Tag Archives: Travel

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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Filed under Events, Publications, Travel News, U.S.A.

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.

Gay Guide to Guadalajara

Photo courtesy of Guadalajara CVB

When in 2015, the governments of the Mexican state of Jalisco and its capital Guadalajara began a bid to host the Gay Games in 2022, they unwittingly set the city on a path to LGBTQ-awakening. 

The Gay Games are an LGBTQ-Olympics of sorts, whose mission is to promote equality through sport and culture. They’ve been held every four years since 1982 and have grown into an internationally-popular event that in 2018 brought more than 10,000 participants to Paris.

For Guadalajara, the three-year bid process signified a shift in focus for a government that had not previously engaged the LGBTQ tourism market…

Read the full article published in EDGE

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Filed under Gay/ LGBTQ, Mexico

The Muluk Spa at Hotel Xcaret Mexico

Muluk Spa at Hotel Xcaret

Muluk Spa at Hotel Xcaret

Why merely relax when you can transform? The Muluk Spa at Hotel Xcaret Mexico is your gateway to the ancient traditions and healing practices of the Mayan culture. As you enter the spa’s expansive, open-air lobby you immediately connect with the lush topography of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Excavated from a rocky hillside of this jungle region, the spa opens onto a private river that runs through the entirety of Hotel Xcaret.

For those interested in moving beyond the pampering into the spiritual, plan to visit Muluk Spa on a Wednesday when their Shaman will guide you through the complete Temezcal experience. This traditional Mexican sweat lodge, dating back to Pre-Hispanic times, is not for the faint of heart (quite literally) or those particularly sensitive to heat (your body temperature can exceed 104°F). But it is through the sweat that you cleanse of toxins both physical and emotional… (continue)

Read the full article published on TravelSquire.com

 

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Filed under Caribbean, Hotels, Mexico, Spa

Hamilton in Puerto Rico

The 58th GRAMMY Awards - Photo by Theo Wargo/Wire Image

Do not throw away your shot to see the musical Hamilton… while on a Caribbean vacation…while contributing to rebuilding Puerto Rico.

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, knocking off power to the entire island, devastating homes and landscape, and creating a humanitarian disaster on the U.S. territory.

By August 2018, the death toll had risen to 2,975. (The number of casualties has since increased.)

But while the devastation was vast, Puerto Rico has been steadily rebuilding, reopening and reviving its tourism market. In an effort to continue his support for the island, Lin-Manuel Miranda will once again star in the title role of Hamilton, when the Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning musical plays San Juan from January 12 to 27, 2019.

As expected, general ticket sales (which went on sale November 10) quickly sold-out, but limited tickets are still available through trip packages offered by Discover Puerto Rico. Additionally, premium tickets sold for $5,000 each, will raise money for Miranda’s Flamboyan Arts Fund, dedicated to strengthening arts on the island.

Puerto Rico wants visitors to know they are open for business. Remember the S.O.S. photo that went viral immediately following Hurricane Maria? The plea has evolved into an invitation and a message that we are “Bienvenidos” on the island. Catch a glimpse of the progress in the touching video below: 

 

You can play a role in the rebuilding effort merely by visiting. Be in the room where it happens and let the theatricality of Hamilton affect you while effecting positive change in Puerto Rico.

…And Peggy!

*For additional travel information, visit DiscoverPuertoRico.com.

 

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Filed under Caribbean, U.S.A.

Essentials for the Savvy Traveler

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(A version of this post was originally published in StageandScreen.us)

 

Life moves fast. Traveling IQ is here to help you travel smart, with favorite travel essentials to keep you on track for a smooth, comfortable journey.

NAP STYLISHLY
Rest comfortably while traveling and arrive refreshed at your destination. The Trtl Travel Pillow looks and packs like a scarf but is designed with the internal neck support needed to hold your head in a comfortable sleeping position. It is lightweight, soft on your skin, machine washable and half the size of the old-school U-shaped travel pillow. It’s the travel pillow designed for those who value looking smart and feeling awake.
Price: $29.99 at trtltravel.com

YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES
Life’s special moments are sweeter when shared. And more impressive when captured as stunning high-quality videos and professional grade photographs. The ANAFI is the first flying drone to offer a 4K HDR camera and the capability to tilt vertically with precise digital stabilization. It is also portable, easy to assemble and embedded with Artificial Intelligence and automated flight modes. From high above, the ANAFI will capture your special moments with cinema resolution videos and image rendering, even in dark or overexposed areas. Smile!
Price: $699.99 at parrot.com

