You've read plenty of how-to guides, I'm sure, but you can't be too prepared. Pride celebrates our freedom and promotes equality in this great country. Some take this remembrance solemnly. To others, it's just another day to take your shirt off and sport enough glitter to make Ke$ha blush. Neither is wrong.
This weekend, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco host some of the largest Gay Pride events in the country. Here are some tips to make the most of your Pride travels. And yes, most of this is common sense, but it never hurts to re-state the obvious.
1. Plan ahead. You know about the parades, but most cities offer weekend-long events, and most of those require tickets. Buy your tickets online instead of standing in line. Pro tip: Tickets are normally cheaper in advance. So save a few dollars for drinks later.
2. Wear Pride on your sleeve. Dressing up for Pride is no easy task. When packing, remember that less is more. Of course, you need to be comfortable, whatever that means to you -- be it in a T-shirt, tank, nipple tape, wig, Speedo or glitter. In any case, I suggest weaving the rainbow flag throughout your wardrobe; it is Pride, after all. Another must: sunscreen!
3. Pack sneakers. Leave the heels to the professionals -- the drag queens. Wear sensible shoes. Trust me, you do not want to be walking around for miles to get from bar-to-bar in heels or even flip-flops. Wear sneakers, boat shoes -- whatever covers your feet. Just not crocs. Never crocs, OK?
4. Cash is king. I get it. It's odd to carry cash around in 2015. But you really do need it for Pride. You may want some singles for the go-go boys, or to tip the fierce drag queens. More importantly, some vendors only accept cash. (Apparently, they haven't heard of Square.) Bring it from home so you aren't scrambling for an ATM when you should be drinking/dancing/parading.
5. Thank the sponsors. Big-name companies typically join the parades with floats or representatives. It is because of their sponsorships that the events are possible. So, be sure to thank them by buying their goods and services. Just don't be a big ol' Pride mess and try to jump on their floats.
6. Charge your phone. Don't even think of going to the parade with your phone not fully charged. Between texting friends your location and Grindr-ing to make new friends, you'll want a full charge to be able to snap those Instagram-worthy pics. How sad would it be if you miss those nearly naked men with indestructible abs because of a dead battery?
7. Hydrate. The thirst is real. And I'm talking H2O. Pride is more of a marathon than a sprint. If you're going to be slamming back alcoholic beverages all day, sneak in a sip of water from time to time. Heat and liquor don't mix well, and you can't shake that booty if you pass out from dehydration.
8. Play safe. If you hook up, use a condom. There will be countless AIDS-prevention groups or health organizations giving out free condoms. Take 'em! And those lube packets are totally TSA-safe, so take extra to bring back home.
9. Stay in a hotel. No one wants to go home with someone who is sleeping on their friend's couch. Pony up for a real, grown-up hotel room, and enjoy the privacy, concierge service, clean linens and strong water pressure.
10. Take work off on Monday. Enough said.
To discover more about gay-friendly cities and to plan and book your gay Pride getaway, visit fagabond.com.