EveryQueer, a Brooklyn-based queer event and travel company, is launching its first-ever tour packages designed for queer and gender-diverse travelers starting this summer.
This year marks EveryQueer founder and CEO Meg Ten Eyck’s 10-year anniversary as a professional queer traveler. To celebrate, she’s taking LGBTQ travelers on vacation with EveryQueer’s first vacation packages.
The company provides travel features about destinations and advice for LGBTQ travelers on its website, hosts upscale sold out events with VIQ, and is now venturing into queer vacations by offering five initial trips starting in July.
Travel is bouncing back after the pandemic, but in a different way, Ten Eyck said.
“The industry is different and what people are wanting and craving is different,” she said. “Now it’s a time of growth, being able to do a lot of new things, and kind of establish our thoughts in different ways.”
EveryQueer followers who attend VIQ events told Gay City News that they love the upscale experiences Ten Eyck is providing.
“Meg gives us this curated experience that I personally feel like the queers have been longing for. It’s very upscale, sexy, and very wholesome,” said Gina Joubin, a queer 30-year-old woman who works as an interior designer. “I think that’s something that we all deserve.”
Katie Giattini, a 31-year-old lesbian who is a graphic designer, agreed, saying that it is “really great just having an excuse to get all dressed up for a night.”
“Everyone that attends these events are really looking to make a connection with other people,” Joubin added.
Ten Eyck, a 35-year-old lesbian, started traveling in 2007 and has lived in South Korea and Merida, Mexico. Bit by the travel bug, she started traveling professionally in 2012 with her ex-wife Lindsay Cale documenting their adventures on the now-defunct blog, Dopes on the Road. Ten Eyck continued exploring the world and what she envisioned queer travelers needed next. She redesigned her business model, offering experiences to build community with the launch of EveryQueer in 2019.
Now she wants to bring other queer travelers with her on her adventures to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the high seas.
Throughout documenting her years gallivanting around the world and hosting events at one of the largest lesbian parties in the world, The Dinah, and at pride celebrations around the globe, Ten Eyck said she received encouraging messages from followers who said they wanted to join in. When her inbox was flooded with messages after her trip to Jordan last year, Ten Eyck said “Enough was enough.”
“I specialize in anti-LGBT destinations or destinations that are kind of lesser-known to be welcoming and affirming,” she said. “Those are the ones that I get the most questions about, like when I went on safari or traveling [through] the Middle East pretty extensively or when I went to Bali earlier this year.”
Ten Eyck realized that “There’s a learning curve when it comes to travel [and] that a lot of people get really nervous about, particularly in our community,” she said. “I think a lot of it is just the perception of fear or the perception of a lack of safety.”
She said a lot of the fears and perceptions come from a lack of familiarity and knowledge about destinations and some destinations lack of branding as being LGBTQ-welcoming.
“I wanted to create opportunities for our community to be able to travel, explore, and do some of the things that are a bit more adventurous or maybe make them a little bit more nervous” by lowering the risks and making traveling while queer “safer and easier,” she said, especially for gender-diverse travelers.
“There’s a lot of power in visibility,” said Ten Eyck, who emphasized the importance of making sure LGBTQ travelers, especially nonbinary travelers, are safe and comfortable to be themselves, but are also seen in the world.
“I think it takes us really meeting and understanding one individual from our community and building a relationship with them, for hearts and minds can be changed for LGBT equality,” Ten Eyck said.
Ten Eyck and 10 team members are handpicking and training the brands she’s working with to ensure guests are safe, especially in countries where it’s illegal to be LGBTQ, like Egypt.
“We’re taking precautions in order to make sure that our guests are safe but still able to see some of the most incredible and beautiful things in the world,” she said. “What is more iconic for a traveler than the Great Pyramid of Giza?”
EveryQueer’s first trips this summer are to Latin America, starting with a Latin American LGBTQ family cruise in partnership with R Family Vacations and Olivia (July 16-23) starting at $1,332 per traveler. EveryQueer returns to Latin America again in August with a trip to Cancun’s Playa del Carmen at the luxury 5-star resort, Maroma by Belmond, (August 24-28) starting at $1,999 per traveler. Later in the year, EveryQueer will venture to Argentina (October 28-November 5), Thailand (November 23-December 4), and Egypt (January 2024).
Ten Eyck realized that many of this year’s destinations are considered adventure destinations. She’s already looking at diversifying and offering more trips in 2024.
“I would love to be able to offer more trips in 2024,” she said. “We’re really trying to build different opportunities and create different pathways to travel for a lot of people. We really want to inspire folks to be able to push themselves a little bit whether that’s taking your first trip or doing your first trip, that’s not exclusively at a resort.”
Ten Eyck looks forward to continuing to build community while traveling. She plans to take the VIQ luxury dinner parties on the road to EveryQueer’s destinations.
Giattini and five of her friends, who are fans of EveryQueer’s VIQ events, booked the Cancun trip. They have never been to Mexico, they wanted to expand their networks and get to know people from different places, and it was easy to book, she said.
“That’s the entire point of doing this, obviously the ability to travel and see the world, but also to build community,” Ten Eyck said. “I think travel is one of those things that really bond people together. I want to be able to build spaces where we’re breaking bread, sharing stories, and sharing experiences so that folks can really, truly make lifelong connections.”