Planning a trip to a new destination should be fun and exciting. It’s a time that many of us look forward to the most, and it’s generally the highlight of our year. So, what happens when planning a trip evokes feelings of anxiety or fear? Unfortunately, this is the reality faced by many LGBT+ Travelers.
In fact, almost 80% of LGBT+ travelers have concerns over how they will be treated when visiting a new destination. With 73 countries around the world still criminalizing homosexuality, it’s understandable that LGBT+ travel can be a daunting prospect.
My girlfriend and I have travelled the world full time as a lesbian couple for the past two years. We have visited gay-friendly destinations, travelled off the beaten path, and been to countries where homosexuality is still illegal.
While it’s been the most incredible two years of our lives, I can tell you it hasn’t always been fun and rainbows. With this in mind, the goal of this blog post is to help other LGBT+ travelers prepare for the perfect trip.
1. Research your Destination
First and foremost, the most crucial step in planning your trip is to research your desired destination in advance. While there are many gay-friendly destinations around the world, this is by no means universal.
Understanding the legal and social attitudes surrounding the LGBT+ community is imperative for a safe and enjoyable travel experience.
For example, many LGBT+ Travelers do not want to visit countries where homosexuality is still illegal, and that’s understandable. Others, such as ourselves, do not boycott them altogether but find a way to act appropriate to local customs.
Either way, this comes down to your personal preference and what you feel comfortable with. Check out the Human Dignity Trust website for more information on the countries that criminalzse homosexuality.
2. Do Not Let Fear Rule your Decisions
Which leads me on to my next point. Try not to let fear stand in the way of the dream destinations you want to visit. If this were the case for us, we wouldn’t have had the amazing experiences that we did in countries such as Malaysia (where homosexuality is illegal) and India (need I say any more).
It may require some adaptation on your part; however, understanding new cultures and ways of life is one of the most exciting elements of travel. If you’re open-minded, you’d be amazed at how rewarding your travel experience can be.
3. Be Prepared to Adapt
I’m sure it comes as no surprise, that being prepared to adapt is part and parcel of traveling as an LGBT+ person or couple. Having said that, it’s not necessarily limited to LGBT+ travelers either.
Traveling to any new destination, regardless of your sexual orientation, is likely to require an element of adaptation. Whether it be the clothes you wear, the food you eat, how you carry yourself, or how you act with your significant other.
Ultimately, it’s about recognizing what is socially acceptable and behaving in a way that’s both respectful and appropriate. For example, PDA (Public Displays of Affection) is discouraged in many countries around the world – even for heterosexual couples.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: If you plan your trip with an open mind and find yourself willing to adapt, the sky is your limit!
4. Support LGBT+ Travel Companies
For added reassurance, you could always consider booking your trip through an LGBT+ travel company. While said holidays are often pricy in comparison to booking independently, they do allow peace of mind that you’re in like-minded company.
Alternatively, you can book your accommodation through companies like misterb&b and Purple Roofs who specifically cater to LGBT+ travelers.
5. Connect with other LGBT+ Travellers and Locals
This point is one we wish we had considered when setting off on our travels for the very first time. The best way to prepare yourself LGBT+ travel is to connect with others who are in the same circumstances as you.
Otherwise, we suggest using social media or dating apps to connect with other LGBT+ travelers or locals. For example, Facebook allows you to search for any dedicated LGBT groups in your area. Or navigating certain hashtags, such as #lgbtberlin, on Instagram will yield all things LGBT+ locally to you.
Preparing a trip as an LGBT+ traveller does not have to be the unsettling affair you might expect. By utilizing our tips and resources, you can look forward to a memorable, and most importantly, a SAFE, trip of a lifetime.
Years ago, you could find me daydreaming during my early morning classes. Quite like many high schoolers out there, I particularly found history courses boring. Foolishly, I’d call these classes old, antiquated, unimportant. “Why study the past? We should be looking into the future!” (Oh how much I regret those days!) No matter how engaging the professor was, or the relevancy to modern politics… I was jaded.
