Travel with Pride: 7 planning resources that cater to the LGBTQIA+ community
There are issues LGBTQIA+ travelers face that most other travelers don’t ever have to consider — staying safe, being welcomed, feeling comfortable and more. It may not be as easy to travel as it should be in some places of the world, and that’s when reaching out for a little help can be a gamechanger.
Sexual orientation doesn’t influence everything, but it can make a difference when travelers decide how, why and where to travel. The good news is no one has to figure it all out by themselves.
There are travel agencies, online websites, hotels, tour operators and other travel professionals dedicated to assisting the LGBTQIA+ community with our travel needs. These companies and organizations help LGBTQIA+ travelers find safety, comfort, welcoming accommodations, friendly events and fun with like-minded travelers.
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No one wants to be put in boxes, stereotyped or labeled, but sometimes it’s just more comfortable traveling to destinations that throw their arms open in a giant welcome to the LGBTQIA+ community. Here are 7 travel resources we think can help LGBTQIA+ travelers with all their trip planning needs.
Sometimes girls just want to have fun … and sometimes lesbians want to take vacations solely with other lesbians. This is where Olivia Travel comes in. These travel experts deliver world-class travel experiences catering exclusively to women who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
This is not your run-of-the-mill travel agency. They take groups on trips around the world, including small-group African safaris, chartered cruises to the Mediterranean or hosting a weekend of female empowerment at a luxury hotel in the Caribbean.
These group trips are all LGBTQIA+ women, so there is a comfort level provided that can be difficult to find elsewhere.
VACAYA helps you book inclusive group travel experiences with friends, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Gay, lesbian, trans and even straight allies can travel the world, relax and connect in environments where everyone feels safe. All are welcome.
VACAYA produces trips that incorporate fun for everyone — all genders, sexualities, religions and races. They offer exclusive access to cruises and resorts for a fully immersive experience tailored specifically to the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community. VACAYA creates unique all-LGBTQiA+ itineraries to a variety of places like Provincetown, Costa Rica and Seychelles.
Related: Pride on points: How to celebrate Pride in 6 international cities using points and miles
Zoom Vacations puts together no ordinary tours. They offer luxury pre-scheduled tours for small groups around the world, ranging from Rwanda to Morocco to Paris and Laos.
Want to learn about architecture? Explore a volcano? Take an all-gay luxury train ride in Europe? Zoom does all of those tours and more — including private and independent trips and celebrations.
The personalized packages include everything for adventures to LGBTQIA+ friendly destinations that go way beyond the generic hotel and airfare packages found on many traditional travel sites. Everything is geared toward making sure their travelers feel safe, comfortable and connected, no matter where they want to roam.
For those who don’t want a group travel experience — or who simply want the freedom to plan their own trip itineraries — the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association has a lot of helpful information. Since 1983, IGLTA has been focused on promoting LGBTQIA+ welcoming tourism.
The organization provides free travel resources and information on its website so travelers can feel comfortable and secure booking whatever trip they are looking to take. Members of IGLTA include LGBTQIA+ friendly accommodations, transportation, resorts, service providers, travel agents, tours, events and more in countries across the globe.
Based out of Canada, Out Adventures focuses on arranging tours of a lifetime. Tour options have included yacht trips in the Mediterranean, hiking adventures in Scotland and wine tastings in Slovenia. Out Adventures puts together small-scale tours and offers detailed guides, calendars and reviews groups can use to book LGBTQIA+ friendly travel.
Starting with your chosen theme (such as active, cruise or cultural), Out Adventures tailors trips for every individual traveler. Their website also has travel agents available to help organize private itineraries or book one of their featured vacations.
World Rainbow Hotels
For the DIY travel planner, there are many options. However, not all of those options provide information relevant to the LGBTQIA+ audience.
For anyone booking a hotel for business or pleasure, the hotels within the World Rainbow Hotels directory are certified as gay-friendly. This global brand carefully selects hotels that live up to the philosophies of “love is love” and “make the table bigger.” All travelers are welcome, but LGBTQiA+ travelers will know that the hotel staff respects them and understands their unique travel concerns.
Each hotel in this directory is actively seeking LGBTQIA+ travelers and is honored to host members of our community. The “Out & About” gay local travel guides are available at every member hotel and can help make a stay in a new city much more comfortable.
For those who aren’t looking for your typical group tour, hotel stay or destination, FabStayz is a great resource for short-term rentals. This website has cultivated a selection of unique and one-of-a-kind accommodations around the world.
Whether you are traveling solo, planning a romantic getaway or taking the kids on a family vacation, FabStayz likely has a vacation rental that fits exactly what you’re looking for. You can book a tiny house, a vintage RV or even a designer loft in Ipanema, Brazil.
FabStayz makes sure that there is no awkwardness or even hostility with hosts that some LGBTQIA+ members have experienced when booking trips using traditional vacation rental sites. Every FabHost (what they call owners of the rental) is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or a supportive and inclusive ally. They promise every traveler will be welcomed, seen and valued when staying at FabStayz properties.
Bottom Line: LGBTQ+ travel is now easier than ever
With the world starting to reopen, many people are looking to get back out there — and LGBTQIA+ travelers are no different. Booking with these travel agents and tour operators, or staying in accommodations that promise to welcome the LGBTQIA+ community, can make traveling so much more relaxing.
While gay travelers can and should go anywhere they want, it’s easier, more comfortable and safer to go to places identified as LGBTQIA+ friendly.