Travel

An 8-Day Trip to Israel for Gay Dad Families

Organized by OUTstanding Travel in Collaboration with Gays With Kids


This once-in-a-lifetime trip offers the best of Israel in a vacation designed specifically for gay dad families. Based on feedback from dads, we've improved on the original itinerary. Highlights include: one hotel (in Tel Aviv) for the entire trip, a flexible agenda that allows you to relax on your own or enjoy pre-planned tours, and the opportunity to meet with local gay dad families.

Nadav Peretz, the founder of the Israeli gay travel company OUTstanding Travel, met Brian Rosenberg, one of the founders of Gays With Kids, in New York City last summer. It didn’t take them long to come up with a great idea: an 8-day trip to Israel especially for gay dad families!

When Brian told Nadav he had not been to Israel since 1985, Nadav felt that he just had to arrange for Brian and one of his kids a visit to the Middle Eastern LGBT oasis that is Israel. This past November, Nadav hosted Brian Rosenberg and his 6-year-old daughter Sadie in Israel, to plan the gay dad family trip. Below you’ll find the exciting itinerary. Check here for more information about accommodations and rates.

Nadav Peretz, founder of OUTstanding Travel

Itinerary for the Gay Dad Family Trip July 30 – August 6, 2017

Day 1: Sunday, July 30 – Tel Aviv

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport your family will be greeted by an OUTstanding travel rep, who will assist you with your baggage and escort you to the transfer that will take you to the hotel. That night you'll have a chance to meet with the other gay dad families on the trip at a special welcome reception and dinner just for our group.

Sadie, Nadav and Brian in Old City, Jerusalem

 Day 2: Monday, July 31 – Old City Jerusalem

Following an authentic delicious Israeli breakfast, your family will see history come to life during a fun, family-friendly walking tour of the beautiful Old City. Historical marvels and spiritual landmarks abound, including: the Western Wall, the Tower of David and King David’s Tomb, the room of the Last Supper, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Via Dolorosa, the Arab market and more. We'll leave time for you to wander on your own through the charming Armenian, Jewish and Christian quarters.

In the afternoon you can join our tour of the underground wonderland of the City of David or remain at the hotel for refreshing fun in the pool.

Back in Tel Aviv, we’ll enjoy a group dinner at our hotel.

Day 3: Tuesday, August 1 – Tel Aviv

If the kids let you sleep in, start your morning at leisure, with a bountiful breakfast and some time on the beach – splashing in the waves, building sandcastles or playing Israeli "matkot" paddle game.

Time will be set aside to meet with a few local Israeli families to learn about life as gay dads in Israel. We hope you'll forge new friendships that last well beyond the trip!

Brian and Sadie with Arnon Angel, Dan Goldberg and their kids at their famous Tmol Silshom Restaurant in Jerusalem

Day 4: Wednesday, August 2 – The Dead Sea: Where Everyone Floats!

Grab your swim gear and hop on the bus as we venture to the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea!

We begin with a family trek to the Ein Gedi Falls where, if we are lucky, we'll spot local ibex and hyrax hanging out on the cliffs surrounding us. Time and water depth permitting, you can even take a plunge into the crystalline waters of the falls.

Then it's just a quick drive to the Dead Sea, where everyone floats! This is an experience like no other, one that kids of all ages will recall for the rest of their lives. Afterwards, we'll have lunch at the Lot Hotel, we're even the pickiest of eaters will find something at their large buffet!

Sun-kissed and bellies full, we'll head back to Tel Aviv.

Dead Sea

Day 5: Thursday, August 3 – An Adventure in the Carmel Region

After breakfast, we'll leave Tel Aviv and travel north to visit the ancient city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great and once the seat of Roman rule. Tour highlights: the excavated Roman Theater and aqueduct once used for conveying water to the city, and the  awesome Hologram room.

Then we're off to visit the beautiful old port city of Haifa, where the kids will love running up Mt. Carmel. Dads will enjoy the incredible panoramic view of Haifa Bay and the breathtaking Bahai Gardens with its impressive Shrine and gorgeous world-famous gardens.