Flash forward 10 years later, and I’m studying to become a world history teacher. Yep, you read that right! This former history-hater is en route to becoming a teacher of the world’s past. What brought about this complete change of heart? I’ll tell you – travel.
Travel completely transformed my love and admiration for history. It wasn’t until I saw the world’s ancient relics, its weather-worn battle fields, its monuments and temples with my very own eyes… that I realized just how crucially important historical education is.
I never realized the impact of war until I had heard the stories of locals, sharing their parent’s plight. It wasn’t until I witnessed a tea ceremony first hand to find beauty in its ancient practice. I’d never considered my own privilege or freedom until I walked through another form of life.
You can sit in lecture upon lecture discussing The Great Wall of China or the Taj Mahal – but until you see their grandeur, it’s all a game of imagination. You can read books on Vikings and seafarers – but until you see their massive ships and epic, native fjord lands, it’s all a figment of your imagination.
It’s a selfish and ignorant thing, isn’t it? It wasn’t until I gained my own experiences out there in the world… then I found importance in historical events. But, I think it’s important to acknowledge that in order for some people to grasp history – they need to observe, soak in and explore. And guess what provides all of those experiences? Travel does.
Classes Today Include A Traveler’s Perspective
What excites me about becoming a history teacher one day is the idea that I can bring experiential moments to students. Virtual reality, 3D glasses, Google Earth, explorations via immersive maps. 21st century history education is changing. And it’s becoming more immersive. It’s an exciting time to be teaching the world’s history because we can finally have students experience the world right in the classroom. (Even though, as travelers, we know that seeing something up close and personal is complete and utter magic! Baby steps, right?)
It’s my hope to create curious, compassionate, open minded, educated travelers of tomorrow. In my wildest dreams, I hope that my students leave my classroom eager to see the world. It’s my hope that they leave my doors knowing that the world is a wondrous, ancient place – an open book to read and learn from. They just have to go out and see it.
Has travel transformed your perspective on history? Or have your interest in history driven you to see ancient sights? I’d love to know!
There’s no doubt that travel around the holiday season can be anxiety inducing. With the large amount of people commuting to and from home, on their way to a winter escape or en route back home – holiday travel is overwhelming. Even as a seasoned traveler, I’ve found myself completely stressed midway through my journey back “home for the holidays.” Today, I’m sharing the simple, yet effective stress reducing tricks I use to deal with holiday travel.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Music on, world off. Even after I’ve hustled to my terminal, I find that other’s stress levels increase my own! To escape the madness and ignore the arguments and tension, I always pop on my noise cancelling headphones and zone out to a peaceful playlist like this one. Nothing changes my mood quite like music!
I can’t tell you why exactly, but something about printed tickets and itineraries with all my information on it does wonders to my stress level when maneuvering through holiday travel! Having a physical ticket in my hand assures me that everything will be okay. Does any one else feel this way?
Invest In Travel Insurance
With traffic galore around the holiday season, it’s important to plan for the worst. Should you miss your flight or need to make arrangements to change your plans, investing in travel insurance is a good idea. Peace of mind is worth the few extra dollars, if you ask me.
Get There Early
Just do it. Plan to be there early to avoid major lines and the headache of battling through security. Giving yourself a buffer of time to make your way through to your terminal alleviates the pressure to go-go-go! Getting to the airport early is a step towards breathing easier and lowering your stress level an enormous amount.
Wear Your Cozy Clothes
There’s absolutely no point in wearing constricting, uncomfortable clothes to the airport during the holidays. No matter if you’re the ultimate fashionista or on your way to meet up with friends you haven’t seen in a long time… trust me on this. There’s a way to look chic and put together while also being cozy. A comfortable, non-restricting outfit can soothe a stressful mind.
