Ravi Roth has been living his best life and taking us all along with him. In Gaycation's weekly travel show on YouTube, we've seen places like Vancouver, Manhattan, and Tulsa over the last few months.
This week Ravi is joined by travel journalist Rachel Covello (above left) and they take us on a trip through the Sunshine State. Surprisingly, there's more to do than just Universal and Disney.
We talked to Rachel ahead of the Gaycation Travel Show which premieres this Friday. We wanted to get to know her a little before the show, and now we can't wait to see what she does next.
Gaycation Magazine: Who is Rachel Covello?
Rachel Covello: I am the Publisher of OutCoast.com Gay Florida Travel - a digital destination magazine promoting Florida as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to visit, celebrate and live.
I moved to Florida in 2017 after leaving Pennsylvania. In PA., I founded and ran an LGBT nonprofit organization called LGBT Equality Alliance of Chester County along with several amazing volunteers.
Together we hosted pride events, advocated for LGBTQ community members, and developed scholarship programs for LGBTQ students.
I later consulted with a global manufacturing company to develop and launch a corporate LGBTQ employee resource group.
Around that time, I declined an opportunity to launch an online digital platform in Chester County focused on LGBTQ community news, but the concept inspired me to create a similar concept in Florida with a focus on travel.
I also work with destinations to create a more inclusive feel for LGBTQ travelers. I live in St Pete, Florida with my wife, two dogs, one cat, four chickens and several giant goldfish!
What is one misconception about Orlando that most people might have?
While the city is known for Disney, there is so much more to the region! Arts, culture, food, and so much more. And Disney isn't really in Orlando. It's technically in Kissimmee.
What kind of food can you expect to have when you visit Mount Dora?
Nearly anything you want! They have food from cultures all over the world, including Indian, sushi, Mexican and American. Shiva Indian is by far my favorite.
How should you dress when visiting Orlando?
Casual! Flip flops, shorts and t-shirts are a way of life in Florida.
What are the COVID safety rules in place?
There are very few rules with COVID now, although visitors should pay attention to rules posted by individual businesses. But for the most part, Florida is open and mask-free if vaccinated. For those who aren't vaccinated, masks are encouraged.
What is the best time of year to visit?
It depends on how much you like to sweat! My favorite times of the year are April and November. However, anytime between the end of October and through May are very comfortable. If you can stand the heat and mosquitoes, then even the summer is bearable. We have air conditioning, too, with lots of indoor options for fun, food, and entertainment.
What's Pride like?
Mount Dora doesn't currently have a pride event, although it has lots of LGBTQ residents. Everyone in that region ventures to Orlando for pride celebrations throughout the year. Orlando has several celebrations starting with One Magical Weekend and Gay Days in June, followed by Come Out With Pride Orlando and Girls in Wonderland in October.
What is the closest airport?
Orlando National AirportWhat’s one activity that maybe no one knows about that a visitor should definitely do in Orlando/Mount Dora?
Cat Boat rides or SeaPlane rides in Mount Dora. Drag shows at Sun on the Beach in Old Town or Hocus Pocus in Old Town on Halloween (drag queens included).
For more information on Out Coast and Rachel Covello click HERE.
You can catch up with The Gaycation Travel Show on YouTube HERE. We have new episodes every Friday.
Here is last week’s episode: