There are many amazing places around the world to visit and explore. It can be as easy as throwing a dart at a map and saying “Ok, let’s go there!”.
Before you start packing, there are some considerations to think about first, such as: Which locations are gay, bi and trans-friendly? Where am I guaranteed to meet like-minded people? Are there any travel companies that can cater to my needs and the needs of my family?
Fortunately, for the queer traveler, there are so many options out there now and many place to get information. For example, the Miami Tourism Board recently released a vacation guide for LGBTQ+ families. To help, we’ve compiled some of the best gay travel companies, why they’re so great and where they can take you.
Travel Companies For Families
Family vacations are where you make truly unforgettable memories. The world is full of worthwhile and unmatched experiences that you can share with your loved ones. Here are the options available to you for family travel.
For Family-Oriented Tours: RFamily Vacations
RFamily Vacations are about celebrating families of all shapes and sizes, offering fun and exciting tours, vacations and cruises for queer families. Beginning in 2004, they were the first travel company to develop vacations that catered to the bespoke needs of families with gay or bi dads.
Their offerings include both family-oriented getaways and adult-only respites. With RFamily Vacations you and your family can enjoy a wide variety of trips. Experience fully-chartered river journeys or explore Thailand. Relax in Hawaii, climb aboard the iconic Orient Express or cruise across the sea.
Owners Kelli Carpenter and Gregg Kaminsky have earned a lot of recognition for their work, supplying families of all backgrounds and orientations with beautiful experiences. They’ve been selected as members of the ‘Out 100’ and have previously partnered with the Family Equality Council in their important events celebrating queer families.
For more information on RFamily Vacations’ upcoming events, click here.
For a Fun Time For All: Disney Vacations
Can you think of a better place for families? We can’t. Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort. There are actually six Disney parks around the world, including sites in Shanghai, Hong Kong and California. From the highs of rollercoasters to the magic of the regular Disney-themed shows, there’s nothing more exciting for dads and their children.
Disney Vacations deliver an incredible experience each time. Even adults won’t be able to deny the magic felt by these amazing excursions. And Disney Vacations don’t simply offer vacations spent in their amazing theme parks - they also run cruises and have a resort in tropical Hawaii (which has been hailed as a haven for queer families.) The Disney magic is guaranteed, all you need to choose is the destination.
The attention to detail that Disney supplies is second to none, they’ll truly craft a great vacation experience for you and your young ones. Plus, there’s something for everyone. Fun and wonder for the kids in the shape of rides, characters and shows. And for you? Unbelievable cuisine, relaxing pools, recreational activities and spas.
For a Week Away for Queer-Identified Families: Family Week in in Provincetown
Family Week in Provincetown is an annual gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified families - and it’s the largest in the world.
It’s a week filled with fun for the whole family, but it’s also an opportunity to come together as a community, build relationships and empower yourselves on today’s issues. You can enjoy daily events, workshops and family activities or have a relaxing day on the beach with other LGBTQ+ families. There are beach campfire nights, PJ movie nights, pool parties and even a family Pride parade.
The programs are designed with everyone in mind, where you can choose from family-oriented activities or activities for specific age groups. This means that if the dads want to spend some quality time together in Provincetown, they easily can.
Travel Companies for Solo Travelers, Couples or Groups
Maybe you've made the difficult (but well deserved) decision to leave the kids with relatives to enjoy a vacation as a couple. You can experience relaxing or exciting times in beautiful or inspiring foreign locations. If that’s the case, these are the best travel companies for you.
For Adventurous, Self-Planned Tours: Detours Travel
After years of traveling to different locations, the guys behind Detours Travel noticed that there was a lack of opportunities for queer men and their partners - the kind of opportunities that allow people to truly connect with exciting destinations. So, Detours Travel was born.
While there are many tour group offerings on the market today, Detours Travel are a little different. They allow travelers to plan their own trips, which include destinations such as Greece, Thailand, South Africa and New Zealand.
“We also knew from experience that the typical idea of a structured "group tour" just wasn't our cup of tea.” they write on their website. “That's why we created a less-restricting itinerary which encourages spontaneous, fun-filled opportunities to capture the best of what every spot along the way has to offer and isn't that what it's all about?”
“We help our travelers to really get to know a particular country, appreciate the local people and see and do things beyond their wildest dreams. We travel in a casual, unhurried fashion, while enjoying the good company of a fun group along with easy-going leaders.”
Detours Travel offers amazing trips for like-minded people, fully immersing them within new, unique cultures, all in completely accepting environments.
For 21st Century Partying: TropOut
Are you looking for nightlife? Are you looking to dance the night away? The dazzling lights and music of a beach party or onboard a private yacht? If the answer is yes, then TropOut is the queer travel agency for you.
The way TropOut works is bespoke. They choose one special destination each year and plan a superbly organized trip full of adventure (and the occasional cocktail). The focus on one specific place allows them to pull out all of the stops, creating an incredible space for making friends and having fun.