In Haifa, we'll stroll through the old German Colony neighborhood built in the mid 19th century by the Templers. We'll even stop at a Druze village for some classic local Druze hospitality and learn about this great community that lives in Israel and serves in its army.

Day 6: Friday, August 4 – Tel Aviv…The City That Never Sleeps!

After breakfast we invite you to get caught up in the excitement at the Carmel Market with its traditional Friday shopping rush, and the adjacent Nahalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Fair. We'll explore the White City of Tel Aviv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while strolling along the renowned Rothschild Boulevard – a mix between a commercial center with major financial institutions, a cultural center with a theater and concert hall, and a culinary center with dozens of top restaurants. Our journey includes a walk through Neve Tzedek, built in 1887 and known for being the first neighborhood of Tel Aviv. But your kids will enjoy the area's delicious ice cream!

Explore the historical sites of Old City Jaffa, one of the oldest port cities in the world; walk along the ancient cobbled streets along the Artist's Quarter, and stop for a bite at one of the local hummus joints.

Afterwards head on down to enjoy the beach and the glistening Mediterranean waters or take a dip in the pool; basically its time to relax.

As the the sun sets and the city slows down, we will enjoy a truly special Shabbat dinner with local gay families.

Tel Aviv: Beach

Day 7: Saturday, August 5 – R&R; Tel Aviv Style

Free day to enjoy the day as you and your family want.

Day 8: Sunday, August 6 – Departure Day

Following breakfast, check out from the hotel and transfer to Ben Gurion International Airport for your flight back home, taking with you everlasting fond memories of your family trip to Israel.

Goodbye and Le’Hitraot (till we see you again)!

Brian and Sadie with members of the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers

Nadav Answers Some Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Israel a great place for families?

Nadav: "Israel is a small country, and that makes it ideal for family vacations: The short distances between locations make traveling with children very easy. Despite that small size, it offers a great variety of things to do: You can snorkel in the clear waters of the Red Sea in Eilat. You can float on the salty blue waters of the Dead Sea; ride a Jeep in the sand dunes of the Negev desert or through the hills of Judea. You can delve into the incomparably rich history of Jerusalem, a city holy to people of many faiths; or visit the spectacular museums, but I suggest that you make time to check out Jerusalem’s world-class shopping as well, and to discover its many cafés and restaurants. You can swim in the Mediterranean Sea while you’re in Tel Aviv; kayak in the Sea of Galilee near Tiberias or, if you prefer, just take it easy and relax on a beautiful beach instead: The weather in August is going to be beautiful. You may like it so much, you may want to come back next year!”

Brian and his daughter Sadie near the Western Wall in November 2016

What makes Israel so special to the LGBT community?

Nadav: "First off, Israel on the whole is a very gay-friendly country. Tel Aviv in particular has a very large and visible gay community. Its annual Gay Pride Parade attracts more than 200,000 people! Gays are everywhere in this beautiful city on the sea. It also has a gay beach, Hilton Beach. The city is one of only a handful of cities in the world that has a monument dedicated to LGBT people persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.

“Israel is also progressive in the way it treats LGBT people. Gays and lesbians serve openly in the military; an increasing number of gay recruits do full military service, often in combat units. Unit 8200, an elite intelligence unit is known for its large number of openly LGBT soldiers. In 2013, the Israel Defense Forces even announced that a transgender woman would be allowed to serve in the army as a female soldier, something only very few countries allow. Basically, Israel is an amazing place for the LGBT community, both for those who call it home and for those who are here just for a visit.”

 What is so special about this trip in particular?

Nadav: "This trip is an opportunity to see Israel in the company of families like your own. This family trip to Israel is the first of its kind, with gay families from all over traveling together in Israel, a gay-friendly country like no other. So this isn’t just a trip to a gay locale like San Francisco or Toronto, or a trip for gay families in just any other vacation spot, but rather a true mixture of the two, giving you and your children an opportunity to travel this beautiful land with its rich history and to really see Israel from the perspective of those who call this place home.”

Light Festival: Jaffa Gate

Will there be an opportunity to meet Israeli gay dad families?

