5 Exciting LGBT Friendly Destinations

Because of the growing LGBT population, there are so many places that are gay-friendly to visit nowadays. From smaller towns to bigger cities, wherever you go a lot of fun is guaranteed if you know how to enjoy to the fullest. There are some that are more suitable for singles, while others would be better for couples and families. Check out this list of five cool places to visit, because they are quite welcoming.

Margaret River in Western Australia

We know that Australia is quite awesome, and people know this small town best for its boutiques, craft breweries and wineries that surround it. If you like how all this sounds, you should also know there is a must-try craft beer in Margaret River that is worth your while. Beaches and surf breaks are beautiful and there is even a period when whales that are migratory can be seen (from June to October). You can also see two lighthouses, one on the north and another on the south of the town. It is good for peaceful long distance walks and it is both an LGBT and family friendly place that everyone likes.

Berlin, Germany

If you want to have the time of your life or a honeymoon that came right out of a dream, maybe start thinking about Europe. Berlin is a great city to visit if you are looking for open-minded people. European gay scene is definitely amazing and something everyone should experience. There are many popular gay clubs that are perfect for singles or people in a partying mood. For older gays and transgender people, or just the ones who are more interested in exploring the place’s history and classical culture, you can have tours where you can learn more about German history. It is actually pretty interesting. When it comes to hotels, Mercure Hotel Berlin City comes highly recommended, but there are also many other exquisite options.   

Koh Samui, Thailand

This is definitely for someone who prefers exotic and distant places. A magical island Koh Samui in Thailand is maybe the one that’s most worth mentioning. You can find accomodation over Ebab that is gonna fulfill all of your demands.  Look for accommodations that have a terrace that overlooks the beach and has a splendid view where you can look at the ocean. If you like swimming, you can check out the places with a great swimming pool, or the neighboring beach in order to enjoy an exotic swim in the ocean. You also have a considerable number of spas, gyms and restaurants. There is no way you get bored here!

Toronto in Ontario, Canada

Canada is known to be a very friendly country, so it is not a surprise that you can visit its cities, like Toronto in Ontario, for it has a very gay-friendly reputation. They say you can expect extremely welcoming people here and the LGBT community is pretty strong. If you like drag shows and karaoke, Crews and Tangos is a bar where you can go to have some fun. For the more sedate atmosphere, you have the Beaver for patio and bingo parties. The Pride Month in Toronto is definitely something you don’t want to miss but even if you visit it later in the years, Halloween on Church – the city’s festive Halloween celebration – has got you covered.

Guadalajara, Mexico

This is the second largest city in Mexico and you can expect a lot of gay cuties here, just like the rest of the LGBT population. It is a remarkable cultural destination that brings you mariachi and tequila, and we love both of those. For those of you on the prowl for good-looking singles, just hit some of the city’s many bars and nightclubs where you can let loose. They hold the popular Pride celebration in June.

 

No matter what your cup of tea is, there are always great LGBT friendly places to visit. Luckily, you can find both family or singles friendly ones, too. Hopefully, this list was helpful. Have a nice time wherever you choose to go!

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

5 Summer Vacation Packing Tips for Gay Men

Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to start planning your next summer adventure. Whether you’re traveling to the farthest corner of the globe or flying across the country, you always need to pack accordingly.

Now, every trip comes with a fair share of pros and cons, so you need to think through before you start packing. Think about where you’re going, your daily activities, after-hours nightlife, the weather… all the little things you might need when you get to your destination.

Plan ahead

There are certain things you must not forget before you go on your vacation. They might be a bit tedious to go over, but there wouldn’t be a vacation without them. The most important thing is to make sure your documents are valid – if you need a visa, get one on time.

Book your accommodation on Ebab, get travelers insurance and do a bit of research on the local laws. Some exotic destinations tend to have rules and regulations that impose certain restrictions, which can get in the way of your summer vacation and that’s definitely something you do not want to happen.

Always look incredible

You don’t need to pack a gigantic suitcase to look amazing. You need to pack enough clothes to last you through the vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pack lightly. Your daily attire should include a couple of jeans, a few tees and shirts and a long-sleeve shirt in case of bad weather.

