Here’s how the most stylish dogs travel

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/06/30/heres-how-the-most-stylish-dogs-travel/

From puppy jet lag kits to fine-dining for your furry friend, these days there’s so many super ideas to treat your best friend to a wonderful luxury holiday. Some of the concepts are fantastic including delicious handmade gourmet biscuits for dogs and monogrammed beds. Of course once you decide where you and your adorable furry […]

Here’s how the most stylish dogs travel is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post Here’s how the most stylish dogs travel appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/06/30/heres-how-the-most-stylish-dogs-travel/

From puppy jet lag kits to fine-dining for your furry friend, these days there’s so many super ideas to treat your best friend to a wonderful luxury holiday. Some of the concepts are fantastic including delicious handmade gourmet biscuits for dogs and monogrammed beds. Of course once you decide where you and your adorable furry […]

Here’s how the most stylish dogs travel is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post Here’s how the most stylish dogs travel appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

5 great reasons to visit Phuket, Thailand

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/06/30/5-great-reasons-to-visit-phuket-thailand/

As the biggest travel destination in Thailand, Phuket encapsulates both the good and bad sides of Thai tourism. While overcrowded beaches and rowdy bars are part and parcel of resort towns like Patong, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll discover a whole other, unspoiled side to this island. From trying traditional Thai experiences, visiting secret […]

5 great reasons to visit Phuket, Thailand is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post 5 great reasons to visit Phuket, Thailand appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/06/30/5-great-reasons-to-visit-phuket-thailand/

As the biggest travel destination in Thailand, Phuket encapsulates both the good and bad sides of Thai tourism. While overcrowded beaches and rowdy bars are part and parcel of resort towns like Patong, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll discover a whole other, unspoiled side to this island. From trying traditional Thai experiences, visiting secret […]

5 great reasons to visit Phuket, Thailand is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post 5 great reasons to visit Phuket, Thailand appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Ritz-Carlton hotel group launches luxury cruise ships

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/06/29/ritz-carlton-hotel-group-launches-luxury-cruise-ships/

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection looks set to defy cruise ship stereotypes. Ritz-Carlton Hotels recently revealed their plans for their luxury cruise line, which is scheduled to launch late in 2019. The three ships that are being designed will be like hybrids of small ocean liners and private superyachts. According to Bloomberg the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection […]

Ritz-Carlton hotel group launches luxury cruise ships is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post Ritz-Carlton hotel group launches luxury cruise ships appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/06/29/ritz-carlton-hotel-group-launches-luxury-cruise-ships/

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection looks set to defy cruise ship stereotypes. Ritz-Carlton Hotels recently revealed their plans for their luxury cruise line, which is scheduled to launch late in 2019. The three ships that are being designed will be like hybrids of small ocean liners and private superyachts. According to Bloomberg the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection […]

Ritz-Carlton hotel group launches luxury cruise ships is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post Ritz-Carlton hotel group launches luxury cruise ships appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Experiential Travel: Just Another Way for People to Take Your Money

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/experiential-travel/

Visiting a local market in Asia
For about the last year or so, the term “experiential travel” has been batted around the industry like a ping-pong ball. The term has actually been around longer but it’s only recently that it’s become, like Hansel in Zoolander, “so hot right now.”

The idea behind “experiential travel” is that it’s a way to get travelers closer to the local culture and population. As Wikipedia says, “The goal is to more deeply understand a travel destination’s culture, people, and history by connecting with it, more than just by visiting it.” In part, it sells the idea that you’re a “real traveler” and not a tourist. You take part in programs and activities that help you experience the place and people, get you off the beaten path, see more than the main sights and attractions.

The term is S T U P I D.

It’s pure marketing bullshit.

Everything about the way “experiential travel” is marketed bothers me. The term makes travel sound like a superficial activity: you fly in, do some “experiential” stuff, and fly out. It makes it seem like you can experience local culture like you do a gardening class.

