As sad as it is to contemplate, there are still areas of the world that are not as accepting of the LGBT community as they should be, and this can cause a problem when it comes to traveling. While there are some areas that should be avoided at all costs because they are too dangerous, others can still be visited and enjoyed – but you just need to take a little bit of extra care.
Hopefully one day all places will be as accepting as New York and London, but for now, stick to the tips below.
Do Your Research
You might look at glossy photos of a far-flung land, and proudly proclaim “I must go there,” but before you book your flights, make sure you’re doing some research. There are large amounts of useful information about how countries (and specific areas within those countries) treat the LGBT community. There are places where it’s completely fine, places that are risky, and places where it’s recommended not to travel, but you won’t know which is which until you’ve conducted your research. Even if a place isn’t completely safe, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid the area – but it will mean you need to be more careful.
Fly Under the Radar
You’d like to be able to express yourself as much as possible, but when it comes to traveling, this isn’t always the best way. Sometimes, it’s better to “fly under the radar”; that is, to try to arouse as little attention as possible, and just enjoy the sights and attractions of your chosen destination. This starts at border control. You should have all the necessary documents with you, and also expunge your criminal record before traveling, so you’re not subject to additional questioning. While there, do your best to mix in with the locals by dressing and acting as they do.
Stick to Cosmopolitan Areas
Crime likes to hide in the corners. As such, the best thing you can do is stick to those well-lit, well-populated areas, which usually means the tourist areas of cosmopolitan cities. You’ll be much safer than in, say, a small town well off the beaten path. If you are venturing away from the large cities, it’s a good idea to have a travel guide with you, as they’ll know the areas that are safe to visit.
Keep Your Wits
We all like to have a good time when we’re traveling, but it’s important that we’re having fun in a responsible way. You’re far more likely to get into some trouble if you’re drinking more alcohol than you can handle. Come to think of it; this applies to all travelers – not just those from the LGBT community.
Use Common Sense
Ultimately, unless you’re entirely sure that an area is safe, the best practice is to show some common sense. If something seems off, then take yourself to an area that you know is safe. Don’t take risky chances, and you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of traveling.