Let's Connect!


Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Where to Spend Pride Month

Happy Pride Month! I'm a proud ally that does their best to support LGBTQ+ friends, family, and those who I don't know, but deserve equal treatment, because people are people, no matter how they identify or who they love or what they want to be called. It seems like the easiest thing for me to do, but I know it's hard for people every single day, facing discrimination and threats. 

When I travel, I want to go to inclusive, queer-friendly, fun destinations. Here are my suggestions, as an ally, for Pride Month.

So, why would you visit destinations that aren't inclusive or accepting? Anytime I travel and see overwhelming support, resources, representation, I feel like I made a good choice in where to visit. This is an atmosphere I want to immerse myself in. Palm Springs was a great location for many reasons, but especially for their year-round Pride vibes. We have purposely postponed a trip to Florida indefinitely, due to their many new laws restricting freedom of speech, women's rights, history, drag queens, and queer students (or even students with queer parents). 

It's not just my family and a lot of my friends who are avoiding the Sunshine State. Advocacy groups have added a laundry list of warnings against Florida for travelers. The NAACP put out a statement regarding those thinking about making the trip: “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.” 

Instead of Florida, we headed to Paris to visit Disneyland there (and saved money doing so) and we'll be visiting Disneyland in California in June to celebrate Eric's birthday, Pride, and 100 years of Disney. I can't wait to see all the limited food and drinks!

If you aren't looking to visit a Disney park or Florida, how about one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities around the world? These cities ranked highest on the LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index:
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Brighton, England
  • Brussells, Belgium
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Oslo, Norway
  • San Francisco, California
  • Valletta, Malta

Spend your travel dollars with travel brands that support the community. You can make new friends while traveling with an inclusive group trip from Contiki, that will take you to awesome destinations, make you feel safe, and help you bond with other queer travelers. 

Don't forget your gear! This baker's dozen of queer people are bringing clothes, bags, accessories, and sunscreen for your travels. REI, Patagonia, Columbia, and Prana are some of my favorite outdoor brands that make clothing and support the queer community. These 10 amazing brands are queer-owned. I also love Juvia's Place for makeup that's all-inclusive. They have bright colors to help you express yourself and foundations, powders, and concealers for everyone, from the palest skin tone to the deepest brown. It's a Black woman-owned business that thinks makeup is for everyone and their prices are super affordable.

I also enjoy following queer travelers on social media, because not only are they fun, but I learn about great new places to visit and which cities/countries are inclusive and rainbow-friendly. Nobody wants to feel unsafe or unwelcome when they are on vacation. As a woman, who sometimes travels alone, these places are usually great for solo ladies. Here are some of my favorites:
  • @27travels are two lesbians from NYC who recently got married on a trip after traveling the world for several years. They are fun and their account is a mix of their favorite things and the best inclusive places they've traveled to.
  • @raviaroundtheworld is a proud gay man who connects with his community wherever he goes. It can be risque, but his posts always make me happy.
  • @coupleofmen is a gay couple who have traveled the world and help other LGBTQ+ travelers find better accommodations, destinations, and activities.
  • @asianmapleleaf is a Canadian-born gay traveler who takes his followers along on his adventures, while he indulges in his love of photography and cuisine. You can find him traveling with his sweetie @teraj08, a gay Black traveler, singer, and music producer.
  • @thegaytraveler is a personal friend of mine I met years ago at the Travel Goods Show. He highlights travels with friends, as well as LGBTQ-friendly destinations and events in his hometown of Washington, DC.
  • @amis_adventures is a Black trans solo traveler that shows what life is like for him in different destinations.
  • @thequeernomads these beautiful Black women are married travel advocates and queer activists. 
There are many more queer travel influencers for you to follow. 

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Finding LGBTQ-Friendly Cities In Red States

Pride Month is upon us, but being queer isn't easy, and in a lot of states, it can be downright impossible. With anti-trans and anti-gay laws going into effect across red states in this country, it can be dangerous as well. While there are lots of people fighting hard to reverse these laws and even make progress over previous wins, people still need to live their lives, too. If you're queer, and in a red state, or find yourself in one, know that there are cities that are a lot more accepting than others. The following infographic gives you the most gay-friendly city in every red state right now.

If you're queer in a red state, here is the most LGBTQ-friendly city in each one to find events, community, and activities.

