1. First, a few basics about the company:
A: What kinds of trips do you book, typically? I started Out & About Travel back in the summer of 1999. I was 23 years old and eager to start my career in the gay and lesbian travel field. I had minimal experience in the field at the time and took a leap of faith, and 11 years later, thanks to my love of travel, here we are!
The trips we offer have no limits. We handle all aspects of travel. We can customize something as simple as an overnight stay to a trip as complex as a cruise around the world. We are a full-service, 100% gay/lesbian-owned and -operated travel agency. We specialize in gay and lesbian travel, tours, cruises, adventure travel, ski trips, luxury travel, gay honeymoons, gay family trips, customized packages and more. Our motto is, “If you can think it, we can get you there!”
We work with only the best gay-friendly tour operators, accommodations, and travel providers.
B: How many travelers are there usually in the group trips you book? Most of the land-based gay and lesbian group tours we book range in size from 8 to 15 people. Gay group cruises can be as large as 500 people. Of course, there are gay chartered cruises that range in the thousands and gay-exclusive resort vacations as well. Atlantis Events and RSVP Vacations are a perfect example of this.
C: Do you also offer customized trips for individuals/couples planning their own vacations? Yes, not only do we offer customized trips for individuals/couples, we don’t charge a service fee to do so! It has been this way since 1999 and will continue to be this way as long as possible. We ask our clients if they have a budget they’d like to keep within, and we work around that. We have been very successful with this method.
There is no request too big or small. We are here to piece together the trip the client wants. We listen to their requirements and go from there.
We recently started our own gay group cruise offering called OutLOUD Cruises We have a group cruise on Carnival’s Valor planned for December 4 to 11, 2011. Information will be posted in the coming days.
Gay and lesbian ski weeks are another big seller of ours, especially Aspen Gay Ski Week, Telluride Gay Ski Week, and Whistler WinterPride. Event details and dates can be found on www.gayskitrips.com. We customize packages for clients to all of the gay ski weeks around the world.
D: What's your phone number and Web address? Toll-free at 800-842-4753. Website is www.outandaboutravel.com.
2. Please state your name and title:
Desiree Sousa, Owner, Out & About Travel.
3. What's the typical profile of your clientele, in terms of age, background, interests or other demographics you'd care to mention? If you cater primarily to GLBT travelers, please say so.
Our primary clients are gay men and lesbians, but we are straight friendly!
4. Is there anything about your company or the services you offer (or destinations you cover) that are of particular interest to GLBT travelers?
We are 100% gay/lesbian-owned and -operated. We cater to the GLBT traveler. We make donations to the GLBT community with each tour or cruise booked and provide all our clients with 24/7 agent access via personal cell-phone numbers.
5. What are the qualifications or background of the tour operators you work with?
The tour operators we use are all the major gay & lesbian tour operators, such as Atlantis Events, RSVP Vacations, Zoom Vacations, OutWest Adventures, Alyson Adventures, Hermes Tours, Hanns Ebensten, Olivia, R Family Vacations, Steele Luxury Travel, Toto Tours, Undersea Expeditions, and VentureOUT - just to name a few. We have been using many of these tour operators for a decade and have never received any complaints. The tour operators are very professional and take great care of our clients.
6. Can you describe one tour that's especially popular, or that's a favorite or signature trip for your company?
I would have to say Atlantis Event’s offerings. Many times their cruises and resort vacations sell out before going on sale to the public! One of the benefits of booking with Out & About Travel is that many times we are able to book the client prior to the information even being listed on their web site.
Another popular destination is Sand Castle on the Beach Resort on the island of St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is a very popular gay and lesbian resort that is also straight-welcoming.
7. What are some experiences or opportunities available on tours you book that would be otherwise difficult (or impossible) for travelers to experience on their own?
Our clients express the joy of being able to connect with other GLBT travelers and from new friendships. Also, traveling in a safe, controlled environment is every appealing to clients. Knowing that the tour operator has made sure to utilize only the most GLBT-friendly accommodations is comforting.
8. Do you offer any optional add-ons or pre/post-trips in addition to the set tours you can book?
Yes, we can assist with pre/post hotel stays or vacation extensions.
9. If there's anything else you'd care to add about your company, please do so here:
Out & About Travel celebrated its 11th anniversary this August, and it's truly a labor of love. We try to keep our award-winning site as updated as possible with all the latest GLBT travel options. We literally have hundreds and hundreds of pages. It is a very large site and requires some browsing to truly appreciate all the information that is at hand. We also operate a new GLBT travel blog at www.gaytravelinformation.com, and we're on Twitter at gaytravelpros.