Nadav: "Gay dads from all over Israel will be joining us on various parts of the tour. Whether it is on the tour in the Old City of Jerusalem or during beach time in Tel Aviv, you and your children will have the opportunity to spend time with them and make new friends on the way. These joint activities will allow you and your kids the opportunity to experience Israel from a local gay perspective.”

 

Show Comments ()
Travel

5 Fabulous Tips From Gay Dads for Vacationing with Kids

A family vacation with young kids is harder a vacation at all... unless you head this advice from our seasoned gay dads travelers!

It's the summer holidays, and that means family vacation! Now, vacations with kids under 8 might make you break out in a cold sweat, but we've got some tips for you from fellow gay dads to help make family trips easier. From road travel to flying, to helpful planning hints while away, these dads have got you covered.

Keep reading... Show less
Travel

The Golden Age of Vacationing With Kids

WARNING: BUCKLE UP, YOU'RE ABOUT TO READ WAY TOO MANY GOLDEN GIRLS REFERENCES.

Ever feel like you need a vacation from your family vacation? For years, we did too. But I'm happy to report that we don't anymore. So what caused the big shift? I'll get to that. First, a little background.

For years, taking our son Max on road trips had its fair share of, shall I say, challenges. From New York City to London to San Francisco to Vegas… we traveled down the road and back again. And while we made wonderful memories along the way… these trips weren't entirely wonderful. Whether it was Max's inflexible sleep schedule, his limited food palate, potty training, his disinterest in walking or his inability to fully express himself, it never quite felt like a real vacation because we never got to actually relax. But now that Max is almost nine years old, we decided to give it another go… and so we booked a much-needed respite in Florida with one goal in mind — cheesecake — okay, two goals: we wanted to catch our breath!

Keep reading... Show less
A Disney vacation is, for many, a once or twice in a lifetime experience. There's a gazillion articles full of Disneyland tips out there but our fresh take comes off of our first trip to Disneyland as a family of four. And gosh did we learn a lot.

Where to stay at Disneyland

The biggest cost for a family when visiting Disneyland what is of course either the transportation to Southern California or the actual Park tickets depending on how many days you are going. Lodging at Disneyland is also expensive, but there are ways to make sure that you are spending your money wisely.

I'm sure this is obvious to most people booking a Disneyland trip but staying in one of the three Disney properties is going to run you the highest hotel bill. There are lots of Good Neighbor Hotels very close to the park from which you can either walk or take the Anaheim Resort Transit. Book a good neighbor hotel and it doesn't even have to be one of the nicest ones, because seriously, how much time are you actually going to spend in your hotel? You are there to be either in Disneyland or California Adventure so just be sure that you pick a property that has great ratings for cleanliness and is close enough for how your family will spend their days.

When to go to Disneyland

One of the most common Disneyland tips we see is when to go to Anaheim with your family. There are a few different ways to determine what is going to be the right time when the parks aren't too crowded. Here are three tips to help you pick your dates for a Disneyland family trip.

Here in the United States we don't have a lot of holiday weeks. But we do have common periods when schools let out for mid-year breaks. This is the prime time for many families to make the journey to Disneyland. This is also when you will find the largest crowds and longest wait times for your favorite rides. If you're cool with pulling your kids out of school, pick a time when most schools, particularly in Southern California, hour in session. This might not coincide with your own kids' spring or winter break, but it'll be a great opportunity to have smaller crowds and win loads of awesome parent points for pulling your kids out of school.

Annual pass blackout days

If you are not familiar with Disneyland and its annual pass situations this might sound strange. There are different types of passes that Southern California residents and Beyond can purchase. Each pass has a different set of blackout dates during which they cannot use their passes for the parks. If you research the dates when the most number of passes are blacked out you may hit the jackpot for being at the park with a smaller crowd than usual.

True, blackout dates exist because that's when more people want to be at Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure, but keeping in mind vacationers philosophies about missing crowds and knowing it's busy paired with restrictions on passes and you will find the perfect balance of small crowds and swift lines.

Seasonal transitions

One of our favorite times to be in Disneyland is during holiday time. This is that special moment between Halloween and New Year's (or slightly after) that the park is decked out in lights, wreaths, and trees. Not only is it more festive than you can imagine but also plays off of the first tip we gave: a lot of kids are in school so not a lot of families traveling to Disneyland.

