2014 is full of LGBTI events, cruises and festivals for every palate and budget.
From Brazil’s popular São Paulo pride where the country seems to descend on the city, to sharing a plot of Nevada dessert with the Glamcocks at Burning Man, Gay Star Travel looks at events for gays, lesbians and fans.
Consider these festivals and parties as you plan your travel adventures for 2014.
Rainbow Reykjavik is Iceland’s winter pride festival, not to be confused with their gay pride, which takes place every August and where the mayor dresses up in drag every year. Consider the extended program before or after the long weekend, which already includes a countrywide tour with natural wonders and masked parties.
When: 30 January to 2 February
Package: Four days of nature, activities, culture, cuisine, music and nightlife in Iceland’s Rainbow Reykjavik from £822 (€1,088, $1,499), which includes flight, three nights in an Icelandair Hotel and the entire land entertainment package.
Getting to Iceland: Flight price is included in event package. Check the cities Icelandair flies from on their website.
With almost 30 years in the gay cruise business, RSVP Cruises is offering its biggest cruise to date. Ports of call include Miami to St Maarten, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. Going stir crazy is not an option with activities on offer including: Broadway-size theater, Swarovski crystal staircases and Infinity Pool, Aurea Spa, 4D cinema, bowling sports bar, water slide, volleyball/basketball court, mini-golf course, jogging track, 10 restaurants and 24-hour room service.
When: 15 to 22 February
Package: Basic inside stateroom for $899 (€665) sold out, book inside stateroom from $969 (€717).
Getting to Miami: 5% discount on flights for booking with American Airlines.
Tignes is so gay friendly, the region openly supported same-sex marriage in France and signed a charter against homophobia in sport. There’s a giant ES Collection (the incredibly hot Spanish clothing line) pool party taking place in a blue lagoon. There’s also a wilderness camp evening, a carnival, a gym, spa and parties with DJs so popular and exclusive they have yet to be announced. Don’t forget about the Cowboy-themed evening party, dog-sleds and bear-themed Timber party.
When: 22 to 29 March
Package: Accommodation and lift pass start at €339 ($467)
Getting to Tignes: Head up the mountain by plane, train, bus or car. Information on closest French cities available via Tigne’s tourism website.
In its eighth year, the Düssel-Cup is an international LGBTI sporting event where LGBTI and ally teams from around the world compete in basketball, beach volleyboll, roller derby and more. To support the event, the city of Düsseldorf is offering free use of all the event spaces and buildings.
When: 11 to 13 April
Package: Prices run from €21 to €40 ($29 to $55) with options for parties, brunches and all sporting events
Getting to Düsseldorf: Up to €20 ($27) off flight price for booking with AirBerlin.
This LGBTI pride festival in Brazil’s largest city celebrates its 18th anniversary this year. The pride themes are usually related to current political debates around LGBTI rights, and the long weekend’s events include the pride parade, secondary concerts, festivals and debates, all supported by the federal government.
When: The dates for São Paulo Pride 2014 are unconfirmed. Last year’s event took place the first weekend of June.
Package: The parade is free. Visit the About Brasil web page for information on event costs and hotel recommendations.
Getting to São Paulo: Contact pride organizer’s Help Desk to find the best deals on flights to São Paulo.
Sorry boys, this party is girls-only. More than 2,000 women come from around the world meet in the Spanish city for a cocktail of sun, sea and beach. Organizers say ‘they have had enough’ of all the boy-specific parties and so host one of the only lesbian festivals in the Mediterranean. From tapas treats to moon parties, this festival includes a program to host lesbian weddings on the beach.
When: 6 to 8 June
Package: Prices for the three-day festival are expected via the OlaGirl’s web page by the end of January 2014.
Getting to Sitges: Trains and buses available from Barcelona and Barcelona Airport (BCN) for as low as a few Euros.
Marking the Rose Monday in the Tilburg Fair that takes up a good chuck of June with over 300 attractions and 300,000 people, the Roze Maandag party is the largest LGBTI in the Netherlands. A combination political demonstration and ‘pink’ party, the event’s aim is to raise awareness of homophobia with a big social gathering.
When: 21 July
Package: Participation in the party is free.
Getting to Tilburg: Tilburg is connected to the rest of the country by a twice an hour Intercity service, bound to both Eindhoven – Venlo and Breda – Rotterdam – The Hague.
Strangers turned gay besties in the matter of days, the GlamCocks are about respect, inclusion, glam and love. Every year the boys unite with the tens of thousands of people who come for the festival based on self-expression and self-reliance.
When: 25 August to 1 September
Package: 2013 tickets for Burning Man cost $380 (€277). A GlamCock by the name of Bonus told Gay Star Travel there is a common misconception about a barter system practiced at Burning Man, when in reality there is no system of commerce or economy at the festival: ‘Everything is gifted for free with no expectation of a return gift’. However, some expenses involved with attending Burning Man include transportation to and from as well as supplies to use during your time in the dessert.
Getting to Burning Man: The nearest commercial airport is Reno International 127 miles away.
Sin City will host its third annual Gay Days event. Pool parties, a travel expo and events around town are on schedule for Orlando Gay Day’s sister event.
When: 2 to 8 September
Package: Double-occupancy rates at host hotel The Luxor starting at $43 per night. Gay Days Las Vegas Event & Party Tickets will be available later in the year.
Getting to Las Vegas: McCarran International Airport is ranked one of the 12 busiest airports in the world, so consider renting a convertible or car with air conditioning for a road trip from Los Angeles, Phoenix or San Francisco.
Santa Monica Blvd is shut down for miles on this Hallow’s Eve extravaganza. Known as a family-friendly and all-inclusive costume event in the heart of gay mecca West Hollywood, the Halloween Party starts in the afternoon and ends when clubs close their doors and police clear the area. Last year, over half a million revelers descended on Santa Monica Blvd to strut their costumed stuff.
When: 31 October
Package: There’s no entry fee, but if you drive be absolutely sure to check the parking rules in the area.
Getting to West Hollywood: WeHo is about a half hour drive from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). That’s with no traffic.
Last year’s gay and lesbian festival took place over five days on the sunny Mexican coast. Held on a gay beach blessed with over 300 day of sun according to locals, the PV festivities include pool parties, beach fun and local community attractions.
When: Five days around the last Thursday of November.
Package: Costs include transportation, hotel and party tickets. Stay tuned to Will Gorges Events for more details.
Getting to Puerto Vallarta: Flights to Puerto Vallarta available via AeroMexico.
DEC – Amsterdam for New Year’s Eve
Not necessarily confined to a specific area, Amsterdam is an amazingly inclusive city to bring in the New Year. While the city puts on an official fireworks show, people are also allowed to have their own sparklers and fireworks. Most gay clubs don’t charge a cover for the night.
When: 31 December
Package: Take money for drinks, possible cover fees and fireworks.
Getting to Amsterdam: Take the Eurostar from London starting at £99 return ticket (€119 $164), or if you’re travelling from another European city research which of the nine train stations is best. Flights arrive to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the city.