gay travel

Featured Traveler: Jeff, from LA

We appreciated having Jeff on the trip you so much. He was so much fun, and always joyful, and his joy and light-heartedness spread to everyone. We especially appreciated his love and appreciation for everyone who had a roll in his vacation. He has the ability to put a smile on the face of all he encounters, and we look forward to having him on another Zoom Vacation.

Zoom: We know you have been following Zoom Vacations for a while. What drew you to Zoom, and what drew you to this particular trip?

Jeff: I have been following Zoom for well over two years and have done many of the trips offered but have not done the safari. So we started planning this and booked it two years ago. I have done mainly cruises and wanted to do a small gay escorted trip, especially one so far from home.

Zoom: Did the trip meet your expectations?

Jeff: Yes. 100% I had a really great time. The animals and the stars make the trip life-changing.

Zoom: How were the accommodations throughout?

Jeff: First class and could not have been finer. The food was amazing and the staff was so accommodating and friendly. They really went all out for our group and we could tell that they enjoy the Zoom clients.

Zoom: What were some of your highlights?

Jeff: Seeing all the wild animals in their habitat is truly an amazing sight. We were lucky to see all the animals we were hoping to see, and were truly lucky in this sense. Also, seeing the Milky Way and the stars from the southern hemisphere was truly breathtaking. I have never seen anything like that before.

Zoom: Did you learn anything new on the trip?

Jeff: You have to reflect on your place in the universe when you gaze upon the Milky Way. Also seeing the mother monkey cradle her baby and the young elephant nurse from her mother made me realize how closely we all really are connected.

Zoom: How was it, traveling as part of a gay group? Did you feel that we were accepted?

Jeff: Yes, we were accepted. I was told at every venue how the staff prefers our groups to the others since we laugh so much and are happy and fun. And we were. No issues whatsoever in that regard.

Zoom: You came with a couple of friends. Did you have enough time with them, as well as make new friends?

Jeff: Yes, my friends and I spent time together, and I had alone time which is important. I got to connect with the other guys as well, so that was really an important part of the trip and I plan on seeing some of the guys I met on the trip again as well. So we, Rob and Allen will see JC again, and you Bryan as well too.

Zoom: Do you have any advice for someone thinking about a trip to this part of the world?

Jeff: Go, go, go. The Galapagos, Antarctica, and Africa are so amazing because not only is the beauty of the environment so spectacular, but the wildlife in their own environment, never molested by man but it allows you to approach within feet. It is truly an awesome experience.

Featured Travelers: Stephen and Aaron, from Rocklin, CA

Featured Travelers: Stephen and Aaron, from Rocklin, CA

Stephen and Aaron left their busy lives in Rocklin, including parenting their twin three-year-olds for a much-needed vacation to Israel with Zoom Vacations. These two were always open for anything, and truly immersed themselves in the local culture. Stephen made some time to talk with us a bit about their experience on Zoom Israel.

Featured Traveler: Alexis, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

We always say that the more mixed our trips are, the better. So, when Alexis joined our China trip, we were excited for the additional diversity, and even more thrilled because she is such a wonderful person to travel with. Alexis spoke with us about her recent trip with Zoom Vacations to China!

Zoom: How did you learn about Zoom Vacations?

Alexis: It was between Christmas and New Years break and I was thinking about how as of January 1st my vacation gets replenished.  I wanted to start thinking about where I wanted to go in 2019.  I wanted to do something a little more outside of my comfort zone.  In the beginning of  2018, I had travelled to multiple countries in Europe and then in the fall did an Iceland trip so I really wanted to  do something in Asia next.  I did an internet search for gay friendly tour companies since I didn't want to do my first Asian trip on my own.  Zoom was one of the first companies that popped up in my search.  I loved the trips that Zoom had on their list.  So many of the countries that were listed on the website I was interested in but they were more exotic so harder to necessarily plan yourself.  I am totally comfortable planning my own stuff for places like Europe, Canada, etc but I wanted more help with something like China.

I sent Zoom an email and Joel actually called me the next day which was unexpected.  He seemed really nice and welcoming on the phone and encouraged me to come even though I would likely be the only lesbian on the trip.  I was pretty much sold after that conversation.


Zoom: You booked the trip solo.  Do you like traveling alone?

Alexis: This was my first really big trip alone.  I have done smaller trips where I was going somewhere in the United States to visit a friend and maybe I would take a couple days to do something myself.  I admit I didn't really feel alone since we had a small tour group.  

Zoom: You were also the only woman with a group of gay men.  Did you feel included and comfortable?

