As an LGBTQ Canadian, travelling can sometimes be a bit of a daunting experience. We’re very lucky to live in one of the most tolerant and open-minded societies in the world, but many other destinations may not be as welcoming or accepting of LGBTQ people. So it’s important to do research and plan ahead before heading out on your trip for your own comfort and safety.
While there are many LGBTQ-friendly destinations to choose from, it’s still important to be aware of local laws and customs in the places you visit. Some countries have laws that criminalize homosexuality, and it’s important to be aware of these laws and take steps to protect yourself. In some places being gay may not be something that’s criminal, but it may still not be something that is culturally accepted yet.
One resource that can be helpful for LGBTQ travellers is the Equaldex website, which provides information on the legal and cultural situation for LGBTQ people in various countries around the world. It’s also a good idea to check the website of the embassy of the country you’ll be visiting for any updates or travel advisories.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to have a plan in case of an emergency. This can include knowing the location of the nearest embassy or consulate, as well as having a copy of your passport and other important documents in a safe place. It’s also a good idea to let someone you trust know your travel plans, including your itinerary and contact information.
One of the best ways to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip is to do your research and plan ahead. This can include finding out about local laws and customs, locating LGBTQ-friendly accommodations and activities, and being aware of potential safety concerns. By taking these steps, you can enjoy your trip and make the most of your time in your chosen destination.
Here is my top 10 list of safety tips to consider as a fellow Canadian LGBTQ traveller:
- Research the local laws and customs of the place you are visiting. Some countries have harsh laws toward homosexuality or transgender identity, and discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people can be more common in some places.
- Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a situation, remove yourself from it.
- Be cautious about public displays of affection. In some countries, this could put you at risk for harassment or violence.
- Consider carrying a copy of important documents such as your passport, in case the original documents are lost or stolen. I keep a photo of mine on my phone.
- Make sure you have a reliable way to communicate with others, such having data on your phone. You can bring a portable hotspot with you for example to have Internet access wherever you go.
- If you are staying in a hotel, consider staying in a one that is known to be LGBTQ-friendly. Check for ones that other LGBTQ travellers have used (such as any I’ve written about for example) or those that have any marketing geared toward our community.
- Consider using apps or websites that can help you find LGBTQ-friendly businesses and events in the area you are visiting. Google now even lets businesses add a label to mark themselves as friendly/safe spaces for our community.
- Consider travelling with a group or making connections with other LGBTQ people in the area you are visiting. There is always more safety in numbers.
- Know how to get in touch with the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate. They can provide assistance if you encounter any problems while travelling.
- Be aware of your own mental health and well-being. Travelling can be stressful, and it’s important to take care of yourself and seek support if you need it. You don’t want to be too distracted or be making decisions that unnecessarily put yourself at risk or in danger.
There are many amazing destinations around the world that are welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ travellers which can be easy to narrow down if you know what to look for and do a bit of research (hint: check out the many different places I’ve written about visiting on here). Whether you’re looking for a vibrant city with a thriving LGBTQ scene or a relaxing beach destination, there’s something for every part of our community. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip as an LGBTQ Canadian, like I always do!