“Look, honey! We’re doing it like the French do. Isn’t this cool?! Wait to the folks back home hear about this!”

I mean what is experiencing the world, a course you get off Groupon?!

Of course, travelers have always bought “experiences,” like bungee jumps, walking tours, dives, safaris, cooking classes, safaris, cultural exhibitions, etc. We all want local experiences when we travel. We want to live our inner Indiana Jones and Bill Bryson, have those funny stories of serendipity and chance encounters, and, as Rolf Potts says, to “walk until something interesting happens.”

I think people wanting to go deeper is A GREAT THING. I don’t think we should treat travel as a checklist and I love the growing interest people have in experiencing more (hence the popularity of the sharing economy, volunteering, and service-based trips). BUT don’t be seduced by the fancy marketing of big brands and magazines trying to pitch you “experiences.” The industry is realizing that people, especially millennials, want to have more than a list to check off – and want a slice of that pie by promising travelers an “authentic experience” – as long as they are willing to pay for it.

And this is what really bothers me. It’s not the experiences they are selling — it’s the flashy marketing, empty promises, and high prices that come with the term. It is just a way to get consumers to pay more for packages and overpriced activities. Heck, there was even a cruise line that would take you to places in the Caribbean to volunteer. Do some good between the buffet and nightly show, right?

Just like the industry convinced people to pay more for “green travel” (which wasn’t), it is doing the same with everyday “experiences” so you can part with more of your money while getting a superficial feeling of accomplishment and adventure. (The industry website Skift even did a report on how companies and tourism boards packing and selling experiential travel.)

You know what I call “experiential travel” and getting to know another place and its culture?

TRAVEL.

That’s it. No more words need to be added.

When you travel, you (ideally) do more than just see the major sites, capture photos for Instagram, or check off lists: you eat the local food, soak up the local culture, take public transportation, and talk to people.

If you want to get closer to a place and understand it, talk to the people who live in your destination. Pick up a book, read a newspaper to learn about current events (and definitely read the editorial section), stumble across an outdoor street party, learn the local language, visit street markets, or hitchhike.

I learned about life in Lyon last month — not on some highly packaged and pricey experience but through walking around, taking local transportation, being friendly, talking to residents, using the web to find meetups, trying lots of food, and learning some history. I watched people. I asked questions. I got lost.

I did the same thing travelers have been doing for centuries before someone put a name – and a price tag – to it.

I’ve been a huge advocate of the sharing economy. It’s an affordable way to have unique experiences, meet locals, and get to know a place and its people. Meetup.com, VizEats, EatWith, Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and Vayable — they all exist to bring locals and travelers together and bypass the traditional travel gatekeepers. I love them and am a frequent user of them. I ended up spending the day with my VizEat host in Lyon, who showed me his neighborhood and ended up taking me to an underground hip hop Jazz show.

If you want to experience a place, do what people have done for ages and just travel. Avoid the flashy terms, seductive marketing, and any trip using the term “experiential travel.” It’s simply a way to sell you something you could do on your own at a much higher price.

P.S. – Starting this week I’m on the road doing a series of meet-ups and presentations around the US and Canada. Just a few dates but if you’re in one of the respective cities, come join us for a night of fun! You can find all the cities, dates, and sign-up information here.

The post Experiential Travel: Just Another Way for People to Take Your Money appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/experiential-travel/

Visiting a local market in Asia
For about the last year or so, the term “experiential travel” has been batted around the industry like a ping-pong ball. The term has actually been around longer but it’s only recently that it’s become, like Hansel in Zoolander, “so hot right now.”

The idea behind “experiential travel” is that it’s a way to get travelers closer to the local culture and population. As Wikipedia says, “The goal is to more deeply understand a travel destination’s culture, people, and history by connecting with it, more than just by visiting it.” In part, it sells the idea that you’re a “real traveler” and not a tourist. You take part in programs and activities that help you experience the place and people, get you off the beaten path, see more than the main sights and attractions.

