To put it simply, travel for a gay man is still not as simple as we would like. In the future, I hope travel normalises for the LGBT community that will become cohesive around the world. For now, gay travel is different, and this blog post discusses why. I’ll also advise you on how you and others can travel safely while exploring the world.

Why Travel

In most instances, the reasons I travel no more differs from a straight person’s. However, there are times where my travel is related to my persona life, like going to pride celebrations. This type of trip is typically safe because it’s centered around our LGBTQ community. I feel getting out information on traveling for the first reason I mentioned is more important. As odd as it seems this far into gay existence, there are still parts of the world where gay travel isn’t optimal, much less comfortable, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous. I didn’t let the differences deter me as I’ve learned the intricacies of gay travel.

Researching Your Travel

There are still laws and ultimately repercussions for being gay in some parts of the world. Preparing yourself with travel research online is easier than ever, and there’s no excuse for embarking on your adventure without first familiarizing yourself with the culture, customs, and laws of the destination you intend to visit.

Questions to research:

  • What are LGBTQ-related rights where you plan to go?
  • Are there specific destinations where I can’t be openly gay?
  • How safe is it for openly gay travelling?
  • What organizations are at my destination to address my safety concerns?
  • How does law enforcement treat gay travellers?
  • Where is the LGBT scene?
  • If I’m traveling with a partner, do we need to worry about being more than friends in public?
  • What are the repercussions, if any, of being openly gay in public, including laws, court appearances, fines, and jail time?

I’ve compiled this small list of reference sites that provides information on LGBTQ travel news and safety to address the above questions and more:

1. OutRight Action International

Formerly named the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, this site publishes news, reports, and studies related to LGBTQ issues worldwide that keep travellers informed regarding safety in various vacation destinations.

2. U.S. State Department

The Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs provides information for LGBTQ travellers, including document checklists, safety tips, travel insurance, and U.S. embassy locations.

3. National Centre for Transgender Equality

This site is a Washington, D.C., gender-nonconforming and transgender travellers advocacy organization featuring a comprehensive guide that addresses concerns relevant to airport security, including TSA screening procedures.

4. GoAbroad’s LGBTQ Study Abroad Guide

This site is for gay students who wish to study abroad. A PDF document provides tips for coming out to a host family, LGBTQ-specific scholarships, and a list of LGBTQ-friendly study abroad programs.

5. Equaldex

This site includes an interactive map that keeps a tab on LGBTQ rights laws all over the world through a global network of users.

Travel Planning

LGBTQ travellers have long relied on social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and meetup-type dating apps like Grinder when planning domestic and international travel. However, new opportunities are quickly cropping up across the internet for connections between LGBTQ travellers.

Here are a few I gathered for you:

1. Meetup

This platform connects with fellow LGBTQ members with the local gay scenes when traveling. The site contains a section called “LGBTQ Meetups” that helps users discover happy hours, networking events, and various interest-related groups like cycling, book clubs, or hiking groups, to name a few.

2. SCRUFF Venture (through the SCRUFF app)

SCRUFF Venture is a recently launched travel edition area of the gay dating app SCRUFF. This section of the dating app provides an easier way to connect with LGBTQ people before and while gay-cationing. By clicking one of the 500-plus provided destinations, users view members in two categories currently visiting or within in the next 90 days. The app also includes travel tips and advisories from volunteer LGBTQ Ambassadors, current and upcoming events in that particular destination. Open the settings menu, hit the gear icon in SCRUFF, tap Profile Editor, scroll to the bottom of the profile editor, and type in the city under the SCRUFF Venture heading.

3. Spartacus International Gay Guide

This app features 24,000 gay-friendly business listings in 2,600 cities around the world. This interactive gay travel guide allows users to search, save favourites for future use, rate businesses, and provide feedback. The app also features location-specific information on the socio-political climate for gays in specific travel destinations.

4. GayCities

This app (compatible with iPhones only) features more than 175,000 users in 225 cities worldwide and combines social networking with local site recommendations for the LGBTQ community. The app allows users to check on other users who checked in there or other spots in that area. Perfect for the single traveller looking to find LGBT-friendly businesses and meet like gay travellers.