Ryan Shea's picture

How The Hell Do Gay Men Afford All These Expensive Trips?

A trend I have noticed on social media (particularly Facebook) over the past couple of years is the growing number of gay men I see going on lavish and pricey trips.  And I'm not just talking about doing this once, maybe twice a year.  Essentially they are going at the same rate that most people get paid by their company: bi-weekly, and its leaving me and many others with a huge questions mark in our brains as to how in the hell they can afford them!

To preface this, there is zero jealously here.  Granted, they go on these incredible vacations and I feel that my laptop will explode if I even try to think of booking a flight, but its their world and I'm just seeing it all over social media.  It would be the same 20-30 guys who at one point are at World Pride in Madrid, then getting furry at Bear Week in Provincetown, and then heading out west to San Francisco to kiki with their friends.

Let's do the math here.  I did Bear Week twice, and I'm not much of a drinker.  The first year that I went, I spent about $1,600 total.  This included travel, lodging, food, drinks and a myriad of other things that made the trip fun but my god it was so expensive.  And I'm just one friendly little cub.  From what I understand, the average for what people will spend on a week like that is $3,000.  That's equates to two months rent here in Manhattan (if you are lucky) or a good chunk of your student debt paid off.  So if this is happening twice a month, if not more, how are gay men really affording these things?

Even more so, how do their jobs require them to take so much time off of work to enjoy their vacations?  If I'm coming off as jaded, it's so not the case, its more just the wonderment of how this really is going down.  A while back, I asked the question on my Facebook that said "How the F do all these gay guys afford so many trips???" I tend to ask an assortment of fun questions to keep Facebook upbeat and stuff, but I didn't expect that this would turn into a 133 liked/97 comment thread.  But, I was happy I did, because the answers were plush and diverse with what gay men think about this topic.

Here are some of the responses I received to this question, some of which I will definitely learn from for future travel ideas: 

Sugar daddies.

 "DINK (Dual Income, No Kids)"

1/4 have rich parents. 1/4 have rich boyfriends. 1/4 sell drugs or their bodies. And 1/4 are enormously in debt and plan to die before 40.  Oh, and a couple have well-paying jobs.

I work hard and save up my money . I buy my tickets early and rent a place so it's cheaper. It's not as hard as you think. That's what most of my friends do. They pick events and save up for them.

Easy that many don't want to admit  No spouse, children, obligations nor responsibilities except for themselves for the most part.

Staying with friends, planning ahead to grab good deals on airfare, sharing/dividing expenses, savvy travel planners who know where to book the best deals.

Some use their credit cards too freely. They don't save. So when they lose a job or approach retirement (something some don't want to contemplate, because getting older is so frowned upon!), they're in trouble.

Or be like me and learn to travel cheap like the time I stayed at a resort in Orlando for 10 days for $335 and flew there for $129. 

Their clients pay for it then they ditch them when they arrive.

I saved for 8 months for my current trip. I was also a homebody during that time lol.

We skip the guac at Chipotle - kiddin!

So outside of the guys who travel as they are in the entertainment business (DJ's, dancers, etc), what do you think is the best answer for this?  

 

Comments

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Travel and experiences are what I like to do. I don't spend big money on golf, football tickets, scuba diving, etc. My priorities are just different. My husband and I have 3 grown children and 6 grandchildren. They still cost money even though they are grown. But since we are empty nesters, age 62 and 53, we now have TIME to go places: a lot less kids ballgames, dance lessons, school functions, etc. There is one more thing, I still work hard (many years more than 80 hours a week), manage my expenses, invest my savings to make more money, avoid taxes when possible. These are the things that really make travel possible.

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I'm 25. this spring/summer, i traveled for a few countries. a lot of people have asked me how i was able to travel for so long and to a number of places. the truth is, i saved enough money to go, i booked my flights ahead of time, i worked remotely throughout, travel in southeast asia is generally cheap, and i was able to stay with friends and family, and when i traveled alone, I used Airbnb.

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I am the king of traveling cheap. Last month we went to Iceland and Amsterdam for under $400 Round Trip. Next month I am going to Bangkok and Phuket from NYC in Business Class for $480 Round Trip. Then once there the hotels are either super cheap or I use miles for them. We are also DINK, so yes, that helps. But there are amazing travel deals out there, in fact, I post the ones I find every day on my Facebook page "Jason's Travel Deals". With good planning and the ability to jump on a deal when it comes along can provide some awesome experiences. 

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Most of the guys I've seen who can do this are 35 or over. Not all, but most. I can afford this now, but no way in hell could I have possibly done it when I was just out of college or in my 20s. 