The term is S T U P I D.

It’s pure marketing bullshit.

Everything about the way “experiential travel” is marketed bothers me. The term makes travel sound like a superficial activity: you fly in, do some “experiential” stuff, and fly out. It makes it seem like you can experience local culture like you do a gardening class.

“Look, honey! We’re doing it like the French do. Isn’t this cool?! Wait to the folks back home hear about this!”

I mean what is experiencing the world, a course you get off Groupon?!

Of course, travelers have always bought “experiences,” like bungee jumps, walking tours, dives, safaris, cooking classes, safaris, cultural exhibitions, etc. We all want local experiences when we travel. We want to live our inner Indiana Jones and Bill Bryson, have those funny stories of serendipity and chance encounters, and, as Rolf Potts says, to “walk until something interesting happens.”

I think people wanting to go deeper is A GREAT THING. I don’t think we should treat travel as a checklist and I love the growing interest people have in experiencing more (hence the popularity of the sharing economy, volunteering, and service-based trips). BUT don’t be seduced by the fancy marketing of big brands and magazines trying to pitch you “experiences.” The industry is realizing that people, especially millennials, want to have more than a list to check off – and want a slice of that pie by promising travelers an “authentic experience” – as long as they are willing to pay for it.

And this is what really bothers me. It’s not the experiences they are selling — it’s the flashy marketing, empty promises, and high prices that come with the term. It is just a way to get consumers to pay more for packages and overpriced activities. Heck, there was even a cruise line that would take you to places in the Caribbean to volunteer. Do some good between the buffet and nightly show, right?

Just like the industry convinced people to pay more for “green travel” (which wasn’t), it is doing the same with everyday “experiences” so you can part with more of your money while getting a superficial feeling of accomplishment and adventure. (The industry website Skift even did a report on how companies and tourism boards packing and selling experiential travel.)

You know what I call “experiential travel” and getting to know another place and its culture?

TRAVEL.

That’s it. No more words need to be added.

When you travel, you (ideally) do more than just see the major sites, capture photos for Instagram, or check off lists: you eat the local food, soak up the local culture, take public transportation, and talk to people.

If you want to get closer to a place and understand it, talk to the people who live in your destination. Pick up a book, read a newspaper to learn about current events (and definitely read the editorial section), stumble across an outdoor street party, learn the local language, visit street markets, or hitchhike.

I learned about life in Lyon last month — not on some highly packaged and pricey experience but through walking around, taking local transportation, being friendly, talking to residents, using the web to find meetups, trying lots of food, and learning some history. I watched people. I asked questions. I got lost.

I did the same thing travelers have been doing for centuries before someone put a name – and a price tag – to it.

I’ve been a huge advocate of the sharing economy. It’s an affordable way to have unique experiences, meet locals, and get to know a place and its people. Meetup.com, VizEats, EatWith, Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and Vayable — they all exist to bring locals and travelers together and bypass the traditional travel gatekeepers. I love them and am a frequent user of them. I ended up spending the day with my VizEat host in Lyon, who showed me his neighborhood and ended up taking me to an underground hip hop Jazz show.

If you want to experience a place, do what people have done for ages and just travel. Avoid the flashy terms, seductive marketing, and any trip using the term “experiential travel.” It’s simply a way to sell you something you could do on your own at a much higher price.

P.S. – Starting this week I’m on the road doing a series of meet-ups and presentations around the US and Canada. Just a few dates but if you’re in one of the respective cities, come join us for a night of fun! You can find all the cities, dates, and sign-up information here.

