Traveling alone is one of those unique experiences—a great way for self-discovery and exploring a new culture. However, sitting alone in a restaurant, or trying to spontaneously find a dancing partner for a night of clubbing gets tiresome after a while. You can only find so many “friends” on your gay-app-of-choice.
When you’re part of a minority group (as all LGBT people are), traveling can sometimes be a tricky field to navigate. There are legitimate safety concerns, but also a certain desire and interest to meet like-minded individuals. Or at least be in a comfortable enough situation where you can ask those awkward questions or share those too-personal stories.
There’s a lot to say about taking a gay group tour. Everyone loves a good gaycation every once-in-a-while, a holiday where you can worry less and still have as much fun (if not more fun). That’s why I’ve teamed up with Detours Gay Adventure Travel to share some of my favorite reasons on just what makes gay tours so special.
DETOURS is gay group travel at its best! Award winning 8 to 15-day experiences through Greece, Peru, Thailand, Costa Rica, Spain, South Africa and more! Scheduled gay tours or custom trips for your group.
Learn more at www.detourstravel.com
1. Perfect for the solo traveler
The typical gay group tour is surprisingly diverse (oxymoron, I realize). The group may very well be somewhat homogenous—it could be a bunch of fit gay guys (that’s the dream, isn’t it?). But not necessarily. There may be a couple or two, but as I’ve found on some of the group tours I’ve been on, there’s often a handful of solo travelers. Like I said above, solo travel is pretty special, but it’s not the only way to travel. When you’re with a group of other travelers traveling by yourself, it’s a great way to meet people and make new connections. And to be able to share those experiences with new friends…
2. A great way to make new friends
Traveling with a group for up to a week or more, you’re bound to make new friends with your fellow travelers. It’s a lot of fun to share new experiences with new people. And with a diverse and international group of other travelers, you’ll come away with new friends in new places. As our world becomes more globalized, it’s comforting to have friends from all over.
3. The freedom to wander
The beauty of a group tour is that you have an itinerary of things to do, but companies like Detours build in extra “alone time”—the time you can use for whatever you want. Whether it’s exploring a street food market, going to a club alone or maybe just meeting a local for a holiday romance, group tours give you the chance to explore both as part of a group, and alone. It’s that freedom to wander which can be so comforting on a two-week holiday—the chance to make your own memories, but also share an experience with new friends.
Detours – 12 days in South Africa
Detours just launched their newest gay adventure tour! A 12-day experience through South Africa takes tourists from the cosmopolitan, postcard-perfect city of Cape Town, to the expansive country estates of the Winelands, to the world famous safaris of Kruger park, before finishing in the big, busy metropolis of Johannesburg. Learn more about Detours’ South Africa tours here.
On a gay group tour, you’re going to meet other LGBTQ travelers. Maybe they’ll have different tastes and interests, but you all do share something in common: that unique pride as both an LGBT person, but also as a traveler. Taking a gay trip is a great way to broaden your view of the LGBTQ world—different politics, rights issues, safety… It’s an ideal situation where you can feel comfortable to be yourself and to talk about subjects you might not be able to talk about with other travelers in different situations. There’s less judgement from your travel peers.
5. Chance to get out of your comfort zone
Nothing like a little peer pressure to get you to try some new amazing things! It’s funny, but it’s true. Group tours are one of the best ways to experience something totally new and different. Having friends with you to make sure you take that leap makes it so much easier. It’s part of the “shared experience” of traveling with like-minded friends.
Detours – 12 Days in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of the most gay-friendly countries in Central America with a lively gay social scene in San Jose and Manuel Antonio, and some of the friendliest local Latin people you could ever meet! Join Detours on a true Latin experience from the people, to the Salsa dancing, to the Gallo Pinto for breakfast. Learn more about Detours’ Costa Rica tours here.
6. Skip the travel planning stress
If you only have a two-week holiday once a year, who wants to deal with the stress of booking hotels, tours and planning itineraries? With a group tour provider, you get the ease of a perfectly-planned holiday without all that stress. Tour operators also seem to know the coolest and newest things to see and do abroad, plus they’re usually able to do it cheaper and better than if you’re on your own. Make sure to always check the tour itineraries before booking so you know what to expect.
7. No need for a selfie stick!
With a group tour there’s always someone else around to take your photos for you!
8. Get off the beaten path
Trust your local tour guide! They’re the experts. The tour guides are likely to have insider knowledge on the truly off the beaten track spots, whether it’s an unmarked hot spring in Costa Rica, a 3-course meal with a local family in Cape Town, stunning beaches only accessible by ATVs in Greece, a water-filled oasis in the Peruvian desert or a monkey-filled church in rural Thailand. These guys know what they’re doing and they know how to find the coolest things to see. As the local expert on the ground, they’ll also have the best recommendations on finding gay bars, LGBT safety tips and other insider knowledge.
Shout-out to Berlin-based illustrator Clairikine for these drawings. This post was created in collaboration with Detours Adventure Tours. Check out their tour offerings here. Also: read my new column about gay travel here on NomadicMatt.com