As for the nightlife, bring a few outfits that emphasize your body and make you feel comfortable. If you plan to spend the nights at the beach, include some party clothes as well. Also, leave a fairly large compartment for all the extracurricular activities you might end up doing. After all, you are on vacation.

Bring the essentials

Summer vacation means that, in comparison to the rest of the year, you’ll be exposed to sunlight more than you usually would. This takes a huge toll on your skin, so if you want to stay on top of skincare routine and keep that glow year round, you need to bring all the essentials with you.

After you get the sunscreen lotion (SPF of your choice), take out all the products you use and pack only the essentials – our suggestion includes a moisturizer, a cleanser and an exfoliator. If you have problems with acne, get some acne products because the situation will probably get worse during summer.

Pack your gadgets

Nowadays, phones have amazing cameras and that’s pretty much the only camera you need to carry with you. However, the battery on your phone definitely won’t make it through a day of intense use, so consider bringing a power bank or a battery case.

You certainly don’t want to forget to bring your selfie stick – how else are you going to make those groups shot memories? However, if you’re not a fan of selfie sticks you can get an Insta360 or a Moment lens. Whichever you choose, make sure it works with your phone.

Protect yourself

Once again, depending on your destination and the activities, you will need to pack accordingly. If you’re traveling alone, you will definitely end up meeting amazing people.

Now, people tend to be a bit more relaxed during vacation than usual, so if you plan to stay out, party hard, and have sex, make sure to bring enough protection. Your health should be of utmost importance.

That being said, wherever you decide to go, take some time to relax and enjoy the moment. Try to grab a sunset or two, put your phone down, forget about your insta feed and just be there. Such moments have a habit of passing by in an instance so try not to miss them.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

A Gay Man’s Guide to Spring Break Packing

Ah, it’s that time again. No, we’re talking about the Game of Thrones time of the year, but spring, and the time to make all the necessary plans for our spring break gaycation! Now, this year you may have chosen a killer destination such as the Bahamas, or perhaps a more authentic one like Italy, but be that as it may, you really need to pay attention to what you’re bringing with you. Spring breaks might seem as holidays which you don’t really have to think a lot about, but the truth is different. You will most likely forget something important, so in order not to experience that feeling, take a look at some of the essentials, write them down and may it serve as a checklist!

Handsome during the day

In order to be look your best in the daylight, you need to pack all the best outfits that you will rock in the streets of your destination. These don’t have to be sexy (but if they are, so what), but don’t bring any old-fashioned clothes either. So, think casual. Bring some shorts, a pair of jeans, tees and shirts. You should also make sure to bring something long-sleeved as nights can be a bit chilly out there, but of course everything depends on the destination that you opt for. Think of all the outfits in advance, imagine them and pack accordingly. You will definitely need some extra space in your suitcase.

Sexy during the night

You can play this in two ways. As far as partying is concerned, you might choose to wear your daywear options and still look super cute, but you can also go a bit bolder. Opting for body harnesses is, for example, a very interesting move, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. Bottom line – you’re visiting a new place, so wear whatever makes you feel sexy and desirable. This is why you should always be ready to dress to impress, so pack your favorite party clothes and dancing shoes.

Be prepared for anything

What is your main goal this spring break? To Grindr your days out, or to try something new? The latter one is always a great option, because after all, it would be an excellent idea to try a new activity and experience something for the first time. If you’re visiting a coastal town, check if there’s any scuba diving equipment that you need to prepare in advance, as going scuba diving is always a wonderful experience. On the other hand, if you’re going to a place where safari’s very popular, also try to see if there’s anything that you could take from home as some things might be cheaper at your current location.  

Skin is glowing

This might not be your priority for the spring break, but packing all of your skincare routine essentials is very much advisable. First of all, you’re changing locations, which means that the weather is definitely going to be different, and it can take its toll on your skin. Bring your moisturizer and your cleanser, as you should still use them on a daily basis. Next, pack the masks or other products that you use in order to make your face so damn pretty!

The funsies

Once you pack your suitcase with the cosmetics, shoes and clothes, it’s time to think about the fun things that you might need there. First of all, bring books or Bluetooth speakers – anything that will make your trip and stay there more comfortable. Next, think about your lube and condoms. Even though you might be able to buy these wherever you’re going, it’s always better to bring them from home just to be sure you have them.

