“I want people to see the world. I tell them, don’t be afraid of traveling,” says Jason Couvillion. As the co-owner of vacation specialists Alternative Luxury Travel, an LGBT-oriented travel company based in Los Angeles, he knows how to put together a fantastic getaway. Couvillion has used his connections and many tricks to orient gay travelers, making a career of whipping up something memorable for clients.
Couvillion knows where most single gays want to go—Rio, Sydney, Madrid and New York, all gay-friendly cities with renowned nightlife—but there are many places they overlook, whether it’s Turkey or Argentina. The reasons are understandable: there are pockets of the world, a gay person could infer, that aren’t accepting. But that’s not entirely true.
“If you have the right guide, any place is open. You have to understand and respect the culture. Common sense, too, gets you far,” says Couvillion. Researching your destination before landing is key. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, or IGTLA, offers guides and tips for every location you can imagine. The website has a map, open with possibilities, and simply asks, “Where would you like to go?”