Comparing Gay Travel Packages
|There are great gay travel
packages out there. The trick is not to get fooled by the bad ones.
Above: What better way to get in the mood for winter than to reserve space for one of the gay and lesbian ski weeks?
The author: Sasha Alyson is the founder of Alyson Publications, the country's leading publisher of gay and lesbian books. He sold that company in 1995 to start Alyson Adventures, which specializes in active and adventure vacations for gay men and lesbians.
Other travel ideas:
Scuba diving with a gay group.
A smaller, holiday gay ski vacation.
A gay and lesbian hiking week.
Table of Contents of Venturing Out columns
We all knows it makes sense to comparison shop before making a big purchase. With the Internet, it's become easier to find companies that offer similar gay travel packages or destinations -- but it's still difficult to know just how to compare them. Here are some factors to watch.
1. Compare your final costs, not just list prices.
What's included? What's not? How much will you pay for extra charges? Fifty dollars here, a hundred dollars there, and soon the trip that looked $250 cheaper costs more than the other one. Some common extra expenses:
2. Talk with people who have been on this trip.
If you have several friends who traveled with the same company (preferably on the same trip), great. The tour company can also supply you with names of past customers. (If they will not do so, perhaps citing a reason such as "confidentiality" -- beware! Any company can easily get permission from past customers to serve as references. For those that won't, there's a reason.) Get opinions from at least two, and preferably three, past travelers. Some things you might want to ask:
3. Watch closely when you compare the length of two trips.
Nights, not days, are the simplest yardstick. A 7-night trip generally includes 6 full days, and portions of two days at the beginning and end. Many companies call this an 8-day trip; some call it a 7-day trip.
Philip Sheldon coordinates active and adventure vacations for the gay community through his two companies, Alyson Adventures and Hanns Ebensten Travel.