Holiday Advice for LGBT Travellers
With exciting LGBT friendly destinations ever growing, we want to help you plan the perfect holiday with your partner, or pals, to some of the best-loved resorts across the world – while throwing in all the travel tips and advice you need to know, too. Whether it’s a sunny beach holiday or a thriving city escape that ticks your boxes, our guide will give you the low-down on them all.
Browse our gorgeous gay-friendly holiday destinations for more inspiration.
LGBT Travel Advice
Attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travellers differ around the world, with rules and regulations in place that do not exist in the UK. But if you do your research, you shouldn’t have any problems. For further information, we advise all holiday hunters to visit www.gov.uk.
Whenever you’re travelling to a new destination it’s wise to err on the side of caution. The laws and customs of countries can be hugely different, as can attitudes and tolerance levels. Even in places where same sex relationships are much like the UK, attitudes can vary from one area or establishment to the next. Ensure you research and follow the local laws, since penalties can be in place.
Check Your Hotels
When planning your holiday, it’s important to be aware that some hotels – especially in lesser-known areas - may refuse bookings from same sex couples. In countries where same sex couples are illegal, it's advised that customers book a twin room. So be sure to check before you fly.
Beware of Cons
All tourists can be targeted by con artists, but be especially careful of ‘entrapment’ cons in countries that aren’t so gay friendly. These can take place on online chat rooms, or in bars and establishments known for being more tolerant. It has been known for officers of the law to be involved in entrapment cons, as well as opportunists looking to blackmail an individual for money.
Transgender travellers are advised to send off for a passport in their new name in order to avoid any security issues at the airport. HM Passport Office provides information for anyone unsure when applying.
Destination Information You Need To Know
Unfortunately, not all destinations are as relaxed as we are in the UK when it comes to LGBT travel, so customers planning their dream holiday should set some time aside to do a little research.
LGBT rights in far-flung resorts such as the Seychelles or Maldives are still in development, so visitors are unlikely to be welcomed by a gay friendly community or scene – and PDA’s are a no-go, but these destinations are fine to visit if you respect the country’s beliefs. Plus, you’ll find that there are some private hotels/resorts that do support same sex visitors – so you shouldn’t have to worry about sleeping in the same bed as your partner.
In the Americas, knowledge on LGBT rights can differ, with Caribbean destinations like Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda etc frowning on same sex relations. But there are a few lesser-known gems that embrace the gay friendly community, (with some communities of their own), including popular Puerto Rico, St. Barts and Curacao – a resort that publically welcomes the gay and lesbian scene.
As is the case in a few exotic destinations, homosexuality is still a crime in Morocco - punishable by up to three years in prison - but same sex couples from overseas are left largely alone. In fact, if you look hard enough and you will find gay friendly riads and hotels in Marrakech – although they’re unable to advertise themselves as such.
In the Middle East, Egypt, homosexuality isn’t actually illegal, although homosexual acts in public are. Public displays of affection are frowned upon outside of the main tourist areas (what counts as a homosexual act is open to local interpretation here), so exercise caution if you’re exploring outside of your hotel or beach resort.
Across the UAE and in Dubai, all homosexuality is illegal. Even in opposite sex relationships, sex outside of marriage is illegal, and public displays of affection are equally frowned upon. If you do decide to travel to Dubai as a couple, it’s advisable to book a twin room. Cross-dressing is also illegal under Islamic law.
Favourite LGBT Friendly Destinations
New York City
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Gran Canaria has a booming LGBT scene with bundles of attractions to keep you busy, both on and beyond the beach. Head to the south of the island (think Playa del Ingles or Maspalomas) for bustling nightlife, chic boutiques and high quality restaurants - Parrots is a popular choice for fantastic food and entertainment. For more information, read our travel advice for holidays in the Canary Islands.
Ibiza, Balearic Islands
For Spain holidays, you can't get much more vibrant and sun-soaked than charming Sitges. Located 32km from Barcelona, Sitges is well-known for its thriving LGBT scene. In fact, back in the 80s it opened Spain’s first ever gay disco, and it hasn’t looked back since. Here you’ll find lashings of LGBT-friendly hotels and a gorgeous gay beach to the west of the city, too.