6 essential tips for LGBTQ+ travel

02 Jun 2019

Travelling is one of life’s greatest pleasures and should be easy and accessible for everyone. However, we know all too well that when it comes to travelling as an LGBTQ+ person it is not so ‘straight’-forward (excuse the pun).

No matter where you fall under the umbrella of LGBTQ+, by no means should you be discouraged from travelling! We have travelled extensively and without a doubt, travel has given us our best life experiences to date.

With this in mind, here are our six essential tips for LGBTQ+ travellers to make sure your next trip is unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Be aware of the country’s laws

We know the statistics all too well and yet they still shock us. In 2019 there are still many countries in the world where being LGBTQ+ is actually illegal with punishments ranging from imprisonment to death in the worst cases.

Knowing the laws before you book to visit a country can help you to make the right decision about whether or not to travel there.

No matter what, safety always comes first.

Conversely, there are many incredible countries that are paving the way when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights where you will feel right at home (see point 6).

Research the local attitudes

The tricky thing with local laws is that they do not always reflect the countries' actual attitudes.

Take Thailand for example. While same-sex marriage is not legally recognised yet, (it is currently being discussed), the country is still very welcoming towards LGBTQ+ travellers.

When it comes to attitudes, research how public displays of affection are going to be received, whether you should avoid asking for double beds and how should you introduce yourselves etc.

In a fair and ideal world, these should not be things that you have to think about. However, again, safety first!

Make sure you take a look into both laws and attitudes before you write a country off your list altogether – you might be surprised to find you will be welcomed with open arms.

Connect with LGBTQ+ locals

While it is usually easy to find out the laws and LGBTQ+ rights of most destinations prior to travelling, finding information on the local scene is often much trickier.

This is especially true for those places where the attitude doesn’t reflect the laws, and the local LGBTQ+ scene is small, or ‘hidden’ for want of a better word.

If you ever find yourself in a country and are lacking knowledge, or simply want to know more about the local LGBTQ+ scene, try and connect with LGBTQ+ locals for advice and support. After all, they know best.

You can do this via social apps, dating apps or through Facebook groups.

You might even make a friend for life and discover parts of your destination you never would have seen otherwise.

Support LGBTQ+ owned (or friendly) businesses

This is something we always look for! There are many resources online which help you to find LGBTQ+ owned or friendly accommodation and travel options.

While this is not a necessity, knowing a hotel is LGBTQ+ owned or specifically renowned for being friendly immediately puts us at ease and stops us having to think twice about acting as a couple on holiday. We will snuggle up by the pool without looking over our shoulder!

Plan your trip around LGBTQ+ events

If you really want to lose all inhibitions, plan your trip around an LGBTQ+ event!

Especially during this time of the year as we head into Pride Month, there are pride events going on worldwide from now all the way through until August.

Without a doubt, when we attend a pride event we find ourselves in one of the most friendly, welcoming environments and its great to see the LGBTQ+ community come together.

Aswell as Pride, there are a number of different LGBTQ+ events and festivals taking place throughout the course of the year, across most destinations.

Check out the Rainbow Index 

Have you heard of the Rainbow Index? It ranks countries in terms of how the local laws and policies impact the lives of LGBTQ+ people. This will in turn have an effect on LGBTQ+ visitors.

So if you really want to feel at home, safe and welcome as an LGBTQ+ traveller, choose one of the top ranking destinations for your next trip.

We have had some incredible experiences by travelling to these destinations. One we highly recommend is Spain and specifically Madrid.

Forget about the term ‘LGBTQ+ friendly’, in Madrid you are just part of society like everyone else. No one bats an eyelid to see two people of the same gender holding hands – its so common its boring!

Equally we have travelled to other destinations such as Stockholm where this was also the case.

Stockholm is really leading the way in gender neutral fashion and even at a basic level, most toilets there are gender neutral. It might seem like a small thing for some, but for others this is a huge deal to see.

Being able to just relax and set aside our concerns by travelling to these types of countries really made our travel experiences what they should be – a great pleasure for all, a chance to relax, a chance to have fun, and a chance to explore a new destination – whether we were LGBTQ+ or not.

We really hope that you find these tips useful! Be inspired, be safe and take on the world! Where are you going to travel to next?

Take a look at top travel deals throughout June to LGBTQ+ friendly Rainbow Index destinations here. 

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