The LGBT travel industry is worth a lot of money, but in many parts of the world, there are still some safety concerns for LGBT vacationers. In more than 70 countries, homosexuality is still criminalized, including some popular tourist spots like Dubai, Singapore, and Jamaica. Even if it’s legal, many countries still come with a risk of threats, harassment, or even violence. Here are some tips to travel safely and comfortably while part of the LGBT community.
Do Your Homework
Before you book a trip, research what the place you’d like to visit is like for LGBT people. Is being homosexual legal? Are LGBT people treated with respect? Will the hotel have an issue if you and your partner book a double room?
Whether or not somewhere will welcome you to fly your pansexual flag with pride or you’ll have to fly under the radar, or whether you visit a country that is not welcoming to the LGBT community is up to you. Just make an informed choice. There are lots of travel websites that can help you to do this research and make a decision that you feel comfortable with.
It’s not nice to think about, but in some countries, displays of affection between same-sex couples can be frowned upon or even dangerous. You might feel as though you want to take a stand, but it’s not worth putting yourself in danger just to make a statement.
Follow the local laws and customs. You may have to be more discreet than you usually are when you’re out in public. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, be discreet.
Know Your Rights
Laws are different between countries. For example, in some countries, traveling with condoms can be seen as evidence of sex work.
If you’re traveling with your spouse, bring some proof of your relationship status, like a marriage certificate. If you have any problems with the local authorities or need medical help, it can be difficult to assert your spousal rights without proof.
Patronize LGBT-Friendly Businesses
A lot of hotels, restaurants, and resorts don’t just welcome LGBT guests, but actively seek them out. Some hotel chains, like Hilton and Marriott, have websites aimed at LGBT guests, and take steps including training staff on inclusion and LGBT issues.
Homesharing can be an affordable way to travel, but you want to be share that your host is an ally. EBAB and misterb&b both list accommodation that is either LGBT or LGBT-friendly. These hosts can help you to stay safe in their local area.
If you book a package tour or a cruise, look for an LGBT-focused operator. You’ll be supporting the community or an ally. Your operator will know the local rules, be able to connect you with others in the community, and treat you with respect. There are lots of options, whether you want a family holiday, a wild trip, or one with a focus on a particular section of the LGBT community.