Desiree Sousa – My Passion for Gay and Lesbian Travel



When I was six years old I entered a contest for our local electric company here in Providence, RI. It was called ‘The Lester Lightbulb’ contest. Contestents were to write a poem about conserving energy. This was in 1982. The grand prize winner would win an all expense paid vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL for a family of four. As luck would have it – I won. Little did I know that it would be the defining moment that would launch my love affair with travel. I still remember the butterflies and excitement I felt as my mother, father, brother & I landed in Orlando International Airport and proceeded to The Magic Kingdom. Florida was completely different than Rhode Island. They had palm trees! I didn’t want to leave!
Growing up I always begged my parents to go one place of another. Day trips were extremely rousing for me. Weekend getaways to Cape Cod and New York were common, however, I longed to travel further! I wanted to explore! Have an adventure!
It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I started truly traveling. My partner and I traveled to 42 states and Canada during the ten years we were together. At one point we even embarked on a three month road trip, which, until this very day, is one of my fondest memories. I am fascinated by every little thing. I love how distinct each state feels. You simply know you are in Pennsylvania by the rolling green hills and lush farms. You know you hit the south when you cross that South Carolina border and spot your first palm tree. Where else but New Orleans can you hear Cajun music blearing out of bars and storefronts? See emerald green water so crystal clear (Destin, FL) you swear you’re in the Caribbean? Experience double pawed cats and roosters walking with tourists (Key West, FL)? Don’t even get me started on first witnessing the otherworldly landscape of Utah’s canyonlands or the 14,000+ peaks of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains! And who doesn’t feel just a wee bit lucky as they gaze upon that ‘Welcome To Las Vegas’ sign? Time does slow down as you drive old parts of Route 66 in Arizona and New Mexico! And, yes, the sky REALLY DOES look more blue in Santa Fe, NM!
Travel awakens all the senses….touch, sight, taste, smell and hearing.
If we could have afforded to we would have surely spent equal amounts of time exploring countries throughout Europe and other continents. Because traveling to these far off places seemed, well, far off, I did the next best thing, and only natural move in my opinion — I started my own travel company. Being lesbian sparked my interest in gay & lesbian travel. This became my specialty. Out & About Travel was born in 1999.
The love affair I have with travel is real. I can never absorb enough knowledge through travel books and travel magazines. I am addicted to travel Blogs. I love researching exciting events for clients to experience on their vacations. One of the most rewarding aspects to being a travel agent is knowing you are responsible for the memories your clients will be creating. I love receiving feedback (good and bad). I love forming bonds with my clients. When I am unable to travel, I travel through them vicariously! 😉
Passion is a big part of the success of a business. I am truly passionate about what I do.
I assure all clients that you are in excellent hands when you utilize Out & About Travel’s services. If you are unhappy with something on your trip, we are unhappy. We will do everything to assist with the situation (we provide all clients with 24/7 agent access via personal cell phone numbers).
Most of  our business is done via email. We have clients from around the globe. Email is fast and efficient and our preferred means of communication.
If I was physically able to sit across every client, I would look them in the eyes and explain the following:
1.) Once you begin communication with us, we ask that you please direct all question and booking inquiries to us direct and not the tour operator/company we recommend. Why is this? Because the only way we earn credit (commission) for the booking is if we confirm the booking ourselves. It doesn’t cost you a penny extra to have us do this. Booking direct with the tour operator, cruise line, hotel or car rental agency only puts more $$ money in their pocket. Their bottom line is bigger. I can’t tell you how many times we have researched a trip for a client, at no fee, only to have the client call the tour operator direct at the end. Ouch. Most times it is a simple misunderstanding, however, we do stress that you finalize the booking through the agent you were working with. Most times we can get preferred cabin locations on cruises and room locations at resorts. Trust us – we’ll take great care of you!
2.) We have a price match guarantee. That package you quoted online at Expedia or Orbitz…..we have it too. It is impossible for our small agency to stay abreast of all the minute-to-minute offerings large Internet companies present, however, if you research and find a package you are interested in, just let us know! We can book that same package for you at the same rate, if not better. Best of all, you get a LIVE person at all times and we will work WITH you not against you.
3.) It doesn’t cost extra to book with us! No. Really. We do not charge a service fee like many agencies out there do (including the mega sites like Orbitz and Expedia). There are no hidden fees. We do all the research free of charge in good faith that you will book with us in the end.
4.) I’d be lying if I didn’t say the competition out there from mega travel companies to cash in on the gay & lesbian travel market wasn’t fierce. It’s scary for a small business like ours. The thing you need to keep in mind is that many times the companies that want your travel dollars don’t even have a GLBT specialist on staff! We do. We are certified ‘Rainbow Travel Specialists’ who have been to many of the destinations that are popular with the GLBT community. We work with only true gay & lesbian owned or friendly establishments. We are sensitive to your needs and will work with you and your budget to make sure you get exactly what you want.
5.) We don’t just handle gay & lesbian tours & cruises! We are straight friendly! 🙂 We can customize a package for your friends and family too. Many times our clients PREFER a more ‘straight oriented’ getaway versus a gay or lesbian exclusive tour/cruise. It is a personal preference. We book standard cruises, hotel stays, car rentals, theme park trips, family trips etc., — pretty much anything you can think of!
Yes. I wish I could give these facts, face to face, with every client of ours. I would assure them that they have nothing to worry about and could trust us completely.
Having been in business since 1999 and having a fantastic repeat clientele, I can say this with 100% sincerity.
Travel is my passion. Let me share it with you!!
Desiree Sousa
Out & About Travel
4 Responses to “Desiree Sousa – My Passion for Gay and Lesbian Travel”
  1. Sophie says:

    Great post! We love the work you do here at… keep up the good work!

  2. Sophie says:

    Excellent post! Love what you do, keep it up!

  3. Sophie says:

    thank you for sharing your insights! keep the great posts coming 🙂

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