How to Stay Safe While Traveling – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 1st, 2018

How to Stay Safe While Traveling - The Nomadic Boys

During our extensive travels around the world as a gay couple, we’ve enjoyed a whole array of experiences, mostly positive, but a few less so. Whether induced by homophobia such as experiencing life under the anti-gay laws in India or going back in the closet in Russia, we’ve certainly learnt a great deal about the best ways to stay safe while travelling.

We’ve put together our 10 best tips for how to stay safe while travelling, which apply to all travellers whether straight or gay:

Check Official Government Advice

Before doing anything, check the official government advice. This is the starting point for staying safe while travelling. Is it politically stable and secure? Are there are any areas to avoid? Are you at a higher risk of going because you’re gay? Any customs you need to be aware of? Do you need to carry your ID with you at all times (like in Russia), or better locked away in your hotel safe? How high is the risk of terrorist activity? And more…

Based on all these factors, you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to visit. We highly recommend the UK Foreign Office Travel Advice.

For us, travelling as a gay couple, we are at a higher risk in a large number of countries where being openly gay is either a punishable crime, or such a taboo in society that it could lead to trouble. We’ve put together a comprehensive summary of which countries are the most gay friendly and also recommend checking the US Department of State’s LGBTQI Travel Information for excellent practical advice.

If you do choose to visit countries where being openly gay is a punishable crime, we highly advise taking extra precautions in public, for example, avoiding public displays of affection and setting your social media networks to private.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Lyon, France – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 27th, 2018

Gay Lyon, France - The Nomadic Boys

We love Lyon because it has a mix of everything. As well as a fun gay scene, it is also famous for being the foodie capital of France and for having many UNESCO listed buildings.

The majority of the gay nightlife of Lyon is located in the Presqu’île. This is the area where the two rivers, the Rhône and Saône meet, forming an island-like peninsula. The southern section of the Presqu’île is the confluence point of the 2 rivers, and is more residential. The northern end of the Presqu’île is where the majority of the gay scene is, particularly between Place des Terreaux and Cordeliers. In this area, it is not uncommon to see same sex couples walking the streets holding hands.

Following our many trips to France’s gastronomical capital, we’ve put together our gay guide to Lyon including the best bars, clubs, cruising clubs, saunas, events and places to stay.

Gay Bars in Lyon

Regardless of the season, the gay bars of Lyon are always a lot of fun, particularly as there is a large student population in the city. In the summer, the gay crowds spill into the streets outside. In the winter months, it’s super cozy with everyone buried inside the bars, clutching a cup of mulled wine. These are some of our favourite gay bars in Lyon:

La Ruche: one of the staple gay bars of Lyon. We love coming here for a few drinks to start the night, especially in the terrace area. La Ruche is located at 22 rue Gentil, 69002 and is open everyday from 5pm to late.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Southeastern France Gay Travel Resources

 

Getting From Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to City Center – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 25th, 2018

Getting From Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to City Center - The Nomadic Boys

Amsterdam Schiphol is the city’s main airport and one of the busiest airports in the world. It is located around 17km (10.5 miles) southwest from Amsterdam’s main train station (“Amsterdam Centraal“). Most of the European budget airlines fly here, so if you’re based in Europe you can get some pretty cheap flights to Amsterdam for a city break.

The main way to reach Amsterdam centre from the airport is via the Airport Express Bus 397 or the regional train to Amsterdam Centraal. We set out the various options below in detail, but strongly advise you to consider getting an Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket prior to your visit. This card gives you unlimited travel on all the city’s public transport networks operated by the Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB), and also has the option to add on the Airport Express Bus return journey to/from the airport.

The Amsterdam Public Transport Card

Amsterdam’s public transport is impressive with a comprehensive network of buses, metro, trams and ferries. But this makes the ticketing system rather complicated and confusing, particularly for first time visitors. When buying your ticket at the ticket machines, there are so many options, it can be quite overwhelming! In addition, queues for the machines can get quite long, particularly during rush hour. This not only wastes time, but can be quite stressful.

To overcome this, we use the Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket, which gives you unlimited travel across all GVB operated services on the metro, trams, buses and ferries. Needless to say, we found this to be a godsend for our trip. It not only saved us a lot of unnecessary stress and time, but also money. Prices start from €7.50 for a 1 day ticket, plus €10 for the Airport Express Bus return ticket add on. By comparison, a one way ticket on the public transport costs €3, so after 3 journeys alone in one day, you’ve already paid off the cost of purchasing the Amsterdam Public Transport Ticket.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Netherlands Gay Travel Resources

 

Getting From Tegel Airport to Berlin’s City Center – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 20th, 2018

Getting From Tegel Airport to Berlin City Center

Berlin Tegel “Otto Lilienthal” Airport (TXL) is one of the two international airports of Berlin. It is located in Tegel, around 5 miles (8 km) northwest from central Berlin.

