After a long, miserable winter, many LGBT Washingtonians are ready to hit the road — or the runway, or the cruise ship — as the summer travel season heats up.
“Travel remains a very important need for gay people,” says Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, which studies LGBT consumers. Even the economy isn’t enough to keep gay travelers housebound this time of year, he notes.
“What we keep finding over and over again is that gay people are not immune to what is going on in the economy, but what seems different is they are cutting back less on certain things, and travel is one of them,” Witeck says. “They desire to keep traveling more than other people.”
Witeck points to his firm’s poll conducted last April — when the recession was worse — to show that LGBT travelers weren’t cutting back on travel as much as their heterosexual counterparts even then.
Asked about airline travel for summer 2009, 62 percent of LGBT survey respondents said their travel plans would stay the same or increase, compared to only 36 percent of heterosexuals.
Overall travel budgets showed similar trends: 58 percent of LGBT respondents said they would spend the same amount or more, compared to 49 percent of heterosexuals.
“We are driven by destination and event travel too, whether we are talking about gay sporting events or gay parties,” Witeck notes.
In other words, gay travel is often motivated not only by places to visit, but by the desire to meet up with LGBT people from around the country or even around the world, and experience what it feels like to be in the majority.
Sure, we sometimes just go to the beach, but we also go to gay Memorial Day in Pensacola or Sizzle in Miami.
Whatever your travel preferences, there is likely an LGBT-inclusive option. Like getting back to nature? Visit a gay-owned campground, take a lesbian white water rafting trip, make the trek to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, or even attend “Camp” Camp, a summer camp for gay adults.
Prefer hitting the seas? Many mainstream cruise lines have special gatherings for LGBT travelers, while gay and lesbian travel companies like Atlantis, Olivia, R Family Vacations and Sweet offer LGBT-exclusive trips.
And don’t forget Pride festivals as a destination, including San Francisco (June 26-27) and New York City (June 19-27).
Here is a rundown of LGBT events happening this summer:
NewFest: New York LGBT Film Festival , June 3-13 in New York City, www.newfest.org
Capital Pride, June 4-13 in Washington, D.C., www.capitalpride.org
Boston Pride Week , June 4-13 in Boston, Mass., www.bostonpride.org
Key West Pride Fest, June 9-13 in Key West, Fla., www.gaykeywestfl.com
Indie Grrl Fest, June 11-13 in Mineral Bluff, Ga., www.indiegrrl.com/festivals
LA Pride , June 11-13 in West Hollywood, Calif., http://lapride.org
Stonewall Street Festival & Parade , June 19 in Wilton Manors, Fla., www.pgfl.net
Berlin Christopher Street Day, June 19 in Berlin, Germany, www.csd-berlin.de
Nashville Pride , July 19 in Nashville, Tenn. , www.nashvillepride.org
New York City Pride, June 19-27 June 27 march headliners: Lt. Dan Choi, Judy Shepard, Constance McMillen, www.nycpride.org
R First-Ever European Cruise For LGBT families, friends , June 20-27 , www.rfamilyvacations.com
South Carolina Black Pride , June 24-27 in Columbia, S.C. , www.southcarolinablackpride.com
Emerald Coast PrideFest, June 26 in Panama City, Fla., www.emeraldcoastpride.org
Pride Houston , June 26 in Houston, Texas , www.pridehouston.org
San Francisco Pride, June 26-27, www.sfpride.org
