Author Archives: Ken Porpora

By @ 06/11/14 in Budapest, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

Matthias Church and Hilton BudapestOn the banks of the Danube in Budapest, The Halászbástya, or Fisherman’s Bastion, is a neo-Gothic terrace way up on Castle Hill is a terrace in neo-Gothic.The city is one of Europe’s most romantic, most historic, and perhaps its most underrated city. In our May issue, we hit the ground and uncovered all of Budapest’s secrets: the hidden gems, the gay life, and the little-known places we found along our journeys. For full-access to our insider guide, subscribe here

Speaking of Budapest, listen in as ManAboutWorld correspondent Dennis Hensley interviews his movie industry friend Tom Ford.

 

 

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By @ 06/11/14 in Aaron Drake, CheckOut, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

harrah's

By ManAboutWorld correspondent Aaron Drake

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

Top/Bottom line

Harrah’s SoCal is great as a weekend destination for a group of friends or getaway for couples. The resort offers wedding packages, having played host to many ceremonies on property, and happily welcomes California (same-sex) honeymooners or his-and-his bachelor parties.

Rates

From $150 a night depending on the room size, occupancy and season. Find the best deals by booking online.

Basics

Harrah’s Resort Southern California, formerly Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort, is a year-round gaming resort, including smoking and non-smoking gaming areas, a variety of delicious dining options on-property, a trifecta of fabulous pools, award-winning spa and a brand-new state-of-the-art events center, featuring well-known acts. Harrah’s recently welcomed the grand-opening of the new 21-story, 403-room Resort Tower North after a $160 million renovation, and expansion of the resort to a stunning 1.2 million square feet.



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By @ 06/09/14 in Edinburgh, Europe, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

edinburghEdinburgh at night may be one of the world’s most magical places; second only to Edinburgh during the day. This city in Scotland is a treasure – home to Scotch, golf, and boys in kilts – and we’ll be rolling out our insider guide in our next issue. Come August, the international festival, the largest theater festival in the world, will takeover the city and all eyes will be turned to Edinburgh. Subscribe here so you can get all of our expert tips and recommendations.

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By @ 06/03/14 in Big Island, Ed Salvato, Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, Hawaii, ManAboutWorld, Travel
Jason Logan/NY Times

Jason Logan

ManAboutWorld’s editor Ed Salvato was quoted in the recent New York Times piece, “For Gay Destinations, Thinking Outside the Obvious.” ManAboutWorld was also included as a resource in the Times piece, “Finding Comfort and Safety as a Gay Traveler.”

Here’s a section quoting him naming the Big Island as one of his favorite off-the-beaten track destinations:

Popular with tourists, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, and the busy Waikiki area in particular, may be the most obvious choice for L.G.B.T. travelers heading to Hawaii, and it is well worth a trip if you’ve never been. There are plenty of gay bars and gay-friendly businesses, and the 24th annual Honolulu Pride Parade and Celebration is coming up on June 7.



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By @ 06/02/14 in Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, ManAboutWorld, New York, Travel

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 12.13.18 PMOur editor Ed Salvato was recently on Focus Group Radio talking gay travel, just in time for the summer travel season. Listen in now.

Focus Group Radio segment with Ed Salvato.

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By @ 05/29/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

laguna_edited-4This classic photo of 1930s Laguna Beach shows a city on the precipice of becoming a Hollywood haven for stars looking for paradise. In the decades to follow, Laguna Beach became a gay mecca before becoming a mostly conservative hotbed. We recently set out to discover just how much Laguna Beach (and Orange County) has changed over the year, and sought to seek out the gay life that still thrives. Subscribe to check out our upcoming June issue to get the lowdown on California’s most exquisite beach cities.

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By @ 05/27/14 in CheckOut, Europe, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

leroyalmeridienhamburg

Le Royal Meridien Hamburg is a gay-perfect location with sophisticated modern style, professional friendly service and a lake-front view make Le Méridien Hamburg an ideal choice for visiting this dynamic city.

Rates: We found rates starting as low as €119 per night during periods of low demand, and starting as high as €372 for peak demand. Free nights for Starwood Preferred Guest members start at 10,000 points.