The post Experiential Travel: Just Another Way for People to Take Your Money appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

British Columbia’s undiscovered gems – a ski safari

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/06/21/british-columbias-undiscovered-gems-a-ski-safari/

If you like small resorts with huge dumps of snow, small numbers of skiers and large amounts of sunshine, look no further than the sunny side of the Rockies. Each of the resorts has enough to keep you happy for a week, but in my opinion, it ismore fun to take a two-week holiday, a […]

British Columbia’s undiscovered gems – a ski safari is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post British Columbia’s undiscovered gems – a ski safari appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2017/06/21/british-columbias-undiscovered-gems-a-ski-safari/

If you like small resorts with huge dumps of snow, small numbers of skiers and large amounts of sunshine, look no further than the sunny side of the Rockies. Each of the resorts has enough to keep you happy for a week, but in my opinion, it ismore fun to take a two-week holiday, a […]

British Columbia’s undiscovered gems – a ski safari is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post British Columbia’s undiscovered gems – a ski safari appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

30+ Essential Resources for the Modern LGBT Traveler

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/lgbt-travel-resources/

An large LGBT Pride celebration
I’ve added an LGBT column for the website to make the site more inclusive and talk about issues that affect some members of our community. In this column, we will hear from voices in the LGBT community about their experiences on the road, safety tips, events, and overall advice for other LGBT travelers to get the most out of their time on the road! Back again this month is our column leader Adam from travelsofadam.com who is talking about the best websites, apps, and blogs for LGBT travelers. 

Today, modern lesbian, gay, bi, and trans travelers no longer need a print guidebook to find underground, gay-friendly places. We don’t have to walk around with colored bandanas to send secret signals when cruising. Why? Because now — more often than not — we’re out in the open.

The basic LGBT trip  now starts like any other planned holiday. Where do we go? What do we want to do and see? How do we save money? Thanks to increased acceptance over the years, we’re far more out in the open and, with that comes a lot more options – both online and off – to plan your trip and find LGBT friendly attractions, businesses, tours, and ways to meet people. While we don’t have to let our sexuality define our travels, if you’re looking for activities and people who share a similar lifestyle, these are the best tools on the web:

Where to Find LGBT Travel Inspiration & Things to Do

A couple planning a trip together
Travel blogs & vlogs – In this new era for the travel media industry, independent bloggers and YouTubers have been at the forefront. Increasingly, we base our travel decisions (where to go, what to do) on not just our friends’ Instagrams but those  who’ve already been there, done that. The most popular gay and lesbian travel bloggers (myself included) generally publish destination guides — it’s just a matter of finding the one that fits your own personal travel style. Here are some of my favorites (starting with my own):

(For more blogs, check out my list here: http://travelsofadam.com/gay-travel/)

Websites – There are a handful of dedicated LGBT travel websites that publish detailed and up to date guides. My favorite are:

  • Out Traveler – once a print magazine, still publishes and maintains up-to-date LGBT city guides on its website.
  • AfterEllen – Regularly publishes lesbian travel guides.
  • TravelGayEurope and TravelGayAsia – These websites provide comprehensive city guides.

Travel guidebooks – The Damron series started out in 1964 for men but has also published a separate guidebook for lesbians for nearly 20 years. And Spartacus Publishing (out of Germany) has printed a comprehensive guidebook to all gay-oriented hospitality businesses since 1970. Moreover, these days, even the most mainstream publications are likely to include some LGBT-specific recommendations in their listings. For the past several summers, many major travel brands (such as Trip.com, Lonely Planet, Expedia, and even Hostelworld) have gone so far as to print LGBT Pride travel guides.

Local magazines, newspapers, and guides – There are countless independent, LGBT-oriented city magazines and newspapers around the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Adelaide, Australia, or London, England — you’re going to find a local LGBT print publication or guide. Some will include weekly listings of clubs, parties, and events; others might feature personal ads.

Unfortunately most of these indie publications have poor websites, so your best LGBT travel research is going to have to happen on the ground. One of the best ways to find them in a new city is to simply go to the queer neighborhood and then look for them in a bookstore or bar — anyone who’s ever been inside a gay bar or club is probably familiar with the stack of magazines, brochures, or flyers in the doorway or by the bathrooms. (And make sure to support those businesses that carry these publications!) Also check out the pamphlets, flyers, and advertisements on the corkboard in the local LGBT center.

