6 Essential Travel Tips for LGBT Travelers

LGBT travelers have unique concerns to take into account when journeying cross country or abroad.  Savvy travel tips can help you to travel smarter and safer. It’s also wise to be aware of certain countries where homosexuality, bi, and trans people are criminalized. The top 10 most dangerous countries to be gay is a valuable article to consider when planning your next vacation. Even in countries where the LGBT community isn’t condemned by the law, there are still unwelcoming parts of the world, gay travelers should be aware of. Because we want you to be safe and enjoy your vacation we’ve compiled 6 essential travel tips for gay travelers.

1. Do your research

In addition to looking over the aforementioned article, it is worth delving deeper. Look at other countries that you’re considering visiting. Check their laws and their attitudes towards the LGBT community. If you find that the country you’re headed to has a hostile view of the LGBT community, refrain from drawing too much attention to yourself and your travel companion.

Tehran, Iran
Tehran, Iran

2.  Avoid PDA

As mentioned above, don’t draw attention to your or your partner. This can include PDA-public displays of affection such as hand-holding and kissing. At NYC Gay Tour we want our visitors to feel comfortable to express themselves, but unfortunately not every place you visit will feel the same. In an effort to minimize harassment and threats of violence aimed in your direction, be aware of your surroundings.

Travel tips: gay travelers should be aware of their surroundings and potentially avoid PDA in certain countries where homosexuality is illegal
Travel tips: gay travelers should be aware of their surroundings and potentially avoid PDA in certain countries where homosexuality is illegal

3. Know your rights

Check to make sure you know the laws and codes of the places you’re visiting, and this includes airports. Bringing any type of sexual material, including condoms, can warrant a search of your person and belongings in some places. Some airports have no policy against forcing transgender individuals from the removal of prosthetics or binders if they’re considered sexually explicit. Please be aware of this, before you embark on your journey.

Also be sure to bring proof of relationship status, if traveling with your spouse. You may need this in the event of a medical emergency or legal situation.

4. Seek out LGBT-accommodating businesses

Many hotels and businesses cater to the LGBT community with enthusiasm. Hotels such as the Hilton and Marriot welcome gay travelers with open arms. If you’re looking to stay in an Airbnb, consider the gay-friendly alternatives  EBAB and MisterB&B which are very accommodating. Through these substitutions many tourists and locals meet and form new friendships, widening their community. If you’re traveling to New York City we 10 Gay-Friendly Businesses in NYC that may help with stay and play needs in addition to Why New York Is the Best Gay City in the U.S.

Misterb&b logo banner, accomdating gay travelers
Misterb&b logo banner, accommodating gay travelers

5.  Be Weary of Dating

Hooking-up while on vacation can be fun and casual, but it can also be dangerous. In countries where homosexuality is decidedly frowned upon, dating apps may be used as traps for unsuspecting tourists. Travelers can become the victim of blackmail, robbery or a violent crime if they meet up with the wrong set of people. Be sure to interact with strangers in densely-populated areas where others can see your movements. It’s also worth telling someone (the hotel concierge for example) where you’re going as a safety precaution.

6. Make Sure to Get Help

If for any reason you feel unsafe and feel unable to go to local authorities, seek out the nearest U.S. Embassy. They are more likely to avoid making assumptions or passing judgment and will you keep your privacy secure. Also if you’re arrested, inform the local authorities to notify the U.S. Embassy on your behalf.

U.S. Embassy in Bejing
U.S. Embassy in Bejing

Will you be traveling abroad in 2020? And if so how helpful do you think these travel tips will be on your journeys? What are some other savvy travel tips we didn’t include? Tell us in the comments below!

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