How to Make Your Trips More Inclusive for LGBTQ+ Travelers
Tips from leaders in the LGBTQ+ community on how to use your trips to create space for queer Travelers.
If you’ve got big travel goals this year, you’re not alone. So many Hosts just like you are in vacation planning overdrive, putting together incredible trips that allow them to expand their horizons, discover hidden gems and meet their new best friends. We sat down with a few travel-savvy Hosts who are leaders in the LGBTQ+ community and asked them how travel is going to look different this year. What they all had in common? They’re stepping it up when it comes to creating trips that are safe, accessible and inclusive for queer Travelers.
You have the unique opportunity to create a safe space for people who may otherwise feel like travel just isn’t for them. You get the chance to change things up a bit so no matter who you are, how you present, or who you love, you get in on these epic (and safe) trips of a lifetime too.
We’ve put together some of the best advice from fellow Hosts on how to make trips more inclusive for LGBTQ+ Travelers. From visiting queer-friendly destinations to creating a welcoming community before the plane even leaves the runway, these intentional steps will change the conversation about safe and inclusive travel and will open up new opportunities for everyone. Your trips will foster stronger connections and present Travelers with new opportunities for learning and traveling confidently.
How are you making sure your trip(s) will be a safe and inclusive space for your LGBTQ+ Travelers?
“I chose a place that had a vibrant queer community and I'm marketing the trip as a queer trip!” - Lily Brown, @lilly27sings - she/her - Queer Vacation in Colombia
“I also wanted us to be able to go to a place where we could see another culture's queer community and see how it differs and is similar to what we've been around. Being able to connect with queer locals will be amazing.
Almost all of my followers are queer and I'm marketing the trip as a queer trip. I think creating an all-queer group of Travelers is extremely important because it gives people the feeling that every one of us has gone through something similar. They can ask anyone on the trip their coming-out story and they will have one, whether it's a coming-out story to others or to themselves. I think it's important to have an all-queer space like that where we all feel automatically understood.”
Interested in running an LGBTQ+ trip to Colombia? View the itinerary here.
“I planned various gatherings and workshops which explore the lived experiences of queer people.” - Kemi Marie @itskemimarie - they/them - Mexico • Costa Rica • Colombia Queer Retreat • Colombia Jungle Retreat • Joy in Greece
“With my trips, I’ve prioritized queer-friendly destinations and have planned various gatherings and workshops which explore the lived experiences of queer people. Since I’m providing trips for greater insights and spiritual connection, these trips are geared towards self-exploration and that comes with acknowledging our own identity. In that way, it allows for queer people to explore themselves while also having other queer people to relate to. We don’t often have those spaces to relate and discuss our identity and reality. These trips are great for that.”
“Finding the most fun and safe destinations for my Travelers.” - Mason Leigh, @fitzpattymac21 - he/him - Costa Rica
“As someone who is a part of the community myself, I’ve always dreamed of being able to travel. I want anyone and everyone who joins me to know they are welcomed and wanted but also feel safe being there! Finding the most fun places while also making sure I’m selecting destinations that will make my Travelers feel safe in their surroundings.”
“Thinking of ways I can help my trans followers overcome travel obstacles, like an airport safety guide, or linking them up with resources to help update the info on their passports.” - Ty Turner @partar400 - he/him - Yellowstone
“When I first announced the trip to my audience, a few of them brought up the concern of international travel for trans people. Some folks would have to use passports with outdated information. Many trans people also worry about wearing gender-affirming items like chest binders or packers through TSA scans. So since most of my following is in the US, I figured it would be best to pick a destination within the country for our first trip.
Moving forward, I definitely want to take advantage of the various travel opportunities and destinations TrovaTrip offers. There are so many places I want to go! I've been thinking of ways I can help my trans followers overcome those particular obstacles, like an airport safety guide, or linking them up with resources to help update the info on their passports. I don't want that stuff stopping someone from taking the trip of a lifetime! And with the trips being scheduled in advance, I think it's totally doable.”
What is your top safety tip for a first-time LGBTQ+ Traveler?
"Do your research.” - Lily Brown, @lilly27sings - she/her - Queer Vacation in Colombia
“I think doing your research is the most important thing. If you're traveling, you don't want to hold hands in the wrong place where it might be dangerous for example. And for your mental health, if not being able to hold hands will affect you negatively, then choose a different destination. I personally feel much safer in a place that fully accepts me for who I am so that's why I've chosen a queer-friendly destination.”
