Travel is considered to be an aspect of lifestyle for gay people. Various factors motivate travel for lesbian tourists, such as the need to escape from a largely heterosexual world that quite often holds intolerant views towards them. In traveling, lesbians may also be seeking a release from restrictive settings as traveling allows them to “be themselves” and promotes feelings of safety. Lesbian travel challenges are outlined below.
As much as a site may hold interesting attractions for visitors, lesbians tend to consider other factors during travel planning. Lesbian-friendly destinations rate highly on the list of possible travel destinations. This is because the need for acceptance is stronger in gay women than it is in gay men. As such, lesbian tourists prefer to avoid destinations that they perceive to be intolerant of their sexuality. Finding travel destinations that are both attractive and lesbian tolerant can be a bit of a challenge. This may restrict tourist destinations for lesbian travelers.
Many lesbian couples have reported bad experiences upon check-in at accommodation sites. The same is also true for gay men. This is largely linked to homophobia among hotel personnel. A couple may have specifically booked a room with a single king-size bed. On arrival at the hotel, during the check-in procedure, an insensitive clerk may term the booking as a mistake. In an attempt to rectify the situation, the clerk proceeds to book the lesbian couple into a double room, leaving the couple in an awkward position. Objecting publicly is likely to draw attention to them while if they go with the flow, the vacation experience ends up falling short of expectations.
In most cases, tour operators fail to market their services to the lesbian market. Lesbian travelers seeking to experience a unique holiday experience are left feeling overlooked. Since one of the motivating factors for lesbian travel is seeking acceptance out there, restrictive service offering has the potential to cause some frustration during travel planning.
Lesbian Travel Tips
- Destinations – some travel destinations have no tolerance for lesbian travelers. If you’re not sure about your safety in a place you wish to visit, you may want to check the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) site. A map on the site allows you to easily identify potentially dangerous areas for lesbian travelers.
- Guidebooks – obtain guidebooks for the areas you intend to visit. Local bookstores are a good source of travel guidebooks. You may also purchase guidebooks online. In most cases, guidebooks include information and advice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travelers.
- Lesbian Travel Agency – it is possible to draw up a travel plan by drawing information from various online resources. However, you may want to use the services of a lesbian travel agency, especially for global travel. Talk to friends to find out if they would recommend a specific agency, based on their positive experience. Checking the rating of an agency with the Better Business Bureau is also helpful.
- Reference Groups – local lesbian and other sexuality groups are often a good source of information about local attitudes and laws. Researching on the internet can give you the contact information of such groups in an area you wish to visit.
- Safety Considerations – it is best to leave a copy of your itinerary with a family member or friend. This should include contact information in the event of an emergency. As much as you’re on vacation and want to enjoy the sights and sounds, it is important that you remain alert to your surroundings. It helps if you and your partner have discussed an emergency situation plan, to tide you through safely in case things go wrong.
- Enjoy your Vacation – there will always be people who simply stare at 2 women or men holding hands. This happens even in the most gay-friendly destinations. If you happen to be a lesbian couple traveling with your children, be prepared for such attention. However, make up your mind beforehand to enjoy your vacation fully. Choose to simply ignore such stares.
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