Planning international travel is never going to be as easy as it once was. With the issues of international terrorism and safety, we have to think long and hard about what travel destinations we really want to visit and how they will fit into our lifestyle needs. As a gay couple, my best friend and his partner recently approached me about traveling overseas in hopes of putting together a group of travelers and acquiring a travel discount. In our planning, we realized we had to address the issues of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered (LGBT) requirements for our travel destinations as not all countries handle these matters equally.
If you are part of the LGBT community, here is what we learned in our travel planning and what you may want to consider when making your own travel plans.
Social Views of LGBT Community
To my surprise, I’ve learned that U.S. citizens, traveling internationally, are commonly subjected to harassment and even violence simply because they are living an “alternative lifestyle”. For my best friend, travel is limited because of this and we have to find ways in which to accommodate his relationship with his same-sex spouse while still enjoying the travel destinations. To stay abreast of specific country laws regarding the LGBT community, we contacted the Bureau of Consular Affairs to determine what current issues are of concern in the international community. If you are traveling under these same personal circumstances, we recommend checking this site as well.
Travel Destination Rules and Regulations
Another issue that arose for my best friend, and his partner, involves the rules and regulations of the hotels or resorts that we plan to patron. Even if a particular international destination regulates non-discrimination of same-sex partners, we were surprised to learn that many resorts and hotels may limit our accommodations simply because they do not permit those types of arrangements in their own business. In these international communities, discrimination at this level is not legislated and, therefore, some businesses can discriminate as they see fit. So, if you are traveling internationally, be sure to also check with your hotel or resort to determine what they will permit while on property.
LGBT Friendly Travel Destinations
To make our international travel far more efficient, my best friend and his partner simply suggested that we just bypass these search efforts and go straight to the source on travel. By tapping into the LGBT community of resources, there are often great sources of information on not only international travel destinations but also accommodations that are LGBT friendly. As a heterosexual female, I’m open to any travel option but wanted to also be sure that my lifestyle will be accommodated as well. If you want to avoid the hassle of travel planning, and then tap your resources and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll find.
International travel should be fun and exciting, especially if you are traveling to a new destination that you’ve only dreamed of. When our lifestyle choices impact our ability to travel, this can turn a fun vacation into a very bad experience. As part of the LGBT community always consider these resources when making your travel plans as this will ensure you have a more positive experience.
U.S. Department of State – Travel for LGBT Community
Press Release on LGBT Friendly Travel Destination
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Travel To Europe: Rental Car Discounts
Vertigo and Air Travel