And the checklist is done! As you can see, it’s not difficult to pack your essentials, but you really need to make a list beforehand just so as not to forget anything. Also, bear in mind that the first things you need to pack are your passport, plane tickets and booking confirmation. Have everything you need? Have a great trip!

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

How to Plan a Perfect LGBT Honeymoon

No matter if you’re a sucker for weddings or not, we can all agree that the honeymoon is the best part of any wedding. This is the time to make the best memories, relax and start your marriage on the right foot. However, without ample planning, your trip can end up being a total bust. So, here are a few practical tips on how to plan a perfect LGBT honeymoon.

Plan well

All the best honeymoons are planned while both parties are on the same page. So, make sure to talk it over before you start contacting travel agents! Do you want to unwind and relax or have a wild adventure that will fill you with adrenaline? Do you prefer bright lights of the city or the quiet of the beach and nature? You must know what you want as a couple and what you prefer as travelers. This will allow you to plan the best honeymoon to mark the beginning of your life together.

Research your destination

Here’s the harsh truth, it’s still illegal to be LGBT in over 80 countries and in 13 you can be sentenced to death for being gay. However, traveling as a gay person can be risky no matter where you go. This is not scaremongering, but even ultra-liberal destinations like NYC, London and Amsterdam have instances of anti-LGBT violence. Now, you can’t miss your honeymoon because you’re scared! But, what you can do is pick a more gay-friendly destination—we just want you to be safe, alright!

Choose LGBT-friendly accommodation

Not every destination has obviously gay resorts and hotels, so make sure to do your research. When in doubt, check with Ebab or go through Fodor’s and Frommer’s selections. You’ll get to find all sorts of LGBT sections, area-specific tips and no-nos for gay romance.

Pack well

If you’re going to a tropical island or anywhere where you’re planning to spend the majority of your time at the beach, you don’t need much. However, you still want to be stylish and even maybe show off your love. For instance, lesbian couples can check out one piece swimwear online and grab matching swimwear. You’ll look so fabulous together (you might look like walking lesbian stereotypes, but who cares!). However, if you’re planning to have fancy dinners in the city, you’ll need something more formal, preferably with sleeves. Additionally, don’t forget to pack all your sex toys and gear. You might get a chance to renew your collection at your destination, but who knows whether they sell anything. You just can’t risk it.

Organize something special

Just because you tied the knot, that doesn’t mean you can leave romance and grand gestures behind you! Take time to surprise your spouse with something very exciting and show just how much you love them. Use your knowledge of their preferences to come up with something amazing that will surely make them happy. If you have a hopeless romantic for a husband, plan a private evening with bubbly, roses and a lot of cuddling. On the other hand, if your wife loves adventure, a field trip to nature will make her feel over the moon.  

Don’t forget why you’re doing this

The most important thing about honeymoons is the feeling of doing something together, as a couple. So, no matter how much you hate organizing stuff, make sure to stay engaged and give your feedback. This planning time will not only allow you to grow as a couple but also bring you closer together. If you plan it together, it will make your honeymoon even more perfect. So, don’t forget why you’re doing this—to celebrate your beautiful love and your victory over haters!

Sure, planning a perfect honeymoon is not something you can do in one afternoon, but if you stay focused and do your homework, you’ll end up in real LGBT heaven!

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Peters Guide durch Sydney

Während meines ersten Stopps in Sydney konnte ich sofort sagen, dass es eine Stadt ist, in die ich mich leicht verlieben könnte. Mit meinen ständigen Reisen um die Welt ist es schwer, einen Ort zu finden, an dem man wirklich sein Zuhause findet oder zumindest den bevorzugten Ruhepunkt vor dem nächsten großen Abenteuer.

Das Kleinod von New South Wales ist die größte Stadt Australiens, voller Leben und einer Kultur, die so vielfältig und großartig ist, dass jeder seinen Platz in seinem von Naturelementen und künstlerischen Entwürfen durchsetzten Beton-Dschungel findet. Hier gebe ich euch meine Tipps, um Sydney wie ein Einwohner und nicht nur wie ein Tourist zu erleben. Damit wird es euch gelingen, Geist, Körper und Seele mit der zeitlosen Kultur dieser Stadt zu erfüllen.

