I’ve added an LGBT column for the web site to help make the site more inclusive and discuss conditions that affect some members of our travel community. In this column, we will hear from voices in the LGBT community about their experiences on the highway, safety tips, events, and overall advice for other LGBT travelers to obtain the most out of their own time on the highway! This month, Dani from Globetrottergirls offers you the best Lesbian friendly travel experience.
When I started planning my first visit to Latin America this year 2010, I wondered what it might be prefer to travel with my girlfriend in strictly Catholic countries, most of them known for his or her culture of machismo. Would we be safe? Would we get the opportunity to connect to local lesbians or meet other lesbian travelers?
I had traveled extensively around Europe and I’d gone to LGBT hot spots in america but had no idea what things to expect in other areas of the world. In the past, there wasn’t much information online, and social media wasn’t as ubiquitous since it is now. Today, planning for a lesbian trip has gotten easier since then. Still, in case you are not planing a trip to a lesbian or Pride festival, planning an LGBT-friendly trip could be daunting and overwhelming. The place to start? How to start finding queer-friendly destinations and meeting other gay travelers?
Like me, a whole lot of lesbians, especially first-time travelers, feel convenient traveling within an environment where they feel safe. Knowing that, I’ve compiled this ultimate resource for lesbian travelers, including websites you’ll want to bookmark for trip planning, LGBT-friendly booking sites, travel opportunities for same-sex couples or lesbian solo travelers, and how exactly to meet like-minded people throughout your trip!
Table of Contents
- Trip-Planning Strategies
- Where to find Lesbian-Friendly TRAVEL AGENTS
- Where to find lesbian-Owned and -Friendly Accommodation
- THE VERY BEST Lesbian Tours and Cruises
- How to Meet Other Lesbians WHILST TRAVELLING
- How exactly to Travel Safe as a Lesbian
1. Trip-Planning Strategies
Maybe you’ve already got a destination at heart, or possibly you’re completely open. If that is your first international trip, you might like to play it safe and go to a country with liberal views on same-sex relationships — rather than among the 77 countries which have legal LGBT discrimination.
THE UNITED STATES Department of State is a great place to start to assemble LGBTQI Travel Information, including some pointers on staying safe as a queer traveler. Both International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), a nonprofit human rights group in Geneva, and the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) are great resources. The former includes a detailed summary of sexual orientation laws all over the world, and the latter has good trip-planning tools.
Damron publishes a complete travel guide by and for lesbians each year, including over 9,000 listings in THE UNITED STATES, SOUTH USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, and major cities in Europe and Asia. In addition, it includes festivals, lesbian tours, and conferences, and also information for vegetarians and multiracial couples and on wheelchair access, among a lot more.
Passport Magazine may be the only lgbt travel magazine still in publication in america. It covers LGBT travel, culture, adventure and style — an ideal go-to if you’re looking for a few lesbian travel inspiration.
If that is your first trip abroad, and you don’t want to visit too far from the united states, I would recommend Costa Rica, which is quite LGBT friendly. Manuel Antonio has a lot of gay-owned hotels, and Playa Samara, the best beach in Costa Rica, even includes a lesbian-owned B&B directly on the beach.
Mexico is probably the countries that surprised me most regarding gay-friendliness: Not in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA did I see as much gay couples openly holding hands and making out in parks as I did so in Mexico City! Moreover, Puerto Vallarta may be the “gay capital” of Mexico, and together with the nearby beaches of the Riviera Nayarit, it creates for a straightforward getaway from the united states — where you could be out without fretting about how you could be perceived.
2. Where to find Lesbian-Friendly TRAVEL AGENTS
The IGLTA includes a comprehensive list of most of its official partners, such as companies like Delta, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, United, Orbitz, Hotels.com, and Expedia.
Expedia includes a separate section for queer travelers, featuring LGBT-welcoming hotels and guides to top gay hotspots.
3. Where to find lesbian-Owned and -Friendly Accommodation
Where to consider lesbian-owned and lesbian-friendly accommodation is Purple Roofs, the world’s largest travel directory of LGBT-friendly accommodation. Over 4,800 bed & breakfasts, hotels, accommodations, and other properties are listed. Simply enter your destination and all available properties you will have listed. You’ll see immediately if it’s lesbian or gay owned, the purchase price per night, and a description of the house:
Another option is to consider TAG Approved® hotels, which are the ones that aren’t only LGBT friendly but also support the LGBT community within their employment policies and services. (TAG means Travel Advocacy Group.) There remain 2,000 such hotels, including several big chains, such as for example Hilton Hotels, Marriott, Sheraton, and The W. Similar to Purple Roofs, you can enter your destination and become shown all of the all TAG Approved® hotels there.
