Travel is all about the stories and photos you can share with your friends, coworkers and hundreds of your so-called Facebook “friends. ” We love Fort Lauderdale. We adore RSVP Vacations. We enjoy tanning and partying in Miami. And we all love a great deal. But, travel lovers, every once in a while, we need a trip to really brag about.
With the world news all about the royal family, now is the time to book your own royal experience. The royal family may not invite you to dinner but you can be treated like the king or queen that you are on the Cunard line.
In my column last September, I called a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 “an essential trip of a lifetime.” As soon as you book a voyage, you can start bragging that you are soon traveling on the legendary Queen Mary 2, the largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive liner ever built. There is also the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth. So go ahead and book your favorite queen.
Out of travel ideas? Explore www.cunard.com. You can find sailings to the Canaries, Fjords, Iceland, the Low Countries, around Britain, up to Montreal and Québec in Canada and among the Caribbean islands. Not good enough? Go ahead and book a World Voyage.
Think how fun it will be fun to post your status updates to Facebook while sipping a cup of tea, nibbling on a scone and downing bottles of champagne. Most voyages attract groups of gay and lesbian travelers.
Pied Piper Travel (www.piedpipertravel.com) is offering an LGBT group westbound seven-day transatlantic crossing from England to New York on the Queen Mary 2 Dec. 15 and again on the new Queen Elizabeth departing Jan. 10.
Open the hotel closet door
Anyone can book on Priceline or Hotels.com and get a low rate, but why not brag about how your trip helped the LGBT community? LGBT travelers can be invisible, but if we come out and book gay-oriented hotel packages, then we send a message to corporate America to give more to LGBT causes. Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton Hotels and Marriott have established programs aimed at the LGBT traveler. Support them.
W Hotels forged a new partnership with the Human Rights Campaign. As a partner, the W brand is announcing an exclusive HRC Pride 365 package available at W Hotels & Retreats across the United States. The package — available at every W Hotel in the United States and Canada — includes a room, bonus hotel points, one-year membership to HRC (already a deal) and $10 donation to support equality.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts was the official hotel sponsor of Northalsted Market Days in Chicago Aug. 10-11. Hilton hosted an exclusive event with LGBT songwriter Steve Grand Aug. 9 at Hilton Chicago, where he performed live. Hilton also presented a donation to Point Foundation as part of Hilton Worldwide’s corporate commitment to supporting LGBT youth. The “Stay Hilton. Go Out” hotel package is available at participating properties worldwide and includes high-speed Internet, a one-year digital subscription to OUT magazine, two welcome beverages and late checkout when available. More info: www.hilton.com/gout.
Support the gay-friendly businesses — especially the gay-owned or gay-supportive B&Bs and hotels. You can see their ads in PGN or online. You can also find a list of TAG-approved accommodations. Gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses are the first ones to be asked to support community causes. Now more than ever, it is important to buy travel from these businesses and make sure to tell them that their ad or support of our community means that you supported them back. You can find a list of supportive businesses at www.tagapproved.com, www.purpleroofs.com and www.iglta.com.
And be sure to brag to your friends, family and anyone who listens that you travel openly LGBT!
Jeff Guaracino is the author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing.”