, the security guards will be certain that you and your dog are no threat, despite the fact that your dog may be wearing a tag.

It is advisable to make sure that your service dog is well fed and exercised before your departure. In addition, ensure that your dog drinks as well as poops in advance. It is quite inappropriate to feed your dog a few moments before take-off, he or she might get sick. Good exercise is essential for a service dog before take-off, since it helps the dog calm down. You are also advised not to sedate your dog, higher altitude pressures may make your dog vulnerable to cardiovascular and respiratory issues when sedated.

For your service dog to be allowed in the cabin you need to:

  • Provide proof of your disability, and the manner in which your service dog proves helpful in easing the effect of your disability.
  • Provide appropriate documentation confirming that your service dog has received an acceptable level of training that makes him a fit assisting companion for you.
  •  Provide confirmation that your dog is registered to serve as a service dog when booking your flight.
  •  Present a valid service dog identification card or equivalent documentation when you are checking in the flight.
  •  Ensure that your service dog can fit on your lap or alternatively in front of your seat.

 

service-dog-certifications-online

As stated previously, not all airlines may allow you to fly with your service dog. Therefore, it is advisable to make early reservations to ascertain that your dog will be flying with you. In addition to different air travel rules, you may also find that some airlines charge extra fees when one is traveling with a service dog.

For more information visit Service Dogs Certification

 

 

Most Expensive Food around the World

From a guest author : It’s just another Paris Hilton Instagram post showing the room service meal she ordered during her Shanghai sojourn last November. “I love Chinese food,” she commented. But there’s one problem, except for the fried rice, the dishes were hardly Chinese: panini, creamy soup, spaghetti, and some other general meals. I wouldn’t fault her though, and the public seems to understand her little culinary mishap. After all, the Paris Hiltons amidst us are more at home eating fancy meals than being confronted by an unassuming panini. Well then, let’s give Paris Hilton one fancy menu.

I thought to put together a set of meals for one day in this infographic, featuring the most expensive foods in the world. These foods are unabashedly opulent, but before you get upset, many of these items were created for fundraising programs (like an auction). Okay, some are truly lavish beyond reason. To put their prices in perspective, our total bill by dinner’s end easily matches the annual income of an average American household, whose weekly meal budget is estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be somewhere from $130 to $250 for a family of four.

There’s another reason why a dish can be very expensive: the chef sprinkled some diamonds, luxury pearls, or gold as a side attraction, such as the spoon, plate, goblet, or a decor. I thought it’s cheating. You can always make anything the most expensive by throwing in some diamonds, the most expensive toilet for instance.

Still, some dishes are easy to imagine why they’re expensive: the ingredients are either rare or take a lot of time and effort to source. What makes Wagyu beef literally a cut above the rest? The cow where the beef comes from is massaged and fed on beer every single day of its short bovine life. Saffron, a most prized spice, requires 75,000 filaments to make a pound!

We have more surprises in this day’s menu, from an ice cream whose price leaves you deathly cold, to a putrid cake slice that the ultra rich had craved to buy.
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Book Now for Southern Decadence Deals in New Orleans

southern decadence deals

VIP WEEKEND PASSES ARE FLYING! CALL NOW FOR

MORE INFORMATION AND TO RESERVE YOUR PASS.
THIS WILL SELL OUT!

HOTEL PACKAGES  STARTING AT JUST $471.00 PER PERSON!
*VIP PASS INCLUDED!

 

For more information, please contact Dave at dave@donovantravel.com or 401-942-7700.

 

*Southern Decadence is an annual six-day event held in New Orleans by the gay and lesbian community during Labor Day Weekend, climaxing with a parade through the French Quarter on the Sunday before Labor Day.

US Travel Tips for International Travelers Gay and Non Gay

gay international travelers travelors

When ever you go to a country for the first time, it helps to be aware of local customs and practices, so you don’t look like a total fool!

THRILLIST  put together a great list of tips this week,  for the international traveler coming to the US.

Everything from tipping to ice to how to handle police!   It’s very cute – check it out!

Gay and Straight Travel – Cities and Countries You Might Get Kidnapped!

countries-to-avoid-kipnapping

GREAT ARTICLE this week at THRILLIST..

7 Countries Where You Are Most

Likely to be Kidnapped!

Gay travel or straight travel!

MEXICO – in Juarez, Tijuana and Tampico – Puerto Vallarta  IS TOTALLY  FINE!

HAITI – very unsafe everywhere.

BRAZIL -Sao Paulo and Rio –  they look for wealthy businessmen and their family members mostly. But I have friends got to both cities, and during big events like Carnival and Pride, they do prey on all tourists to steal from and pick pocket.

Philippines – They watch  for tourists.

India – Foreign and tourist abductions are rare. But they prey on Indian children.

Columbia – avoid rural areas, jungles and mountains – cities are usually OK

Venezuela is now considered the most dangerous country in Latin America

See all of the details  at Thrillist

Twitter can be your Best Friend when Traveling

airline-twitter-gay-travel

There was a great article recently in Conde Nast Traveler which revealed how TWITTER can be your best friend when traveling.  Take for instance American Airlines.   A consumers luggage was lost. The traveler  was in Quito Ecuador and she could not get assistance from the airport – allegedly they had no lost luggage system.  The traveler tweeted  AA  and  her luggage was located quickly.

Airlines and Hotels DO NOT want bad publicity. And they have discovered that an angry tweet can be very damaging. They want to fix it fast.

Want to switch flights?  Don’t try to call by phone and don’t stand in lines – TWEET the airlines with your request. Most airlines are happy to put you on standby.

Have a dirty hotel room and the front desk says, “Sorry, we are sold out.”  TWEET  photos of the dirty room, and just see how fast they react to make things right!

@AmericanAir

@AVIS

@ChoiceHotels

@DeltaAssist

@HyattConcierge

@Marriott

@SheratonHotels

@United

@WaldorfAstoria

@WHotels

 

 

SPEED PASS with TSA PRE

speed pass tsa pre line

LOVE THIS!  TSA PreCheck!

With the TSA PreCheck program, you’ll get to use a special screening lane with fewer people in it. Plus, you’ll get to keep on your shoes, light outerwear, and belt, and also leave your liquids and laptop in your carry-on. You pay $85 for these privileges, though (good for a five-year membership in the program).

The TSA Pre✓™ application program is a DHS Trusted Traveler program.  TSA began accepting taking TSA Pre✓™ applications on  Dec. 4, 2013. TSA Pre✓™ allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers the opportunity to apply for expedited screening at participating U.S. airports.