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LGBT Holiday Tips

Published: 10 July 2018 Tags: LGBT, Holiday Tips By Andrew Gilliver

It’s holiday season and time to look forward to a well-earned break! Though this unpatriotically blazing weather may have you sunbathing in your back garden and calling it a holiday, if you’re LGBT and travelling overseas it’s worthwhile finding out what preparations to make and the situation is like for LGBT people wherever you intend to unpack your suitcase.

  • Check a Variety of Sources – some are more reliable than others; one person’s experience may be vastly different from another’s!
  • Plan Ahead – If you cannot avoid travelling to countries that are not as LGBT inclusive as we would like them to be, ensure you know how to stay safe. Even if it isn't illegal to be LGBT in some places, the levels of acceptance and tolerance can vary across different regions of the same country, and yes the planning stages of any holiday are a drag, but it pays to do your homework!
  • Be Aware – Public displays of same-sex affection can provoke unwanted attention and sometimes people’s reactions can be much worse towards foreigners in a strange country without any support networks. There’s no need to refrain from such gestures completely – just choose a more private moment if possible.
  • Accommodation (Hotel of Horrors?) – It can be a good idea to find out if where you are staying is LGBT friendly before booking. Sometimes if you are unsure, it can be safer to stick to well-known hotel chains if possible. In an ideal world such precautions wouldn’t be necessary, but it is a holiday after all – don’t make the tip more stressful than it needs to be. You don’t want your holiday spoiled from lack of sleep, because you can’t stop thinking about the creepy look the hotel manager gave you at reception upon arriving.
  • Vaccinations & Meds - Make sure you have plenty of your prescription medication while you’re away, and check with your GP if you need any vaccinations when travelling further afield. Other countries aren’t necessarily as attentive to LGBT needs, and may not have LGBT-related medication available.
  • Insurance – “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!” It may seem costly initially but you can’t put a price on piece of mind – plus, basic travel insurance is extremely cheap, no more expensive than a watered-down cocktail from a pool-side bar!
  • Passports – For people who are changing name or gender make sure you have the appropriate information on your passport https://www.gov.uk/changing-passport-information/gender
  • Condoms & Lube – Don’t forget to pack these if you are planning on meeting up with people, you cannot be sure if you will have these available when you need them.
  • Sunscreen & Insect Repellent – Never be without either! It can work out cheaper to buy them before you travel. Though many of us worship it, the sun doesn’t shine more forgivingly on LGBT people than anyone else – we burn like a paper grill at a BBQ too. And if the risk of skin cancer isn’t incentive enough, maybe the prospect of premature (and potentially irreversible) skin ageing is!
  • Drink Aware – Standard measures at home often differ from standard measures abroad. Drinking shots in this country is like knocking back medicine from a thimble, whereas in Spain “a ‘shot’ comes in a bucket with a funnel.” In unfamiliar environments you have to be extra careful of staying in control.
  • Emergency Contacts – Keep your next of kin details somewhere on you, written on something physical, not on your phone or other electronic device that could run out of battery. You don’t want to end up unclaimed in lost property after a heavy night out.
  • Have Fun – plan your days so you don’t miss out, but not so much it causes stress! Go with the flow and appreciate fully the experiences you do manage to have; the most precious, enduring memories are the ones made when we’re fully immersed in the moment, giving our undivided attention to those we’re with, not distracted by thoughts of what we’re missing. No matter how hard you try to get your money’s worth, you’ll always be missing out on something.
  • Additional Luggage Essentials – bring a good book, a spontaneous sense of adventure and cultural curiosity…and a bucket and spade, obviously.

Useful Links

Know As You Go is an interactive travel health app giving specialised travel health advice – it was designed by a Pride in Practice trained health professional too! http://www.knowasyougo.com/

Advice from UK Government for LGBT tourists travelling abroad.https://www.gov.uk/guidance/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-foreign-travel-advice

Sign up for e-mail alert, updates, guidance and tips from the UK Foreign Office https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

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