Location: On An der Alster, the broad lake-front promenade on the east side of the lake, Le Méridien is in St. Georg, the city’s gay neighborhood. It’s within easy walking distance to the city’s most popular gay nightlife, restaurants and cafés, and also convenient to the train station, museums, the central shopping district and Hafen City. St. Pauli, the red light district that is home to the other concentration of gay nightlife, is a 10 minutes away by taxi, or 20 to 25 minutes by public transportation.



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By @ 05/21/14 in CheckOut, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, 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 @ 05/15/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

Last summer, I was driving through rural Jujuy in northern Argentina when I came upon a man sitting in a lawn chair on the side of the road beside a pick-up truck. He was selling oranges and Bungee jumping. I chose the latter, and soon I had a single loose cable strapped to my ankles standing high above emerald green water. What adventures are you looking forward to this summer? Have any extreme travel stories? Send them to me at kenny@manaboutworld.com.

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

plazacataluynaPlaza Cataluyna in Barcelona resides in the center of town, and come August 6-17 it will be swarming with tens of thousands of gay boys from all around the world in town for the city’s famous circuit party. We’ll be covering circuit and much more in our upcoming May issue! Click here to subscribe to get all of our insider tips for circuit from the guys who plan it, organize it, and those who’ve experienced it first hand.

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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 @ 05/13/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

waze

Someday there’ll be an app that books your flight and hotel, rents you a car, drives you to the airport, checks you in, upgrades you, flies you safely to some exotic European coastal town, and serves you a drink (and let’s you know how much to tip!) But until that day, here are five or six apps that do ALL of those things, only separately. And they’re free! We recently set out to find the most helpful travel apps on the market, the ones that keep you organized, on time, and well-hydrated so you can focus on experiencing your travels without worrying about tickets, clunky confirmation numbers, gate changes, and the myriad of headaches that comes with the adventure. Here’s what we found:

STEP 1: BOOKING

KAYAK’s been around a while and it’s our first stop when booking a hotel or flight – it’s the most efficient aggregator we’ve found and usually lands us a solid price. (It also has surprising information about currency conversion and even has tips on food options at airports.) HOTEL TONIGHT has snagged us some great deals but we’ve also found it a handy app when we’re in a hotel emergency – the app can find you tremendous same-day  prices should you ever find yourself in a city without a place to crash.

STEP 2: PREPPING


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By @ 05/13/14 in Adam Groffman, Auston Matta, Billy Kolber, Correspondent, DJ Yabis, Ed Salvato, Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, Hannes Pálsson, LA/West Hollywood, Madrid, ManAboutWorld, Nadav Peretz, Travel, Vladimir Martinez

IMG_9244Over a dozen ManAboutWorld correspondents attended the IGLTA’s 31st annual Convention, May 8-11. Here are eight of them from left to right, including their specialty, nationality and current city. What a worldly, hard-working, passionate group!

Just wait till IGLTA’s 32nd annual Convention in Los Angeles (April 9-12, 2015) where we will make an even bigger splash.

 

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By @ 05/10/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

taipeiWe’ll be writing all about PRIDE in our upcoming May issue, and among the fabulous cities we cover is Taipei, perhaps the gay-friendliest major Asian city, hosting 80,000 people for pride this coming October. Here is the stunning skyline at night from atop Elephant Mountain. Check out our upcoming issue by subscribing here, and get insider tips for six of our favorite pride events with information gathered from our most trusted local correspondents who’ve experienced the event first hand.

 

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By @ 05/08/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

gaygamesi-track-ticketOur upcoming May issue will feature Cleveland, an unlikely gay destination any other year, but not in 2014 when they’ll play host to the Gay Games. Back in 1982, the gay games commences in San Francisco and we found this ticket stub for a track and field event from way back, courtesy of the Federation of Gay Games. We’ll have more throwback photos as we get closer to releasing our issue (very soon, we promise). Be sure to subscribe so you can get all the insider info of Cleveland and the Gay Games!

 

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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 kenny@manaboutworld.com 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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