Welcome to the 2013 Out Traveler Awards. We have 18 categories, with questions and nominees chosen by editors at Out Traveler, Out, and The Advocate. We'll pose a category each day this month and ask that our worldly readers lend us their opinions. That's right, the readers choose the winners. Question number one is at the bottom of this page; come back every weekday, until December 4, for a new category. Polls close around December 11, with winners announced the week of December 16. Get voting, travelers!
Top Global Destination (country):
Which county offers LGBT travelers the best combination of access, entertainment, hospitality, acceptance, and affordability?
From London to Manchester, the U.K. offers thousands of years of history, a vibrant theater scene, a progressively accepting culture, and an extreme ease of access both into and within Britain itself. It’s no coincidence that the U.K. hosts some of the largest Pride celebrations on the planet, and acts as a gateway for travel into Europe.
Probably one of the most misunderstood destinations, this southeast Asian destination is gaining popularity for its tropical weather, beautiful coastline, rich history, and emerging LGBT scene, especially in the urban areas. The cheap cost of living helps negate the cost of travel to Asia, which makes Vietnam a prime destination for those looking for an adventure, not just a vacation.
The charming, vibrant, and sexy secret of South America offers the unexpected. Though rural areas can still be conservative, urban centers like Buenos Aires cater to LGBT travelers who take advantage of the favorable exchange rate. Enjoy the Latin culture and cuisine by day and non-stop dancing at night. The luscious rainforests and beautiful waterfalls give reason to abandon the city for a day trip.
Undeservingly settled in the travelers’ shadow of Australia, New Zealand is a diverse set of Islands that pride itself on preserving its vast and natural beauty. A prime destination for the traveler not seeking to settle down in an urban environment, New Zealand offer everything from hot water beaches to breathtaking vineyards. Even if you’re not the best photographer, the scenery in N.Z. will do most of the work for you.
Open-minded and welcoming, Sweden is the center of Scandinavia. A great city best explored on foot, Stockholm is a relaxing getaway that caters more to the café culture than the clubbing lifestyle. But the capital city’s architecture and history aren’t the only draws; the rest of the vibrant country offers a host of activities from wildlife safaris to winter ski trips. Sweden is a country known for its progressive LGBT views and legislation, and its fusion of art, culture, and cuisine make it a top draw for any traveler.
One of the world’s most popular gay destinations, Spain not only offers an enticing climate, but most everything else one can want. While Madrid and Barcelona provide a plethora of rich art, architecture, and insatiable Spanish cuisine, the beaches of Sitges and Ibiza are not too far away. With a never-ending array of festivals, Spain can be as relaxing or exhausting as desired. Connected by the most extensive high-speed rail system in Europe, it’s easy not to spend your stay in one spot. And rightfully so. Spaniards are known for their acceptance, making Spain the gay hot spot of southern Europe.
Most Amazing U.S. Destination (Large City)
This city offers a a feeling that can't be found anywhere else on Earth.
Whether on a budget or on a roll, Las Vegas can be as relaxing or extravagant as you want it to be. Most every major airport in the U.S. offers a direct flight to this adult playground, that itself offers unrivaled shopping, dining, entertainment, and, of course, gaming. The only thing Vegas can’t offer is a bit of reality. That’s a pill you swallow at work the day after you get home.
Endless entertainment and nonstop nightlife aren’t all that Miami has to offer. Home to one of the world’s favorite beaches, it’s also the place for dining, clubbing, and shopping. The city comes with a price, but it also comes with a large gay community and a growing cultural scene.
There are few cities that guarantee a great time, but New Orleans might be at the top of that list. And not just for it’s Southern Decadence festival and the world-famous Mardi Gras. If you’re looking for culture, music, history, and enough fellow LGBTs to wet your whistle, head to the Big Easy.
New York City doesn’t sleep and you wouldn't either if you were the center of the universe. From Central Park to SoHo, Times Square to Brooklyn, the city has countless neighborhoods to explore and fall in love with. If you're a theater buff, you're in the right place, and Hell's Kitchen is the queer neighborhood of the moment, with a enviable restaurant scene.
Combining big city sophistication with a smaller town's friendliness and manageability, Portland offers more than a progressive attitude and a great cup of coffee. It’s no wonder book stores still thrive in the city that slows life down long enough to enjoy the finer things. And in Portland, those finer things are usually custom made right where you find them. From the coffee to the beer to boots, Portland knows how to live.
The nation’s most accepting city is the place for beauty everywhere you look; be it the architecture or the people. It's eminent walkability makes it easy to leave a watch and a map behind and just stroll. Every neighborhood offers something different, and it never gets old seeing a cable car whizzing by or a techie sending an email on his glasses. If you want character, you got it.