Some examples:

  • Siegessäule, Berlin’s free gay magazine, likes to claim one of the highest readerships and circulations of any print media in Germany.
  • HISKIND, a free lifestyle magazine in London with thought-provoking essays and local artist and drag queen interviews.
  • Windy City Times still prints an LGBT newspaper for Chicago.
  • Washington Blade operates in DC.
  • Seattle Gay News covers Seattle.

Company blogs – Even the biggest gay apps have started to push out content through their channels. Grindr launched a digital magazine, Into, with a travel section earlier this year, and Hornet acquired the one-time popular gossip blog Unicorn Booty several years ago and now publishes gay men’s travel guides for assorted cities (even if they’re slightly basic). Each of the other hookup apps, including the more niche ones, like Surge, Blued, and Planet Romeo, maintain regularly published blogs, sometimes featuring travel tips and local insider guides. Scruff probably has gone the furthest in incorporating travel tips into its app with the feature Scruff Venture, which allows users to search a destination for other visitors, local ambassadors, and events.

IGLTA – The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association is the leader when it comes to LGBT tourism. Its members include hundreds of airlines, hotels, destination tourism offices, and independent tour operators, both LGBT-owned and mainstream. On its website, you’ll find a useful “Plan Your Trip” feature that searches through its members (just be mindful that these are members who have paid for their placement). It’s a great place to find LGBT-specific things to do on your trip.

Related: An In-Depth Guide to Planning a Lesbian-Friendly Trip

LGBT-friendly accommodation – Often the most challenging part of gay travel can be finding an LGBT-friendly hotel or accommodation. Some of the biggest hotel chains and brands have actively supported the LGBT community by participating in Pride events around the world, by training all their staff (from the front desk to the reservations center) in diversity and inclusiveness issues, and by running LGBT-inclusive campaigns. Even Airbnb launched a #HostWithPride campaign last year after updating its terms of service to protect and safeguard LGBT travelers and hosts.

There are gay-specific accommodation websites such as Rainbow World Hotels, Purple Roofs, and MisterBNB, but you’ll almost always find the same listings on mainstream sites for far cheaper prices. You’re paying a premium when trying to book through a gay-specific website, and in most instances, the mainstream sites and listings are increasingly safe and comfortable for LGBT travelers.

How to Meet Other LGBT Travelers

Travelers hanging out on a beach together
Gay travelers today are much luckier to have apps like Grindr in their pockets. I never would’ve discovered a gay bar in Amman without the Grindr app and a local’s helpful directions, nor would I have met that handsome tourist from Austria during Prague Gay Pride. Meeting strangers is one of the joys of traveling, and there’s nothing better than having an LGBT local to show you around. It will certainly make a trip more interesting, much more memorable. Here’s where to find them:

The hookup apps – If there’s one thing that’s revolutionized our little gay world, it’s Grindr, the location-based hookup app for gay men. For better or worse (you either love it or hate it), Grindr has changed the way we find sex, love, or even friends and it’s also quite simply enabled a lot more connections. Grindr makes it easier to meet locals when you’re abroad, whether it’s for a romp in the bushes behind Berghain or an innocent coffee date. While sex does happen often enough through these apps, it doesn’t have to be the end goal or even your main objective to still find value in them. Here are the main useful apps:

Networking groups – For a long time, Couchsurfing was one of the best places to meet other LGBT travelers and locals. With a strong community, the bed-sharing and hosting network made it easy to connect with other travelers — and the “Queer Couchsurfers” group was one of the site’s most active and welcoming. There were plenty of times I used Couchsurfing not just for a place to sleep but also to attend local get-togethers.

On Meetup.com you’ll find most major destinations have LGBT/queer-themed groups and meetups, and these are often a great and safe way to meet other LGBT travelers in nonsexual encounters. Sometimes you’ll find them for very specific interests, whether it’s a group of gay science fiction fans in Berlin or LGBT professional networking in London.

