When it comes to celebrating individuality, few festivals do it up like Gay Pride parades. While Gay Pride is one of the hottest times for alternative couples to travel the nation and seek out the best gay and lesbian festivals, year-round gay travel has provided a boost in the travel industry.
According to Ed Salvato, editor in chief of The Out Traveler, today’s gay travel market has rebounded since the industry overall took a hit in 2001, and niche-specific travel has helped keep the US travel market afloat.
“There is sustained investment in the market,” says Salvato, referring to the niche-specific gay travel segment. “There is more focus on senior gays, the Latin market, bi-sexual travel; [gay travel] options have really expanded.”
Today, more hotels, tours, cruises and online travel agents are appealing to gay travelers by offering packages uniquely created for a gay lifestyle. Some of the smaller gay-friendly destinations have dedicated online resources, such as PalmSpringsGay.com.
As gay travel has increased in the US marketplace, however, planning a safe and friendly gay-friendly vacation is equally as important as picking the perfect destination. In an effort to ease the worry, Cheapflights consulted some gay travel experts for tips on planning the perfect gay vacation.
Use a trusted resource
Like any type of travel, when booking gay-specific vacations it’s important to book with a trusted resource. Many cruises, tours and vacation packages focus specifically on gay tourists, ensuring that hotels and resorts are gay friendly and avoiding any awkward situations.
Sally Howard, owner of gay-friendly Campit Resort in Saugatuck, MI, and Thousand Palms Resort in Inverness, FL, reminds gay travelers to look for gay-friendly signage when booking travel.
“Any place that is going to advertise itself on the Web and link linked to gay, lesbian, or rainbow [organizations] is going to be safe for travelers,” says Howard.
Gay Pride Festivals
There’s never a bad time to travel, but if you’re eager to explore the world with other gay travelers, it’s important to know the peak and off-peak seasons at prime destinations.
If you’re traveling for Gay Pride Festivals this year, the options are endless. The top cities for Gay Pride include Miami, Montreal, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Provincetown (Mass.) and Key West.
But if the big city party and parades don’t appeal, or if you’re just in the mood to try something new, Salvato suggests trying something new.
Instead of Los Angeles, head to Long Beach, where karaoke rules the streets and grants and scholarships are featured prizes. Salvato also suggests Bloomington and Salt Lake City as additional “small town” pride parades.
“Smaller prides are more people-focused; there are not as many corporate sponsorships,” says Salvato. “Do smaller ‘prides’ in order to experience more specific interests.”
Wherever you choose to celebrate gay pride month, don’t forget to plan ahead and play it safe.