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China: The biggest misconception

China:  The biggest misconception

The biggest misconception about China is that the food is all the same or is weird.   For some, Chop Suey, mysterious, gooey, MSG, salty and deep fried come to mind.  However, the reality is that China is a humongous country whose culture is one of the oldest in the history or mankind.  So, its foods are just as varied, flavorful, elaborate, and delightful as its geographic locations.   Every city we visit on Zoom China offers a different cuisine.  For instance, Shanghainese cuisine is punctuated with hot spicy peppers, and because of its location on the water it highlights ample seafood....

The End of Communism for Cuba and China?

The world is changing faster than ever.  Communism has been reduced to a philosophical ideology that does not translate well to running a government.  These are the lessons learned by Cuba and China.   Cuba is finally set to openly embrace capitalism by welcoming more U.S. travelers to an island that has been frozen in time for over 50 years.  This means that U.S. citizens will be able to travel there with more ease, use credit cards and bring back Cuban products like hand rolled cigars and rum.  At this time all travel to Cuba is limited to fully pre paid...

Several Countries Expedite their Visa Procedures

Zooming around the world to places like India, Myanmar, and southern Africa just got easier for citizens of 40 plus countries including Australia, Canada and the USA:   For India, you no longer have to go to an India consulate to apply for a visa.  As of November 27, 2014, you may now apply for and get a tourist visa-on-arrival (TVoA) online, entitling you to enter India anytime within 30 days of the approval. The electronic travel authorization, which will be in the form of an email received from the Indian authorities, will entitle you to a 30-day stay in...

Magical Myanmar

Myanmar is the newest Zoom Vacations destination (March 12-18, 2015).  For sometime now I had been waiting for the right time to visit Myanmar, which many had told me is a very special country.  Sandwiched between India, China and Thailand, Myanmar has been influenced to some degree by the best of these 3 iconic cultures.    Myanmar is called the Golden Land because there is always a 24 karat golden domed pagoda within eyesight.  For 50 years after English colonialism ended, Myanmar was sheltered and isolated by various dictatorships and military governments.  Until recently the country had seen very little...

Finding the Next “It” Spot

People often ask us how we go about selecting new destinations for Zoom Vacations tours.  We actually go about this in a number of ways.  The main way is that while on our tours, our travelers often tell us the places they would like to visit.  We really listen, and especially when we start hearing the same destinations mentioned over and over, it moves to the top of our radar.  Also, destinations who often contact us to create tours to their locales.  We have noticed that when destinations reach out on their own to attract LGBT travelers that these same...

How Do We Decide Where to Go?

How Do We Decide Where to Go?

A l lot of people ask us how Zoom Vacations chooses a group trip destination and how we develop a trip. Zoom Vacations chooses a trip destination the same way that it develops a trip – thru in-person research and relationship building.   Every Zoom Vacations tour begins with a research trip to the prospective tour destination to assess whether it is gay-friendly, the variety of accommodations and activities available, as well as physical beauty and appeal of the destination.   There is no substitute for getting a feel for a destination in-person, walking thru every step of a future trip...

Why Safari

Why Safari

We had a question come into the office the other day that I thought I would answer for other readers as well. Dear Joel, I live in San Diego and we have an awesome zoo here. Why do you recommend doing a safari in Africa? That is a great question!   This is like saying that you have a subscription to a gourmet food magazine, so why would you eat.  Traveling to Africa and seeing the Big Five up close and in their natural habitat is something everyone should experience at least once in their life. It is sheer magic.  Every moment is...

China, the Time is Now

Human beings are instinctively obsessed with the past and future, life and death, the yin and the yang. These reasons are why China is such a fascinating place to visit at the moment.  I just returned from China and was once again reminded why it is a country that shows you much about your past and gives us a glimpse of how the future will look.   So much of what we eat, do, think, and how we live today took root in China many years ago.  For instance, pasta has been incorporated into many of the world’s delicious cuisines and...

To Listen, or not to Listen…

Before you take a trip, it is always a good idea to talk to friends who have been to the destination, and pick their brains for tips and ideas of what to do, and the best places to stay and eat. Especially if you have a lot in common with them, or travel the same way, their advice can be invaluable. One word of caution.  When someone tells you the name of a hotel where you just have to stay, or a restaurant that is the best restaurant in town, you always have to remember that destinations are not static, and the...

Perception Versus Reality

We travel to places that we perceive to be safe and desirable and limit our travel experiences to exclude places that we perceive as unsafe and undesirable. Sometimes this is because the perception has not caught up with reality.  Such was my realization during a recent research trip to Nicaragua.  Once a civil war torn nation, Nicaragua has become the darling of the travel industry in Central America.   Recently named by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the Top 10 destinations to watch in 2014 and considered a safe haven in Central America by The Economist, Nicaragua possesses abundant natural verdant...

Investing in Travel is Investing in Oneself.

Investing in Travel is Investing in Oneself.

When I look back on 2013, it is interesting to review which memories stand outfor me. It wasn’t any of the bigger purchases I made. No, the first and most important things that come to mind are several of the trips I took, and the unique experiences I had in those destinations.    A few highlights include watching a cheetah stalk an impala in South Africa, drinking caipirinhas with new friends on the beach in Rio at sunset, and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Traveling has the power to inspire the mind, heal the soul, and energize the body.  It...

What Goes into Planning Our Gay Group Tours

Creating the most amazing trips in the world for a discerning group of gays, their family and friends, is no small feat.  Our travelers are well travelled and are always wanting the latest, best, trendiest and most sought after destination.   As LGBT travelers we are used to being pioneers. With that in mind Zoom scours the world not only for the most up and coming destinations but for how to take Zoomers there in comfort, style and safety.  In the last years Zoom has flown to far away places like Japan, South Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil (usually at...