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By @ 09/18/15 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

noma

 

Lucky Peach recently published this account from chef Rene Redzepi on why he’s decided to close Noma in Copenhagen, known internationally as the world’s best restaurant.



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By @ 05/21/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, The CheckOut, Travel

buddha

 

THE CHECKOUT: Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest

Top/Bottom Line:

The city’s most stylish hotel, with striking modern design and the most convenient central location. Ironically, the only thing missing is the vibe: the lounge and restaurant just haven’t found a following in this city.

Rates:

Standard rooms start at €102/night, but spend the extra €35 or so to upgrade at least to an Executive Room, with 430 sq. feet of space (vs. 270 in the Standard). Move up to a suite (approx. €220-320) for even more space, views and oversized soaking tubs.

Location:

Built in a century-old palace just a few blocks from the Danube River and Elisabeth Bridge on Váci Street, one of the city’s main pedestrian shopping thoroughfares. It is about as central to the city’s variety of attractions as you can possibly be.

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By @ 05/14/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

12 months of travel

Back in college, I worked a United promotion to earn a free first class ticket to Hawaii by booking a transcon trip in six segments and 8,000 flown miles. The paid ticket cost me $306, a fraction of the value I earned from the trip, and it launched a lifetime addiction to the opium of free first class tickets and upgrades.  Today, frequent traveler points are a currency, and they’ve been devalued quickly, as cash-strapped travel companies try to reduce the cost of the loyalty those points were intended to create.

Devaluation takes place three ways:

1. Fewer “Saver” Seats Available

For years, frequent flyer programs promised “free ticket anywhere in the US for 25,000 miles.” But that redemption level quickly became a “saver” reward, with “standard” rewards pegged at 50,000 miles.  Of course, “saver” awards have become harder and harder to find. That’s a 50% devaluation right there.



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By @ 05/07/14 in Asia, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

north korea

Last year sometime, while at a travel conference on the Upper East Side, we found ourselves engaged in a conversation with representatives of North Korea’s tourism bureau, chatting about potential opportunities to travel throughout the mysterious country. Our interested in visiting the heavily politicized nation is not unique – the number of American visitors now makes up 25% of all Western visitors year round to North Korea. But for those who can’t make it but still hold that curiosity, there’s a new app on the market that allows you to visit from the convenience of your iPhone.

London-based Uniquely Travel recently launched the app with more than 350 geo-tagged destinations by a satellite imagery expert to give a fascinating peek inside the country; you can even compare prices, get the lowdown on history, and learn about cultural differences.

And so, this morning, we headed off for North Korea from the comfort of our West Hollywood office, turned down streets, explored neighborhoods, and saw some of the 500 statues of their fallen leader, Kim il-sung. The app is a fascinating piece of travel technology that gives a glimpse inside this seldom seen world. (And rumor has it, Iraq and Libya may be next to receive the app treatment.)

Will you download the app? If you do, don’t forget to download ours as well, we’re the ones ranked #1 under gay travel. And subscribe here for all the best insider guides all around the world.

 

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By @ 05/06/14 in Gay travel, Hotels, ManAboutWorld, Travel, Travel Tips Tuesday

hotel

Booking the Best Hotel Rates

Yield management has totally changed the ways hotels are priced. Just like airfares, the price of a hotel room isn’t static, but fluctuates widely to match demand. Technology allows hotels to constantly raise their rates as rooms sell out at their own property and at nearby ones. Add negotiated rates, package deals and flash sales to the mix, and the price variation can reach hundreds of dollars a night. Frequently, the rate at a hotel’s own website (and even the rate you’ll get calling) will not be the lowest rate available. How does a savvy traveler win this game? Here are the four strategies we use to book the best hotel deals:

1. Comparison Shop First

If you’re a member of a frequent guest program, you’ll likely have to book through the program or hotel site in order to earn points. While these sites all promise “guaranteed lowest rates,” that lowest rate is often not on their site — you’ll have to find it, and then make a guarantee claim. We start all our hotel searches on kayak.com. This is a quick way to check multiple sites at once, and see if there are any major price discrepancies. When occupancy rates are high, hotels.com frequently has negotiated bulk rates that can be hundreds of dollars less. Verify the rate, and then use the “guaranteed lowest rate” procedure to match or beat it, and still get your frequent guest points. (When a hotel isn’t part of a frequent guest program, we usually book through hotels.com, taking advantage of their Welcome Rewards program.)

