Travel How to Find the Best Destinations for LGBTQ+ Travelers
The price of “taxing” unvaccinated travelers
As more places reopen to allow vaccinated and unvaccinated tourists alike, we’re seeing certain destinations enforce more stringent entry requirements for unvaccinated travelers to dissuade them from entering the country — including mandatory quarantines, testing requirements and additional fees. These extra hoops for unvaccinated travelers may be a sign of what is to come in …For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Whenever I travel somewhere unfamiliar to me, I always look for the area’s queer community. As a gay man, connecting with local queer history and people helps me find a sense of solidarity with the community wherever I go. So, I was intrigued when I saw thispublished in September 2021.
Ostensibly, it ranks “the best places for LGBTQ+ travelers to visit around the US & abroad.” The index evaluates destinations by using various metrics, like the inclusivity of a city’s laws and regulations, but also by the amount of local bars and clubs. This seemed off to me; it implies that all queer travelers want to go somewhere to party, without clarifying if those venues are necessarily queer-friendly. Other unusual factors include the number of hotels and their average nightly prices, which perhaps makes more sense when one considers that ParkSleepFly is a company that tries to sell hotel-and-parking packages. But while this list raises more questions than it answers, one reigned above the rest—what actually makes a destination “best” for LGBTQ+ travelers?
Some countries are setting vaccine expiration dates for travel
Before you book your next trip, you may have to consider another factor: when you received your last COVID-19 vaccine dose. At least two countries — so far, anyway — are saying it must be less than 270 days since a traveler received his or her second shot to be considered fully vaccinated. More are …At least two countries — so far, anyway — are saying it must be less than 270 days since a traveler received his or her second shot to be considered fully vaccinated. More are talking about or considering imposing expiration dates on vaccine credentials.
“The word ‘best’ is absolutely relative,” says Bryan Herb, co-founder and chief marketing officer of, which focuses on luxury gay group travel. Herb says it’s reductive to paint people in the queer community and their travel priorities with broad strokes. Conversations around queer travel , and this index does the same: Domestically, the number-one spot goes to , and the runner-up is —two destinations popular among gay men. (Unsurprisingly, the international list includes .)
This trend leaves out many queer travelers, says Jill Cruse, the vice president of guest experience at, a travel company geared toward queer women. Looking at the ranking, she says, “If you say there’s one place that is the top destination for LGBTQ+ travelers, what is the matrix for that?” Even if a ranking isolates the nebulous metric of safety, Cruse says, the question of what’s “safe” for queer travelers depends on if a traveler is, for example, a lesbian or a trans woman or a nonbinary person or a gay man. And safety varies between destinations, too; a couple of queer women might feel comfortable holding hands in public in a city where two queer men might not.
Europe’s Entry Rules Just Got More Confusing
European countries started updating their entry requirements this week after the United States was removed from the EU safe travel list—and the policies are anything but uniform.After the European Council announced its decision to remove the U.S. from its safe travel list earlier this week, many travelers were left wondering if and how the decision would affect their travel plans. The answers depend on how individual countries in the 27-nation Europe Union respond to the recommendation, which is just that, a nonbinding recommendation.
While some queer travelers prioritize destinations that offer cultural comfort as well as physical comfort, others want to step out of their comfort zone and take roads quite literally less traveled. Miles Mitchinson, the owner of, which specializes in adventure trips for gay groups, says his company recently had to add additional tours to Egypt due to high demand: “It really shows us that that there’s a significant number of queer travelers who have an interest in going to places that are not traditionally known as queer-friendly destinations.”
Mitchinson, Cruse, and Herb agree that queer group tours can be a great option for travelers who want an extra layer of comfort and security. There’s safety in numbers too—long live queer solidarity!—which means some destinations might be more accessible than previously imagined. Furthermore, such companies have vetted locations and connected with queer-friendly vendors like hotels and local guides, broadening the scope of where travelers might vist as their most authentic selves. After all, as Herb says, life’s too short to never see the pyramids of Egypt.
How to travel solo — and why you absolutely should
Don’t let the lack of a travel companion stop you from missing out on an amazing travel experience. For all sorts of reasons, you might be faced with the choice of traveling alone, or not traveling at all. Your partner, friends or family may not be able to take the same time off work or …For all sorts of reasons, you might be faced with the choice of traveling alone, or not traveling at all. Your partner, friends or family may not be able to take the same time off work or they may just not be as keen on the destination as you are. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home.
For those who like to plan their own itineraries, travelers should think critically about their destinations and their roles as queer visitors. Wherever we go, we want to be treated with respect for our humanity; Cruse describes how that respect should be mutual, and travelers of all stripes should observe local customs whenever appropriate. “Do your research,” Mitchinson says, and take advantage of. “Know your destination, so you know how to keep yourself safe.”
While doing your research, take everything with a grain of salt, too. Many rankings and lists on the internet habitually lump queer people into one homogenous mass when, in reality, we are diverse groups within a group, with different needs and interests. For example, Herb can’t get enough of the historical beauty and mystery ofin Peru. Cruse so adores the matriarchal culture of that she’s been to visit eight times. And Mitchinson loves a little bit of everything in —gorgeous beaches, delicious food, and locals who love to party with friends old and new.
There’s no one singular “best” for every kind of traveler whether queer or straight. Just as when you’re traveling, stay inquisitive and ask questions to determine what makes sense for you—especially when you’re planning your next big adventure.
Some countries are setting vaccine expiration dates for travel .
Before you book your next trip, you may have to consider another factor: when you received your last COVID-19 vaccine dose. At least two countries in the EU — Austria and Croatia — are saying it must be less than 270 days since a traveler received his or her second shot to be considered fully vaccinated. …At least two countries in the EU — Austria and Croatia — are saying it must be less than 270 days since a traveler received his or her second shot to be considered fully vaccinated. More nations are talking about or considering imposing expiration dates on vaccine credentials.