It may look carefree but as others have mentioned, planning is key. And doing things with friends is also often helpful in making things affordable. We often visit Palm Springs and will be going to a resort in Mexico with friends. If you rent a house and share costs with other friends, it's actually cheaper than if you would all stay in a hotel for the same number of nights. 

My husband and I are more at the 8-10 events a year level so we're not quite at the level the author describes, but we have friends who are traveling several times a month. The common thread there is that they're all flying so often for work that they have millions of airline points.  So for them to decide last minute to go to an event...it's actually doable because their points and rewards statuses help make that affordable. Some people we know play the credit card game, too, as mentioned above - you can open a card, get points, then pay it off, and close it. 

But yeah, 40somethings or 50somethings with no kids (or grown kids), two solid incomes and 4 to 6 weeks of vacation a year? That's a recipe for a lot of travel. 

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It is very easy to live this kind of life style. Even If you are not a rent boy or a trust fund baby but assuming you make above average salary in the US (Between 42K and 64K a year), you could do 6 of these Circuit parties a year at an average cost of $2000 for each party including flight, hotels and event tickets. The flip side is that most of the guys who do this pretty much have no other savings to fall back on and when they get old or get laid off, there is no plan B. Alternately let me also explain, while they have heavy presence on facebook and document every trip and party, there are only an estimated 20 to 25,000 circuit heads in America by definition those who take more than 2 such trips a year. It is just less than 1% of gay population yet with the highest visibility and who also set the agenda for their local gay clubs.

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Travel Is still cheaper then shopping! As long as you don't waste your money on stupid things then you should have enough money to travel. Me and my husband cruise a lot (Atlantis cruise). That is a cheaper way to travel. We work hard and play hard. I will say that if you can save money from hotel can cut down your travel cost a lot.

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I get the biggest thrill out of traveling the world. I getaway about 8-10 times a year. There are quite a lot of deals out there. If you can be flexible with your vacations, you're more likely to find an inexpensive flight.  My number one suggestion is to find an airline and become a loyalist. Sign up for their credit card(s), only use their credit card. I rack up about 100k+ miles a year just from shopping online and and using my card for everything. If you make travel a priority it will become one.

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Not everyone who goes to Bear Week spends $3000 in one week. I live 45 minutes away in Barcelona so get the train there for €4 ($5), I don't pay for hotels as I stay at home or with friends in Sitges. It costs nothing to spend the day at the beach and not much for a few drinks in the evening. I know lots of other people who live locally and do the same. 

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It's simple. Most of us have no children which then equates to more disposable income.

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I'm an older gentlemen and prefer to pay for a companion to come with me than travel alone. There are no expectations other than friendship and fun.  I don't want a boyfriend - just someone fun to share the experience

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Ever go to Palm Springs?

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Where are we going Preston?!?

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I really enjoyed reading this article. I have a ton of gay male friends and some family members who travel quite often to very lavish places that are all inclusive with excursions. They do this by earning their way to vacation doing the things that they already do like shopping at their favorite stores including Target or Walmart , dining at their favorite restaurants, and more. I will be more than happy to share how their doing it. You can send me an e-mail if you like to sheda327@gmail.com with the subject line "Learn to Earn Vacations". That way I'll remember and I can send you the info that I know about it. Hopefully, this will help others.

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i travel quite a lot and my job does not pay for it aside fro m indirectly, it does not come from a sugar daddy nor my parents. I did grow up with a fair amount of privilege one of those was a college fund so I have loans from college to pay off so I have a lot of disposable income cus I'm single and have no kids. I save money while traveling by finding friends (gay men I have a mutual attraction to) and take advantage of the awesome hospitality that gay men around the world have. I've met guys online talked to them for a couple months then just get invited to come stay with them and I just do. Doing this avoids hotel costs, gives me the local culture experience and allows some me to expand my friend-base. This might sound crazy to u but outside of America, Europeans and beyond are way More laid back about letting someone stay at their places. America is pretty uptight in that sense but I've still done it here too. I implore every gay man to give it a shot cus it's really an amazing experience and all I have to pay for is the flight and food. If I had to stay in hotels I couldn't travel Nearly as much as I do now.

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I've taken many a younger friend as I want them to experience travel at the best age and I have someone to share the experience with. 

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Lucky them.

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A well thought out budget should have room for things you enjoy and give your life purpose.  If traveling is important to you, setting aside a portion of you right income for that activity might make sense for you.  As long as your saving for your future, don't let anyone shame you for prioritizing something you love.  

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We start planning a summer vacation in January and book hotels and car rentals.  Then we check constantly for deals and switch when we find one.  We save all year, charge it on cards that give us free air miles, then immediately pay it off.

We're an older couple, so not the demographic you're talking about, but it can be done cheaply.

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