HE Travel: A Lifetime of Experience

HE Travel is celebrating its 40th year of leading unique adventure tours for gay men, lesbians and open-minded friends and family who enjoy tours with a gay flair. Under the direction of Philip Sheldon, president and owner, HE Travel continues to offer exciting vacations to destinations as varied as France, Italy, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Antarctica. What began with a passion for biking, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors with small groups of like-minded people grew into a successful business with a faithful following of clients who have helped shape the future of the company.

Hanns Ebensten (where we get the “HE” of HE Travel) pioneered gay travel in 1972, when he took groups of gay men rafting through the Grand Canyon, and to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. We are still going strong and enjoying the pleasure of inspired adventures. Whether it’s happy hour in our private Tahitian bungalows, sunbathing on the beaches of Mykonos, or taking in a drag show in Phuket, fun is always high on our list.

We also take a very personal approach to our in-depth discovery of the culture and history of our destinations. Every trip has an experienced tour leader familiar with the area as well as a knowledgeable local tour guide in each locale. We visit the main attractions but do not shy from the offbeat, the unusual, and the downright amusing.

Our Adventure division (previously known as Alyson Adventures) was founded by Sasha Alyson in 1995, after he sold his pioneering publishing company, Alyson Publications. Alyson sought to break stereotypes while enhancing travel experiences for his friends and their loved ones. Sheldon had worked with Hanns Ebensten, the “inventor” of gay travel, and eventually purchased Ebensten’s famed tour company. Hanns Ebensten began his company in 1973 escorting groups of gay men to the Grand Canyon for whitewater rafting, the very first organized gay travel of any kind. The philosophy of both brands was the same: to enhance travel for gay men, lesbians and friends with an emphasis on activities, small groups and expanding the experience by getting closer to the environment.

Today, the two brands are merged under the name of HE Travel and we still offer the popular trips down the Grand Canyon as well as others to destinations as far flung as Laos and Cambodia, as remote as Easter Island, and as popular as Tuscany. We are pleased to welcome you on our adventures!

A note on our adventure tours: Our adventure itineraries are active vacations, full of options and opportunities. On our biking trips, for example, you can follow our suggested route with the group; take the same path at your own pace; or venture off on your own to explore uncharted territory. The active nature of our trips makes it easy to get to know others in the group — and to make new friends in the areas we pass through.

If you want a tightly organized group tour, choose an HE Travel classic, but if you find it exciting to bike along a country road, stopping to soak your feet in a stream, or to hike along a mountain trail with a friend, not knowing what’s just around the corner, then give our adventure tours a try. Find out why Out & About, the widely-respected online gay travel newsletter, gave us their Editor’s Choice award for Adventure Travel, and why OutTraveler Magazine named us Gay Tour Operator of the Year.

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