Werde Teil der Kunstszene

Wenn es um Kunst und Kultur geht, ist Sydney eine Stadt wie keine andere. Abgesehen davon, dass jeder Stadtteil eine eigene ‘Kunstinstallation’ ist, bei der beliebte Graffitikünstler ihre Gebäudefassaden prägen und zahlreiche Maler, Musiker und Künstler ihr künstlerisches Talent in der Nähe der berühmten Touristenattraktionen der Stadt zeigen, gibt es eine Reihe von Möglichkeiten, die dynamische Kunstszene von Sydney selbst zu erleben.

Sydney bietet dir neben renommierten Theatern wie dem Sydney Opera House und der Sydney Lyric in Pyrmont auch abgelegenere Orte wie dem Glen Street Theatre in Newtown und dem Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli. Wenn du Musik liebst, vergiss nicht, auch die City Recital Hall zu besuchen.

Entdecke die Architektur

Fest steht, dass Sydney ein architektonisches Wunder ist. Während du durch die großen Boulevards aber auch kleinen Gassen läufst, die geprägt sind von einem vergessenen viktorianischen Ambiente, führt dich die Stadt auf eine Reise durch die Jahrhunderte. Du wirst alle Typen architektonischer Meisterwerke finden, welche Sydney zu bieten hat – vom Sydney Tower Eye über die Sydney Harbour Bridge bis zum Monument of Lysicrates und vielen anderen Denkmälern, Sehenswürdigkeiten und architektonischen Wunderwerken. Nimm’ dir einfach einen Stadtplan und beginne mit der Entdeckungsreise durch die Jahrhunderte.

Entspannen wie ein Einheimischer

Wenn es um Freizeit geht, egal ob du in entspannter Atmosphäre neue Freunde treffen willst oder mit einem eiskalten Craft Beer vom Laptop aus arbeiten möchtest, gibt es zahlreiche Möglichkeiten, die du erkunden kanst. Mein absoluter Lieblingsort für jeden Nachmittag (,weil ich weiß, dass ich dort für eine Weile bleiben werde) befindet sich im Stadtteil Darlinghurst.

Falls du es noch nicht wusstest, Darlinghurst ist einer der lebendigsten Bezirke der Stadt, wenn du so willst, ein ‘perfekts’ LGBT-Paradies. Ich gehe hier am liebsten ist das Della Hyde. Dort gibt es alles, ich meine wirklich alles, um dich wie ein echter Aussie zu fühlen – australisches Essen, australisches Craft Beer, australische Cocktails … und noch viel mehr. Tagsüber ist das Ambiente entspannt und gediegen; mit einem Hauch von echtem australischen Spirit in jedem Gebräu und jedem Detail. In der Nacht verwandelt sich die Bar in eine echte Partylocation mit Live-Musik oder Djs und tanzenden Menschen, die den pulsierenden Raum mit Energie, guter Stimmung und einer Prise von dem, was kommen wird, füllen. Es ist der perfekte Ort, um tagsüber zu arbeiten und am Abend einfach auf eine Party zu gehen.

Feiern wie ein Rockstar

Und wenn wir gerade vom Feiern sprechen, was wäre Sydney ohne sein Nachtleben? Eine so große und lebhafte Umgebung ist die Heimat eines Nachtlebens mit unzähligen Möglichkeiten entweder mit deinen Freunden eine Kneipennacht zu verbringen oder in einem Club tanzen zu gehen.

Du kannst eine wilde Nacht mit ‘pre-club drinks’ in Darlinghurst beginnen und anschließend eine Tour durch die coolen Clubs in der George Street machen. Vergiss’ dabei nicht die Chinese Laundry und das ARQ. Und wenn du die ganze Nacht lang feiern willst, schlage ich dir das Pacha Sydney vor.

