Essential Resources for LGBTQ+ Travellers
Find LGBTQ+ city guides, the world’s best Pride events, queer-friendly hotels and hook-up apps, government advice and everything you need to know about rights, safety and seeking out the spaces that are welcoming to all.
02 October, 2020
In an ideal world, LGBTQ+ travel would just be "travel". Who we sleep with or how we identify needn't define the way we explore the world. And indeed, there are many places where we can do just that.
Nevertheless, if you're travelling to a less-progressive destination or perhaps want to seek out people who share the same interests, this list of resources is a great place to start. Expect calendars of the world's best pride events, queer-friendly hotels and hook-up apps, and everything you need to know about rights, safety and seeking out the spaces that are welcoming to all.
LGBTQ+ travel info, networks and platforms
The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association
Founded in 1983, the IGLTA was the first platform to serve as a voice for LGBTQ+ travellers and a network for queer-travel operators. Consider this your go-to for calendars of queer events, a decent safety guide and a lowdown on the most gay-friendly hotels, airlines and tour operators in the world.
Queering the Map
Imagine Google Maps scattered with community-generated pins that reveal how we are connected by way of geo-located queer moments, memories and histories. Taking us way beyond Canal Street or Greenwich Village, it documents the ephemeral moments, whether that's conversations about pronouns on park benches, triumphs of activism or weekend-long sex parties.
One of the best things about the LGBTQ+ community is just that: community. It turns out, some of us are pretty good at documenting our travels too. Find a blog/ channel/ social account that you vibe with - perhaps Vanwives, Couple of Men, 2TravelDads or Bani Amor.
The gov.uk site breaks down its foreign travel advice into 226 countries or territories. Simply find your destination and click "local laws and customs" for regularly updated, country-specific info or have a browse through the general LGBTQ+ travel advice, which covers everything from what to do if you have problems overseas and passport identity for transgender travellers. The US government has a similar LGBTQ+ advice page filled with useful links.
Calendars of LGBTQ+ events
Spartacus Pride Events Calendar
Spartacus has been producing guides geared towards gay and bisexual men for the best part of 50 years, so it knows a thing or two about the best Pride events and other such rainbow-striped affairs. Head here to join Hong Kong's Virtual Pride, sign up for a gay ski week in Switzerland or start planning your 2021 trip to Spain's Bear Carnival. There are plenty of smaller UK-based parades listed on here too.
Queer-friendly travel accommodation and operators
The Airbnb of the queer world, featuring accommodation in more than 200 countries. Bear in mind, it's worth shopping around; you can often find the same listings on mainstream sites for cheaper - but this is a great place to nail your choice, as are World Rainbow Hotels and Purple Roofs.
Get to know the LGBTQ+ community
Sexuality aside, Meetup can be a great tool for anyone who wants to hang out with like minded people - home or away. It has more than 2,000 dedicated LGBTQ+ groups primarily in Europe, North America and Australia. For more of the kind of events you won't find in guidebooks, it's worth scouting out local LGBTQ+ Facebook groups.
Not all dating apps are created equal. When you've done scrolling through Her, Grindr, Feeld et al. click on Scruff's "Venture" tab to ask (or answer) questions about a place and get answers from LGBTQ+ locals. Better yet, you can choose to receive push notifications about your destination featuring the latest information from the IGLA.
Local LGBTQ+ newspapers & magazines
Wikipedia has a long list of international LGBTQ+ magazines past and present - they may not always be geared towards travel, but can serve as a great intro to the local community without having to meet up with strangers. Want to know what queers are reading in India or Costa Rica? Here's your answer…
A "progressively feminist online community for multiple generations of kickass lesbian, bisexual and otherwise inclined ladies (and their friends)". This indie, trans-friendly site gives us the queer take on everything from news to crafts. Best yet, it's travel section is packed with queer city guides, first-person stories and the best sex toys to bring camping.
Consider is the benchmark for gay men who like to experience the finer things in life. Expect immersive travel inspiration, a discerning edit of best gay-friendly hotels as well as luxury lifestyle, menswear, grooming and travel accessories.
Rights and Safety
Needless to say, the desire to travel safe isn't just a gay thing. This app provides real-time, hyper-local safety information for all travellers, which includes a "LGBTQ+ Safety" ratings category that hones in on more than 30,000 neighbourhoods worldwide.
This so-called "collaborative LGBT rights knowledge base" invites users to share news articles and intel related to LGBTQ+ rights around the world. Need the lowdown on a certain destination? Head to its no-fuss, country-by-country fact sheets.
LGBTQ+ Danger Index
Easy-to-consume safety info that doesn't involve clicking around. Weighing up eight (rainbow-coordinated) factors including marriage rights and protections against discrimination, the index ranks the 150 countries with the most tourists from most dangerous to safest for LGBTQ+ travellers. Useful? Take a look at the Spartacus Gay Travel Index next.
The National Center for Transgender Equality
This American organisation is perhaps one of the most thorough resources we've found for trans travellers, with features on how to mitigate stress while flying, updates on screening processes and everything you need to know about your rights at airport security.
There are more than 4,500 bathrooms mapped on this site (and its app) that provide a safe space for transgender, intersex and gender-nonconforming people. In the grand scheme of the world, it's not loads, but we like the idea - and the more people that use and add to it, the better.