While Purple Roofs targets small, independent businesses, TAG features mostly bigger hotel corporations. The benefit of TAG is that it features many hotels that are members of travel reward programs, if you are into travel hacking and seeking to use points in a lesbian-friendly hotel, the TAG website could be more useful for you personally.
Another option is GayTravelNet, which is operated by the ILGTA and in addition includes a number of gay- and lesbian-friendly accommodation options all over the world.
Don’t assume all lesbian cares if she actually is residing in explicitly LGBT-friendly accommodations. So if you’re uncertain of the type of place you’re checking directly into, you may well come across this issue: needing to decide if you’re comfortable requesting a double bed while you are given two single beds. I don’t understand how many times my wife and i were shown an area with two beds after explicitly booking a double bed. Most receptionists simply assume that two girls traveling together are friends or sisters; rarely do they assume they are a couple. I really do remember situations where I wasn’t sure if it had been appropriate to ask (in Malaysia, for instance, where LGBT rights are largely unrecognized).
If you’re confident enough, you can require an area with one bed instead, which is what I started doing when i got sick and tired of squeezing right into a single bed with my girlfriend. However, not many people are comfortable doing this, if you wish to be 100% sure you’re welcomed — particularly when traveling as a couple — I would recommend booking lesbian-friendly accommodation.
4. THE VERY BEST Lesbian Tours and Cruises
There are various providers for lesbian tours, the largest one being Olivia. Olivia offers all-lesbian vacations, which range from resorts to cruises. Olivia always buys out a complete resort or charters the complete ship to make certain the trip is a safe space for women, so they feel like they are often out without fretting about anything.
Furthermore to ships or resorts filled up with lesbians, Olivia also provide best lesbian entertainment on the vacations, including artists like Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls, Wanda Sykes, and Lily Tomlin.
Olivia is a good option for couples, also for solo travelers who can’t find one to travel with but aren’t all set on a trip independently. Among the things that produce Olivia special is that women get together on their trips to meet up new people and form friendships, and several women travel with Olivia again and again.
Diva Destinations is a UK-based lesbian tour operator that provides hosted lesbian group holidays around Europe, for instance, the Women’s Festival in Lesvos, Greece; a golf-themed cruise; and river cruises around Europe. (They are not limited by lesbian travelers from the united kingdom, incidentally.)
R Family Vacations, founded by Rosie O’Donell, began as “R Family Cruises” but has since grown into other kinds of LGBT family vacations. Furthermore to its popular family vacations for lesbian parents and their kids, the business has launched an “Adult Vacation” line, that provides kid-free vacations, not strictly for lesbian travelers but both gay women and men. As opposed to R’s vacation line, the adult holidays try to connect LGBT travelers without kids. The 2017 edition of the Adult Vacation is a transatlantic cruise from England to NY on the Queen Mary 2, including a West End theater performance ahead of departure.
Another company that provides mixed cruises (for gay men along with lesbians), is Aquafest Cruises, which specializes in discounted LGBT cruises to destinations such as for example Alaska, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and Asia. Aquafest’s cruises are considerably cheaper than other lgbt cruises (like the previously listed R Adult Cruises), looked after offers themed cruises around celebrations like Mardi Gras and Halloween. Entertainment up to speed includes lesbian get-togethers, singles get-togethers, theme dance parties, gay Olympics, stand-up comedy, cabaret, and celebrity singers. (In 2017, Aquafest is expanding and offering its first non-cruise vacation: an African safari.)
Out Of Office is a fresh travel start-up that arranges high-end holidays for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples together with gay-friendly flights, hotels, transfers, and excursions. In addition, it offers several itineraries targeted at lesbian travelers (guaranteeing that the tour operators and hotels found in the itineraries are lesbian friendly), and group trips for LGBT travelers to destinations such as for example Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, and China.
5. How exactly to Meet Other Lesbians WHILST TRAVELLING
Nowadays, the easiest way to meet up other lesbians whilst travelling is through dating apps (even if you’re not searching for a hook-up). I’ve met other lesbian solo travelers in this manner while backpacking through SOUTH USA, had a woman show me around Milan, and got an excellent introduction to Tel Aviv’s lesbian scene, which I wouldn’t have otherwise. I am still touching almost all of the girls and pleased to return the favor when they’re visiting NY.