Acknowledge Your Lack Of Control
Truth be told, travel can be the ultimate form of “letting go.” With the lack of control we all have as travelers during the holiday season… the biggest take away I’ve found is to embrace the unknown. It may be seamless, it may be a complete mess… but you’ve got this.
You can’t control the delayed flights or the missing crew members. You can’t control the weather or the enormous security line. But you can control your response to the madness! Deep breathes, positive self-talk and using the tips mentioned above mindfully will pull you through.
How do you cope with holiday travel stress? Comment below with your biggest tips!
Some friends can be especially hard to shop for. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift to give your adventurous female friends, we’re here to make your gift shopping a total breeze. We’ve rounded up essential travel items, fun and thoughtful momentos, staple travel wardrobe pieces and more. Stocked with some of our absolute favorite finds of 2019, here is our gift guide for the #DameTraveler in your life. Happy shopping!
Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure
Yep, you read that right! We are beyond excited to share our premiere hardback book is available for pre-order! Filled with hundreds of striking photographs and empowering messages and practical tips for solo travelers from the women traveling the world that inspire us most. From page to page, readers will find new destinations and inside tips from women who boldly adventure throughout the globe. We may be biased… but we happen to think it’s the perfect present for the Dame Traveler in your life. It’s been a dream come to life, and we’re so excited to see it on coffee tables and bookshelves around the world.
Travel Wardrobe Pieces For The Stylish Jetsetter
Este Backpack by Lesetta
This vintage-y gem is our most coveted chic, yet durable backpack! With a nod to 70’s nostalgia, we love its bold color combinations and camera-friendly size. We’re also huge fans of Lesetta’s commitment to slow fashion, as the brand offers accessories made by European and South American artisans and designers the founder met through her travels! If you’re shopping for a stylish, fashionable traveler with a love for sustainability – look no further.
AllBirds Wool Runners
Packing the right shoes is a constant conundrum for most female travelers. We’re huge fans finding a shoe that can be both cool, super cozy, and can be dressed up or down (depending on the adventure at hand). And that’s why we love AllBird’s Wool Runners. They’re simple, breathable and go with everything. Pair it with their perfect Trino™Quarters socks… and you’ve got yourself the perfect gift for the comfort traveler.
Dagne Dover’s Landon Carryall
Whether she’s running from the office to the gym, or Porto to Portofino – the Dame Traveler has got to have the perfect carryall bag. We’re obsessed with Dagne Dover’s Landon Carryall‘s do-it-all capabilities and its intentional details for the modern woman. Think 13″ laptop sleeve, interior side pockets for tech accessories, a handle drop to place on a suitcase and more!
Callahan’s Miche Turtleneck
Every traveler craves a go-to airport look that’s just as cozy as it is cool. That’s why we love Callahan’s Miche Turtleneck‘s twist on the traditional turtleneck with color-block design, breathable cotton and perfect softness.
Everlane’s Day Glove
Everyone craves a shoe that molds perfectly to our feet… the type of shoe that’s an easy choice to slip on with every outfit. Everlane’s Day Glove is that shoe! It’s buttery soft leather that molds to your foot, making it our favorite shoe for airports and sightseeing alike. You won’t find us without these flats in our suitcases for a very long time!
Hemant And Nandita Boho Dress & Accessories
We love intentionally made clothing with strong cultural roots. Hemant And Nandita‘s collection of boho, flow-y dresses and chic accessories are a match made in heaven for the Dame Traveler who craves fashion and handmade tradition.
Everlane’s The Cashmere Crew
Every traveler needs a classic, go-to airport outfit if you ask us! Gift your Dame Traveler a classic. We are obsessed with Everlane’s The Cashmere Crew. It’s a classic staple item every woman craves to have in their closet (and suitcase) with the perfect fit. Plus, it’s made of certified Grade-A cashmere!
