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Tahiti, Iceland, Pride deals, new passport rules
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Even though Seattle Gay News publishes four to five special travel sections per year - our latest was April 24 (view it online at www.sgn.org) - people are going places around the world each and every day. Here's useful information to consider for your next getaway and travel buzz to hold you over until our Summer Travel section prints in June.

Enter to win a free trip to Tahiti simply by asking for it - yes, really. Submit a video of you and your partner or family to www.investinyourlove.com explaining why you deserve a getaway to the glorious islands of Tahiti. Contest organizers are looking for interesting, creative and entertaining videos from the public and will award six winning couples or families with a once-in-a-lifetime trip that includes all travel arrangements, including international service aboard Air Tahiti Nui, inter-island transportation, six nights' accommodations on two of Tahiti's 118-islands, daily breakfast and dinner, and possible excursions like 4x4 safari tour along volcanic cliffs or fabulous spa treatments. An amazing adventure to the South Pacific is just one clever idea away, so think hard and visit www.investinyourlove.com for details.

Seattle Gay News will publish its next Summer Travel section in mid-June, as part of our annual hefty Pride issue. We're excited to expose the Mexican Riviera to you RSVP style, as experienced by SGN writer Shaun Knittel who danced and swayed, partied and slept, and clicked martini glasses with none other than Debbie Reynolds on an all-out Gay cruise. Oahu will be highlighted with coverage of the 20th anniversary celebration of the island's Rainbow Film Festival, the premier GLBT movie event of the year. SGN writer Scott Rice will attend the opening- and closing-night festivities, as well as several daily screenings of the event - in air-conditioned theaters, of course. In addition, he'll pursue some of the most savory places to dine at in Hawaii's capitol city. Regional travel will include a feature on La Conner, a convenient place to escape to if your budget doesn't allow for international and/or cross-country trips. For those with minimal time and on-hand expenses, or those wanting to celebrate a special occasion with an overnight stay in Seattle, I'll recommend a handful of local hotels to mark your anniversary, birthday, or other memorable event. In total, expect a dozen or more great articles in the June travel spread.

Is Iceland on your list of places to visit someday? Well, getting there just got a whole lot easier because the North Atlantic country's premiere airline will launch direct, non-stop flights this summer from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Icelandair begins service between Reykjavic and Seattle on July 23 aboard a 183-seat Boeing 757 with a 4:30 p.m. (PST) departure and 6:45 a.m. (GMT) arrival on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays - the return leg departs Iceland at 6 p.m. (GMT) with a SeaTac arrival at 5:45 p.m. arrival (PST) on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This will be the lone Nordic carrier flight on the West Coast, expanding Seattle's international presence yet once again.

Looking for a great summer deal? Kimpton Hotels, the very Gay-friendly chain of art deco and contemporary properties across the US, has announced a complimentary weekend night between May 21-September 27 when you book two nights at one of their locations at the best available rate. This marks the third annual "Summer of Pride" campaign blitz, ideal for anyone wanting to attend another city's Pride festivities. Visit www.kimptonhotels.com/lgbt and enter "Pride" as the rate code to receive a weekend night for free at participating hotels, including Chicago, Denver, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Alexandria, Portland, and right here in Seattle. Kimpton is also throwing in $50 dining cards at participating restaurants in select cities, plus a rainbow-brushed rubber duckie, as part of an exclusive offer to Gay travelers.

Speaking of Pride, if you have anyone coming to Seattle for this year's celebration and don't have space for them at your condo, then refer them to Hotel 1000. This extraordinary downtown hotel, where music giants such as Britney Spears, Pink Floyd, John Mayer and Paul Weller have all stayed, is offering a "Seattle Pride Package" that includes overnight accommodations for two in a deluxe city view guestroom, a pair of tickets for The Cuff Complex's big bash (no having to wait in line), discount cards for its signature restaurant BOKA, two complimentary original cocktails to kick off the fun-packed weekend, overnight parking, discounts for Spaahh treatments or luxury eye cream, and of course, a copy of Seattle Gay News that will contain essential information on the parade route and post-parade festival. Packages start at $389, and can be booked directly at www.hotel1000seattle.com. Seriously, this is one of the very best hotels in the city - recently approved by Conde Nast readers as one of their top picks - and your friends and family will love you for putting them up here. Who knows, they might just run into a world famous musician in the lobby as I did recently.

