Many travel resources, websites, and even printed guides such as Frommer's and Lonely Planet mention options for the LGBT community including establishments, recommendations, and general tips. However, this unique and often well-traveled group has specific needs and tastes that are as diverse and broad as the community itself. Therefore specific resources geared toward LGBT travelers continues to be useful and necessary. Here are seven of some of the best resources out there for the queer community today.
The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) is an immense resource for LGBT travelers. This organization connects gay travelers with gay-friendly businesses abroad, educates businesses on LGBT travel issues, and promotes LGBT tourism. Their member directory lets you know what businesses are seeking LGBT travelers. Seeing their logo on a travel website tells you that you are welcomed and safe at that establishment.
Safety concerns are very important when traveling outside your home country and can become even more of an issue for the LGBT community as the laws and protections can change drastically outside western countries. Being aware of laws and LGBT rights abroad is the best way to protect yourself. The U.S. Department of State provides information online for LGBT travelers including tips, travel warnings, and country-specific information.
Americans can also enroll in STEP, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which is a free service that allows you to be contacted regarding the most up to date safety conditions and emergencies.
There are a number of great websites that provide LGBT travelers with the best tips about the local gay community in a particular city. GayTravel.comis filled with information about gay friendly destinations, hotels, cruises, tours, events, entertainment, clubs, and anything else that might interest gay travelers. GayCities.comis a great resource for finding bars, clubs, parties, and events in gay-friendly destinations all over the world. OutTraveler.comfrom the publishers of The Advocate offers information on the best beaches, vacation spots, tours, and packages for gay travelers.
Gay specific accommodations are another growing market and resource for LGBT travelers. Misterbnb names itself the largest gay hotelier in the world and allows guests to rent rooms or entire homes from gay hosts around the world. Axel is the hotel brand for gay travelers with locations in Barcelona, Berlin, and Maspalomas. Gay Homestays is another website for staying with locals in private accommodations or booking gay bed & breakfasts and guest houses.
Android and iOS applications are a great tool for LGBT travelers. ManAboutWorld is a gay travel magazine specifically for tablets and smartphones and offers lots of recommendations, tips, and stories for queer travelers. Moovz is a new social media app that strives to bring the LGBT community together to connect, meet new people, and share experiences. Vespa is for discovering a variety of gay-friendly places including bars, clubs, cafes, saunas, and beaches.
Gay tours are great for solo travelers to meet other like-minded people when abroad as well as discover queer history and culture in different parts of the world. There are many different gay tour companies operating around the globe. In Iceland there's Pink Iceland, Outstanding Travel in Israel, Rainbow Barcelona Tours operates in Barcelona, London, Madrid, and Berlin and Detours is offering tours in Greece, Peru, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Spain. In the States there's also Cruisin the Castro in San Francisco and Oscar Wilde Tours in New York.
Not all things are digital as print publications are still just as useful today for travelers. Spartacus Traveler is a German magazine that prints in English and provides information on gay destinations to consumers. They also offer gay guides, hotel guides, and sauna guides. Damron has LGBT travel guides with LGBT listings that are continually updated to provide accurate information to gay travelers.
Do you have any LGBT travel resources to add to this list? What resource do you most use as an LGBT traveler?
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Auston grew up in Phoenix before escaping to Chicago in 2008. After 4 years working as an engineer, he sold his belongings and embarked on a round-the-world trip. After traveling non-stop for a year, he finally settled in Spain with his husband where he now calls home. When he's not traveling or writing guides about events, festivals or the best LGBT destinations, he enjoys the long sunny days and nightlife of Madrid. Read Auston's blog at Two Bad Tourists, or follow him on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
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