The dating best apps for connecting with other lesbians are HER (the most famous lesbian one) and all-gender dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid or PlentyOfFish. HER also offers all of the lesbian parties, meetups, festivals, and more, so that you can check the proceedings in the area you’re visiting.
An excellent substitute for meet lesbians who travel is through Couchsurfing groups. You don’t have to stick to a stranger’s couch in the event that you don’t want to — Couchsurfing also offers a large number of groups for a variety of interests, including lesbian and queer groups. Below are a few lesbian groups I am an associate of:
Simply post about the next trip and see if any other lesbians are actually traveling in the same area or reside in the area you’re visiting.
There’s another use for Couchsurfing groups: you can view if there are any LGBT or lesbian groups in the town you’re likely to visit. For instance, there’s an organization for NYC lesbians, queer Berlin, and Buenos Aires Lesbians. Most big cities have queer groups plus they have regular meetups.
Meetup.com is an identical option, but with groups split up into more specific interests. NEW YORK, for instance, has groups for “Lesbians Who Brunch,” “Black Lesbians,” and gay twenty-somethings, to mention only a few. Just scroll through the meetup groups in the area you’re planing a trip to and join a meetup that fits your interests.
Facebook can be becoming an extremely popular way for connecting with other lesbians, and you may seek out lesbian groups, along with events in the town you’re planing a trip to:
Join the groups you find interesting and RSVP to events you imagine you’ll enjoy. If you’re comfortable venturing out on your own, check if there are any lesbian bars or parties while you’re visiting.
6. How exactly to Travel Safe as a Lesbian
As I mentioned previously, you should be performing a fair amount of pre-trip research about your destination(s), particularly if you are traveling abroad. What’s the country’s stand on same-sex relationships? Is there laws that allow discrimination against LGBT persons? Have there been any incidents involving queers?
It’s a controversial topic if lgbt travelers should visit anti-LGBT countries, but I understand a whole lot of lesbians who are prepared to happen to be such places. So if your dream is to climb Kilimanjaro, you’ll obviously tone down the PDAs there, due to the fact Tanzania is a country where same-sex sexual acts are crimes punishable by the state.
In the event that you don’t want to risk being assaulted as an out-and-proud lesbian, then don’t happen to be countries that are regarded as severely homophobic, such as for example Jamaica; there are other Caribbean islands that are more welcoming to LGBT travelers. Choose your destination wisely and only happen to be place you’re comfortable visiting, particularly when on a solo trip. I, for instance, can filter the catcalls and whistling that are normal in Latin American countries, but I understand other lesbians who can’t handle that sort of machismo.
Should you be traveling as a couple, you can find yourself toning down PDAs a whole lot, as I’ve mentioned in my own previous article: Lesbian Travel: 4 WHAT TO Know.
When traveling alone, take the same precautions other solo female travelers take: be street-smart and vigilant, always pay attention to your gut feeling, be familiar with your surroundings, and don’t flash your valuables.
As a lesbian, you could be more concerned about your first trip overseas than your straight friends who don’t need to consider potential discrimination and anti-LGBT-laws, but so long as you research your facts and thoroughly plan your trip, you don’t need to be afraid. On the other hand: you’ll oftimes be surprised to observe how welcoming most places are of lesbian travelers.
If you need to be on the safe side, go with a lesbian tour company for your first trip, but after having traveled around the world independently for years, I could honestly say that I’ve never felt threatened anywhere, due to the fact I took all of the precautions necessary to remain safe as a lesbian traveler. Traveling has given me so many unforgettable experiences, connected me with other lesbians around the world, and shown me one of the most beautiful spots on earth — and I’ve without a doubt it can do the same for you personally.
Dani Heinrich may be the vagabonding writer and photographer behind GlobetrotterGirls.com. Originally from Germany, she’s been nomadic since April 2010, when she quit her corporate job in London and embarked on a round-the-world-trip that continues even today. Dani has travelled through over 60 countries on four continents and does not have any plans to stop anytime soon. Dani is always on the search for amazing street art, mouthwatering vegetarian food, secluded beaches, scenic running routes, off the beaten path gems and a hammock to work from. You can