Don't give up on traveling and being yourself. You are wonderful and amazing. Everyone should get to live their authentic self, but if you don't feel comfortable going to any of these places, because politics have made your life a nightmare, consider traveling to blue states, if you can, and these 10 small towns in particular. You can also see the best places around the world to go as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community in my next post. Stay safe when you're traveling. And if you want to help a community thrive, these cities just celebrated their first Pride events in 2022. If you're new to Pride, congratulations, I'm proud of you if you've decided to let everyone know your true self, and here's a quick "how to" for your first time.

Remember that you matter, people love you, and we're glad you're here. I'm glad you're here.

What are your favorite cities to visit for Pride celebrations?

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

My 5 Favorite Road Trip Items

Summer is coming and that means hitting the road with your special person or your family or your best friend. I love a good road trip and I'm days away from taking the first of two this year. I have a few items that I always take with me when we start traveling, whether it's 6 hours or several days in the car.

I have a few items that I always take with me on a road trip, whether it's 6 hours or several days in the car.

I want to save money and also be comfortable when I'm traveling by car, so I like to pack my own food and drinks, as well as items that will help in emergencies (i.e. spare tire, jumper cables). I keep the necessities in my car all the time, and you probably do, too, but here are the things I bring along on road trips.

Collapsible Cooler
Everyone has one of those hard, plastic coolers that weighs a ton when full and then takes up the whole back of your car. I hate those for road trips, especially when all  your ice melts and you have to struggle to empty it, dry off your stuff, and then drain the water somewhere. I have a smaller collapsible cooler that has a pull-out liner, which it doesn't look like it's made anymore, but the company still makes amazing products. The cooler above is a similar one they make. It isn't too big or two small, has pockets for utensils and things, and can pack down when it's empty.

Stasher Bags
I have been downsizing my use of plastic bags and plastic wrap. We use Stasher bags a lot more often for almost everything. I have them in all sizes, so they're great for things like bobby pins, all the way up to a loaf of banana bread. Stasher isn't cheap, but they are high-grade silicone that come in a bunch of awesome colors, and they can be frozen, boiled, microwaved, and even put in the oven. 

I have some that when I go on trips, I fill mostly with water, then I freeze them, and use them instead of regular ice packs or bags of ice. It's free and way easier to clean up and they hardly sweat, so your food isn't all soggy. The seal is very secure, so they aren't going to leak at all. I flip mine inside out and put them in the dishwasher, too. Get this starter set with a gallon size and stand-up bag. Refill them with food or use them for things like sunscreen and souvenirs.

Collapsible Food Containers
You might notice a pattern with things I enjoy on trips. I have been using Collapse-It containers for years, thanks to MightyNest. These containers are wonderful for all foods and can be stored in less space, because they smash down much smaller. They have a cool vent on the top, which allows you to let steam escape or to let out extra air. Like Stasher, these can go in the oven, the freezer, the microwave, and the dishwasher. They don't seem to really stain and the seal is really great. Once empty, they don't need to continue to take up space in your bag.

If you want to make food at your destination, these make that pretty easy, plus they can be used to eat out of in a pinch. I've used them to bring back ornaments on a trip, so they wouldn't get crushed in my bag. I just stuffed them with paper towels around my tissue-wrapped ornaments. 

Picnic Blanket
During the pandemic, we did a lot of outdoor get togethers with friends, so I invested in a picnic blanket that folded into it's own carry bag. I am so glad I did, because it has been a great purchase. It works for grass, dirt, the beach. When you take a road trip, it's important to stop to stretch your legs. I take that time to enjoy being outside and eating food I've brought with us. It's also nice to have if you bring your kids or dog, just to have a spot to stretch out, where you aren't sitting on the ground or a dirty bench. It can be used in a pinch as a tablecloth, too. This is a nice one that comes in varying styles and sizes.

Amazon Echo Auto
What's a road trip without entertainment. Yes, we listen to music, but we also listen to podcasts and audio books. I love my Amazon Alexa at home and I immediately wanted one for my car. I use it to listen to music I don't have on my phone, as well as to ask questions and directions. Echo Auto works on your phone's internet service and your car's bluetooth. Use it to play games, listen to books you have, learn new things, or even "drop in" on houses in your circle that have Alexa to keep everyone updated on where you are.

This next trip I will be trying out a couple other things, including this maybe cool cup holder tray, these faraday bags to keep your electronics safe, and also this phone mount that has been working pretty well for using my GPS around town.

If you have a road trip coming up, you might be interested in some of these items. What are your favorite road trip tips?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may be monetarily compensated should you make a purchase through these links. This helps me keep bringing you useful content, so thanks in advance.
Pin It button on image hover