St. Pete Pride Promenade & Festival, June 26 in St. Petersburg, Fla., www.stpetepride.org
Chicago Pride Parade , June 27 in Chicago, Ill., www.chicagopridecalendar.org
Seattle Pride Fest, June 27 in Seattle, Wash., www.seattlepridefest.com
Windy City Black Gay Pride, June 30-July 5 in Chicago, Ill. , www.windycityblackpride.org
National Women’s Music Festival, July 1-4 in Middleton, Wisc., www.wiaonline.org
Los Angeles Black Pride, July 1-5 in Los Angeles, Calif., www.atbla.com
EuroPride 2010 , July 8-18 in Warsaw, Poland, www.Europride2010.eu
QFest: Philadelphia International LGBT Film Fest, July 8-19 in Philadelphia, Pa., www.phillycinema.org
Provincetown Bear Week, July 10-18 in Provincetown, Mass., www.ptownbears.org
R Family Club Med Ixtapa, Mexico For LGBT families, friends, July 10-17, www.rfamilyvacations.com
Miami Beach Bruthaz, July 15-18 in Miami, Fla., www.miamibeachbruthaz.com
Bone Island Bare it All Weekend , July 15-18 in Key West, Fla. , www.nakedkeywest.com
Pride London, July 15-25 in London, England, www.Pridelondon.ca
San Diego LGBT Pride, July 17-18 in San Diego, Calif. , www.Sandiegopride.org
Olivia’s Provence to Burgundy, France Cruise, July 20-27, www.olivia.com
Girl Splash , July 21-25 in Provincetown, Mass. Headliners: Sandra Bernhard, Kate Clinton, Vickie Shaw, Jennie McNulty, www.provincetownforwomen.com
Atlantis Events’ Copenhagen to Amsterdam, European Gay Pride Cruise, July 29 – Aug. 8 , www.atlantisevents.com
LGBT Family Week , July 31- Aug. 7 in Provincetown, Mass., www.familyequality.org
Sweet Hawaiian Islands Cruise , July 31 – Aug. 7 , www.discoversweet.com
Gay Games 2010, July 31 – Aug. 7 in Cologne, Germany, www.games-cologne.de
The Pines Party , July 31 in Fire Island Pines, NY, www.pinesparty.com
Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival , Aug. 3-8, Performers include: Indigo Girls, Betty, Ferron, Bitch, Toshi Reagon, Sia, The Butchies, www.michfest.com
Amsterdam Gay Pride , Aug. 5-8 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, www.amsterdamgaypride.nl
FamilyFest in Las Vegas , Aug. 6-8 in Las Vegas, Nev., www.familyfestlasvegas.com
Queer West Arts & Culture Festival, Aug. 7 – Aug. 15 in West Toronto, Ontario, Canada , www.queerwest.org
R Family Vacations Summer Reunion , Western Caribbean Cruise , Aug. 14-21, www.rfamilyvacations.com
Provincetown Carnival , Aug. 15-21 in Provincetown, Mass. , www.ptown.org
Montreal Pride , Aug. 12-15 in Montreal, Canada, www.fiertemontrealpride.com
Sweet Salmon River Rafting , Aug. 16-21 in Stanley, Idaho, Rafting and wilderness camping by lesbian travel company Sweet, www.discoversweet.com
Atlantis Events Cruise: Italy to Greece , Aug. 16–24, www.atlantisevents.com
Tropical Heat in Key West, Aug. 19-22 in Key West, Fla., www.TropicalHeatKW.com
‘Camp’ Camp, Aug. 22-29 in Kezar Falls, Maine Summer camp for LGBT adults, www.campcamp.com
Atlantis Events: Greece to Spain Cruise, Aug. 24 – Sept. 2, www.atlantisevents.com
South Carolina Pride , Aug. 25 – Sept. 6 in Columbia, S.C. Rally: Sept. 4, www.scpride.org
New Orleans Southern Decadence, Sept. 1 – Sept. 6, www.southerndecadence.com
Splash Days in Austin , Sept. 3-6 in Austin, Texas, www.splashdays.com
Sweet Cozumel Palace Resort , Sept. 4- 11 in Cozumel, Mexico , www.discoversweet.com
Key West Womenfest , Sept. 7-12 in Key West, Fla., www.womenfest.com
Savannah Pride , Sept. 11 in Savannah, Ga., www.Savpride.com
Key West Bear Fest , Sept. 16-19 in Key West, Fla., www.keywestbearfest.com
North Carolina Pride , Sept. 25 in Durham / Raleigh, N.C., www.ncpride.org
Folsom Street Fair, Sept. 26 in San Francisco, Calif., www.folsomstreetevents.org