We met Tom years ago, and he and Zoom have long been looking for the perfect trip for him to join. The timing of our Vietnam and Cambodia tour aligned perfectly for him and his husband Sal, and we finally got to show them what makes a Zoom Vacations tour so special. Tom shared his thoughts on group travel and Vietnam and Cambodia in a recent interview.
Zoom: What made you decide to take this trip with Zoom Vacations?
Tom: I’ve always been reluctant to go on a trip with a tour group thinking I’m a smart and savvy traveler and can figure things out by myself. I also didn’t want to be trapped with a group of folks with whom I didn’t know. But a recent trip to Cuba with a different group opened my eyes to the benefits of organized group travel and so when I got an email advertising a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, it was a bit of a no-brainer for us to sign up.
Zoom: What was your highlight(s)?
Tom: The boat trip in Halong Bay was incredible. Totally exceeded expectations and it’s the kind of thing I would’ve never figured out on my own nor booked such perfect accommodations. I was so sad to disembark....
Zoom: What would you tell people contemplating a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia?
Tom: Neither country will be what you expect. Vietnam is booming and has a perfect blend of old and modern. There is so much to see and do there! And expect to learn and be exposed to things that will surprise you. I’m so happy that this was the first trip we picked with Zoom.
Zoom: We went to quite a few places. Are there any that you would skip?
Tom: That’s an interesting question.... Everything felt valuable, interesting, and educational in its own way (even the spa stay in DaNang given that it was the base to explore Hoi An, which I loved). That said, the day at the Imperial Palace in Hue was a long day of travel and I might’ve been ok to skip that leg.
Zoom: Did you like the food, and how would you describe it?
Tom: The food was amazing! I realize that the Vietnamese/Cambodian food we get in the States simply doesn’t compare with the real deal. I went into the trip not a huge fan of southeast Asian cuisine but left loving it.
Zoom: Was there a benefit to going with a gay group?
Tom: Absolutely. Having it be gay was an instant, common bond between strangers that turned us all pretty quickly into friends. It was easy to be yourself and trade the usual inside, gay-themed jokes without having to worry about it or censor yourself.
Zoom: You went on this tour with your husband. Were you able to get alone time with him on the trip as well?
Tom: Yes, definitely. It was wonderful to be with ourselves when we wanted to and then to be with others, as well. My husband also likes his alone time and was happy to skip various events so I was grateful to have a great group of guys to hang with, too. It was a great balance.
Zoom: Do you feel like you made new friends on the trip that you will keep in touch with?
Tom: Yes. In fact, the fellas from Dallas will be coming to our place in New Orleans in May and it’ll be fun to see them again! I’m also Facebook friends with all of the other guys on the trip.
Zoom: Was there anything that surprise you about these destinations?
Tom: I expected the unexpected and I certainly got that. But I suppose the modernity of Vietnam was surprising to see and I loved seeing the country develop so quickly given the terrible war.
Zoom: Did you enjoy the countries as much as you hoped you would?
Tom: Oh, yes. Even more so, really. They exceeded my expectations.
Zoom: Where would you like to go next with Zoom vacations?
Tom: We’re already talking about that! I think the Norwegian trip is a possibility.
Zoom: Anything else you would like to add?
Tom: This trip confirmed for us that group travel is a super nice way to travel. I never bought a guide book. I just showed up and magic happened.