No one brings you better coverage of Vancouver Pride than Seattle Gay News, and it's our pleasure to deliver it to you again when 2009 festivities unfold in August. Look for a preview of the huge event in late July, and in the meantime consider reserving your hotel room in advance for the best selection - due to the large fireworks competition taking place on the same weekend, space in most hotels is limited in the weeks before Pride. High on my list of suggestions are Shangri-la, Opus, Loden, Pacific Palisades, and Metropolitan. Visit www.tourismvancouver.com and click on the "Gay-friendly Vancouver" icon for a list of things to do while you're there, and refer to the April 24 travel section at www.sgn.org for an introduction to four great restaurants to sample in the city.

If you're headed to Canada anytime soon, perhaps for Vancouver Pride in August, take note that new passport requirements take effect June 1, 2009. Most US citizens will be required to present a valid passport, passport card, or other government-accepted form of travel document when entering and exiting North America or any of the 17 Caribbean nations. This new requirements replace the previous one, in which you could cross land and sea borders with a driver's license and birth certificate. Visit www.travel.state.gov for specifics.

It's difficult to avoid news coverage of the current swine flu crisis in Mexico, though the dangerous conditions can't be emphasized enough in regards to the spread of disease. In a nutshell, the State Department has issued a travel advisory for all US citizens asking that all non-essential travel to the country be postponed until further notice. Specifically in Mexico City, serviced with non-stop daily service from Seattle by Aeromexico, major tourist attractions such as museums, discos, restaurants, convention centers, gyms and even Catholic churches have been closed to contain the influenza outbreak. Visit www.travel.state.gov for further details.

Finally, looking beyond summer and into the football season we're already planning our Fall Travel section for late September or early October with focus on Atlanta, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Stay glued to Seattle Gay News for the best travel coverage on the hottest destinations. Until then, bon voyage! OUTBOUND: Tahiti, Iceland, Pride deals, new passport rules by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Even though Seattle Gay News publishes four to five special travel sections per year - our latest was April 24 (view it online at www.sgn.org) - people are going places around the world each and every day. Here's useful information to consider for your next getaway and travel buzz to hold you over until our Summer Travel section prints in June.

Enter to win a free trip to Tahiti simply by asking for it - yes, really. Submit a video of you and your partner or family to www.investinyourlove.com explaining why you deserve a getaway to the glorious islands of Tahiti. Contest organizers are looking for interesting, creative and entertaining videos from the public and will award six winning couples or families with a once-in-a-lifetime trip that includes all travel arrangements, including international service aboard Air Tahiti Nui, inter-island transportation, six nights' accommodations on two of Tahiti's 118-islands, daily breakfast and dinner, and possible excursions like 4x4 safari tour along volcanic cliffs or fabulous spa treatments. An amazing adventure to the South Pacific is just one clever idea away, so think hard and visit www.investinyourlove.com for details.

Seattle Gay News will publish its next Summer Travel section in mid-June, as part of our annual hefty Pride issue. We're excited to expose the Mexican Riviera to you RSVP style, as experienced by SGN writer Shaun Knittel who danced and swayed, partied and slept, and clicked martini glasses with none other than Debbie Reynolds on an all-out Gay cruise. Oahu will be highlighted with coverage of the 20th anniversary celebration of the island's Rainbow Film Festival, the premier GLBT movie event of the year. SGN writer Scott Rice will attend the opening- and closing-night festivities, as well as several daily screenings of the event - in air-conditioned theaters, of course. In addition, he'll pursue some of the most savory places to dine at in Hawaii's capitol city. Regional travel will include a feature on La Conner, a convenient place to escape to if your budget doesn't allow for international and/or cross-country trips. For those with minimal time and on-hand expenses, or those wanting to celebrate a special occasion with an overnight stay in Seattle, I'll recommend a handful of local hotels to mark your anniversary, birthday, or other memorable event. In total, expect a dozen or more great articles in the June travel spread.

Is Iceland on your list of places to visit someday? Well, getting there just got a whole lot easier because the North Atlantic country's premiere airline will launch direct, non-stop flights this summer from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Icelandair begins service between Reykjavic and Seattle on July 23 aboard a 183-seat Boeing 757 with a 4:30 p.m. (PST) departure and 6:45 a.m. (GMT) arrival on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays - the return leg departs Iceland at 6 p.m. (GMT) with a SeaTac arrival at 5:45 p.m. arrival (PST) on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This will be the lone Nordic carrier flight on the West Coast, expanding Seattle's international presence yet once again.

