Category Archives: Travel Tips

Massacre Against LGBT People in Turkey

I myself,  have no desire to visit countries where I have to walk on eggshells  and  pretend to be straight. I do not want to worry  while traveling that my life could potentially be in danger.

A group calling itself the Young Islamic Defense has been canvasing the city of Ankara, Turkey with posters that call for anti-LGBT violence. The poster (pictured above) quotes a hadith, saying “If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot, kill the doer and the done both.” – Ankara is said to be “gay friendly”.

Via the internet, the Young Islamic Defense has defended its call to action, saying:

in order to show that Islam absolutely does not allow this situation, we have shared this hadith… Our wish is to learn the attitude Islam demands from us in light of the Qu’ran and the Sunnah, instead of the hodjas who cannot shout out what is rightful on television.

This news comes on the heels of recent violence against LGBT people in Turkey — when in late June Istanbul police attacked the city’s pride march with water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets.

[Story and Image via LGBTI News in Turkey]

 

Share

Flying with your Emotional Support Animal

 

How to Fly with an Emotional Support Animal in the
Cabin of an Airplane
Do your nerves bundle up the minute you step into an airport, more so into an airplane? You’re not alone! Millions of people feel the same way you do, and some address their anxiety by bringing along an ESA, otherwise known as an emotional support animal. Your pup may just be the answer to your problems. Here’s what you can do before taking your ESA with you on your next trip. If you’re looking for certification of service dogs, you can find more information at Service Dog Certifications.

 

Prepare  Proper Documents
It is vital that your pet has the necessary
registration, emotional support animal
doctor letters
, and identification to prove that it is a certified
emotional support animal, most especially to present to authorities who might
question you. Not all disabilities/mental illnesses merit having an ESA, so
your particular disability should appear on the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV implying that your pet’s immediate
presence is necessary due to health matters. You may learn more about how and
whether or not you may acquire certification for an emotional support animal by
speaking to a psychiatrist. The moment you have all the right documents
supporting your ESA, you’re set to go!

 

Bringing
Your ESA on Your Next Flight
The first thing you should do before taking
your ESA on a flight is to inform the airline you’re flying that you’ll be
bringing your emotional support animal at least 48 hours before departure. They
might need you to fax or email letters written by a licensed mental health
professional. Don’t forget to bring your pet’s papers to prove its shots, as
well as a health certificate issued by a veterinarian, just in case. 
To avoid being late for your flight, as you
may be questioned about your ESA, you might want to check-in online or leave
for the airport extra early. Ideally, you should be checked in at least 90
minutes before your flight. Have the proper equipment that will aid you in
holding and/or controlling your pet, such as a leash, harness, cage, or others.
Check to see that it’s comfortable enough for your pet to stay in/wear for the
duration of the flight as well!

 

While    in the Plane
Is your pet well-trained? A dog that yips
on the plane may be bothersome to other passengers, so a quiet, behaved pooch
who understands commands is usually mostly appreciated. As for dealing with
calls of nature, see to it that your pet urinates and defecates in a suitable
place before boarding the plane. You may want to fit a diaper on your pup to
lessen the chances of it making a mess while in-flight. Avoid giving your pet
food or water during the flight, but keep a bit with you in your carry-on to
give to your pet when you land. Remember to keep your animal with you at all
times, and position it (or its cage) in an area that doesn’t block emergency
exits. You may not be allowed to sit in certain rows of the airplane, but it’s
only to make sure of the accessibility, safety, and comfort of you and your
pet.

 

Still   Nervous?
In case you’re still nervous about or
during the flight, you may want to speak to a doctor/psychiatrist beforehand,
so you can get prescribed medication to alleviate your anxiety. Depending on
which airline you’re flying, it also helps to call the airline beforehand and
inform them that you’re an “anxious flyer”, as the airline’s flight attendants
become more aware about your situation and may check up on you every now and
then. 
Once you’re on the flight, take 10 deep breaths; each inhaling for the
count of 5 heartbeats, keeping it in for 7, and exhaling for 9 to relax
yourself. Once you’ve done that, try distracting yourself with your favorite
music, book, or video game. Before you know it, the flight will be over, you’ll
have reached your destination!
Share

No Travel Warnings for Puerto Vallarta

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.

Share

Airlines Discount Gay Pride Travel

Airlines offering discount flights to gay people!

An airline has infuriated Republicans – by offering to fly gay people to Pride events across the US for a discount.

Alaska Airlines – which carries the name of the state known more for being the home of anti-gay politician Sarah Palin than for inclusiveness – made the offer as part of an ‘LGBT travel’ stunt.

Though it doesn’t exclusively apply to LGBT people, the airline has discounted flights to Pride events in a number of cities across the US.

It offers flights at a discount to Pride events including LA, New Orleans and Boston – in a move that has infuriated conservatives in the country.

Alaska Air said: “At Alaska, we have been longtime supporters of the LGBT community and remain committed to a more equitable society. We were elated when the State of Washington expressed the same commitment by legalizing marriage for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“To show our continued support we are encouraging the LGBT community to travel, not only to Seattle, but to Pride events and gay friendly destinations all over the country.

“With that aim, we have put together this section of our site to highlight destinations that support marriage equality, Pride celebrations, and other things of interest to the LGBT community.”

Some have decried it as “discrimination” in favour of LGBT people, with one right-wing blogger claiming: “The establishment campaign to promote disease-spreading and culture-corroding perversity has reached the point that Alaska Airlines now implies discounts for homosexuals.

ALASKA AIR

Share

Gay Travel With a Dildo Lawsuit

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!

Share

Packing Tips and Tricks

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!

Share

Bad Reviews for 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!

Share

Will the Euro Stop Dropping?

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?!

 

 

Share

Mexico Tourism Launches New Gay App

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.

Share

Gay Travel Kyrgyzstan…NOT

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.
Share

What European Countries DO BEST

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.

Share

BEST European Countries for Food and Drink

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.

 

Share

PHIND Information to Landmarks

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.

 

Share

Be Prepared When Traveling Abroad

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.

Share

Best Way to Pack….Roll Clothes

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???

 

 

Share

Gay Travel Around The World

25 must see cities in your lifetime!

From Paris to Prague –

From  San Francisco to New York –

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

Share

Airplane Travel and Flying with Service Dogs

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

 

Share

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.

Share

Book Now for Southern Decadence Deals in New Orleans

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.

Share

US Travel Tips for International Travelers Gay and Non Gay

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!

Share