BE BEACH READY
A beautiful beach is a terrible thing to waste. But who wants to carry a bulky towel on every adventure? The Dock and Bay Classic Travel Towels use a unique microfiber blend which is super-absorbent, quick-drying and sand-resistant. Most important, the towels are compact, lightweight and won’t collect musty smells. They come in different colors to suit your style and in a handy pouch for easy carry.
Price: $12 at dockandbay.com

A HAT FOR ADVENTURE
Fearless explorers can also maintain beautiful skin. The Alchemi Labs Expedition Hat blocks 99.8% of UVRays and reflects 80% of the sun’s heat waves. The hat’s moisture-wicking sweatband will keep you dry, while the dark olive green and khaki color-motif will keep you looking like an adventurous Indiana Jones…with a really good dermatologist.
Price: $39 at alchemilabs.com

AN EAR FOR MUSIC
It’s a noisy world out there. With the Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones, you can control the soundtrack of your journey. Their unique Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology constantly reacts to outside noise and cancels it with the opposite signal for the clearest sound around. And now the headphones are optimized with access to Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, for full control of your entertainment and daily managing duties.
Price: $349.95 on bose.com or amazon.com

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Filed under Air Travel, Gifts, Publications

Wakanda on Tour

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Photo from Black Panther film (Source: Heroes & Sheroes) 

The badass looks of Black Panther are bringing a blast of Wakanda to Pittsburgh, before embarking on a world tour.

Currently on display at the Heinz History Center, “Heroes & Sheroes: The Art and Influence of Ruth E. Carter in Black Cinema” showcases the costumes, career and inspiration behind Academy Award and Emmy-nominated costume designer, Ruth E. Carter, the woman who helped create the cinematic worlds of Malcolm X, The Butler, Selma, Amistad and Black Panther, among others. “The exhibition is a celebration of film culture, Black culture, African culture, American culture,” said Carter.

The multi-media exhibit uses sketches, stills, behind-the-scenes media and (of course) costumes to celebrate a thirty-year career, while tackling the complicated ways in which underrepresented communities are displayed in film. “I will have to rethink ever dressing a young African-American man in a hoodie in a film ever again,” Carter said after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Heroes & Sheroes” will be on exhibit in Pittsburgh until December 2, before touring to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Paris, with additional cities planned.

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Filed under Africa, Events, U.S.A.

Travel News: September 2018

The world of travel moves fast! This month, IQ curated the highlights for Corporate Traveler.

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 8.25.18 AM

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IQ Heading to Caribbean Pride

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Want to hang on to summer just a little bit longer? Pride Season is not yet over!

This weekend IQ is heading to the powdery-soft beaches of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, for the second-annual (my first) Caribbean Pride. Held at the luxury, adults-only, all-inclusive CHIC Punta Cana over seven days packed with pool parties, beach parties, foam parties (yes, that’s still a thing apparently) and whatever kind of party you can imagine.

There will also be shows from beloved Toronto queen, Miss Conception, culinary classes, cocktail samplings and even a broad range of fitness activities for those who… do fitness activities while on an all-inclusive gay vacation.

Follow @travelingiq on Instagram to share in the festivities.

And visit CaribbeanPride.com for photos, event schedule and booking info.

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Filed under Caribbean, Events, Gay/ LGBTQ, Hotels

Samana, Dominican Republic

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Aerial view of Los Haitises National Park in Samana, Dominican Republic

As your plane descends toward the Samana airport, you’ll see postcard-perfect views of a natural paradise: rolling hills of lush, green forests pressed against countless kilometres of pristine beaches. The Samana Peninsula, which juts from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, is about a four-hour direct flight from Toronto or Montreal, but a worlds-away tropical escape for the entire family.

Partly because of its geographical positioning, Samana has retained a unique identity from its resort-packed sister cities. Up until the Samana Highway was finished in 2009, the five-hour drive from Santo Domingo kept the province isolated even from other Dominicans. Now a 2½ hour drive from its capital and with increasing flight access to Canada, Samana is ready to welcome tourism to its unique topography and cultural history. Pack your swimsuits in the suitcase and your curiosity in the carry-on, and prepare for a combination of adventure and relaxation…

Click here to read the full article published in Family Fun Canada

(Photo Credit: Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism)

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Filed under Canada, Caribbean, Hotels, Publications