Egal wohin du in Sydney gehst, es gibt immer etwas, zu entdecken. Es gibt keinen Mangel an wilden, rihungen, innovativen und genussvollen Erlebnissen in der größten Stadt von Down Under. Also nutze meine Tipps, um dich bei deiner nächsten Reise nach Sydney wie ein echter Aussie zu fühlen.

Übrigens, was ich auf keinen Fall vergessen darf: die diesjährige Mardi Gras Party wird in die Geschichtsbücher eingehen! Alle rund um Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras freuen sich, dass der Pop-Superstar und die LGBTQI-Ikone CHER im Rampenlicht der offiziellen 2018 Mardi Gras Party am Samstag, den 3. März 2018, stehen wird.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Peter’s Guide Through Sydney

The first time I touched down in Sydney, I could tell right away that it was a city I could easily fall in love with. With my constant travels around the world, it’s tough to find a place you can really call your home, or at least your preferred rest stop before the next big adventure.

The gem of New South Wales is the largest city in Australia, full of life and a culture so diverse and magnificent that anyone and everyone is bound to find their place in its concrete jungle riddled with natural elements and artistic designs. Here is my guide to experiencing Sydney like a traveller rather than a mere tourist, and imbuing your mind, body, and soul with its timeless culture.

Follow the art scene

When it comes to art and culture, Sydney is a city like no other. Aside from the fact that every district is an art installation on its own, with popular graffiti artists leaving their marks on building facades and numerous painters, musicians and performers showcasing their artistic talents near the city’s famous tourist sites, there are a number of ways in which you can experience the vibrant Sydney art scene.

You want to visit everything from renowned theatre centres such as the Sydney Opera House and  Sydney Lyric in Pyrmont, to the more secluded places like the Glen Street Theatre in Newtown and Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli. Additionally, if you’re into music, don’t forget to visit the City Recital Hall as well.

Experience the architecture

There is not much to say about Sydney except that it is an architectural wonderland. It will take you on a journey through the ages as you walk down its vast boulevards and little alleyways that will lead you through a forgotten Victorian setting. You can find all sorts of architectural masterpieces in Sydney, from the Sydney Tower Eye, through the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to the Monument of Lysicrates and many, many other monuments, landmarks and architectural wonders. Just grab a map and get moving.

Relax like a local

Now, when it comes to leisure, no matter whether you are looking to meet some new friends in a relaxed setting or work from your laptop while sipping on an ice-cold craft beer, there are numerous options to explore. My absolute favourite place to be on any given afternoon (because I know I’m going to stay there for a while) is an adorable not-so-little place in the middle of Darlinghurst.

In case you didn’t know, Darlinghurst is one of the most vibrant districts in the city, a LGBT paradise if you will. My place of choice there is Della Hyde. Now, this place has got it all, Australian food, Australian craft beer, Australian cocktails… I mean everything. The ambience is relaxed and comfortable during the day, with a touch of true Aussie spirit with every brew and every detail. At night, the bar turns into a proper party venue, with live music and enthusiastic groups of people imbuing the vibrant space with energy, positivity and a dash of what’s to come. It is the perfect place to work during the day and easily transition into a party in the evening.

Party like a rockstar

And speaking of partying, what’s Sydney without its nightlife? Such a vast and vivid environment is home to numerous off the hook nightlife experiences, and whether you’re up for a pub night with your friends or you feel like dancing in a club, you can find it all.

You can easily start your wild night with pre-club drinks at Darlinghurst and then move on to the clubs at George Street. Be sure to visit the Chinese Laundry and ARQ, and if you’re up for partying all night long, hit the Pacha Sydney for a night of pure ecstasy.

No matter where you go in Sydney, there’s always something to knock your boots off. There is no shortage of wild, tame, innovative and pleasurable experiences in the biggest city of the Land Down Under, so make sure you follow this guide to an Aussie adventure of a lifetime.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

4 Ways To Pass Your Time When Stranded At a Station While Traveling

I was recently traveling to Dharamsala and McLeodGanj (the place where Dalai Lama resides), and while returning, I had 7 hours to kill as my train was at 12 in the night, and I was at the station around 5pm. But this was not something I was facing for the first time. I have often had situations where the train or bus or plane has been delayed, or I have arrived early for the same. And I think this is a very common situation one finds oneself in when one is traveling. So what does one do to pass the time? Here are some things that I usually do.

