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5 Tips to Avoid Conflict as an LGBTQ Traveler
LGBTQ+ Travelers Unfortunately Face Unique Challenges, But Shouldn’t Live in Fear
Many LGBTQ+ travelers face the harsh truth that certain destinations around the world are unfriendly to the community. While many places in North America welcome them with open arms, several destinations lean towards more outdated and heteronormative standards.
The LGBTQ+ community should be aware of the challenges they could face while traveling internationally. Take steps to ensure that your next vacation or corporate travel assignment is as enjoyable as possible and free from conflict.
What Kinds of Conflict Do International LGBTQ+ Travelers Face?
LGBTQ+ travelers can often fall victim to verbal harassment, hurtful comments, and in some instances, physical assault from the general public. Uncomfortable moments are not restricted to locals either, as some LGBTQ+ travelers might come across scrutiny from airport security, local police, hotel staff, cab drivers, and wait staff.
Five Simple Tips That Can Help Any LGBTQ+ Traveler Avoid Conflict
1. Careful Planning
The first step to avoid conflict is planning - research local laws, customs, and attitudes before departing. Get a sense of how accepting your destination is of LGBTQ+ travelers; read online reviews, know your rights, and learn about other LGBTQ+ travel experiences before you leave.
2. Pick the Right Accommodations
The most important element of a trip for LGBTQ+ travelers is the accommodations. It can be extremely costly to rebook a hotel because you discovered it isn’t LGBTQ+ upon arrival. Usually, LGBTQ+ friendly hotels and resorts are not shy of their acceptance to the community.
Visit the hotel or resort’s website and look for any sign of being friendly to LGBTQ+ travelers. If there isn’t any sort of mention of LGBTQ+ acceptance, then you might want to consider booking elsewhere. In some instances, a hotel or resort might be unfriendly to LGBTQ+ travelers by labeling themselves as “family-friendly,” which might be code that it does not accept the LGBTQ+ community. Read up on the online reviews of your accommodations, find any negative experiences, and ensure the hotel welcomes people from all walks of life.
3. Maintain a Low Profile
Certain exotic international destinations are unfriendly to any kind of public displays of affection, regardless of whom it is between. Use your best judgment when showing displays of affection in public areas, and air on the side of caution. Some LGBTQ+ travelers might face conflict from the public with simple handholding, while in other scenarios, two same-sex travelers just walking together could solicit awkward comments.
In these unfortunate circumstances, instead of explaining that you are in a romantic same-sex relationship, tell the locals that you are traveling as friends for the sake of avoiding conflict.
4. Use Some Trickery When Necessary
For situations where an LGBTQ+ traveler knows they are visiting an unfriendly destination, a few tricks can be used to avoid unnecessary conflict. First, upon entry to the country, fill out separate visas to avoid awkward moments with customs and airport security. Next, travel with individual luggage, even if you only need one suitcase. Finally, consider booking a room with two beds instead of one.
5. Create Distance in the Event Trouble Arises
Always, under any circumstance, put your safety first. Should you fall victim to harassment or assault, create distance between you and the conflict. Leave the area and find a safe space when you do not feel comfortable. For instance, if you are made to feel unwelcome at a hotel, don’t bother complaining to management; pack up and leave and connect with the hotel over the phone or via email.
In certain situations, LGBTQ+ travelers will have to act quickly to ensure their safety. Use your best judgment and don’t hesitate.
International LGBTQ+ Travel with CAP
As for the LGBTQ+ community member traveling internationally, travel insurance might not suffice.
FocusPoint International’s CAP Travel Medical and Security Assistance Plan comes with a robust mobile app that includes destination-based health, safety, and security intelligence, COVID-19 specific information, a one-touch assistance button, and much, much more.
The CAP Plan includes unlimited 24/7 advice for a long list of travel mishaps often overlooked by traditional travel insurance. It also provides a fully-funded response to incidents of riots, strikes, and civil commotion, natural disasters, with medical evacuation to a home hospital of choice, should you suffer from a medical mishap resulting in hospitalization.
International LGBTQ+ Travel Resources Provided by the IGLTA
FocusPoint International has partnered with IGLTA (International LGBTQ+ Travel Association) to offer the CAP Medical and Security Travel Assistance Plan. The IGLTA website is an exceptional resource for LGBTQ+ travelers that identifies travel advisors and providers that are LGBTQ+ welcoming.