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BOUNCE: New Luggage Storage App

Man with too much luggage

You have enough baggage. You don’t necessarily want to drag it around while exploring a new city.

Luckily, now you don’t have to. Bounce is a new mobile app and website that connects you with local businesses that will store your luggage and bags.

Just imagine making the most of long layovers or unexpected flight changes, without being weighed down by a suitcase…

Read more on Travel Squire.

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It’s White Truffle Season!

Vineyard in Piedmont region in Italy
Photo: Davide Dutto/Ente Turismo Langhe Monferrato Roero

Each year, culinary connoisseurs convene in Northern Italy’s Piedmont region to honor the white truffle. This rare and very expensive type of mushroom is only available in this region a few months out of the year. From townies to top chefs, autumn is the season to celebrate the gastronomic treasure whose shavings transform any dish into a luxury item. 

Ongoing through November 24, the International Alba White Truffle Fair is one of Italy’s longest-running festivals, celebrating its 89th birthday this year. Held in the old town of Alba, a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy, the Fair initially focused on the food and wine of the region but has now expanded to include immersive experiences and cultural events.

White Truffle from Alba, Italy
Photo: Stefania Spadoni/Ente Turismo Langhe Monferrato Roero

Every Saturday and Sunday, the White Truffle World Market buzzes with exhibitors, purveyors, chefs and local wineries. Within the 2,000-square-yard market, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase truffles certified by the National Truffle Study Centre and hobnob with likeminded foodies, all gathered in praise of the seasonal favorite with the distinct scent and delicious flavor. 

A version of this article was first published in Travel Squire.

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Yucatan Reveres Its Mayan Ancestry While Focusing on Mexico’s Future

Horse riding in Hacienda Uxmal, Yucatan State, Mexico
Hacienda Uxmal–Photo courtesy of Mayaland Group

About an hour drive from the Cancun International Airport, the State of Yucatan countryside is a gateway to ancient Mayan culture and a study in how ancestral traditions are kept alive by the current generation. It also may be one of Mexico’s best kept tourism secrets, though that is soon about to change.

The State of Yucatan is one of three states that occupy the Yucatan Peninsula. Though American visitors are most familiar with the Mexican Caribbean stretch between Cancun and Tulum (which is in the State of Quintana Roo), the neighboring State of Yucatan is readying for its prime-time debut.

The new President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office in December 2018, largely campaigned on creating the Mayan Train that would transport visitors from the tourist-saturated areas (the aforementioned Cancun, Tulum, etc.) to less-discovered gems. The proposed 913 miles of track are scheduled to be functioning by 2023. Though the ambitious project is not without its controversies, one thing is certain: it will alter tourism in the region. 

Don’t wait. Currently, the best way to explore the Yucatan State is on a road trip that can include archeological wonders, complex cultures and unspoiled natural habitats. As Mexico’s second busiest airport (after Mexico City), Cancun is an easy direct flight from many U.S. cities; then drive inland…

Read more about my travels through the Yucatan State of Mexico in Travel Squire.

Photo courtesy of Los 7 Cenotes

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Filed under Hotels, Mexico, Photos, Publications, Restaurant, Travel News

D.C. Hotel Barks for Im-pooch-ment

Cute puppy welcomes guest to hotel
Photo courtesy of St. Gregory Hotel

Washington D.C. is going to the dogs. Whether you are politically liberal, conservative or moderate, it’s time to see D.C. from a new perspective.

The St. Gregory Hotel is inviting you to experience Washington D.C., doggy style. Bridging political divisions by encouraging travelers to seek a more grounded view of our nation’s capital, the St. Gregory will loan guests a GoPro and GoPro harness for their dog. Yes, your Maltese is now making movies.

