Gay Travel Destinations For 2013: New York Times Seminar Panel Shares Their Picks


Gay couple relaxing in swimming pool




New Yorkers seeking a respite from the city’s chilly temperatures will get a virtual chance to do so Jan. 19, with a special seminar emphasizing the hottest destinations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travelers worldwide.

“What’s New in LGBT Travel: Hot Destinations, Cool Events and Surprising Destinations and Vacations” is just one component of The New York Times’ 10th annual Travel Show, held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York. The three-day-long event, which opens its doors to the general public over the weekend, will also feature special seminars on luxury train travel and extreme adventures, as well as location-specific discussions on China, Africa and Cuba, among others.

Covering hot new LGBT destinations, events and tours are Curve Magazine‘s Merryn Jones, Out‘s Jerry Portwood, “Frommer’s Buenos Aires” author Mike Luongo andPassport Magazine‘s Joe Pedro, along with Ed Salvato of ManAboutWorld.

HuffPost Gay Voices asked Jones, Portwood, Luongo, Pedro and Salvato to share their picks for 10 hot LGBT-friendly destinations for 2013, and their responses may surprise you. Check out what they came up with below — and happy travels!

“What’s New in LGBT Travel: Hot Destinations, Cool Events and Surprising Destinations and Vacations” takes place on Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. For more information on the seminar, click here.


Istanbul, Turkey
“The city is growing in sophistication as Turkey becomes a wealthy, financially stable country,” says Mike Luongo. “Hotels like the waterside Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, or for their gay Pride or for unusual gay events like Istanbear Spring Festival, the Turkish Gay Bear Spring Party, held in early April of this year, coinciding with other Istanbul spring festivals.”


Bogota, Columbia
Mike Luongo: “As the country becomes safer, more popular, it is an underexplored part of South America becoming better known, and the capital offers cuisine and art galleries. Last year’s November gay pride attracted a lot of international attention. The Columbian carnival is also in Barranquilla, Shakira’s hometown. Partly driving this trend is gay Latino Americans seeking new places to visit. (Carnivals as a whole are fabulously gay events, even beyond Rio.) These South American events give travelers an extra summer, too.”


Key West, Florida
“This long-time resort destination has seen its ups and downs but today it is being rediscovered by younger people,” notes Ed Salvato. “It is more sophisticated than it has been in recent years with sophisticated lodging options, restaurants, wine bars and cocktail lounges. Gay men should check out Island house Key West for a frisky experience in a high end setting. Alexander’s is a smart choice for a gay and lesbian friendly experience that also welcomes open-minded straight travelers.”




Auckland, New Zealand
“With direct flights from LA and Dallas, Auckland New Zealand has it all for the gay traveler,” notes Joe Pedro. “World-class cuisine, a rare co-exisitng culture, modern and traditional five-star hotels, picturesque waterfront, and several gay bars—but it’s not just an urban getaway. A ferry ride or sailboat away, visitors can experience the endless, Tolken-esque beauty of the North Island.”




Austin, Texas
Asks Joe Pedro, “How many times have you heard I do not want to go to Texas, but I would love to go to Austin? Live music capital of the world with SXSW, food revolution (top chef, farm-to-table, food trucks), new hotels (W), liberal attitude (nude watering holes), active city parks and gay nightlife. The city has nearly doubled its hotel capacity to make way for a new wave of young tourists who are ready to experience the Texas capital.”




Stockholm, Sweden
“One of the most open and welcoming Scandinavian cities with a thriving arts and gastronomy scene year-round. The Abba Wine Tasting at at Stockholm’s Spritmuseum is a quirky experience,” says Jerry Portwood.




Tel Aviv, Israel
Jerry Portwood: “This Mediterranean city continues to stun with its level of gay-inclusiveness as well as its mix of sophisticated cultural offerings and thriving nightlife. Brown Hotel is a great boutique hotel near restaurants and nightlife.”











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