Alexis: I felt very comfortable.  I am in the technology industry so I am used to being the only woman in a group of men.  I was really just looking to be around people that I felt like I could be myself with and not feel like I was being judged or had to watch what I say.  I also wanted to feel safe.  With that being said, I found that with Zoom.  All the men on the trip were super friendly and welcoming.  I feel like I met some people I hope to hang out with again and even hope to travel with again.  It actually exceeded my expectations because I wasn't sure how it was going to be.  Everyone always included me and I feel like at times even went out of their way to make me feel wanted on the trip and comfortable. 

Zoom: Did you feel a benefit to traveling alone with a group tour?

Alexis: Yes definitely.  It allowed me to have people to do things with.  I went to some shows with a person on the tour that was interested in seeing Opera and Chinese acrobatics.  I went out to a bar with another person on the trip in Shanghai.  It was fun doing happy hours, lunches, and dinners.  When I came down for breakfast, many times I ate with some of the other people on the trip.  I never had to think about what we were going to do because Zoom did that hard work for me!

Zoom: What did you enjoy about traveling with a group?

Alexis: I enjoyed all the activities we did.  I always had someone to go to if I had questions.  I met a lot of great people on the trip.  Everything about traveling with the group exceeded my expectations.

Zoom: What was your initial interest in Zoom China?

Alexis: I have been interested in China for a while.  I am very interested in technology which is also something I do as a career.  I have been following China's economy and their government mandate for being a country that will lead the way in Artificial Intelligence.  They are also trying to educate a mass amount of computer science graduates.  I also knew they blocked a lot of American tech companies and created their own replicas like Alibaba and Baidu which I have been following closely for awhile.  I find that stuff fascinating and wanted to understand more.  I also was interested in some of their historical aspects like the Great Wall of China (its been on my bucket list) and the Terracotta Warriors.

Zoom: What did you think about Zoom China and was there a way in which traveling with Zoom accentuated your China experience?

Alexis: We had amazing local tour guides in every city we visited.  With such a small amount of people on the trip, you could ask so many questions and really learn about China.  Zoom also figures everything out and they had special little touches along the way that makes the trip special.  I also was impressed that Zoom gave us a gift in every city that we could take home as a memory.

Zoom: What did you think of the hotels and sites and sights in China?

Alexis: I was most excited to see the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors.  These two things blew me away.  I can't even explain the feeling I had on top of the Great Wall of China.  It was super amazing and anyone that has the opportunity to go should do it.  I also really enjoyed the boat ride on the Li River which was an unexpected highlight on the trip.

Zoom: What was your favorite city in China? What did you like about it?

Alexis: Shanghai without a doubt.  It was a bustling international city.  I loved the Bund.  The lights were super awesome.  I really enjoyed going to the hidden farmers market as well.  I got some of my most favorite art there.

Zoom: What was your favorite activity in China that Zoom Vacations organized?

Alexis: I have 2 favorites!  One was drinking champagne on top of the Great Wall of China.  I don't know how Zoom pulled that off but it put the whole experience over the top.  That was just a great day!

My other favorite activity was the boat down the Li River.  The scenery was amazing.  I think that was my most fun day on the trip.  We did so many things that day and got a lot more time outside in nature which was beautiful.

Zoom: Would you travel with Zoom Vacations again?  And if so where?

Alexis: Yes! I really want to go on the India trip.  I have looked at the list and there are quite a few trips I would take but India is on the top of my list.

Zoom: Was traveling through China comfortable?

Alexis: It was very comfortable.  The hotels we stayed at were all great.  I always had someone to ask questions to or help get tickets to something.   It made for a very comfortable trip.

Zoom: Do you feel that Zoom China covered all the bases for a first time traveler to China?

Alexis: Yes I saw all the things that I wanted to see in China.  I felt like I saw all the main sites.  It was a whirlwind trip that I will always cherish.  I can't believe all the stuff I did on the trip.  I have talked to a few people back home about it extensively and as I go through the things I learned and did, it seems like I did an endless amount of stuff.  It was definitely an incredible experience that I will never forget.

Featured Traveler: Tom, from San Francisco

Featured Traveler: Tom, from San Francisco

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.

Featured Traveler: Daniel, from Portland, Oregon

If Daniel looks familiar to you, it may be because this is neither his first Zoom Vacation, nor his first time being our featured traveler. One of the most friendly, charming travelers you'll ever meet, Daniel, along with his sweetheart of a husband, Bryan are always so much fun to have on our tours. Daniel graciously took just a few moments from his trip to reflect on his experience with Zoom Vacations in India.

Zoom: What made you want to go to India? 

Daniel: Bryan and I are fans of traveling to places outside of our comfort zone. We enjoy immersing ourselves in cultures that are completely different than what we know. What better place to experience this, than in India? It has been on our list to do for a while now.


Zoom: How is India different than you expected?

Daniel: I don't think we had any certain expectations coming into this trip. I only assumed that India would be an overload of the senses, and it certainly did not disappoint!!


Zoom: Why did you decide to come with Zoom?

