Queer Travel Guide: Safety Tips & Best Destinations
Traveling is a wonderful way to explore new places, cultures, and experiences. But for queer people, traveling can also pose some challenges and risks. Not all countries are LGBTQ+ friendly, and some even have laws that criminalize or discriminate against queer people. That’s why it’s important to do some research and plan ahead before you book your trip.
Check the LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index
The index can help you find the safest and least safe destinations for your next trip abroad. You can also check the travel advisories and human rights reports from your government or other sources to get more information on the situation of queer people in your destination country.
Research local laws and culture
While you should never have to hide who you are, you may need to be discreet or cautious in some places where being queer is not accepted or legal. Avoid public displays of affection, dress appropriately, and be aware of the social norms and expectations of the local people. If you are traveling with your partner, you may want to book a room with two beds or avoid sharing a bed in public places.
Find LGBTQ+ friendly accommodation and activities
You can use online platforms like Misterb&b, which connects queer travelers with LGBTQ+ hosts and travelers around the world. You can also look for hotels, hostels, or Airbnb listings that have rainbow flags, stickers, or symbols that indicate they are LGBTQ+ friendly.
You can also join tours and events that offer a safe and fun way to explore your destination, such as self-guided audio tours that help you discover new places on your own while listening to fun facts from an expert guide.
Connect with the local LGBTQ+ community
One of the best ways to enjoy your trip and stay safe is to meet and interact with other queer people who live in or visit your destination country. You can use apps like Grindr, Scruff, or HER to find and chat with other LGBTQ+ travelers or locals.
You can also check out local LGBTQ+ organizations, websites, or social media pages that provide information, resources, or support for queer people. Don't forget to visit LGBTQ+ bars, clubs, cafes, or other venues that are popular among the local queer community.
Be prepared for emergencies
No matter how careful you are, you may encounter some problems or difficulties while traveling. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan and know what to do in case of an emergency. Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself:
Keep your passport, visa, travel documents, and money in a safe place. Make copies and store them online or share them with someone you trust.
Have a list of emergency contacts, such as your family, friends, embassy, or consulate, local police, hospital, or LGBTQ+ organization. Save their phone numbers and addresses on your phone and write them down on a piece of paper.
Know your rights and how to report any incidents of harassment, discrimination, violence, or hate crimes against you or other queer people. If possible, get legal advice or assistance from a local LGBTQ+ organization or lawyer.
Stay calm and alert at all times. Avoid risky situations or places where you may feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Top safest destinations for LGBTQ+ people in 2023
This country has been leading the way in LGBTQ+ rights for three consecutive years, according to the LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index. Whether you want to get married, change your legal gender, or simply be yourself, Canada has the laws and the culture to support you.
This Scandinavian country is a model of LGBTQ+ friendliness, with equal rights for same-sex couples, a strong anti-discrimination policy, and a large and lively Pride celebration. It also has a rich cultural heritage and a high quality of life.
This country made history in 2001 by becoming the first in the world to allow same-sex marriage. It also has a high level of tolerance and acceptance for LGBTQ+ people, as well as a vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ scene
This small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea has earned the highest rating for LGBT travel safety in 2023. It offers full legal and policy protection for LGBTQ+ people, as well as a beautiful and diverse landscape to explore.
The country is a pioneer in LGBTQ+ equality, with legal recognition and protection for same-sex couples and transgender people. It also has a progressive gender identity law that allows people to change their legal gender without medical intervention.
Here you can find a welcoming and diverse environment for LGBTQ+ travelers, with legal recognition and protection for same-sex couples and families. It also has a lively LGBTQ+ scene, with various Pride events and festivals throughout the year.
This country is a great combination of a warm and sunny climate with a friendly and open-minded atmosphere for queer travelers. It has legalized same-sex marriage, adoption, and military service, and has laws against discrimination and hate crimes. It also has a rich LGBTQ+ culture and nightlife, especially in Madrid and Barcelona.
One of the world's happiest countries is a trailblazer in LGBTQ+ rights, with legal recognition and protection for same-sex partnerships since 1989. It also hosts one of the oldest Pride events in Europe — make sure to check it out!
A leader in LGBTQ+ rights, Belgium provides equal rights for same-sex couples and a strong anti-discrimination policy. Plus, there is a high number of LGBTQ+ politicians, including an openly gay former prime minister.
This country is a paradise for LGBTQ+ travelers, with legal recognition and protection for same-sex couples and families. It also has a high level of social acceptance and visibility of LGBTQ+ people, including an openly lesbian former prime minister. It also has an amazing natural scenery and a friendly population.