Check Out The Place : If your train/bus/plane has been delayed, or you have arrived early and you have a couple of hours in hand, it is always a good idea to check out that place. The area around a Bus or Train Station is usually pretty crowded and happening too, especially if it is a tourist place. There are a number of shops selling local handicrafts and goods. If you are a food lover, these places also have a lot of food joints and are a good option to try some local cuisines and delicacies. This is especially true in case of India. If you are in an airport lounge, you will find shops selling local handicrafts or other stuff unique to that place, and could be a good option to take back as souvenirs.

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Make friends : In case you are stranded because your flight/train/bus has been delayed, it is a great opportunity to make new friends. A lot of people you meet in such situations are travellers, and this is a great way to bond with them and exchange tips etc. about other interesting places. If you are traveling to their city, they could host you as well and show you around. People you meet under such situations are often very friendly, and looking out for other travellers with whom they could bond, and may be you could plan your next trip with them! Also, life is full of opportunities, and who knows this could be a life long bonding. Remember the movie ‘Before Sunrise’, where the two lead actors meet during a train journey only to fall in love!

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Get on Grindr : So I don’t think I need to tell anyone about it, because the first thing that gay men usually do when visiting a new place is log on to grindr and change the name to “Visitor”( or “Visiting”). But apart from the humpty-dumpty stuff that you use grindr for, it could actually be a good way to meet people who could act as your local guide, or could help show you around. When I was visiting Agra (the city of Taj Mahal), I met a guy via grindr who showed me around and acted as my guide while visiting Taj Mahal!

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Watch a Movie : Well, this is an old fashioned option that you have. You could watch a movie on your phone, or search for a cinema hall or multiplex nearby and catch the latest show. This is what I did during my recent trip to Dharamsala. I asked for the nearest theatre, and bought tickets for the movie that had just begun. It helped me pass  3hours (it was a 3 hour biopic!!) without getting bored.

Apart from these, you can always read a book, play crossword, sudoku, mobile games. Try and make the most of the time and place you are at. Also, would be lovely to hear from you as to what you do when you are under similar situations.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

5 Reasons Why People Love to Travel

1) To Explore a New Place : While not all of us can be Columbus, the spirit to travel the world and explore new places exist within all of us. If you are live in a city, countryside excites you, if you live in a small town, the fast paced life of a city brings you excitement. From the picturesque Himalayas and Alps, to the wonders of the world, there are too many places in the world that would steal your heart away and which would you like to experience for yourself.

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2) To Run From Boredom/Relax :  This is one of the major reason why people travel – to take a “break”. This is true for those people who often have a stressful life, working a 9-to-6 shift at office or can barely find out time for themselves. Going on a trip to a far away land not only breaks the monotonocity of life, it can also provide you with time for your own self. Working in a corporate setup, I have found that it is not just me, but a lot of people around me travel because they feel that they “need a break”. Travelling helps them refresh themselves and de-stress. For couples, travelling often means a romantic getaway which helps make their relationship stronger.

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3) Experiencing a New Culture – This is another reason why many people love to travel. Getting to know another culture, its beliefs and traditions can be quite educating and at times humbling. Many people often travel to a different place or country to get to know different cultures. At times they even spend many days there to learn more about the culture. Many travellers from the West coming to India spend months in India to learn about the culture and traditions.

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4) For the local cuisine : For many people, especially the food buffs, food is a great motivator to travel. Each place is often also associated with food – like Switzerland for its chocolate, Italy for its cheese, India for its spices. Travelling gives a chance to experience a variety of finger licking food to suit your taste buds. It is often the kind of food you will never find at the place you live, no matter how good a restaurant you go to in your own city.

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5) Adventure : Travelling in itself is a bit of adventure, but for the truly adventurous, it can mean going on treks in forests, climbing mountains, safaris in forests, or a bike trip across countries. The options are limitless, and the adrenaline rush it brings to you is priceless.

So what is your reason to travel?

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

What’s Best – Traveling Solo or in Group ?