Katie One’s Cocó Pearl Earrings
A glamorous, yet simple staple jewelry item that can be thrown on with any look. Dame Travelers will love a set of Katie One’s Cocó Pearl Earrings classic drop pearl earrings with its twisted ring and elegant details. Each set is hand made by artisans in the South of France and sourced using sustainable materials. They’ll be the pair of earrings she’ll reach for over and over again for those romantic evenings in store!
White + Warren Cashmere Gloves & Scarf
Nothing says “I love you” to a winter-destination traveler quite like a luxurious pair of soft, warm gloves and a buttery, classic cashmere scarf. We love White + Warren’s cozy cashmere gloves as a gift – they’re just as luxurious as they are easy to throw on with any outfit in the winter-y season. Their Mini Travel Wrap is also the absolute perfect stocking stuffer for the adventurer! It’s a smaller version of our beloved cashmere scarf that packs down easily, but still looks just as classic and feels just as warm!
Apolis’s Customizable Market Tote Bag
There isn’t a single market bag we love more than our customizable Apolis tote! And it’s a sustainable gift that will have a long shelf life for your gift receiver! Each bag is water resistant, made from 100% natural golden jute fiber and can handle any grocery run… and you can feel good purchasing it. The female artisans who handcraft each eco-friendly bag receive Fair Trade wages, annual profit dividends, and a retirement fund.
Carry-On Approved Beauty Picks
Patchology’s Rejuvenating Eye Gels
Dame Traveler’s know just how drying planes can be to our precious skin… and that’s why giving her the gift of hydration is such a good idea! Patchology’s Rejuvenating Eye Gels fight tired eyes, puffiness and dryness with their caffeine and hydrolyzed collagen ingredients. It’s the perfect solution for fighting jet lag! And I mean, who wouldn’t want to treat themselves to a little self-care while crossing continents?
Wine-Stain Preventing Lip & Teeth Balm
If you’re gift hunting for a wine-loving traveler or an explorer who’s always the life of the party – WineBlock’s Stain Preventing Lip & Teeth Balm is a great choice! Nobody likes being the embarrassing tourist… and with the world’s first wine stain preventative, they won’t ever get caught with “wine smile.”
Lano’s Complete Travel Kit
We’re loving Lano’s minis! This little, see-through bubble bag of goodies is sure to please your TSA officer, and your skin too with its perfectly sized travel essentials. Lano’s Complete Travel Kit comes with essentially everything a jet-setting lady needs – from hand creams, ointments, cleansers, vitamin E day cream leave on mask and more. It’s a little gift that keeps on giving!
For The Wanderer’s Home
Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel Coloring Book
Who says that only kids enjoy coloring books? Treat your Dame Traveler friend (or yourself) to Lonely Planet‘s Ultimate Travel Coloring Book, filled with 100 sketches of the worlds most iconic sights… and all ready for you to add your colorful flair! We also are so obsessed with their City Maze puzzle book that features geographical street maps with hidden gems in the world’s greatest cities.
Map Drinkware by Well Told
There’s nothing quite like filling your home with momentos from experiences and memories made around the world. These custom engraved city glasses are sure to make your gift recipient beam with joy! Well Told can make a topographic map from thousands of locations around the world on any glassware you’re loved one uses most- from insulated tumblers to stemless wine glasses.
Having a reliable, insulated bottle is like having a best friend aboard any trip! We’d truly be lost without our trust S’well Bottle beside us! It’s the perfect size to pop into our bag before departure and saves on waste while on the road.
Rifle Paper Co’s Art Prints & Home Goods
We’re obsessed with Rifle Paper Co’s illustrations, art prints and cards! And we just so happen to think that any of their cities art prints would be a perfect choice for the traveler who loves a unique and charming home (we’re partial to this feminine Italy design and colorful Amalfi print).