2. Membership Has its Privileges

The American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program offers Platinum and Centurion Card members preferential rates, along with upgrades, breakfast and other benefits. One stay can often offset the card’s annual fee. The program has been widely copied and adapted by other paid and free programs, like Tablet Hotels’ Tablet Plus, Founders Card, Want Me Get Me and Virtuoso. If you stay at larger high-end mainstream and boutique properties, these programs are worth checking out.

3. The Package Deal

We don’t like “opaque” bookings, where you don’t know the name of the hotel until after you’ve booked, but some of those same rates are bundled into package deals, like those offered by Expedia.com. Booking your hotel in conjunction with your airfare, or even just a car can often result in big savings. Many airlines also package hotels with bulk inventory deals that can mean big savings — especially when large conventions or events gobble up room rates.

4. Call in a Secret Agent

Many hotels have negotiated rates with large travel agencies and consortiums, particularly American Express and Virtuoso agencies. Using a travel agent affiliated with one of these can grant you access to these privileged rates. And since hotels still pay travel agent commissions, many agents will make hotel bookings without a service fee. If you frequently stay at high-end boutique properties, using an agent specializing in luxury travel will often get you VIP treatment on arrival as well. If you’re looking for an agent, you’ll find some great ones among our Global Correspondents.

 

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By @ 05/05/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Mexico, Travel

tulumIt’s Cinco de Mayo, which means our minds our on the soft, whit sand beach of Tulum, the most gorgeous beach town of the Yucatan Peninsula, a place of ruinous beauty, Mayan culture, gourmet food, and long stretches of paradise. You can check out our guide to Tulum by subscribing here. Or write us at [email protected] and let us know your favorite places for celebrating Cinco de Mayo

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By @ 05/02/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Thailand, Travel

hong island

After 10 days of blissful retreat in the Kingdom of Thailand, our Editor-in-Chief, Ed Salvato, and our four global correspondents, have headed home to their far-flung posts around the globe (and for Ed, another journey awaits him in Spain!) From the chaotic metropolis of Bangkok to the spiritual high ground of Chiang Mai to the tropical vistas of Phuket, we marveled at how much Thailand had changed since we had last visited more than 20 years ago, how far it had come, and how beautiful it had stayed. 

Look for our insider guide to Thailand in an upcoming issue. And if you haven’t been, go soon. There’s no place quite like it on Earth.

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By @ 05/01/14 in Gay pride, Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, ManAboutWorld, Taipei, Travel

gayisgoodIn honor of our massive pride issue that’s about to drop, we thought this classic photo from the first pride parade was fitting. This is Frank Kameny marching in the first Gay Liberation Day in 1970. It’s a strong reminder of just how far the parades have come these past 44 years. Subscribe now and you’ll have access to the best insider information for the biggest pride weekends in the world – New York, San Francisco, Madrid, Tel Aviv, and Taipei!

Photo credit by Kay Tobin

 

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By @ 04/30/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, New York, Travel

pride

Come June, gay pride will takeover the world, invading one world city at a time, which is why we’re releasing our INSIDER GUIDE TO PRIDE  in the upcoming May issue, revealing all of our secrets about New York, San Francisco, Madrid, Tel Aviv, and Taipei pride, so you know where to party, where to sleep, and how to do it right! Click here to subscribe for access to our Pride insider round-up (plus tons of expert info on Barcelona, Copenhagen, Wales, and Budapest!)