“Talk with other Travelers about their experience in the region you are planning for.” - Mason Leigh, @fitzpattymac21 - he/him - Costa Rica
“KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Do a little research on places before making any final decisions about location. Talk with other Travelers about their experience in whatever region you are planning for. Have an idea of how that particular place operates alongside LGBTQIA+ people. It is obvious you will find some places much more accommodating than others.”
“Even if your final destination is safe, make sure to research all the stops along the way.” - Ty Turner @partar400 - he/him - Yellowstone
“Do lots of research on the areas you'll visit and plan exactly where you'll be going! I live in the south, and if someone was on a road trip through my area they could stop in my town with no problems. They'd see pride flags on businesses and plenty of diversity around. But an hour's drive would land them in Harrison, Arkansas. Which is known as the most racist town in the US, and is, unsurprisingly, not too welcoming of LGBTQ+ folks either. If a queer person stopped there it could be very dangerous. Knowing this ahead of time would mean they could plan to stop in my town and avoid places like that, making their trip much safer. So even if your final destination is safe, make sure to check up on all the stops along the way.”
“Know the beliefs regarding queer people, whether it’s acceptable and safe places to be.” - Kemi Marie @itskemimarie - they/them- Mexico • Costa Rica • Colombia Queer Retreat • Colombia Jungle Retreat • Joy in Greece
"Research where you’re going so you know the beliefs regarding queer people, whether it’s acceptable, and the safe places to be."
In your opinion, why is it important for LGBTQ+ folks to take up space in the travel industry?
“We need that representation!” - Ty Turner @partar400 - he/him - Yellowstone
“We need that representation! Traveling as a queer person comes with its own set of challenges that other people wouldn't think to account for. In order to make travel as inclusive and accessible as possible to queer people, we have to be in on the conversation and help shape the way things are done.
I also think there's so much potential for LGBTQ+ specific travel! There are tons of amazing places that I would love to visit specifically because of the queer culture and spaces created by the community. I heard there's a bed and breakfast owned and run by drag queens, that sounds incredible! But you don't see stuff like that on a travel show. It's one of the countless hidden gems that queer people have to just stumble upon by luck.
Part of that is because a lot of the gathering places for the community had to be kept secret in the past. There are sites of queer history that so many of us don't even know exist! Those are the kinds of destinations I would love to see showcased in the future and I think having LGBTQ+ people in the travel industry is the only way we'll get that.”
“If it’s important for cis people, it’s important for everyone else. We are only getting more and more diverse in experiencing the many different varieties of what it means to be human.” - Mason Leigh, @fitzpattymac21 - he/him - Costa Rica
“If it’s important for cis people, it’s important for everyone else. The social norm changes so frequently and we are only getting more and more diverse in experiencing the many different varieties of what it means to be human. Traveling is such a life-changing experience I wish was readily available and possible for everyone. We are here for a good time, not for a long time. More and more people, especially LGBTQIA+ are realizing that every day!”
“It’s important that queer people are acknowledged and seen everywhere.” - Kemi Marie @itskemimarie - they/them- Mexico • Costa Rica • Colombia Queer Retreat • Colombia Jungle Retreat • Joy in Greece
“It’s important that queer people are acknowledged and seen everywhere. Of course, don’t place yourself in danger—but just because others view queer people in various ways, doesn’t mean we should hide ourselves or be restricted to staying in a bubble. It’s also important for self-exploration.”
“Queer people deserve to see the world safely and joyfully just like everyone.” - Lily Brown, @lilly27sings - she/her - Queer Vacation in Colombia
“LGBTQ+ people deserve to not only feel safe but be safe physically and emotionally while they travel. Queer people taking up space doesn't actually take any space away from others. I feel in addition to us taking up space, people should be providing us space. Ask us what we need and follow through on it.
When a group of straight people plan a trip, they don't have to worry as much about whether they may be harmed for their appearance or gender presentation, for who they hold hands with, they won't need to worry about whether other Travelers might not approve of their identity, or whether they'll feel like an outsider amongst the group. These are things queer people deal with on a regular basis. And queer people deserve to see the world safely and joyfully just like everyone. Sure, we might need a little more help planning our trips so we can make sure we are safe and get the experience we want, but we deserve that. So let's take up space! That's how we got to where we are.”
Travel is the universal love language.
Using your platform to make travel safer and more accessible for all is a privilege and a responsibility. As you plan your next big adventure, start thinking about how you will implement some of these tips. What changes will you make to your travel plans to ensure everyone feels safe and included throughout their experience? Your dedication to inclusivity could change someone’s life. And isn’t that what travel is all about?
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