Shopping for a traveler that loves to host? Pick up Rifle Paper Co’s Cities Coaster Set or Christmas Card Set for their thank you cards. Or are you on the hunt for a thoughtful present for the organized, type-A traveler? This World Traveler Desk Calendar is an adorable choice too!
Vitruvi Blush Stone Diffuser
Imagine clean essential oils diffusing throughout your gift recipient’s cozy home. Thoughtful, right? Adventurers crave the outdoors, which is why we love pairing Vitruvi’s gorgeous stone diffuser with their woodsy bundle. With refreshing and invigorating cedar wood, spruce and more – the oils bring the outdoors in effortlessly!
Steamery Stockholm Cirrus No. 2 Steamer
The perfect travel sized steamer! For the Dame Traveler who wants crease free, Instagram ready looks when she’s on the go – Steamery Stockholm’s Cirrus No.2 Steamer is the perfect gift! It’s super fast, light and packable (our favorite component!), and it’ll also remove unfresh odors and dirt stains. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect little handy addition to their suitcase? We think so!
Travel-Savvy Tech Gifts
A laptop that’s “made to move”? Count us in! If you’re interested in gifting a tech-y item that can withstand a traveler’s lifestyle… the Pixelbook Go is the way to go. It’s lightweight, can stay charged and unplugged for 12 hours ( perfect for those long layovers without an open outlet in sight) and is incredibly responsive and fast to boot!
Looking for the perfect gift for the traveling photographer? Why not give them the gift of nostalgia wrapped up in a fun new toy! Polaroid’s OneStep 2 Viewfinder i-Type Camera is a blend of classic design with intuitive, contemporary details. Its “perfect imperfection” look is completely unique and the thrill of seeing a printed photo is so addicting.
Paravel’s Aviator Carry-On Plus Suitcase
If you’re on the hunt for a perfect gift for the Dame Traveler in your life… a sleek new suitcase is just the thing! We happen to think that Paravel’s Carry-On Plus Suitcase is the absolute best carry-on travelers can own. It’s roomy interior and compression board ensures that everything fits (no matter how much of a chronic over-packer they are!), and we’re big fans of its scuff-hiding textured finish and smooth double wheel design. No detail has gone unnoticed with this one!
Google Nest Hub
Google’s Nest Hub has grown to be one of our favorite home-tech finds this year. Our favorite function? The Nest Hub is digital, live photo album (perfect for displaying those Instagram-worthy snaps taken from the road) that instantly displays photos added to Google+ without needing to manually upload them. Tech-loving travelers will love that it can also be used to control their connected home too!
We’re firm believers in practicing safety at all times here at Dame Traveler… whether on the other side of the world, on a run at home or commuting to work. Safety-conscious travelers will adore BASU’s eAlarmPro’s portability (it’s the size of a thumb drive). Plus there’s no louder alarm that’s smaller, lighter or more transportable!
InCase’s Facet Case & Macbook Sleeve
Show your gift recipient that you care by giving them the extra protection for their precious tech items! We love InCase’s case for iPhone X in Rose Gold and sturdy laptop sleeve for MacBook 12″ – they’re just as trust worthy as they are streamlined and slick.
Paravel’s Packing Cube Set
No matter if you’re gift recipient is a fashionista or a minimalist, every type of Dame Traveler out there needs a set of sleek packing cubes. Paravel’s Packing Cube set are designed to make their next trip a total breeze to prepare for. Their conveniently sized and the perfect organizational tool for those long or short term getaways they’re bound to have in store.
Mophie Powerstation Plus 10000 Universal Battery With Lighting Connector
Mophie’s one of our absolute favorite tech accessory brand. And we’re loving its newest Powerstation with Universal Battery. It keep travelers devices fully charged at all times… we’re talking to 34 extra hours! We love the Lightning connector to charge our phones, but we also are obsessed that it comes with its wireless charging pad too!
I hope this gift guide helps you find the perfect travel gifts for your fellow Dame Traveler friends out there!
