Travel Tips for the LGBTQ+ Traveler
Let’s face it.
Traveling as a member of the LGBTQ+ community sometimes comes with its own specific set of issues that requires special considerations. Whether it is traveling in countries that are not as receptive to the community or even just booking a hotel room, knowing how to navigate the waters can make all the difference the world between a great holiday and a disaster. In order to ensure that your next vacation goes off without a hitch, the following are some tips and guidelines for LGBTQ+ travelers that have been proven to prepare you for anything and make the holidays all the more enjoyable.
- Updating Passport and Travel Documents
As a general rule of thumb, your passport should always be updated that you are ready to go anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. If you have not used it in a while, make sure that it is not about to expire within the next 6 months, that photos current, and that you have the necessary immunizations depending on the country you are visiting. Driver’s licenses should also be current too in case you are renting vehicles or other equipment while away.
- Research the LGBTQ+ Friendliness of Your Destination
Not all cities and countries are created equally when it comes to how the LGBTQ+ community is received and that means you may have to do a bit more research in certain parts of the world to find out about rights within the borders. Wikipedia is one great source that has sections on gay travel that can be beneficial when it comes to providing travel information.
- Finding Gay-Friendly Accommodations
You want to be comfortable and at ease when traveling, so when you are booking accommodations, use booing sites that cater to the LGBTQ+ experience. Look for properties that have been TAG-approved to ensure that there won’t be any unforeseen problems once you arrive. The website will give you a listing of properties that are gay-friendly and are approved by the community.
- Catching Local Shows
Most cities have a venue or event happening thetas geared towards the LGBTQ+ community and you can do a bit of research and find out where it is. Whether it is a musical production in a theatre or drag show in a club, be diligent and do a bit of detective work and you might be surprised at what’s happening in that neck of the woods!
- App It Up! (Meeting the Natives)
Everyone is familiar with the most popular apps out there (Grindr, Scruff, Planet Romeo) but some people forget that these can also be used to network with the locals. First, find out which ones are popular in the area you are visiting, download, and prepare a profile that lets other users know what you are looking for while in the city. Natives and even other tourists can be extremely helpful guiding you to the best sites and destinations.
- Gay Bars and Cafes in the Vicinity
Bars and coffeehouses are known for being the hubs in many cities and within the gay community, they do more than just serve beer and coffee, offering insight into what is happening throughout the week in a city and directing tourists to gay-friendly establishments as well as any other pertinent LGBTQ+ information they may need. Go visit a few when you land for a beer or a latte and talk up the bartender and anyone else at the bar. Look for flyers and maps to get an idea about what to do and see while you are vacationing.
- Travel During Pride Months
If you want to be sure that the city you are visiting will be gay-friendly, then visiting when the city is celebrating Pride is a sure-fire way to guarantee that you won’t be the only gay in the village. Pride is typically in June for many cities and during the month, you can visit and enjoy lots of LGBTQ+ activities like film festivals, price marches, and concerts. Plus, it is a great time to network and be around like-minded individuals.
- Visit Famous LGBTQ+ Cities
There are some cities in the world that are well-known for being hubs for the LGBTQ+ community and in cities like Barcelona, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, New York City, and many more, you will have so much to do that you won’t possibly be able to do it all. These are destination that continue to trend as must-sees and if you have never visited one of these cities on a gay holiday, there is no time like the present.
- Discovering Cities Off the Beaten Path
There are always new cities waiting to be discovered and now that social media is such a force in daily lives, new cities are emerging as go-to destinations that many never would have considered. From Lisbon, Portugal to Amman, Jordan, Austin, Texas, and many more, there are a lot of cities out there that have lots of options available to LGBTQ+ tourists.
- Read Gay Travel Blogs/Websites
Use technology to ensure that your holiday is as fun as you want it to be by reading gay travel blogs and websites that give insight from experts and previous visitors to arm yourself with the best advice possible. Popular sites include Out Traveler and Gay Cities. There are also countless sites on Facebook that provide information from people that can help you plan your trip.
- Report Any Issues
Although you are not likely to have any major problems if you keep your wits about you, should any problems arise, be sure to report it. Local organizations that work with the LGBTQ+ community can assist you in reporting any incidents and you will also help to inform anyone that travel there in the future about what to expect.
- Be Safe
No matter what your destination may be, you should be vigilant and be safe at all times. That means adhering to local laws, trusting your intuition, and relying on common sense at all times. Travelers should also beep to date on what is considered socially acceptable wherever they may be visiting and be mindful of anything that seems suspect.
In summary, if you follow these guidelines and practice common sense, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have an amazing experience that provides you with plenty of great memories!