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The Best Travel Ideas, As Told By Gay Men, Part I: Autumn Destinations

It's no secret that gay men know how to live the good life. As shown by the experts on Queer Eye, the gays have special instincts on how to teach society the ways of interior design, grooming, style and fashion. Just kidding. Of course that's not really true. Even the gays sometimes get it wrong. But there is one area where gay men truly are champions, and that's in their skills at taking vacations. According to various studies, gay men are more than 3 times as likely as the rest of society to travel (38% of the American population did not take any vacation time last year!), and when they go they spend more money to make the trip special. Now that autumn has arrived, here are some great travel destinations to welcome the new season, as told by gay men who have made traveling an art form.

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1. Lviv, Ukraine

Antony recommends Lviv, a vibrant college town in Ukraine with a city center that is listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site. "If you like Budapest and Prague, you will love Lviv," Antony says. "It is Prague without the tourists." Lviv has several major universities, making it a cultural hub of Central Europe, and the tens of thousands of students bring energy to the cobblestone streets of Old Town. Go in early autumn, when the daytime temperatures are still in the 60's, and lounge the day away drinking coffee at a sidewalk cafe, or sip some Drunken Cherry liqueur, a local favorite.

2. Montpellier, France

Instagram: @d

The South of France is not all crowded beaches and millionaires on yachts. Along the western coast of France's Mediterranean west coast, worlds away from Saint Tropez and Cannes, is Montpellier, a thriving city with a thousand years of history and virtually no tourists. Dark alleys wind along cobblestone streets and open to sun-drenched carrés, where locals lounge the day away drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. The Roman aqueducts and Medieval cathedrals are gorgeous, but the real star here is the food, mon ami, the food: a mix of French cuisine with a North African kick. Try a tagine, a hearty pot of chicken and beans and savory sauce. Local tip: get a croissant a Boulangerie Patisserie Artisanale, a shop so cool it doesn't even have a web site. (9-11 Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 34000 Montpellier)

3. Marrakesh, Morocco

Instagram: @danielmarkcarr

Morocco is already a major holiday destination for Europeans, but it is finally starting to catch on with American xenophiles. Daniel C. loved exploring Jemaa El Fna, the central medina, especially at night when the square with vendors, belly dancers, and all the various walks of Moroccan life. He recommends touring the city while zooming around in a motorcycle sidecar--hopefully you will trust the guide driving--and the new Yves Saint Laurent museum, a tribute to the famed French fashion designer who lived here. Daniel C. also recommends lounging the days away in the numerous the riads, with courtyards like this one (above). The tilework is esquisite!

4. Santiago, Chile

Instagram: @chiletravel

Autumn in North America means temperatures begin to drop--but that means Spring in South America, where temperatures are getting warmer. Alejandro recommends Santiago, which he describes as "The Barcelona of South America," thanks to its relaxed, cosmopolitan vibe. "If Buenos Aires is like Madrid, where everything is crisp and everyone is nicely dressed," Alejandro says, "then Santiago is like Barcelona, more relaxed, more grunge, more of a mix of cultures." Both hiking and beaches are easily accessible, but make time to soak in the gorgeous mix of historic and contemporary architecture of the vibrant city center. Local tip: the best food in Chile, and all of South America, is Peruvian.

5. Tulum, Mexico

Instagram: @marcscarioni

While the masses rushed to Mexican destinations like CancĂșn, which is beautiful and fun but undeniably crowded with tourists, the little town of Tulum has been building its reputation as the other side of Mexican travel: ecoresorts, yoga retreats, off-grid huts on the beach with luxe linens. Marc advises going in autumn, after the heat of the summer sun, and soaking in the local culture. "Tulum was incredible," he says. "It was diverse, filled with beautiful people, incredible history, amazing food, a lot to see and do there." This includes visiting the hundreds of cenotes (above), freshwater pools that flow into the extensive cave system. Local tip: if you want the beach experience, confirm your resort has beach access, and it is sand, not coral rock.

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