Gay-friendly meets sophisticated, fun travel
Go on, tell it like it is. Travel, when you're gay, can be as frustrating as putting lipstick on a pig. Just when you think all is going well, a nuance becomes a wildly uncomfortable moment for you and your partner. Whether you're getting away for the weekend or flinging yourself on a sparkly white beach for a week, lesbian and gay travel can be an adventure - unless you do your research.
Balancing the expectations and interests of straight and minority gay guests challenge hotel, resort and cruise line staff. But if they want to capture a piece of this growing market, they better figure out the sweet spot of that balance - quick. According to the Chicago Tribune, "Gays and lesbians are overrepresented in professions such as technology, the travel industry and financial services, which leads to certain travel spending habits."
Struggling with where to start your research? These sites are LGBT friendly and are happy to share places where you represent the majority and your needs are priority number one.
GirlPorts.com - For lesbian or bisexual women looking for destinations that swing their way, get ready to fall in love with GirlPorts.com. Founded by Tanya Churchmuch in Montreal, Girlports is an information rich site that focuses on hot spots in each city where you'll find a welcoming crowd. While the number of cities in their repertoire is small, the information is expansive.
Lesbian.com - There's nothing pretty about this site and you'll need to invest time to sift through the links. But it's a fabulous travel resource for lesbian travel online. Whether you want to hike Machu Picchu or find a place to let the diva in your dyke shine in Vegas, you'll find a link to it here.
Abroad for Adventure - Think of Gap adventures, girlified. Authentic, diverse and geared to women who want to travel together, gay or straight. Adrienne Carruth, based in Philadelphia, arranges travel for groups of 10-12 women worldwide. Information about the destinations themselves are thin as the site focuses on their trips.
IGLTA - The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association serves up expansive information on a wide variety of cities worldwide. Can't find what you're looking for? You'll be invited to email a member of the community. We especially love their sponsor's page with companies like Hyatt, Kimpton Hotels and the Hilton.
About.com - Andrew Collins runs the Gay & Lesbian Travel Guide and updates it regularly with current and upcoming events. Like with many About sites, you'll feel like you're chasing links without getting anywhere, but it's still a great place to gather information and then use your favorite search engine to deliver you to the destination.
OUTtraveler - Looking for a lively read with good information, then the OUTtraveler is our top pick. Some of the content is dated and some links broken but it's a good reference. Balance everything you read with a reality check (visit the destination website or call). Their blog is the hidden gem on this site. You'll get a personal review of the destination and up to date info on upcoming events.
TripOutGayTravel.com - We love this site and we're not too shy to admit it. TripOutGayTravel is easy to navigate, there's loads of information and the gay-friendly rating system rocks. Want to know whether your chosen destination is oriented to your way of life? The colored flag at the top of each article signals whether you're good to wave your own flag or travel cautiously...
GayTravel.com - Their Facebook community is a fun community of sharing gay-friendly destinations, gay-friendly hotels, gay cruises, gay tours and, of course, deals customized for the gay traveler. The site is male-gay focused and small but a growing resource.
Ready to book your next king-size hotel room with your same-sex lover without the raised eyebrows or being asked to repeat yourself? We thought so.
If you've got a resource that fits here, share it with us. We'd love to hear it and we know our GoGirlfriends would love to support it. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let's start talking!