February 4, 2013
4 Fabulous Gay Travel Resources
As I’ve written before, it’s not easy to define the gay traveller. When people mention gay travel, they’re usually talking about oiled-up Muscle Marys in tiny speedos strutting around like peacocks on any available strip of sand whilst staying in some kind of luxury resort sipping on cocktails and generally being all kinds of fabulous.
The truth is that travellers are a varied bunch, ranging from folks who prefer to stay in exclusively gay resorts, to those who like to don a backpack and balk at the very mention of Sitges or Gran Canaria. Others whiz around the place in a motorhome and get back to nature thanks to the likes of Caravan Club (and always with full insurance – be safe, people!) or enjoy city breaks and soak in the culture of a place.
Whatever category a gay traveller falls into, however, chances are that their sexuality does come into play when considering things like safety, showing affection in public, or perhaps when choosing a watering hole in the evening. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the best gay travel resources out there on the InterWeb.
Yes, hookup sites. Or apps. I’m talking about the likes of Grindr and Gaydar here. While these sites serve a clear purpose for the gay traveller with an itch in his pants (I’m not talking about the kind that goes away with a special cream), they’re also a great resource to meet queer locals in a city, and to maybe get a bit of information regarding dos and don’ts, and tips that you won’t find in any travel guide.
Remember that different countries have different sites that are popular among the local gay community. If you don’t find a lot of locals via Gaydar or Grindr, then it may be best to check out the likes of Gay Romeo, Manhunt and Gay.com for websites, and Jackd and Boy Ahoy for apps. The latter is actually where I met my partner of two years. Romantic, huh?
What? There are other gay bloggers out there? Yes, yes there are. There’s a whole heap of them actually, and they stretch all the way across the rainbow spectrum. My Gay Travel Guide features a list of LGBT travel bloggers, many of whom write regularly about being gay on the road. The rather lovely Two Bad Tourists contributed a post to my site about travelling as a gay couple not too long ago, and the likes of Breakaway Backpacker, That Gay Backpacker, Engineer on the Road and No Vacation Required (among others) often feature posts and stories that are tinted pink. Of course it’s not just men – you have Farsickness, Southwest Compass and Globetrotter Girls, among others, representing the ladies who love other ladies. The gay travel blogging community has a lot of travel experience between them, so if you’re stuck for tips on somewhere, take a look around and get in touch with the bloggers that have been to the places that you want to go to.
For any gay travellers coming to Asia and wanting to find out what their destination has to offer them, Utopia Asia should be their first point of call. With listings for almost every country east of and including India, the site is kept updated by an active community who include listings of bars, clubs, events and, for the more frisky, gay saunas, in the major cities in their countries, as well as tips on safety and the general attitude toward homosexuality.
Not a strictly gay affair by any means, and definitely not a place specialising in gay travel resources, CouchSurfing nonetheless has a lot of queer members who are always willing to show travellers around their cities and host them in their homes. There’s a Queer CouchSurfers group which has many lively discussions and, if you join, you can actually filter the results in the search option to only include members of the Queer CouchSurfers group.
I’ve met members of the Queer CouchSurfing group on trips to Sydney, Malaysia, Poland and Lithuania, and have hosted fellow gay men here in Korea. CouchSurfers are wonderful people and a font of knowledge about their city and locale – and if you choose someone compatible, you’re likely to wind up with a friend for life. It doesn’t get much better than that.
So there you have it, folks. Now, I want to hear from you! Have you ever used any of the gay travel resources mentioned here before? Are there any I’ve missed that you would add in to the mix? Who are your favourite gay travel bloggers out there? (minus me of course, hardy har har). Let us know in the comments below, or shout out on Facebook or Twitter.