 

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By @ 04/26/14 in Adam Groffman, Ed Salvato, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Thailand, Travel

maw

FIVE GUYS!
Yes, FIVE of our Global Correspondents came together from New York, Berlin, and beyond to meet up in Bangkok last night to explore all that Thailand has to offer. If you’re not a subscriber, you can rectify that here to get our insider guide to Thailand – Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Phi Phi – in a soon-to-be-released issue. And check out the bios of all our impressive correspondents here

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By @ 04/25/14 in Gay travel, Key West, Provincetown

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 10.09.22 AMGoogle Maps Street View now offers a ‘back in time’ feature that allows you to travel back to 2007 (to present) and see how your favorite gay destinations have changed over the years. It’s a cool new feature to shed some light on how P-Town, Sitges, and Key West (as seen above) have morphed in the last near decade, and to also give you a glimpse of the landscape to help plan your trips. We’ll be traveling to Key West next month, and yes, we’ve covered the rest. To check out the best gay guides to all of your favorite summer destinations, check out our June 2013 issue and subscribe here.

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By @ 04/25/14 in Asia, Ed Salvato, Gay travel, Thailand

bangkok rooftopIt’s going to be a hectic few days for our Editor-in-Chief as he traverses Thailand, from Bangkok to Pattaya to Chiang Mai to Phuket to Koh Phi Phi. Ed too a second to send us this stunning photo from the rooftop of his hotel overlooking the verdurous treetops and epic Bangkok skyline just beyond. If you have any Thailand photos or stories from your travels, send them along to [email protected] And look for our insider coverage of Thailand in an upcoming issue!

 

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By @ 04/22/14 in Asia, Travel Tips Tuesday

 

suite

Many of us dream about traveling in a Singapore Airlines First Class Suite on an A380. But we found a way to make that dream come true.  We (the very royal We) recently had the opportunity to fly in seat 2A on Singapore Airlines flight #26 from Frankfurt to JFK. Jealous? Most of our friends were. So let us share a little secret with you, because we didn’t pay the regular $6,648.00 fare to book it. Instead, we used just 47,375 frequent traveler points to do it. And so can you. Here’s how:

1. You’ll need KrisFlyer Miles

While Singapore Airlines is a StarAlliance carrier, they don’t load First Class Suites for partner redemption.  So you’ll need to get a KrisFlyer account, and earn some miles. But you don’t need to fly Singapore Airlines to do it. You can earn them on any StarAlliance partner. You can also transfer them in from three very popular frequent traveler programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and LeClub Accorhotels (check singaporeair.com for additional partners in markets outside of the U.S.)

2. Look for the Saver Award redemption

Singapore has three redemption levels for award tickets. Between New York and Frankfurt, you can use 67,500 miles for Saver, 130,000 for Standard, and 460,000 for Full. Plan ahead for the best chance of scoring a Saver award. Another bonus: when you book your award ticket online, you get a 15% discount. So that 67,500 becomes 57,375. (Online redemption levels start at 91,375 for Los Angeles to Singapore, and 31,875 for Hong Kong to Singapore — 3 hours and 50 minutes of inflight luxury for less than a standard domestic round trip award on U.S. carriers!)

3. Use the SPG Mileage Transfer Bonus

When you convert 20,000 SPG points to airline miles, you get a 25% bonus.  So we got 50,000 KrisFlyer points for only 40,000 SPG points. Note that the you can only transfer up to 79,999 SPG points per transfer, so the maximum transfer you can make for the maximum bonus is 60,000 points for 75,000 miles. You can only make one transfer per 24-hour period, and transfers can take up to three weeks to post to your Singapore Krisflyer account. (Mine took a week.)

4. Top-up with Membership Rewards Points

Our Membership Rewards transfer was nearly instantaneous. We transferred 8,000 Membership Rewards points on top of the 40,000 SPG points, for a total of 58,000 KrisFlyer points, redeemed 57,375 for the First Class Suite, and have 625 KrisFlyer points waiting for our next trip.

 

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