Starting at $155 per night, the “Pawlitical Landscape” package includes luxury accommodations in the Dupont Circle-area boutique hotel, the use of a comfy embroidered doggy bed, personalized dog bowl, locally sourced treats from Doggy Style Bakery, Boutique and Pet Spa and their canine concierge’s list of pup-loving neighborhood spots. And, of course, the GoPro camera and dog harness to document your spaniel’s Spielberg experience…

Read my full article on Travel Squire

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San Antonio Celebrates Day of the Dead

San Antonio Day of the Dead celebrations
(Photo courtesy of VisitSanAntonio.com)

Few U.S. cities embrace their diversity like San Antonio, Texas. At the intersection of American, Texan and Mexican culture, the seventh-largest city in the United States knows how to celebrate traditions while making everyone feel welcome. (Can we all please take a cue from San Antonio!?)

This season, though tricky Halloween festivities still abound, it is the Mexican holiday of Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) that treats visitors most in San Antonio.

The traditional Mexican holiday, dating to pre-Columbian time, professes that during November 1, the distance between living and dead is at its closest point, creating the perfect opportunity to honor our dearly departed loved ones.

Considered the largest Día de los Muertos celebration in the United States, San Antonio builds traditional altars, throws parades and delivers delicious Mexican food offerings that remind you it’s tastier on this side of the divide.

To see some of IQ’s favorites, visit TravelSquire.com

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Stay Fab While Traveling

Gay pillow fight

Traveling while fabulous has unique challenges. We all want to feel welcome. Now, a new hosting platform is removing all “coming out” awkwardness from short-term rental bookings.

FabStayz.com guarantees LGBTQ+ travelers a hospitable host. 

“Travel is about fun and exploration, coming out to a stranger is no way to kick-off a vacation,” says Robert Geller, Founder and CEO of FabStayz. “Be your ‘FabSelf’ wherever your travels take you. No more scouring listings for clues if the host is LGBT+ welcoming, an ally or member of our community. FabStayz wants to take away all the guesswork for the LGBT+ traveler.”

According to Geller, property owners listed on FabStayz must meet the platform’s criteria of seven months minimum hosting on another major platform (like Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and HomeAway), with at least 10 great to excellent reviews. Additionally, all FabStayz hosts agree to FabStayz diversity and inclusion statement.

Within weeks of launching, FabStayz had quintupled its hosts and featured a castle in France, tiny homes in Portland, a vintage RV in Los Angeles, and rental listings throughout the United States, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands and the U.K., among others. 

Fab your stay at FabStayz.com

Rv on hillside on FabStayz.com

Photos courtesy of FabStayz.com

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Filed under Canada, Europe, Gay/ LGBTQ, Hotels, Mexico, Travel News, U.S.A.

NY Hilton Midtown is for Night Owls

New York City After Dark, Times Square at night
NYC at Night–Photo: Steven Wilkes

Start spreadin’ the news. We all want to wake up in the city that never sleeps—just not for an early morning checkout. Please! 

For guests who want to take advantage of the pulsing New York City nights, the New York Hilton Midtown is offering “The City That Never Sleeps” package through December 31, 2019. Whether you’re arriving late from a long flight or you’ve been going non-stop, you can check-in at midnight and check-out at 3pm, after some restful daytime recovery sleep…

*Read more at TravelSquire.com

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Sarasota is Here to Recruit You

“My name is Harvey Milk and I’m here to recruit you.”

Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay men ever elected to public office in the United States, started many of his most famous speeches with that line. He had a clear plan for LGBTQ progress: come out, be visible and take an active role in your community. And if you feel unsafe, seek refuge in the “nearest biggest city.” 

Harvey Milk

Forty-one years after his assassination in 1978, I think Harvey would be very proud that a festival bearing his name—with the mission of “fostering the arts as a catalyst for social and political change”—marked its 10thyear in the not-biggest-city of Sarasota, Florida. 

This May, the Harvey Milk Festival (HMF) celebrated the milestone anniversary with an art show and photo exhibition showcasing American LGBTQ+ history from the 1890’s to the times of Harvey Milk; a panel discussion with queer professors, historians and authors; an evening of dance, music and spoken word; and an all-day music festival in Downtown Sarasota, featuring 10 emerging musicians. 

