The Best Resources for Gay Travel
What You Need to Know to Plan Your Gay Getaway
Planning a trip can be a daunting task, but for a gay traveler, it can be even more difficult. There are limited resources for the LGBT community, so Travel Channel has put together a quick list of gay travel guides, websites and other resources to help you plan your next gay vacation.
Gay and Lesbian Travel Guides
When planning a trip, some travelers enjoy the flexibility of having a travel guide on-hand to highlight important travel tips and must-see sights. Damron and Spartacus travel guides are our picks for top gay travel resources; both are chock-full of gay-owned or gay-friendly destinations, accommodations, restaurants, bars and more.
Damron, a popular travel source since 1964, publishes the Men's Travel Guide and Women's Traveller each year. Damron lists thousands of gay-friendly businesses in the US, Canada, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Asia. Accommodations, bars, bookstores, gyms and a calendar of events are just some of the info you’ll find inside these guides. Damron also has a travel app. Gay Scout by Damron is available for travelers who enjoy sightseeing and exploring without carrying extra weight.
The Spartacus International Gay Guide is another annual travel guide for planning your gay getaway. Spartacus, much like Damron, also has other guides that travelers can purchase, including the International Hotel & Restaurant Guide. This comprehensive international travel guide is sometimes difficult to find at US bookstores because it’s published by a German company. But never fear, plans are underway to launch a Spartacus iPhone app in January 2012.
Even though we suggest LGBT travelers check Damron and Spartacus travel guides and their websites, we also suggest looking at more familiar brands, such as Frommer's, Shermans Travel and Lonely Planet. These travel guides offer great general information, but in most cases, also provide insightful travel tips for “friends of Dorothy.” So you really can’t go wrong with picking up a mainstream travel guide.
LGBT Online Travel Sites
In addition to travel guides in print, online travel websites can reduce the stress of planning a trip. Out Traveler covers the pulse of LGBT travel, including hot trends, topics and destinations. The website provides travelers with city guides and vacation packages. Looking for an app? Check out the Out Magazine City Guide app. It’s not as elaborate as the Out Traveler website. The app only provides gay-friendly listings for gay bars, restaurants, shops, nightlife and hotels in NYC, LA and San Francisco. We suggest passing on the app and just sticking to the website.
IGLTA, the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, is another great resource to find LGBT businesses and destinations. This site provides the best locations and packages for individual, group, corporate and student travel. It has dozens of links to hotels, cities, countries, travel agents and tour operators around the world. IGLTA publishes its annual member directory, a listing of businesses around the world. All businesses are listed in alphabetical order by country for ease of use.
Another useful travel aid is Passport Magazine, available in print and on the interwebs. This magazine covers all the regular gay travel faire with a keen focus on business travel, and international destinations and events. Yes, there is a Passport Magazine app, but it’s only useful if you’re looking for aspiration, or if you want to check out the magazine on your iPhone or iPad. Passport is a great travel resource with in-depth articles about exotic destinations, travel gear and much more.
In addition to Passport Magazine, GayCities is a popular website to check out for gay travel information. Plan your next getaway using more than 200 extensive city guides, a LGBT events calendar and other unique features. Register to become part of the GayCities community and connect with other travelers. Ask questions and get real answers from locals or travelers in the know. For the tech savvy, check out the nifty GayCities app.
Gay-ville may not have a mobile app yet, but it’s a great website to get tips from locals, pick up the local lingo and find low-cost accommodations in a few gay-friendly destinations around the world, including Rio de Janeiro, Mykonos, Berlin and Sydney. Don’t be startled, but this website appears to be more popular among gay travelers in Europe. However, we’re sure you’ll be able to glean some helpful information, especially if you’re into couch surfing and crashing in a host family’s spare bedroom.
Social Networking Apps
We’ve listed a few travel guides and websites for LGBT travelers to check out, but there are also a number of mobile apps that are perfect to help you kick-start ideas to plan your trip. The Gaydar app is the mobile version of the all-male matchmaking website, based in the UK. This hook-up/dating site’s 1 big difference is that it has a feature that allows men to post their travel plans. Just click on a few boxes to indicate if you’re looking for a fling, accommodations or your own personal tour guide.
Grindr and Scruff are similar social networking apps designed to help gay men virtually meet and chat with others guys nearby or thousands of miles away. It’s a cool tool to use to find out more about a specific destination and provides users with the opportunity to talk to locals who may reside in your dream gay vacation. These apps can be useful if used appropriately; however, we do urge caution with meeting anyone virtually. Common sense and practical judgment are always suggested.
We hope we’ve provided useful travel guides, websites and apps to kick your travel plans into high gear. Explore Travel Channel’s suggestions to help make your next gay getaway a fabulous experience.