My mind has been focused on one thing in the last two weeks- Tahiti. Now, I am not the type of girl to spend my life dreaming of things I can’t have. The difference here is that I actually believe that I can have this trip; so long as I follow my savings plan for it, and if I’m realistic that it may be two more years.

If you have never experienced something, you can kind of tell yourself, “Oh, it can’t be as good as they say.” And then maybe you’d settle for Hawaii for cheap. Truthfully, I have been to Tahiti a few times as a child and my first name is the name of one it’s islands. I can’t tell myself it’s not really paradise, because it is. It’s tropical perfection where they speak French, eat gourmet food and women go topless. There are paintings by Gaugain of beautiful Tahitian women everywhere. And though it’s not a big name on the gay travel sites, it’s decidedly queer friendly.

People use the phrase “A Trip to Tahiti” in jest. Tahiti implies the unthinkable, unaffordable, ultimate luxury. But it’s a real place and I’m about to tell you how to get there for cheaper.

When I was a kid, we traveled to Tahiti via an agency called Islands In The Sun. So far, my research this year finds them still cheapest and with the friendliest service. Best of all you get a really ugly travel bag for free with your purchase! I spoke with a sexy New Zealander named Jana (pronounced Yana) to confirm that the advertised specials would be the same as or very close to the advertised price for me, for next January.

The best and cheapest way to fly to Tahiti is Air Tahiti Nui, a newer airline that connects France, the U.S. and New Zealand with Tahiti. It is one of the best rated airlines around. This is a very long flight and I do not recommend American-owned airlines because they tend to, excuse my language, but -suck- these days. Reviews from this year include:

“Los Angeles to Papeete return. Without doubt this is the best experience of flying we have enjoyed. The cabin crew are so colourful with their lovely dresses or smart suits, and smiling. Airbus A340 smooth and quiet and seat pitch gave me lots of leg room in economy”

“2 hot meals plus mid-flight snacks of ice cream and sandwiches offered. Flight attendants came through the cabin with water periodically. 7 movies. Clean plane. This airline is a gem.”

You will usually have to spend one night on Tahiti. It’s capital, Papeete, (papi-eh-tay) is is sort of a like combination of Paris and Honolulu but smaller. I recommend getting the cheapest room there (or whatever one comes with your package) and staying up late that night for the nightlife or midnight crepes from a rolling kiosk at the park near the cruise terminal.

Getting to the lesser-known islands is more expensive. Moorea is the easiest and least expensive. Bora Bora is also wonderful. I recommend staying in the Islands no less than six nights or you will definitely feel like you haven’t been there long enough. However, there is also one downside for me. I can’t deal with mosquitos for more than eight nights. Also, be warned that if you are afraid of small yellow lizards (The meaning of Moorea comes from the two words for golden and gecko), they will be crawling on the walls in your room (not your bed) so be forewarned.

I recommend the affordable Maniua Moorea package, but there are many to choose from. My favorite hotels in the islands are the French-owned Sofitels which include the famous over-water bungalows if you’re rich and many other affordable rooms, plus inclusive gourmet French breakfasts and dinners. You save a lot by staying at the Hotel Hibiscus and buying your own food to prepare in the kitchenette.

Islands in the Sun can also set you up on an exclusive tiny private couple-owned island adjacent to Moorea. It’s called Dream Island and they offer activities but this is definitely the place if you want to be isolated. They even offer to stock the kitchen in your “house” according to your specifications before you get there. This service is less expensive than buying an all-inclusive meal package at a resort.

In Tahiti you can do all sorts of water sports, premium Gay snorkeling and diving in Moorea (watch out for Lionfish!), and I recommend the snorkeling with Black Tip Reef Sharks on the island of Bora Bora. Drink young coconut juice from a straw directly out of the coconut and have sandwiches for lunch on a small boat as you get a by-water tour of the island. A Tahitian gay wedding ceremony includes a sunset natural raft ride.

Plan far, save up and enjoy the anticipation instead of jumping to put it on a credit card.