The other main airport in Berlin is Schönefeld, which we wrote a separate guide for in our how to get from Schönefeld airport to central Berlin. Note that from around 2020(ish!) the new Brandenburg airport will finally open, and as a result Tegel may close, but we wait to see…

The two most common ways to get from Berlin Tegel airport to downtown Berlin is either via express bus or taxi. We set this out below in detail based on our personal experience when we visited to discover the gay scene of Berlin.

Pro-tip: get The Berlin Transport card!

First off, if you’re going to be spending several days in Berlin and using the public transport system (Metro/bus/train), we highly recommend investing in the Berlin Welcome card, which gives you unlimited travel for a set period of time depending on which you choose – 48 hours, 72 hours or 4/5/6 days.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Germany Gay Travel Resources

 

Renting Pocket Wifi in Japan – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , October 1st, 2018

Pocket Wifi

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, renting a pocket WiFi is a great way to stay connected during your travels without incurring roaming charges or having to buy a new SIM card. Whilst it is true public WiFi hot spots have become more available over the past few years, you’ll quickly realise it won’t be enough to keep you connected on the road, hence the need to invest in a pocket WiFi.

This small portable WiFi device has completely changed the way people travel. Whereas before, you would most likely need to buy several prepaid SIM cards for every single traveller in your group, with one standalone pocket WiFi you can instead connect multiple devices at once, with unlimited internet access. It’s also light, easy to transport, and fits comfortably in your pocket.

During our extensive travels in Japan, we tested renting a pocket WiFi with several providers and found it to be an essential item to add to any travel shopping list. However, there are so many different options to choose from that it can be quite overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. We therefore put together this comprehensive guide to renting a pocket WiFi in Japan with plenty of guidance and clarity to help you decide which one you should pick.

What is pocket WiFi?

Pocket WiFi is a small portable device with a SIM card inside which transforms 3G and 4G signals into a private and secure WiFi connection. It’s perfect for tablet, smartphone and laptop users who want to stay connected with high speed wireless internet whilst travelling.

For example, you’re walking the streets of Tokyo, and want to find a good restaurant to sample some traditional Japanese foods. A simple search on TripAdvisor or Google Maps will quickly pinpoint the best restaurants nearby with directions on how to get there.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

The Ten Most Gay Friendly Countries in the World – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , September 27th, 2018

Gay Friendly Countries

This is our list of the top 10 most gay friendly countries in the world. We based our research on the following 4 studies and combined this with our personal experience of having travelled to over 100 countries as a gay couple:

  • Wikipedia: list of countries that have legalised gay marriage
  • Spartacus: Gay Travel Index 2018 of the most gay friendly countries in the world
  • ILGA Rainbow Europe: 2018 survey of the most gay friendly countries in Europe
  • PewGlobal: 2013 study of 37 countries asking “should society accept homosexuality?”

To be clear, we are looking at countries overall, not cities or regions. So for example, whilst the US has some of the gayest destinations in the world (San Francisco, the Keys, Fire Island etc) it also has so much extreme homophobia, which makes it difficult to rank it in our top 10.

In our opinion, gay marriage for us is the first and most important marker to measure how gay friendly a country is because we think that a government making the proactive stance to go from having civil unions to the symbolic step of saying “we’re all equal and we’re going to call it marriage” is a big deal! The only exception we made for this is Thailand – a destination we’ve always felt extremely welcome in as a gay couple, despite it not having equal marriage laws.

Here are our top 10 gay friendliest countries in the world:

1. CANADA

There is a good reason why Spartacus places Canada as the number #1 gay friendly country in the world. In 2005, Canada became the 4th country to legalise gay marriage (after Holland, Belgium and Spain). It also scored high on the PewGlobal study. And from our experience, unlike any other country we’ve visited, Canada goes over and above to welcome gay travellers.

Where else in the world do you see the (straight white male) leader of a country leading a gay pride parade waving a transgender flag and crying out “Happy Pride”? We saw Justin Trudeau do this in person at the Fierte gay pride in Montreal. It made our hairs stand on end to see this.

Canada is also the only country we know that hosts its own national Pride event, called “Canada Pride”. The first one took place in Montreal in 2017. The next one will be in Winnipeg in 2020. Speaking of Prides, Toronto Pride is one of the largest in the world, attracting almost 1.5 million. Finally, every main city in Canada has a thriving gay scene, complete with rainbow crossings and numerous gay events taking place throughout the year. We loved the gay scene of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in particular. Read more in our interview with Barry from Toronto about gay life in Canada.

Oh Canada Canada Canada, we applaud and salut you, and wave our big giant Nomadic Boys rainbow flag in your honour!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Five Gay Travel Apps You Need Now – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , September 7th, 2018

Five Gay Travel Apps You Need Now - The Nomadic Boys

We rely more and more on our phones and tablets during our travels than ever before. So much so, each year we love to put together our favourite new app discoveries, such as our 9 favourite gay travel apps and our 5 awesome apps for gay travellers.

So in true Nomadic Boys tradition, here are our latest 5 new gay travel app discoveries. Note that although these are not necessarily brand new apps, nor are they gay specific, they are apps that we’ve recently stumbled on, absolutely love, and have completely embellished our travels in one way or other.

AccuWeather

What’s wrong with the iPhone weather app? It’s quite unreliable and doesn’t always find the local place you’re based. We’ve had this problem on numerous occasions, so we spent a lot of time searching for an alternative weather app.

The best we found is AccuWeather, which is comprehensive, user friendly, lists multiple places, and of course reliable. It also gives a detailed breakdown by hour and day.

Drone camera users like us will also appreciate the wind speed info given by AccuWeather so you know if it’s safe to fly.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Montreal’s Gay Village: The Hilights – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , August 31st, 2018

Montreal's Gay Village - The Nomadic Boys

Montreal is one of our favourite cities we’ve visited during our travels, especially during the summer months.

We came here during the Fierte Montreal gay pride and completely fell in love with the gay village. There are always many events going on Montreal not to mention many different foods to try.

One of our favourite gay travel bloggers, Barry from Toronto told us about his 5 favourite highlights from Montreal’s gay village following his recent visit during the gay pride:

Where to take the best selfies

I love La Graine Brûlée because it is super colourful and quirky. Check out the leopard printed seats, mini ferries wheel, graffiti covered cubby holes and small nooks that make it look like a play room with old Nintendo games. This unique cafe is located on the west side of the Montreal gay village right by the Berri-UQAM metro station. For me, this is THE place to take a selfie to kick off a great night out in the Montreal gay village.

I also love taking selfies by the rainbow crossings that mark the entrance of the gay village. Try to get the background ball installation in your picture, which is rainbow coloured during Pride.

Montreal also has some of the best street art murals, which are perfect backgrounds for your Instagram gallery.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Montreal Gay Travel Resources

Where to Have a Gay Wedding in Italy -The Nomadic Boys

Author: , August 24th, 2018

Since our engagement in Cartagena in Colombia, we’ve been researching wedding venues and ideas for destinations for our own ceremony. We attended our friends’ gay wedding ceremony in Gallipoli in South Italy and completely fell in love, feeling totally inspired at the same time.

Gay Wedding in Italy

Although Italy remains one of Western Europe’s more conservative countries with regards to LGBTQ rights and still has a ban in place for same sex marriages, steps are slowly being taken in the right direction. In particular, civil unions for same sex couples (called “unioni Civili” in Italian) were introduced in June 2016. This has spiked interest in Italy as a destination wedding for LGBTQ couples.

Following on from our travels in Italy and researching the best places for our own wedding, we’ve put together our 5 best destinations for a gay wedding in Italy:

Gorgeous Gallipoli in Puglia
Gallipoli is the main gay hotspot in the Puglia region of Italy. Over the years it’s grown massively with gay tourists, due to its mix of gay friendly beaches and fun gay events. This has made it ideal for gay wedding destination in Italy.

We attended our friends’ Unioni Civili at Villa dei Fiori Eventi, located just outside of Gallipoli main town and absolutely loved it. The registrar from the town hall attended to officiate the ceremony, which was held outdoors. Everything was spot on, from the choice of music, decor, food and music. Definitely one to consider, especially as Puglia has so much to offer gay travellers for a honeymoon. Also check out our 5 best gay friendly hotels in Puglia for more inspiration.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Italy Gay Travel Resources

Gay Puglia – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , August 6th, 2018

Gay Puglia - The Nomadic Boys

Our gaydar went absolutely crazy on the beaches in Puglia. Everywhere we looked, these metrosexual studs were posing and just looking absolutely gorgeous…Italian men sure know how to take care of themselves!

Puglia is located in the southeastern region of Italy – the heel of the country’s boot. It’s a popular holiday retreat and a prime hotspot for gay travellers, particularly Gallipoli. We came here to attend our first gay wedding, so took this as an opportunity to make it a road trip around the region to discover what gay Puglia has to offer.

Although Italy is a conservative country with regards to LGBTQ rights, over the years, Puglia has become a bohemian playground for gay travellers. There are a handful of gay beaches across the region, as well as many gay hangouts in the main cities, particularly Gallipoli.

Obviously don’t come here expecting to find Mykonos/Ibiza style Circuit beach parties. Instead there’s a mix of remote beautiful beaches, delicious food, plenty of culture and of course, bronzed Adonises everywhere.

We focused on the sub region of Puglia called Salento, which is the Southern part. Salento stretches from Tarranto on the western side and Brindisi on the east, all the way to the coastal tip. For us we found the best gay beaches and gay hangouts in Salento, particularly around Gallipoli and Tarranto.

One tip for gay travellers to Puglia is to rent a car to get the most out of it. Public transport is very limited, and taxis are expensive. We flew into Bari airport and picked up our car here from Goldcar, who we recommend for the most cost effective prices.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Puglia Gay Travel Resources