Question: My partner and I want to travel to Europe next summer, but are tired of being the only gay couple in a travel group. Are there any gay travel groups that offer travel packages without the “gay gouge?”
Answer: I’m with you about the gay travel surcharge, which I have never heard called the “gay gouge” before but I will begin using that term from now on, thanks!
Not all gay group travel need be expensive. One company I have traveled with and worked with for years is the excellent Key West-based Alyson Adventures. Although they aren’t really a “budget” gay tour company, the very nature of their adventure trips
emphasize activities like hiking, biking, and camping, which automatically bring costs down.
These outdoor adventures also take you deeper into a country and more intimately involved with it, versus merely sticking around the noisy cities and the bars. And you don’t need to be a jock, either – their trips typically are mellow and include visits to wineries, tours of museums, exploring historical sites, etc. They are fun and educational and not just a cheap backpacking experiences, to be sure.
Alyson has groups for lesbians, gay men, or a combo of both, and they tend to be small, so you get to know your fellow queer travelers and guides, and have a chance to meet locals as well.
Many of their weeklong trips to Europe fall in the $2,000 to $3,000 range, and that includes lodging, equipment like bikes, most meals, and transportation while on the trip (but not flights to the country itself). For instance, their weeklong Valley of the Kings bike tour of the chateaus of the Loire Valley in France is priced at $1,990 next September.
Alyson offers rafting, hiking, biking, and scuba trips to places in Europe like Austria, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Spain,
Switzerland, and more. Not every trip goes every year, but get enough of your friends together and they can probably find something to fit your needs. Have fun!