Traveling is a stress buster. It is also a good way to get to know different cultures, people and food. I often go on short trips to different parts of India whenever I am too stressed out of the fast paced city life. It not only bring you relief, but also acts as a reminder of how diverse and wonderful the world and human race is. But when it comes to exploring an unknown place, should you be doing it alone, or is the company of friends a better option?

There is no straight (pun intended) answer to this question. Many people prefer traveling in groups, while some like me prefer to go solo. Traveling to a far away land can be intimidating for some, plus being alone at an unfamiliar place can be boring as well. That is why many people prefer to travel with friends or family in larger groups. It also gives you more bargaining power with the travel companies, and a bigger group can bring down your travel cost as well. It also gives you a sense of security. Additionally, if you are traveling to some remote place or hill station where hiring a vehicle is the only way to travel around, being in a larger group really brings down the individual price for the trip as the cost gets divided amongst the members.

However, if you are someone who enjoys solitude and the thrill of being in an unknown place all alone by himself/herself, solo travel is the thing for you. When you are traveling solo, your survival instincts kick in. You no longer have the luxury of someone else taking care of your needs. You actually talk to the local people and get to explore the local culture because that is the only option for you to find out about things. When you are traveling in a group, you often restrict yourself to your guide, or remain confined among your group.

I have traveled to some of the remotest parts of India alone, with little knowledge of the language that is spoken there, and have been helped by the locals in various ways, be it with directions or getting accommodation, or with transport, and bowled over by their hospitality. I have hopped on to local taxi or buses, been helped by strangers when I got stranded, and made friends with a lot of them as well. These are experiences that you will often miss out when you are traveling in a group.

Me at Hampi in Karnataka
Me at Hampi in Karnataka

So how you should travel depends a lot on the kind of person you are and the kind of adventures that you are seeking. But even if you have always traveled with friends, solo travel is something you must explore, at least once in your lifetime.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

Travelling To India? These Cities Have a Vibrant Gay Culture

You probably already know by now that homosexuality is criminalised in India under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. However, the existence of a law hasn’t deterred the queer community in India in any way, and a vibrant gay culture exists in various Indian cities. Here are some of the best cities to be LGBT in India.

1) Mumbai – The economic capital of India and the centre of Indian movie industry Bollywood, Mumbai has one of the most vibrant queer cultures. There are regular gay meet-ups and gatherings being organised by Gay Bombay group where everything from movie screenings to cooking classes to  talks on relationships are held.  Apart from this, the city also has one of the largest LGBT film festival called Kashish that is held in May. It just concluded last week and Sir Ian McKellen had inaugurated it this year. The city also holds one of the largest pride marches in January and it is usually preceded by a month of pride activities.

2) Bengaluru – The Garden City of India, also called the Silicon Valley of India, is one of the friendliest cities of the country and hosts a weekly meet every Thursday at the Good As You Office where around 20-30 gay men usually meet and engage in friendly banter and discussion on various queer topics. I once took a friend of mine who was visiting from France to one of these meets. Apart from this, there is a Gay Runners And Breakfast (GRAB) group which, as the name suggests, is a runners group that runs around the famous Cubbon Park every Sunday and then meets for breakfast. Bengaluru too hosts a Film Festival in February, while pride is held in November end, and is preceded by a month of pride related events.

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3) Delhi – Unlike Mumbai and Bengaluru, the capital city does not have regular official meet ups being organised by any group. But that doesn’t stop the queer community from coming together. You can find the LGBT community thronging Pallika Park at Connaught Place every Sunday evening. People come there with friends, to meet friends, to make friends. Other events that are held are usually communicated through social media or via email lists. Delhi also holds one of the largest pride parades in India and it is held around November end.

4) Kolkata – The people of the city are as sweet as the Rosogullas (a sweet dish). Sappho for Equality and Pratyay Gender Trust hold a film festival around November, while Pride March is held in December

june_kolkata_gay_pride

5) Chennai – Pride in the city is held in June. The city also has a queer literature group that meets regularly.

And if you are more into parties, then all of these cities also have gay parties every weekend. Apart from these, there are other cities like Hyderabad and Pune that are making their presence felt on the queer calendar with the increasing activities being organised or held in these cities.

If you plan to visit India, or any of these cities, do explore the local LGBT scene as well.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”