Looking for a great summer deal? Kimpton Hotels, the very Gay-friendly chain of art deco and contemporary properties across the US, has announced a complimentary weekend night between May 21-September 27 when you book two nights at one of their locations at the best available rate. This marks the third annual "Summer of Pride" campaign blitz, ideal for anyone wanting to attend another city's Pride festivities. Visit www.kimptonhotels.com/lgbt and enter "Pride" as the rate code to receive a weekend night for free at participating hotels, including Chicago, Denver, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Alexandria, Portland, and right here in Seattle. Kimpton is also throwing in $50 dining cards at participating restaurants in select cities, plus a rainbow-brushed rubber duckie, as part of an exclusive offer to Gay travelers.

Speaking of Pride, if you have anyone coming to Seattle for this year's celebration and don't have space for them at your condo, then refer them to Hotel 1000. This extraordinary downtown hotel, where music giants such as Britney Spears, Pink Floyd, John Mayer and Paul Weller have all stayed, is offering a "Seattle Pride Package" that includes overnight accommodations for two in a deluxe city view guestroom, a pair of tickets for The Cuff Complex's big bash (no having to wait in line), discount cards for its signature restaurant BOKA, two complimentary original cocktails to kick off the fun-packed weekend, overnight parking, discounts for Spaahh treatments or luxury eye cream, and of course, a copy of Seattle Gay News that will contain essential information on the parade route and post-parade festival. Packages start at $389, and can be booked directly at www.hotel1000seattle.com. Seriously, this is one of the very best hotels in the city - recently approved by Conde Nast readers as one of their top picks - and your friends and family will love you for putting them up here. Who knows, they might just run into a world famous musician in the lobby as I did recently.

No one brings you better coverage of Vancouver Pride than Seattle Gay News, and it's our pleasure to deliver it to you again when 2009 festivities unfold in August. Look for a preview of the huge event in late July, and in the meantime consider reserving your hotel room in advance for the best selection - due to the large fireworks competition taking place on the same weekend, space in most hotels is limited in the weeks before Pride. High on my list of suggestions are Shangri-la, Opus, Loden, Pacific Palisades, and Metropolitan. Visit www.tourismvancouver.com and click on the "Gay-friendly Vancouver" icon for a list of things to do while you're there, and refer to the April 24 travel section at www.sgn.org for an introduction to four great restaurants to sample in the city.

If you're headed to Canada anytime soon, perhaps for Vancouver Pride in August, take note that new passport requirements take effect June 1, 2009. Most US citizens will be required to present a valid passport, passport card, or other government-accepted form of travel document when entering and exiting North America or any of the 17 Caribbean nations. This new requirements replace the previous one, in which you could cross land and sea borders with a driver's license and birth certificate. Visit www.travel.state.gov for specifics.

It's difficult to avoid news coverage of the current swine flu crisis in Mexico, though the dangerous conditions can't be emphasized enough in regards to the spread of disease. In a nutshell, the State Department has issued a travel advisory for all US citizens asking that all non-essential travel to the country be postponed until further notice. Specifically in Mexico City, serviced with non-stop daily service from Seattle by Aeromexico, major tourist attractions such as museums, discos, restaurants, convention centers, gyms and even Catholic churches have been closed to contain the influenza outbreak. Visit www.travel.state.gov for further details.

Finally, looking beyond summer and into the football season we're already planning our Fall Travel section for late September or early October with focus on Atlanta, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Stay glued to Seattle Gay News for the best travel coverage on the hottest destinations. Until then, bon voyage!
Darlene Nipper speaks at Seattle POCAAN
------------------------------
Court OK's California's Prop 8; rally/protest march in Seattle
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Operation Shine Seattle begins
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Pride weekend main events
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PRIDE EVENTS CALENDAR
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Sisters accepting grant applications
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Bat N' Rouge returns to Cal Anderson Park
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UPDATE: Domestic partnership cancel court petition to amend Referendum 71 title
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Seattle Gay History: The great Andy Warhol
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The OutField: Emile Griffith: Out for the count
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Entre Hermanos' Latino Pageant 2009
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Zero to 60: 2009 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV
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Arnold actually plans to take away people's HIV meds
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Thousands at Fresno rally
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Gay mayor's illicit love shakes a Texas town
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Shock at gay film shown to teenagers
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Nev. Sen. overrides Gov.'s veto of DP bill
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Gay marriage accord reached
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Judge Sotomayor and LGBT Rights
------------------------------
New Images From the Stonewall Uprising's Final Night
------------------------------
Bill Proposes Immigration Rights for Gay Couples
------------------------------

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