Saving money in the parks

You'd be surprised at all the different ways you'll spend money when you visit Disneyland. It's a lot more than just Park admission and accommodations. From dining in the Parks and random souvenirs, to necessities you didn't plan on that you have to purchase once inside, you can save.

Saving on dining

If you read a lot of family travel articles you'll find people praising and criticizing the families who always have their own snacks with them. Well, this is a necessary step to take both for saving money in Disneyland and for making sure the kids are happy. I don't know about you but our kids get hangry in a heartbeat. There's nothing quite like a hungry, angry child to ruin your magical memories. Be prepared with snacks in your pack at all times. It saves money and heartache.

For mealtime Disneyland tips, we'll tell you that the best options are the ones that are easy and a little out of the way. Does that not make sense? Basically, where the menus have simple options and ample seating you will find the swiftest and most cost-effective dining options. Example: The Hungry Bear Cafe in critter country keeps it simple with burgers or wraps. The menu is small and the cast members are efficient. There is a ton of seating and you can be in and out in a heartbeat for less than dining in one of the full service restaurants. Our favorite quick service dining option is Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land (Disney's California Adventure).

Saving on unplanned purchases

Does anybody ever plan to be stuck in Disneyland in the rain? No. But after one experience you'll know that you need to have an umbrella or a rain poncho at the ready. As silly as they are ponchos are the greatest invention ever for a rainy day in Disneyland. This is one of the Disneyland tips that we didn't listen to on our first trip there during a February long ago... and we were drenched.

Another way to save is by traveling with a backup battery/power bank to recharge your devices while you're in the Parks. Disneyland does have portable chargers that you can rent for a certain fee over the course of your visit, but do you want to spend $30 at a charging station when you could just bring your own power pack? No.

Souvenirs are their own thing. Of course there are loads of cute nick-nacks and t-shirts you could buy when you travel, to Disneyland or anywhere else, but do you need them? The best way to save money on souvenirs is to not go souvenir shopping. So simple. You could be doing many other fun things instead of browsing shelves of stuff. The exception to the souvenir thing is a good pair of Mickey Mouse ears. They're a must.

How to plan your days

Before we arrived in Disneyland with the kids we decided that there were a few key experiences we wanted them to have. We researched what times certain shows or parades were happening and then weighed that out against how much time we new they could last within the parks. For us the big-ticket experiences were:

Meeting certain characters

Download the Disneyland app to see where characters are in real time within the parks. There is also a paper guide that you can get when you enter either Park, but the app helped us land our two Disneyland unicorns: boom.

Experiencing Disney Entertainment

Again, the Disneyland app lets you know the times for everything as does the schedule. If you are going to be in the parks for several days don't stress about hitting three different parades in one day and also watching the fireworks. Plan on doing rides or dinner nearby a parade route so that when you are done with whatever you're doing you can just park yourself for a few minutes before the show starts.

Other experiences that might be high on your parent list of what you want your family to do in Disneyland could be different attractions or meeting every single character, so do what you have to do to make the experience as magical for everyone as possible. Don't add stress to it, use the tools that Disney has given you to make it easier.

Best way to capture memories

We wrote an article about tips for taking your best family travel photos, and I think the strongest suggestion we have from our list is to just be comfortable taking a family selfie. A family selfie means that everybody is in the photo so there's not one person missing from every single picture. A family selfie means that the kids will probably cooperate with you better than waiting for a stranger to take their picture. Family selfies bring you into the moment or into the action and you usually get some pretty hilarious faces.

Other ways to ensure you're getting great pictures in the Disney parks is to leverage character hosts (cast members who are hanging out with your favorite characters) and PhotoPass staff. The PhotoPass photographers that you find floating around the Disney parks won't just do their own pictures with the Disney cameras but they'll also help you with your own pics.

With a little planning and prep work, you'll no doubt have an awesome Disney vacation with your family. The biggest key to having fun once you're there is to keep a good attitude and don't get stressed. That's where the prep work comes in and believe me, keeping a relaxed state of mind throughout your whole Disney Experience is going to make it more fun and memorable for everybody.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse