Have the lazy days of August hit you yet? Make sure you find time to unwind and recharge. Lisbon is a great summer – or year-round – destination and part of our Portugal and Spain focus this month. New York hotels keep launching cool rooftops to enjoy. And we’ll tell you why working with a luxury travel advisor is more popular now than ever.
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Carlos Melia can light up a room with his smile, especially when he talks about travel. A native of Argentina, our luxury gay travel expert affiliate says he grew up on planes. By the time he was 10, he had traveled around the world one and a half times. Over the years, he has called many countries home including the U.S., Argentina, South Africa, India and Thailand.
Even in his early days studying marine biology “to become Jacques Cousteau,” he felt compelled to travel the world for work. The travel bug soon took over completely and he enrolled in hospitality management school, ending up with a scholarship at Ohio State University.
While working for a hotel in Tehran, Iran, during the mid-1990s, he had a pioneering idea. He decided to move back to Argentina to open up the country’s first gay travel agency. At the time, Argentina was a cheap destination, unknown to international tourists, and gay friendly. The business took off, thanks to online communities, and Carlos became known as the go-to travel expert for his native country, even writing the first gay travel guide to Argentina.
In 2008, he moved to New York after winning Mr. Gay World. The competition enabled him to travel the world as an ambassador of the gay community. With a global profile and platform, he again harnessed his entrepreneurial spirit and expertise in social media.
Two years later, Carlos became a travel specialist affiliated with F1S. At the same time, he began writing the Carlos Melia Blog for luxury gay travel, and formed the LGTNetwork, a community of luxury gay travel professionals and press. Carlos also blogs for the prestigious organization Les Clefs D’or, for top luxury concierges around the world.
With a robust social media following, he’s sometimes recognized by his fans. But so is his adorable four legged companion Bruna. This charming, Missoni-clad schnauzer has her own blog called Travel with Bruna. He laughs, “One day I was walking through the dining room of Nizuc with the sales director. A group of ladies was having lunch and some heads turned as we walked by. But not til Bruna came past did they comment to me, ‘Oh you’re the owner of the famous Bruna, the dog who travels the world!’”
Carlos points out that he works with both gay and straight clients. With a big clientele in fashion, he loves sending people to his three favorites: Peru, Argentina and Thailand. Next on Carloss’ list of travel adventures are Mongolia and Iceland, two destinations known for their rugged beauty.