Founded in 2011 as “the next generation in gay travel,” Brand g recognized that LGBT travelers were looking for new and more exotic types of travel opportunities. Since river cruising was quickly becoming the hottest segment in travel, it only seemed natural to offer deluxe river cruise tours all over the world – a style of travel we personally love.
Since then, they’ve expanded into deluxe land-only tours, as well, to countries like Africa, Ireland, Japan, and Scotland, which have earned us some of our best reviews and most fervent repeat travelers.
Over the past eight years, Brand g has grown from a two-person company offering one trip a year to a five-man staff producing and operating 11 trips a year around the world. And without the hard work and talents of the awesome individuals below, there would BE no Brand g. They’re not in it for the money – well ok, maybe a little money (a girl’s gotta eat) – they’re in it because they love travel, they love people, and they love wearing drag in foreign countries. (Don’t ask.)
Brand g strives to offer top value in our 4.5 and 5-star vacations, and luckily, our bargaining power as a company has increased dramatically over the past 7 years, as we’ve gone from offering 1 vacation a year to 11. (We are NOT in this business to make a bunch of money and get out. Travel is our passion, and we’re content to make far-from-glamorous livings.)
But – like all travel companies, big and small – we’re still affected by outside factors, like:
- Fluctuations in exchange rates. The Euro, for example, has dropped from $1.35 five years ago to $1.15 now. The British pound dropped (following the Brexit vote) from $1.50 to $1.25, and remains there. Changes like these enable us to lower prices or offer additional all-inclusive elements (like unlimited adult beverages – you’re welcome).
- New local tour operators. When new local hosts enter a destination and competition heats up, prices can drop. Although we never employ brand new host companies (we require substantial, A+ track records from our local operators), we certainly take advantage of the opportunity for lower local costs.
- On the flip side, there are destinations that will always be pricey, like Antarctica and the Galapagos, where tourism is severely restricted in an effort to preserve the natural environment. We certainly support their commitment to ecology, but it does result in higher costs for travelers, and there’s nothing any travel supplier can do to change that. So, as incredibly memorable as they are, we only offer trips to these locales occasionally.
Obviously, the ever-changing geopolitical climate can create hot spots where we’ll choose not to go. Egypt is a good example: the unstable political situation there makes it a bit too risky to travel to the land of the pyramids.
With that said: the U.S. State Department issues travel advisories for countries around the world; and these days, most countries have one. So, you have to parse the language. Low-level travel advisories basically just mean, “something could happen somewhere, at some time”. It hardly means the country is in the midst of a civil war. To give you some perspective, for citizens of many other countries around the world, the U.S. has a travel advisory.
Last year, while we were in South Africa, Zimbabwe had a coup. We were scheduled to travel there the next day. And while we were in constant contact with the State Department, there was really nothing to worry about, since we were traveling to Victoria Falls, hundreds of miles from the capital where the (bloodless) coup occurred. The trip, of course, went off without a hitch – you’d never even have known anything was going on.