Get out of town: Extraordinary LGBT holidays

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imageYou don’t feel like doing a family Thanksgiving dinner this year, and Christmas has no appeal. Let everyone else deal with these emotionally loaded holidays while you take off on an adventure.

For numerous reasons, these two holidays can evoke sadness or ambivalence for many LGBT folks. Consider creating your own tradition and celebrating the essence of each holiday in a new place meeting new people and seeing new sites.

Here are a few possibilities for an extraordinary experience.

White Party
Nov. 24-29
Billed as the world’s oldest and largest HIV/Aids fundraiser, White Party Week boasts the highlight of the namesake White Party (top photo) at Vizcaya, 10 acres of Renaissance gardens, on Nov. 27. Enjoy live performances, food from Miami’s hottest restaurants, and the Viva Las Divas Casino. Tickets are $125. Women’s White Party takes place at the same time and adds special diva-centric events presented by Cirque de Soleil and hosted by the cast of The Real L Word.

imageThanksgiving in Tuscany and Umbria
Nov. 18-28
Departing from Florence, Italy
Toto Gay Tours gives you an Italian perspective (second photo) on counting your blessings. Toto is a perfect small group travel experience for people who appreciate history, cuisine, art and adventure. Italian wines and food will give Turkey Day a new taste. The countryside is awe-inspiring. Departs from Florence for $3,095 per person.

imageThanksgiving Tour of Peru
Nov. 20-27
Starts in Lima, Peru
If you want a truly magical experience to delve into your higher self, consider eight days in Peru. Out Traveler magazine calls this one of its Top 10 Trips to Change Your Life. Zoom Vacations Peru (third photo) visits Lima, Cusco, the sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Your Thanksgiving Day meal will be served on the Orient Express through the Andes. $4,700 per person.

imageParadise Jam Women’s Basketball
Nov. 23-28
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin, Islands
Like Women’s Basketball—on the beach? Fly to St. Thomas for Paradise Jam. This 10-year-old event offers college basketball teams early season competition. The beach, the athletes and the island nightlife make this an unusual Turkey Day experience.

imageChristmas & New Years in the Caribbean
Dec. 19-Jan. 3
Cruise to St. Thomas
What a present! Hop aboard the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship (bottom photo). Pied Piper Travel has been organizing LGBT group cruises since 1990. Spend Christmas at sea and New Years in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Inside cabin $1,500, balcony $2,500 and up.

There are many people looking for travel companions during the holidays. Check out message boards like BootsnAll Travel for other independent travelers looking to share trips. Want to go to Egypt? Check out the travel partner request from Gay Holidays.

Don’t be alone during the holidays. Consider going with your partner or friends on a trip that creates a whole new holiday tradition. Decide soon and make it happen. This is prime booking season and airfares will only go up.

imageJo Giraudo, owner of Insider Traveler, is a Certified Cruise Consultant working in metro Atlanta. For the latest travel trends and hot insider tips, {encode=”” title=”email her”}.


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