Valentine's Day weekend is here, and while most of us are celebrating at home due to restrictions from the ongoing pandemic, it doesn't mean we can't travel — virtually. Luckily, Orbitz, along with some very special friends, will guide you on an LGBTQIA-friendly tour so you're not "bummed" out.
Now through Feb. 15, travel booking site Orbitz is teaming up with the Instagram account @thetravelinbum and RuPaul's Drag Race star Jackie Cox, as well as others, to "guide viewers on a vicarious tour around the globe, prompting inspiration for when the time comes to travel again." The Travelin Bum, an Instagram account that shows bare-skinned backsides in dreamy destinations around the world, even inspired Orbitz to change its name to "Orbuttz" for Valentine's Day.
Orbitz, which offers dedicated resources for the LGBTQIA+ community to plan safe and inclusive travel, will also be donating $10,000 to the Stonewall Community Foundation, an organization "working to fund the issues that matter most to the community."
From Rio to Chicago, Orbitz shared where some of Instagram's most popular influencers can't wait to travel once it's safe again, plus what inspired Jeff Perla, the IRL Travelin Bum, to create his account and partner with Orbuttz.
To celebrate the weekend's virtual Valentine's Day vacation, Travel + Leisure joined drag queen Jackie Cox to hear about the destinations she can't wait to visit for work and play, what it's like being a working queen during a global pandemic, and tips for making the most of Cupid's biggest day.
T+L: How have you been holding up during the pandemic?
Jackie Cox: "I'm doing okay. I feel so grateful for so many things that have happened to me in the past year. I was just so lucky to be on RuPaul's Drag Race, even getting that call. And then just the way that the audience responded to me was so cool. Speaking of travel, this was supposed to be a big year of travel for me. So, of course, that is always disappointing — the places I didn't get to go — but I've been doing my best to connect with people virtually."
Have you been doing virtual drag shows?
"Yeah, it has been a big learning process. I started doing things in my little one-bedroom apartment in Hell's Kitchen. [I] quickly realized that this is now my full-time gig, doing virtual stuff. That's been probably the biggest change in my life. Being able to actually do and produce stuff in a virtual way, in a safe way with small numbers of people involved in person, and then still be able to reach people all over the world has been really cool."
Why did you decide to get involved with Orbitz for this virtual trip?
"I think what's so cool about The Travelin Bum and Orbitz is that it's such a fun and cheeky partnership. There's a whole Pride section on Orbitz — it's so cool that there's a dedicated travel space for queer people to find ways and places and safe spaces to travel to, which is a real concern in our community. Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that couples love to get away [for], and even though we can't this year, I thought it's such a fun idea. Like, let's pull in queer and broader creators from all around and actually showcase them in a fun way [to share] ideas of where to go next year."
Is there any place you've traveled that you found especially queer-friendly?
"You know where I actually had an amazing time and would love to go back when I can? I had so much fun in Kauai in Hawaii. There's a small queer community there. That was a really cool surprise, but there are so many amazing queer destinations I've just never been to."
For a lot of queer people, Valentine's Day can be especially hard. What tips do you have for making the most of it this year?
"I'm a big proponent of, if you can't celebrate Valentine's Day with the one you love, find a way to celebrate Galentine's Day with your best girlfriends. You know, they friends, boyfriends, all your best friends — find ways to celebrate with them, whether that's a Zoom call [or] whatever it is. Dreaming up places to travel is such an awesome thing. Start planning next year's Galentine's Day trip with your girlfriends. That would be the best way to spend Valentine's Day. "
Tanner Saunders is the Experiences Editor at T+L and is passionate about RuPaul's Drag Race. Follow him on Instagram @tizanner.
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