Partners In Life, Partners On Vacation: Peace Of Mind In Travel

It may be months away from spring and summer but now is the time to plan the adventure of a lifetime with your partner. First, did you know that there are tours, cruises and adventures all over the world that are tailored for the LGBT? Second, planning strategies are suggested that can make your vacation stress free and give you the peace of mind you need. Lastly, a variety of travel destinations, events and research strategies are mentioned to help you plan that perfect vacation with your partner. By the way, some of what I offer here is sound advice for preparation in business travel too.

-FACTOIDS-

American LGBT persons spent 54 billion dollars in travel in 2004

UK LGBT persons spent nearly 44.8 billion dollars on travel in 2004

(These estimates include travel within and outside their respective countries, what part of the UK’s $$ are coming to America or vice-versa is not reported.)

All over the world travel industry specialists have developed great cruises and travel packages specifically designed for the LGBT traveler and their partner. These travel accommodations/packages include, but are not limited to, gay friendly cruises that include travel with others that are gay and vacations packaged for gay pride festivals.

There is a wide variety of cruise destinations available to the LGBT traveler. The new 2006 itinerary and offerings for gay cruises are available throughout the internet. Destinations include Costa Rica, Ireland, Alaska and the Mediterranean to name a few. Cruise liners/companies such as Atlantis and Windjammer West specialize in accommodating you and your partner a cruise you will never forget. Consulting the many gay magazines online will also be a great resource to find your perfect vacation.

Gay pride festivals provide a vacation that is not only fun and inspiring, they also offer a time of mutual exchanges in social solidarity. Worldwide from the United States to the UK and other localities, gay pride festivals are being organized. For example, one of the largest and most popular gay pride festivals (GPF) is being held this summer in Paris, France. Contacting the Paris office of Tourism will enable you to locate the best gay friendly accommodations. Through research on the internet, you can find websites specific to booking flights and travel packages to this and other GPF events.

The best news I found was that you don’t have to be wealthy to take advantage of the multitude of travel offers available.

On that note of affordability, much of the vast information I garnered from several research sources suggests that a huge percentage of LGBT persons are wealthy. Many so-called experts have perpetuated the myth and refer to the community as being “DINK” (dual income no kids). I don’t know about you, but I am acquainted with several LGBT persons who aren’t DINK. Thankfully, the travel industry doesn’t play into this myth (well not most of them) and many offer “travel packages” that are affordable and inexpensive. So check out the internet, talk to friends who have traveled and can suggest a good travel package or destination (word of mouth is the best), watch for websites that are tailored to the LGBT community. Many states in the US and other countries have LGBT specific websites about travel and don’t forget public and university libraries that have travel sections full of reference materials. After you have chosen your destination, its time to plan that vacation.

Aside from researching your trip for a destination and a price comparable to what you can afford, start planning your trip early. You will want to include in your plans arranging appropriate passports, hotel or rental car reservations, tickets, visa’s and travel insurance. Make sure the travel insurance you purchase covers emergency assistance, job loss or transfers, uninhabitable accommodations, travel accidents, delays, lost or delayed luggage, weather-affected cancellation, medical and dental expenses, terrorism, and identity theft. For the LGBT community one more consideration needs to be taken into account. Be sure your travel insurance covers domestic partners. Travel specialists such as http://www.csatravelprotection.com/ are one place to get useful information on the above mentioned insurance protections for travelers.

When planning your vacation find out if your hotel or B&B is gay friendly. Sometimes just asking the staff (or here’s where that word of mouth from a friend comes in handy) will get you the information you need. Does your choice of vacation location have a variety of dining out options, exciting activities, local culture that you would love to explore? By doing some research you can choose a location that will be fun and affordable.

We have talked about research and choosing your vacation destination, strategies and advice on planning. Now comes a personal piece of advice. Don’t forget to take the camcorder and two cameras. You two can decide who takes which camera but here’s my point. Have you ever been on a trip, came home and there’s pictures of everything but what you wanted pictures of?

Rita R Powers -