Trips and tips for families

There are plenty of adult trips for the LGBTQ community — from all-LGBTQ vacations, charter cruises, wine weekends to dance events. But when it comes to LGBTQ people with children in the household, your options decrease dramatically.

When an LGBTQ person plans a trip for the family, the child’s needs and interests usually drive the trip, versus the LGBTQ aspect of the trip. The school year, holiday schedules and cost also play a significant factor in LGBTQ family travel. Oftentimes families are traveling in the peak travel seasons, so it is harder to find that great deal.

What is LGBTQ family travel anyway? There are a number of definitions. The first that comes to mind is the obvious: A same-sex couple (or single person) with children who joined the family by birth, adoption or surrogacy; however, that is not the only definition. LGBTQ family travel can also be an LGBTQ adult person in a relationship that is traveling with parents or siblings. Both are LGBTQ families. Our families are diverse, and so our family travel should follow suit.

For those LGBTQ families with children, here are some fun trip ideas:

Stay local!

Philadelphia and its countryside offer many attractions perfect for LGBTQ families with children, from museums to seasonal events. One of the region’s most popular fall events for kids is Pumpkinland at Linvilla Orchards in Media. Open from mid-September through early November, Pumpkinland features larger-than-life figures and scarecrows that illustrate the legends and lore of the harvest season. The experience features local history and education about pumpkins and apples.

Philadelphia Family Pride is a local group that organizes meet-ups with LGBTQ parents with newborns, babies, toddlers and older kids, and parents who are expecting (either pregnant or waiting for adoption placement). The organization’s members will converge on Parks on Tap at Powers Park Port Richmond from 4-6 p.m. Oct. 1.

Road trip to Baltimore

Baltimore has garnered acclaim as a friendly city for LGBT visitors and a popular destination for LGBT families (and it’s just a quick car ride down I-95!). Known for its famous Inner Harbor, the city has undergone a renaissance that makes any day or overnight trip a winner. There are many daytime activities including Maryland Zoo and Port Discovery Children’s Museum, as well as the iconic Baltimore Aquarium. For families with young children, it is always about the hotel pool. In spring and summer, the Four Seasons Baltimore has a glorious outdoor pool overlooking the harbor. The hotel offers many family services year-round, including baby-proofing the room and a baby-sitting service so the adults can go out to play!

Spring break and summer travel 2018

Most families tend to plan their trips well in advance, due to the inflexibility of travel schedules and to save for the expense of trip. LGBTQ family travel was first recognized as a major segment within the LGBTQ travel industry when R Family Vacations was founded by Kelli Carpenter and Gregg Kaminsky in 2003. In summer 2018, R Family Vacations will host the company’s first groups on Uniworld Cruises, with April 22 and July 1 departures. Curated experiences on R Family Vacations’ hosted Uniworld Cruises include group dinners, parties and excursions led by cofounders Kaminsky and Carpenter. The itineraries, bookable exclusively through Tzell- and ProTravel-affiliated agents, take travelers on eight-day journeys from Budapest to Passau.

“R Family Vacations is the first travel company to create vacations specifically for LGBT families and their friends,” Kaminsky said, “and we are delighted to partner with a company that shares our values and prides itself on personalization and quality of service.”

Jeff Guaracino is the author of “The Handbook of LGBT Tourism and Hospitality: A Guide for Business Practice.”

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