StartOut, a nonprofit for professional business and entrepreneurship networking events in various American cities, is also worth checking out. Facebook, with its thousands of public groups, can also provide a great meeting point online — and then offline — through local city or regional networking groups. It’s just a matter of doing some research beforehand to find the right networking group for your trip.

A Note on Safety

A Pride flag waving at a celebration in America

As I’ve written before in this LGBT travel column, safety and comfort is an important part of any gaycation. Thankfully, there are more than enough resources online to help you decide what or where might be safer to travel. For a more independent look at the LGBT rights and safety situation, Equaldex is my favorite. Unlike media and blogs, this is a crowd-sourced platform where users can post and share country-specific news articles related to LGBT rights. This can be especially helpful for those less-familiar places and to get a general comparison of LGBT inclusiveness around the world.

****
Over the years and thanks to new technologies and new formats for our media, the way we travel now has changed for the better. And for LGBT travelers specifically, these advancements have made it not just easier but also safer and friendlier. Using these tools and resources, so much more of the world is open to us.

Adam Groffman is a former graphic designer who left a publishing job in Boston to travel around the world before settling in Berlin, Germany. He’s a gay travel expert, writer, and blogger and publishes a series of LGBT-friendly Hipster City Guides from around the world on his gay travel blog, Travels of Adam. When he’s not out exploring the coolest bars and clubs, he’s usually enjoying the local arts and culture scene. Find more of his travel tips (and embarrassing stories) on Twitter @travelsofadam.

P.S. – Starting next week, I’ll be doing the next round of Nomadic Network meet-ups around the U.S. (and in Canada!). If you want to meet up, come check out the dates and sign up!

P.P.S. – I’m doing a BBQ in Austin on Friday. Come hang out!

Photo Credit: 4

The post 30+ Essential Resources for the Modern LGBT Traveler appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/lgbt-travel-resources/

An large LGBT Pride celebration
I’ve added an LGBT column for the website to make the site more inclusive and talk about issues that affect some members of our community. In this column, we will hear from voices in the LGBT community about their experiences on the road, safety tips, events, and overall advice for other LGBT travelers to get the most out of their time on the road! Back again this month is our column leader Adam from travelsofadam.com who is talking about the best websites, apps, and blogs for LGBT travelers. 

Today, modern lesbian, gay, bi, and trans travelers no longer need a print guidebook to find underground, gay-friendly places. We don’t have to walk around with colored bandanas to send secret signals when cruising. Why? Because now — more often than not — we’re out in the open.

The basic LGBT trip  now starts like any other planned holiday. Where do we go? What do we want to do and see? How do we save money? Thanks to increased acceptance over the years, we’re far more out in the open and, with that comes a lot more options – both online and off – to plan your trip and find LGBT friendly attractions, businesses, tours, and ways to meet people. While we don’t have to let our sexuality define our travels, if you’re looking for activities and people who share a similar lifestyle, these are the best tools on the web:

Where to Find LGBT Travel Inspiration & Things to Do

A couple planning a trip together
Travel blogs & vlogs – In this new era for the travel media industry, independent bloggers and YouTubers have been at the forefront. Increasingly, we base our travel decisions (where to go, what to do) on not just our friends’ Instagrams but those  who’ve already been there, done that. The most popular gay and lesbian travel bloggers (myself included) generally publish destination guides — it’s just a matter of finding the one that fits your own personal travel style. Here are some of my favorites (starting with my own):

(For more blogs, check out my list here: http://travelsofadam.com/gay-travel/)

Websites – There are a handful of dedicated LGBT travel websites that publish detailed and up to date guides. My favorite are:

  • Out Traveler – once a print magazine, still publishes and maintains up-to-date LGBT city guides on its website.
  • AfterEllen – Regularly publishes lesbian travel guides.
  • TravelGayEurope and TravelGayAsia – These websites provide comprehensive city guides.

