I recently watched a video of Simon Doonan, Barneys New York creative director and inspiration for the Logo TV show “Beautiful People,” talking about the place he wants to be most. His response was a casual yet affirmative, “On my couch.” It’s true that travel can sometimes feel more like work than, well, work itself. But we all need a break, especially amid the global economic and political turmoil. Ironic as it is, spending money is the best way to help end a recession. And with countless deals out there, taking a trip makes it easy to play a small yet vital role in helping to turn things around.
First let’s focus on where to go and why to go there. Trip Out Gay Travel (www.tripoutgaytravel.com) is a wonderfully designed, refreshing site with LGBT-specific content for almost every major destination, including many places not normally included in a “must-see” list, like Liverpool or Tel Aviv. Starting out with a blank pad, it’ll be easy to generate ideas on where to go by perusing the site’s pages.
To find a destination, one can search by city or region, or spin the inlaid Google map to see many countries at once. After pinpointing a place, each location begins with a gay-friendly rating: green for go, red for no, and “fast facts,” including gay places of interest and other community-specific details. Further down sits a more detailed cultural description and thorough LGBT-recommended hotspots. Each spot has descriptions and user comments that often offer more telling advice than any guidebook can provide.
For those with a specific theme in mind, finding a place by vacation type, like beaches, food and wine or nightlife, is simple too. There’s the traditional, like the top-10 nude beaches, as well as the atypical, like the top-10 counter-culture sights of Gus Van Sant’s Portland, celebrating the filmmaker’s hometown as well as the setting of many of his films. No matter one’s taste in food, culture or people, there’s a place for everyone.
Being able to afford to go to those places is another matter entirely. As far as discount travel sites go, Travelocity has advertised heavily in LGBT media, and should of course be considered along with sites like Expedia and Orbitz. But, going to each individual site takes time and can grow tedious. Fortunately, Kayak (www.kayak.com) saves users the trouble and can compare prices from many discount sites all in one search.
As a child, I loved spinning and stopping my globe, looking at the place my finger landed on and wanting to know what it was like. The Internet has given travel a new dimension, making it easier to see places without really seeing them. But nothing compares to experiencing a place live, breathing the air and taking in the surroundings.
So this summer, try to take yourself out of pictures and into the picturesque. With all the positive economic and cultural ramifications, it’ll be worth much more than a thousand words.
Contact Jason with feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.