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The Solo Traveler’s Guide to Safe Travel for LGBTQ+ Individuals

The Solo Travelers Guide to Safe Travel for LGBTQ Individuals featured

Solo traveling can be an exciting adventure but it can also pose various challenges, especially for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Navigating unfamiliar territories, dealing with different cultural practices, and encountering discrimination can make traveling uncomfortable and even dangerous. However, there are ways to ensure safe travels for LGBTQ+ individuals. By taking extra precautions and keeping the following tips in mind, you can have a worry-free solo travel experience.

Always research your destination

solo LGBTQ+ traveler

Researching your destination is important to understand how the location upholds local laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community. This step will enable you to avoid potential risks and identify safe zones in the country. There are online resources that can help with this, such as the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association and Out Traveler sites which provide travel tips from experienced travelers, and a list of LGBTQ-friendly destinations. Doing research ahead of time will ensure you have a better understanding of the rules, customs, and laws of the country, which will enable you to stay safe.

Stay in safe accommodations

LGBTQ+ friendly hotels

Choosing safe accommodations is crucial for solo travelers, particularly for LGBTQ+ members. It’s a lot safer to choose hotels or vacation rentals that advertise themselves as LGBTQ+ friendly. Due to being cautious, one can check reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor or Yelp to ensure your chosen accommodation has a good track record of accepting all guests, regardless of their sexual orientation or identity. Knowing that you are staying in a place where you will not face judgment will give you peace of mind.

Avoid public displays of affection

public displays of affection

Although holding hands or showing affection to your partner in public may be acceptable in some countries, it is not always the case for LGBTQ+ individuals. To be safe, it is important to remain respectful of local customs and laws, and it’s advisable to avoid public displays of affection. Before arrival in any country, always research what is tolerable when it comes to expressing oneself physically with a partner, if at all possible. Being cautious of this can ensure one avoids discrimination or danger while abroad.

Be cautious on dating or hook-up apps

dating or hook-up apps

While traveling, dating or hook-up apps can be a great way to meet locals or fellow travelers, particularly if you are feeling lonely. However, it is important to be cautious when using these apps, particularly as an LGBTQ+ individual, and to ensure that you always meet in public places. Getting too comfortable too quickly might lead individuals to overshare their personal information to strangers, which can cause potential dangers. It is therefore critical to hold off on sharing sensitive information until you have built a rapport of trust with individuals you meet in person.

Be aware of your surroundings

awareness of surroundings

Solo travel requires constant awareness of your surroundings, and this should always be a top priority. Avoid traveling alone at night, and ensure that you never find yourself in unfamiliar, isolated, or sketchy areas. If you feel unsafe or uncertain, always trust your instincts, and ask for help if required. You can do this by having phone numbers of people you trust in the area, or the embassy of your home country.

Understand local laws and customs

local laws and customs

To travel safely as an LGBTQ+ individual, it’s important also to grasp the local customs and laws, particularly in countries where homosexuality is different or illegal. Researching this will help in avoiding potential conflicts with the authorities and protect your wellbeing. Ensure that you do your research beforehand so that you will be knowledgeable about cultural practices and how to behave in situations that may be unfamiliar to you.

Keep important phone numbers and documents handy

important phone numbers and documents

Having important phone numbers and documents in a safe area is essential for any traveler, including solo LGBTQ+ travelers. Make sure that you always have the necessary documentation, such as a passport or visa, in a safe and accessible place. Additionally, it’s helpful to have emergency contact information that can be used in case of an emergency or an unforeseen circumstance. You may need someone to call for assistance, translation services, or any relevant local authorities providing safety assistance.

Connect with other LGBTQ+ travelers

connecting with other LGBTQ+ travelers

Connecting with other LGBTQ+ travelers can be a great way to make new friends and feel more comfortable while traveling solo. Numerous social media platforms, including Facebook and travel groups for the LGBTQ+ community, can connect you with like-minded individuals and provide helpful travel tips about the destination. This can be an opportunity to meet people who will be supportive and keen on keeping you safe and secure during your travels.

Learn basic language skills

learning basic language skills

Knowing the local language or learning basic language skills can help avoid misunderstandings or challenging situations. Being able to communicate general information in the country’s local language, such as general greetings and common words for transportation, can help make communication with locals easier and more comfortable. Learning basic phrases in the local language is therefore an excellent way to make a connection with the locals and show respect, while also helping to build trust.

Trust your gut instinct

trusting gut instinct

Trusting your gut instinct is perhaps the most important tip for safe traveling, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. If a situation or person feels wrong, there is a high chance that you might be unsafe. In any case, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and leave the situation. Remember, it isn’t a sign of weakness to prioritize your safety over anything else in unfamiliar countries.

Author: Caroline Hunter

Author: Caroline Hunter

Caroline Hunter is the ultimate travel chameleon - she can switch from a rugged backpacker to a glamorous hotel-goer in the blink of an eye. With a decade of solo traveling experience, she's collected tips and tricks from every corner of the globe. And now, she's generously sharing her secrets with us mere mortals who still struggle to pack a suitcase without forgetting something crucial. So, whether you're a fan of roughing it or prefer to indulge in luxury, Caroline's got you covered.

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