With the dollar stronger, now may be time to book a gay tour overseas
With the holidays almost upon us, it’s not too early to start booking your travel plans for 2009 — especially if you want to take advantage of one of the many international gay travel options available.
Believe it or not, it’s not a bad idea to go international: After a rocky ride during 2008, the dollar has rebounded against most international currencies, making its buying power stronger now than it has been in months. Benefit from a good exchange rate while you can.
The Savvy Navigator, a specialized gay tour company "catering to sophisticated male travelers," has planned three departures in 2009, each a 12-day trip intended by founder Jeffrey Ward to be "experiential and life-changing."
Ward, who worked with American Airlines for more than 10 years, says he designed his tours to appeal to affluent gay men who want to go beyond the "mere" vacation and explore fine food, wine and culture. "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" is a South African gourmet safari that sets you down next to the famed Kruger National Park.
The first departure is set for Jan. 13â€“26, with repeat adventures in May and November. The all-inclusive trip runs $8,000; add-ons of four days to Victoria Falls pre- or post-trip are also available for an additional fee.
Steele Luxury Travel will host four international trips next summer. The first, The Life Ball (May 14â€“17), incorporates tickets to Europe’s largest HIV/AIDS charity event in Vienna. For something a little more Mediterranean, the Sail Sardinia & Corsica package (July 18â€“25) puts travelers on a 125-foot yacht tooling around the islands off of Italy and France. Prices start at $2,800.
The Turkish Delight tour (Aug. 24â€“31) offers a chance to explore Istanbul and the gay-friendly seaside resort Bodrum. The Mykonos Island Escape (Aug. 31â€“Sept. 7) gives you eight days in a private villa with a personal chef. It can even be combined with the Turkey adventure for a two-week luxury extravaganza.
If you’re looking for something more affordable and eco-friendly, Toronto-based OUT Adventures has bargain trips that are gay and green. Trips will have a strong focus on responsible travel by using locally-owned hotels and restaurants, and interacting with local communities.
The closed-group tours are limited to 12 passengers and offer more than 80 global departures over the next 12 months. Travelers can choose among several levels, from "active," to "comfort" to "in style" and even family trips for same-sex couples with children over 6.
Among the planned 2008 excursions is an eight-day trip to Peru — including a hike to Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail — starting at about $750. Or you can have an experience trekking through Vietnam or Morocco starting around $1,300.
Traveling is always best with someone else, so if you want to turn your vacation into a honeymoon, Apoteo Surprise has the solution: turning a trip along the French Riviera into the perfect way to make a marriage proposal.
Open to gay couples as well as straight, the company offers 15 unique romantic scenarios for popping the question, from a dolphin bringing the engagement ring to your sweetheart to an underwater treasure hunt that turns up the perfect message. Extending from Cannes to Monaco, you can make the south of France even more festive with a surprise proposal.
For those who prefer a combination of wine, food and a cruise with the appeal of travel, the gay-friendly Food and Wine Trails offers epicurean tours to as far off as Australia, focusing on the finest wines available. A 15-day tour to Oceania, leaving Jan. 7, is available starting at $4,600.
Visit Foodandwinetrails.com for details.
Down Mexico way, the Blue Seas resort — a gay resort and spa in Puerto Vallarta — is open for business, and welcoming men to lounge by the ocean or enjoy the fine cuisine or new spa and gym facilities.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 7, 2008.