Although it is 2015 and most gay and lesbian tourists encounter no problems whilst travelling it still helps to research as much as possible on your destination before your trip. There are still places round the world where homosexuality is not tolerated and even outlawed.
Homosexuality is still illegal in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Bahrain and Palestine. In some countries same-sex relationships might be legal in some regions but not others. Other countries may not declare homosexuality illegal outright but consider it taboo and not socially acceptable. While you don’t have to necessarily avoid these counties it’s best to research the laws, customs and attitudes of your destination with regard to gay and lesbian issues before you arrive.
Even places like the United States or some parts in Western Europe where gay marriage is legal gay hate crimes still occur. In an ideal world members of the gay and lesbian community wouldn’t have to worry about being discriminated against, however there are still members of society who are intolerant to people because of their sexual preference. In some countries this attitude is more prevalent than others.
To help protect yourself as a gay or lesbian traveller we’ve put together some tips to help keep you safe on your next overseas adventure-
Always be a responsible tourist no matter where you’re travelling to. Try to avoid looking “touristy” and do not leave your luggage and personal effects unattended.
Avoid walking alone at night especially in streets without adequate street lighting. This goes for any person in any country.
Whether you like it or not you should always remember that you are subject to the laws in the country that you are visiting and adhere to them. No exceptions.
If you are travelling with your partner it’s best to keep the public displays of affection to a minimum in countries less tolerant than others. In countries where homosexuality is illegal avoid them all together.
If you don’t have a specific destination in mind consider destinations like Las Vegas USA, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Copenhagen Denmark or Oahu in Hawaii that are known to welcome and celebrate the gay community.
Dress appropriately for the country you are heading too. If you are heading to a conservative country ensure you cover up and be aware that things such as outlandish jewellery can bring unwanted attention to yourself.
If you are on the unfortunate end of unwelcome attention then the best thing to do is ignore it. Reacting to it can make a situation escalate into something more serious.
As a general rule of thumb you are more likely to experience difficulties in rural areas. Some places in these areas will not accept bookings from same-sex couples. Phone ahead and check before arriving.
Police in some conservative countries or regions have been known to monitor chat rooms and other internet meeting places to entrap people in the gay community. Avoid these forums in conservative countries.
1Cover Travel Insurance offers a range of travel insurance policies to suit gay, lesbian and other travellers. From unlimited medical and hospital expenses, 24 hour emergency assistance, cover for your personal effects and luggage there is a policy to protect you on your next overseas adventure.