1. Are gay honeymoons different from heterosexual ones?
I don't think so. Gay men and women have been traveling for decades and are some of the most thoughtful and educated travelers. So they may be more adventurous, but all travelers are looking for unique and authentic experiences.
2. What tips do you have for gay readers planning a honeymoon?
Don't think you have to feel pressure to plan the trip for immediately following the wedding; it should work in your schedule and not be rushed or cause unneeded stress. A honeymoon should be an adventure. Think of it as bucket-list travel, not a throwaway vacation. I hope people will use it as an excuse to take that always-dreamed-for trip, whether that's Easter Island (very gay-friendly) or Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu or hiking the Rockies.
3. What are the top gay-friendly honeymoon locations in the US?
I think these are fairly similar to any honeymoon destination and depend on the couple, whether they want fun in the sun or a more remote, romantic locale. I think Puerto Rico is a good domestic destination, but rather than San Juan, instead the W Resort Vieques or the St. Regis Bahia Resort are both extremely luxurious.
I also recommend the Hyatt in Key West or Canyon Ranch in Arizona. Hawaii remains one of the top destinations, but I think people wanting a more remote/romantic experience should look toward the Big Island rather than typical locales popular with most tourists.
4. What are the top gay-friendly honeymoon locations outside the US?
Europe remains the No. 1 destination for all travelers and honeymoons. France and Italy never go out of style. Barcelona and Greek Islands such as Mykonos or Santorini are also top choices (for good reason). But I think people should go there for a great trip anyway and not save it for a honeymoon.
I'm a big fan of the adults-only Oasis Sens in Cancun or its sister property in Tulum. The Mayan Riviera and the Yucatan are among the most romantic nearby destinations for US travelers that are often overlooked and have really grown up. In the Caribbean, Curacao is the best place for a honeymoon.
The adventure-by-day, luxury-by-night concept is a great way to bond, doing activities and creating memories that will last forever while also having some pampering. So I think Ka'ana in Belize should be on everyone's list: It is a beautiful location and offers opportunities for exploring gorgeous caves, Mayan pyramids and great cuisine. Tel Aviv is a top destination for gay travelers in general and can offer a great honeymoon opportunity since it includes great beaches, great food, and amazing cultural opportunities, and adventure excursions.
6. Are there specialty tour operators who specialize in arranging tours for gay couples that you recommend?
One of my favorite that I hope people will experience is Anazure. It's an offshoot of Backpacker Concierge and curates authentic adventurous excursions all over the world. I like founder Eric Monkaba's attitude about travel and what people are looking for — once-in-a-lifetime experiences that aren't pre-packaged or antiseptic.
7. What’s your surefire way of knowing that a place is gay-friendly?
TAG-approved properties can be a start. They will not ask awkward questions about two men or women wanting a single bed and won't have gender-specific signifiers on sign-in forms, etc. And TripAdvisor has become the most powerful force for all travelers (although at times it should be taken with a grain of salt and treated with skepticism).
But I think that can be a complicated and loaded question. Although few people would think of most African nations as "gay-friendly," that doesn't mean LGBT travelers don't want to experience a safari or visit a destination. Currently South Africa is probably the only country on the continent where most gay travelers truly feel safe — but anything can happen anywhere to anyone at anytime. That's just life.
As long as travelers of any persuasion are informed and careful, they can and should experience a destination. Just travel smart and not feel entitled. The U.S. Department of State has recently begun offering tips for LGBT travelers. It's a personal decision how one spends his or her money and deciding what sorts of governments and populations are receiving it. Remember that it's rarely the government in power that is going to benefit, it's the people in the service industry at the destination.
8. Are there specific places that gay men ought to avoid, e.g. countries with anti-homosexuality laws?
Again, many African countries are dangerous and are easily identified as so. Many people are boycotting Russia at the moment. I think people should be very careful about visiting and hesitant for good reason since Putin's apparent campaign against gays. Much of the Middle East is often written off, but as I said, Israel is one of the most gay-friendly places to visit anywhere, let alone the region.
9. What can you/should you do if you encounter homophobic treatment during the planning stage?
Vote with your dollars. If you don't like the treatment, don't give someone your money. File a complaint. Most properties, destinations, and travel companies survive on their TripAdvisor ratings and reviews. If they get enough negative ones they will either change their policies or be out of business.
10. How do you feel about honeymooning in a spot in the company of lesbians?
Some people enjoy a mixed crowd. A place like Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, for example, prides itself on a mixture of ages, gay, lesbian, and straight. Some people want to be surrounded by likeminded (or look-alike) people. Some people want to be free of any children. Some LGBT travelers want to bring their children along to enjoy their honeymoon with them. It's all personal preference, and there is a destination for every one.
Jerry Portwood is the executive editor of Out, the world's gay fashion and lifestyle magazine. He lived in Okinawa, Japan as a teenager and later lived with his partner in Barcelona, Spain and has traveled extensively. He lives in New York City with his partner of 12 years and has yet to decide if they will get legally wed.