Disclosure: Some of the items in this gift guide above were given to us to review and some of the links above are affiliate links. We never recommend anything we don’t personally love and wouldn’t buy ourselves.
Not so long ago, business travel was reserved exclusively for men, while women mostly waited for them at home. Fortunately, times have changed, and women are taking over important roles in different industries, which often requires traveling for work. Unfortunately, we shouldn’t be fooled to believe that the terms and the conditions of the trip are the same for both genders.
A survey done by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) found that more than 80 percent of women who traveled for work more than four times in a year had a safety-related issue that impacted their productivity.
If you’re planning a business trip anytime soon, you need to be aware of these differences and do everything within your power to avoid unpleasant situations.
While There Are More Women Business Travelers, Safety Remains An Issue
Nearly 50 percent of women who travel do so for work, which makes them the fastest-growing demographic in business travel. We’ve already mentioned the number of safety-related incidents women encounter. Some of them are random, such as break-ins, but some are very personal such as stalking, harassment, and sexual assault.
Also, there’s a clear gap regarding the support and training provided to female travelers. There is an obvious lack of gender-specific components that will help women feel safe and prepared for their trip.
Employers need to research safety issues for each destination, but they should also address these risks in formalized training.
Of course, not all parts of the training should be gender-specific. Some need to be location-specific because of cultural norms that are different in various parts of the world and can have a lot of impact on women’s safety.
Accommodation Booking Is Different For Women
Surveys show that women are highly concerned when booking accommodations for their business trips. In fact, 70% of women would rather book a traditional hotel over a hostel or a motel, precisely because of safety.
It’s also recommended for women to stay on the third floor or higher to minimize the chance of break-ins. Most importantly, it’s best to choose a hotel with 24/7 security.
Getting Around The City
More than half of women traveling for work include some leisure time in between their tasks, which is a normal thing to do. However, depending on your location, the part of the city you’re in, and the time of the day, you need to take precautionary measures.
Because you can get robbed in any country, taking theft-prevention measures should be a given for any trip. Many women find that wearing anti-theft accessories such as a money belt makes them feel more secure during their travels.
Keep your laptop and other valuables in a safe in your hotel room. If your destination country is particularly risky for women travelers, try to move in the company of your business associates and stick to the well-lit, populated streets.
In many ways, the way you get from point A to point B will depend on the country you’re visiting. For example, if you’re traveling to Saudi Arabia, using public transport can be complicated. You need to sit in the front two rows in buses, and you can travel unaccompanied only if you have a passport or a residence permit. However, in a taxi, you are forbidden from traveling without company.
Even in countries that are more “female-friendly,” transportation is an important safety concern. Although ride-sharing services such as Uber are relatively safe, we still need to remind ourselves to always check for the license plate or the driver’s name before entering the car.
The best option would be renting a vehicle when you arrive or hiring a professional driver.
The Support Back Home Is Important
Most companies offer their employees mobile messaging options and mobile check-in capabilities when traveling for work. However, it’s imperative that the organization also offers an assistance hotline. Hiring female operators on the hotline could make the process of reporting safety issues, especially the personal ones, much easier for female travelers.
This is something you should discuss with your employer before even taking the trip. It’s crucial to establish safety procedures beforehand and, if possible, have one person who will be in charge of communicating with you while you’re away.
Technology Can Help
Many safety tips for women travelers advise using the available technology. For this, you will need to have your phone with you at all times, and your battery charged. Here are some useful apps and gadgets to have:
Tourlina matches you with another woman traveler at the destination.
The RedZone Map App helps you avoid high-crime areas.
TravelSafe PRO lists the local emergency services and your country embassy contact.
Nimb Smart Ring follows your location and gives you quick access to emergency contacts.
Being a woman on a business trip has many challenges, but it is also a great career opportunity – and it can certainly be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, we live in a world that’s not always kind to women, so you and your employer need to take precautionary measures to keep your safety uncompromised.