Daniel: We have been on several trips with Zoom now, and are 100% trusting in the type of itinerary they create. Zoom has a way of surprising its guests with special unique moments, a tourist coming on their own might not get to experience. 


Zoom: How is the group getting along?

Daniel: The group has been great! Meeting and making new friends from around the world is one of the highlights we enjoy in traveling with Zoom. 


Zoom: How would you describe the hotels to friends back home? 

Daniel: Neither words, nor photos can do justice to the Palaces we had the pleasure of staying in. The hotels in India are some of the best in the world!!


Zoom: How about the food?

Daniel: The food has been nothing short of amazing. The local delicacies are rich in color, and full of flavor. The traditional Thali presentation made each meal a memorable one. We just wanted to keep eating the Dal!!


Zoom: What has been your highlight? 

Daniel: So well known in photographs, we assumed the Taj Mahal to be another check off for tourists. We couldn't have been more wrong. It was more amazing than we thought it would be, and clearly see why it truly is, a Wonder of the world. 


Zoom: Have you had many encounters with local people?  How have those been?

Daniel: As we moved through India,  keeping up with its fast pace, we found time to playfully interact with children. They loved hearing us talk, and repeated back our words in a cute sing song manner. 


Zoom: How would you describe the experience at Varanasi, India to someone who hasn't been?

Daniel: Varanasi certainly was a sight to see. The gathering of people to worship, and the dedication to the religion displayed by them was very moving. It is certainly unlike anything we've ever experienced. Walking amongst them at sunrise, as they went about their morning bathing rituals in the Holy Ganges River, is certainly something we will never forget. 

Zoom: Thank you, Daniel!

Featured Traveler: Kent, from Emmitsburg, MD

This was Kent and Will's first Zoom Vacation, and they were so much fun to have on the trip, we certainly hope it will not be their last.  Kent shared with us his thoughts on gay travel and Peru.

Zoom:  Why did you decide to take this trip with Zoom Vacations?

Kent:  It was a kind of last minute decision to go to Peru after our trip to Puerto Rico was cancelled because of the hurricane. Peru is someplace we had wanted to visit and we liked the idea of a pre-planned trip.

Zoom:  Was this your first time in Peru?

Kent:  Yes it was - we have a good friend who had fallen in love with the country years ago and he had really piqued our interest in a visit.

Zoom:  Was coming during American Thanksgiving a good choice?  Why?

Kent:  For us, we were not loving the idea of spending Thanksgiving in the U.S. - we typically host a big event so the idea of NOT doing that and letting someone else worry about it was an appealing change from our routine.

Zoom:  Did having a Zoom Concierge (Bryan) make a difference in your trip?

Kent:  Bryan was really fun to travel with and he was a great resource during the trip if any problems came up and we needed help with something. Having made the trip before, he was a great source of information and in addition, he was charming and funny too.

Zoom:  Did the hotels live up to your expectations?

Kent:  We found all the hotels to be really nice and definitely the kind of places we would look for when we travel. They were all a little different but definitely comfortable and luxurious. 

Zoom:  How about Machu Picchu?

Kent:  We found it to be a wondrous place and really enjoyed the trip, although I have to say I enjoyed some of the other sites we visited just as much. I feel like we would have missed a lot of out-of-the-way spots if it wasn’t for our Zoom guides. Everything was really effortless and I didn’t really find it to be too much - there were plenty of opportunities to skip excursions or stops if the mood struck you.

Zoom:  What were your favorite parts of the trip?

Kent:  We enjoyed Cusco very much and definitely the food - I had heard that Peruvian food was good and I was not disappointed. Very good quality and lots of opportunities to try things that featured local ingredients and traditions. The coco and muna tea was really refreshing and kind of nice change from coffee drinking.

Zoom:  What were some of your biggest “wow” moments?

Kent:  We found the whole sacred valley was pretty amazing with lots of incredible vistas of cities built on the tops and hanging off the sides of mountains, and so on. Personally, being a little afraid of heights, it was a little dizzying at times but that could have been the altitude.

Zoom:  How were the other people on the trip?

Kent:  We met some very interesting and charming people in our group and I really enjoyed the size - we only had 12 on our tour and it was a good number. I definitely met some interesting people that I wouldn’t have an opportunity to meet at home.

Zoom:  Will you be taking another trip with Zoom Vacations?  To where?

Kent:  For us, I think Zoom is the perfect trip to make to places where the logistics of travel might be a little daunting. We both have busy jobs and getting time off is always a challenge, so having everything pre-arranged with so much attention to detail is a real luxury and well worth the money. 

I like the fact that the company is a 'pop&pop’ operation and we like supporting gay businesses.  I also felt confident that Bryan would keep us out of trouble.  We’d like to try a trip to Africa and India in the future.