Beyond the yearly festival, HMF [a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization] launched a Youth Outreach Program in 2014, with scholarships and internship opportunities open to all LGBTQ+ students in Sarasota County between the ages of 13 and 25.

According to HMF: “The most significant benefit to participants in the HMF Youth Outreach Program is the encouragement and financial support that youth are given to continue their education… Many of our youth have experienced alienation and discrimination from family, friends and schoolmates and lack the essential network of support they need when they are in school. HMF Scholarship and HMF Internship programs offer participating youth opportunities to connect with the LGBTQ+ community through their work, receive feedback from youth, artists, mentors and allies, and further their professional development with support and encouragement from their community.”

Next, HMF hosts the Fabulous Independent Film Festival, Sarasota’s only LGBTQ+ film festival, held at the Burns Court Cinema on September 26-29, 2019.

To learn more information about the Harvey Milk Festival, their diverse cultural programming or to donate to the organization, please visit their website.

And to plan your trip to Sarasota, read IQ’s Gay Travel Guide to Sarasota, Florida.

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Don’t Pride And Drive

Amtrak in New York City. 
Share Fares for Pride
Photo courtesy of Amtrak

This summer, Amtrak is making it easy to leave the car at home and keep your Pride on the rails.

Just in time for World Pride in New York, Amtrak Share Fares invite you and your crew to ride and save together. The deal is valid for up to four passengers on most Northeast Regionals between Washington D.C. and Boston, and on long-distance trains as far away as Savannah, Charleston and Atlanta. Here’s how the pricing works: 

  • Passenger 1—full price
  • Passenger 2—15% off full price
  • Passenger 3—60% off full price
  • Passenger 4—70% off full price

All together you can save up to 35% on four tickets. So invite the throuple next door, pack some cocktails (or purchase them in the bar car) and start your kiki in the caboose. 

*For more information visit Amtrak.com 

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Hilton Hotels NYC Celebrate Pride

Gay Party at the Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar in NYC
Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar at the Conrad Downton Hotel

Hilton Hotels of New York City are keeping you tipsy and sparkly this Pride. 

To celebrate World Pride and the 50thanniversary of Stonewall, the crafty mixologists of Hilton have created Pride-inspired cocktails at nine NYC hotels. From sexy lounges to rooftop bars, follow their cocktail guide to sip, sample and saunter through NYC all month. I prefer my summer parties outdoors, so my favorites are the rooftops of The Bernic Hotel, DoubleTree Times Square, Conrad Downtown, Hilton Fashion District and the Embassy Suites in Midtown Manhattan. 

Hilton New York Hotels create Pride inspired cocktails for World Pride
Hilton World Pride CocktailsPhoto courtesy of Hilton

“No one needs glitter on Gay Pride” …said no one ever. To keep you glitzy, Hilton Hotels of NYC are creating complimentary Glitter Glamour Stations throughout the city on the Sunday of the Pride Parade (June 30). Makeup artists at select hotels will be transforming dazzle-deprived hotel guests and locals from 9am-12pm, with special glitter makeup and applique. For the added shimmer head to the Glitter Glamour Stations in the lobbies of the Hilton Garden Inn New York/Tribeca, Hilton New York Fashion District, Millennium Hilton New York Downtown and New York Hilton Midtown.

Make it a Pride to remember… and remember…and remember …as you discover glitter deep into August. 

Troy Petenbrink "thegaytraveler" at a Hilton Hotels Glitter Glamour Station on Gay Pride/ World Pride in NYC
Troy “@thegaytraveler” feeling sassyPhoto courtesy of Hilton

*Visit Hilton’s own World Pride Guide for more information.

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Filed under Events, Gay/ LGBTQ, Hotels, Travel News, U.S.A.