But it’s not all partying! It’s also about experiencing the culture of the destination. Jamie and Aaron, the founders of TropOut, explained what they wanted out of a travel agency when they founded TropOut:
We came up with the idea of TropOut back in 2015 because the kind of gay travel experience we were after didn’t really exist: getting out to experience the culture of an amazing destination, unwinding in comfort, partying in style and sharing the experience with likeminded guys from across the globe. Everything seemed either too party-focused or sightseeing-focused… so we decided to blend the two, with some relaxation thrown in for good measure!
In the past, they’ve journeyed to places such as Thailand, New Caledonia and Koh Samui. For 2021, they’re planning an unforgettable trip to Phuket. If you’re looking to make merry with new friends in tropical paradises, then TropOut is the best gay travel company for you.
For Bespoke Trips That Give Back: OUT Adventures
Operating in five continents for almost a decade, OUT Adventures, has been a world leader for exclusive queer travel, such as tours and cruises. From tropical Cuba to dazzling Mexico, inspiring Iceland to ancient Japan, OUT Adventures have explored over 100 countries. Their team knows the ins and outs of cultures, as well as attitudes towards the gay, bi and trans community - so all you dads out there can be safe.
OUT Adventures offer traditional holiday destinations, while also operating in places that are a little more remote. One thing that differentiates them from other gay travel companies is that they help to support the queer communities they visit:
Meet an out, proud author in India or donate supplies to Cuban activists. We love to support ‘family’ around the globe and we’re even a top fundraising team at Toronto’s AIDS Walk.
On top of that, you can also find the perfect vacation for you by using their tailor-made and custom queer tours feature. Enter your party size, destination, trip length and your interests and OUT Adventures will find the right holiday for you.
If you’re wanting your holiday to stand OUT, then OUT Adventures is the perfect travel company for you.
For Trips Around The Mediterranean: OUTstanding Travel
Ah, the Mediterranean. Crystal azure waters, warming breezes, delightful culture and some of the best cuisine in the entire world. Operating in four destinations; Greece, Jordan, Israel and Egypt, with OUTstanding Travel you’ve got the chance to experience places that are steeped in history. The best thing about it? The tours are curated by local people who know those locations better than anyone:
Our immense knowledge of Gay Mediterranean destinations and its scene qualifies us to provide the most unforgettable experience, without missing a beat. We ourselves are gay locals, and who better to ask than the people who live and breathe the action?
OUTstanding Travel truly delivers on unique approaches to Mediterranean travel. With this travel company, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with the true Mediterranean, with the help of the people who call it home. From cuisine to culture to nightlife, OUTstanding travel helps larger groups to connect with these stunning locations.
They also design bespoke trips that coincide with Pride celebrations, meaning you can discover new queer communities amongst an incredibly beautiful, Mediterranean setting.
For Intimate Cultural Trips: Zoom Vacations
Last but not least, a queer travel company offering the most memorable journeys to absolutely awe-inspiring places. Zoom Vacations offer tours and private and independent trips to destinations all over the world, from Colombia to South Africa, Peru to Norway.
Zoom Vacations deliver getaways that are all about immersion in different cultures - from meeting elephants in Thailand or walking the Great Wall of China to trekking across the Sahara Desert. If you’re looking for an in-depth cultural experience, then Zoom Vacations is the choice for you.
They specialize in truly unique and exciting forays into global cultures, going beyond the traditional tourist attractions:
For instance, many people would say their favorite thing about going to Peru is Machu Picchu. Yes, it is spectacular; however, there is something else about Peru that is truly great that most people may not realize. The food in Peru is incredible. You can see elements of Asian, African, Italian, French, and indigenous flavors in many of the dishes. Plus, so many wonderful things grow in Peru. There are literally hundreds of types of corn and potatoes, and if you like fish, well, no one does ceviche like Peru.
You can read more about their ‘favorite things’ and bespoke travel knowledge here. Zoom Vacations also detail recipes from around the globe on their site, using the experiences and learning they’ve had in their years in the industry to bring cultural cuisine straight to you, so you can relive your experiences.
They’ve got a very busy future, with tours to 20 different countries coming up soon, so if you’re looking for a slice of life that’s very different to your own, Zoom Vacations is the one. That’s why they’re one of the best queer travel companies around.
For Help Curating Your Vacation: International Travel Management
International Travel Management (INT) has a long history of providing bespoke travel information and management for gay individuals and the larger LGBTQ+ community. They have a specialized knowledge when it comes to insider wisdom and contacts in the international travel industry, built over three decades.
They’ve been recognized by Travel+Leisure Magazine as one of the World’s Best LGBTQ+ Travel Experts, a title they’ve been bestowed for eight years in a row. In their own words, they write “Travel is not about computers and online booking, it's about people and relationships and knowledge of what's happening in the world.”
INT also specializes in destination celebrations, helping you choose locations for honeymoons, anniversaries, birthdays, reunions or other special occasions. For example, if you’re planning a wedding, INT can help you choose the place to celebrate your special day.