Travel guidebooks – The Damron series started out in 1964 for men but has also published a separate guidebook for lesbians for nearly 20 years. And Spartacus Publishing (out of Germany) has printed a comprehensive guidebook to all gay-oriented hospitality businesses since 1970. Moreover, these days, even the most mainstream publications are likely to include some LGBT-specific recommendations in their listings. For the past several summers, many major travel brands (such as Trip.com, Lonely Planet, Expedia, and even Hostelworld) have gone so far as to print LGBT Pride travel guides.

Local magazines, newspapers, and guides – There are countless independent, LGBT-oriented city magazines and newspapers around the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Adelaide, Australia, or London, England — you’re going to find a local LGBT print publication or guide. Some will include weekly listings of clubs, parties, and events; others might feature personal ads.

Unfortunately most of these indie publications have poor websites, so your best LGBT travel research is going to have to happen on the ground. One of the best ways to find them in a new city is to simply go to the queer neighborhood and then look for them in a bookstore or bar — anyone who’s ever been inside a gay bar or club is probably familiar with the stack of magazines, brochures, or flyers in the doorway or by the bathrooms. (And make sure to support those businesses that carry these publications!) Also check out the pamphlets, flyers, and advertisements on the corkboard in the local LGBT center.

Some examples:

  • Siegessäule, Berlin’s free gay magazine, likes to claim one of the highest readerships and circulations of any print media in Germany.
  • HISKIND, a free lifestyle magazine in London with thought-provoking essays and local artist and drag queen interviews.
  • Windy City Times still prints an LGBT newspaper for Chicago.
  • Washington Blade operates in DC.
  • Seattle Gay News covers Seattle.

Company blogs – Even the biggest gay apps have started to push out content through their channels. Grindr launched a digital magazine, Into, with a travel section earlier this year, and Hornet acquired the one-time popular gossip blog Unicorn Booty several years ago and now publishes gay men’s travel guides for assorted cities (even if they’re slightly basic). Each of the other hookup apps, including the more niche ones, like Surge, Blued, and Planet Romeo, maintain regularly published blogs, sometimes featuring travel tips and local insider guides. Scruff probably has gone the furthest in incorporating travel tips into its app with the feature Scruff Venture, which allows users to search a destination for other visitors, local ambassadors, and events.

IGLTA – The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association is the leader when it comes to LGBT tourism. Its members include hundreds of airlines, hotels, destination tourism offices, and independent tour operators, both LGBT-owned and mainstream. On its website, you’ll find a useful “Plan Your Trip” feature that searches through its members (just be mindful that these are members who have paid for their placement). It’s a great place to find LGBT-specific things to do on your trip.

Related: An In-Depth Guide to Planning a Lesbian-Friendly Trip

LGBT-friendly accommodation – Often the most challenging part of gay travel can be finding an LGBT-friendly hotel or accommodation. Some of the biggest hotel chains and brands have actively supported the LGBT community by participating in Pride events around the world, by training all their staff (from the front desk to the reservations center) in diversity and inclusiveness issues, and by running LGBT-inclusive campaigns. Even Airbnb launched a #HostWithPride campaign last year after updating its terms of service to protect and safeguard LGBT travelers and hosts.

There are gay-specific accommodation websites such as Rainbow World Hotels, Purple Roofs, and MisterBNB, but you’ll almost always find the same listings on mainstream sites for far cheaper prices. You’re paying a premium when trying to book through a gay-specific website, and in most instances, the mainstream sites and listings are increasingly safe and comfortable for LGBT travelers.

How to Meet Other LGBT Travelers

Travelers hanging out on a beach together
Gay travelers today are much luckier to have apps like Grindr in their pockets. I never would’ve discovered a gay bar in Amman without the Grindr app and a local’s helpful directions, nor would I have met that handsome tourist from Austria during Prague Gay Pride. Meeting strangers is one of the joys of traveling, and there’s nothing better than having an LGBT local to show you around. It will certainly make a trip more interesting, much more memorable. Here’s where to find them:

The hookup apps – If there’s one thing that’s revolutionized our little gay world, it’s Grindr, the location-based hookup app for gay men. For better or worse (you either love it or hate it), Grindr has changed the way we find sex, love, or even friends and it’s also quite simply enabled a lot more connections. Grindr makes it easier to meet locals when you’re abroad, whether it’s for a romp in the bushes behind Berghain or an innocent coffee date. While sex does happen often enough through these apps, it doesn’t have to be the end goal or even your main objective to still find value in them. Here are the main useful apps:

Networking groups – For a long time, Couchsurfing was one of the best places to meet other LGBT travelers and locals. With a strong community, the bed-sharing and hosting network made it easy to connect with other travelers — and the “Queer Couchsurfers” group was one of the site’s most active and welcoming. There were plenty of times I used Couchsurfing not just for a place to sleep but also to attend local get-togethers.

On Meetup.com you’ll find most major destinations have LGBT/queer-themed groups and meetups, and these are often a great and safe way to meet other LGBT travelers in nonsexual encounters. Sometimes you’ll find them for very specific interests, whether it’s a group of gay science fiction fans in Berlin or LGBT professional networking in London.

StartOut, a nonprofit for professional business and entrepreneurship networking events in various American cities, is also worth checking out. Facebook, with its thousands of public groups, can also provide a great meeting point online — and then offline — through local city or regional networking groups. It’s just a matter of doing some research beforehand to find the right networking group for your trip.

A Note on Safety

A Pride flag waving at a celebration in America

As I’ve written before in this LGBT travel column, safety and comfort is an important part of any gaycation. Thankfully, there are more than enough resources online to help you decide what or where might be safer to travel. For a more independent look at the LGBT rights and safety situation, Equaldex is my favorite. Unlike media and blogs, this is a crowd-sourced platform where users can post and share country-specific news articles related to LGBT rights. This can be especially helpful for those less-familiar places and to get a general comparison of LGBT inclusiveness around the world.

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Over the years and thanks to new technologies and new formats for our media, the way we travel now has changed for the better. And for LGBT travelers specifically, these advancements have made it not just easier but also safer and friendlier. Using these tools and resources, so much more of the world is open to us.

Adam Groffman is a former graphic designer who left a publishing job in Boston to travel around the world before settling in Berlin, Germany. He’s a gay travel expert, writer, and blogger and publishes a series of LGBT-friendly Hipster City Guides from around the world on his gay travel blog, Travels of Adam. When he’s not out exploring the coolest bars and clubs, he’s usually enjoying the local arts and culture scene. Find more of his travel tips (and embarrassing stories) on Twitter @travelsofadam.

P.S. – Starting next week, I’ll be doing the next round of Nomadic Network meet-ups around the U.S. (and in Canada!). If you want to meet up, come check out the dates and sign up!

P.P.S. – I’m doing a BBQ in Austin on Friday. Come hang out!

Photo Credit: 4

The post 30+ Essential Resources for the Modern LGBT Traveler appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

How to Decide When to Buy Travel Insurance

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/when-to-buy-travel-insurance/

Deciding when to buy travel insuranceA friend sent me a text message a few years back asking me where I buy travel insurance. It caught me off-guard. I’d booked a lot of trips over the years, but, up to that point, hadn’t really thought about buying travel insurance. She told me more about her situation. She was planning a trip […]

The article How to Decide When to Buy Travel Insurance originated at EverInTransit.com

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/when-to-buy-travel-insurance/

Deciding when to buy travel insuranceA friend sent me a text message a few years back asking me where I buy travel insurance. It caught me off-guard. I’d booked a lot of trips over the years, but, up to that point, hadn’t really thought about buying travel insurance. She told me more about her situation. She was planning a trip […]

The article How to Decide When to Buy Travel Insurance originated at EverInTransit.com