8 Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Planning a Great LGBTQIA Vacation

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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

You can feel it in the air, can’t you? That urge to travel again, to hit the open road or fly the friendly skies, on your own terms. For the last 20 years Orbitz has been right there with you, affirming its commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community by creating dedicated travel guides and resources for LGBTQIA+ travelers. Last year, the brand launched a dedicated microsite featuring gay-friendly hotels, events, and travel inspiration, and we are excited to announce a new travel filter that lets you hone results to show only LGBTQIA-welcoming hotels. Whether it’s following in the footsteps of your favorite influencer or ensuring your rights as an LGBTQIA+ traveler, we have a few tips and tools to help you plan your trip with pride.

Research the Status of LGBTQIA Rights in Your Destination 

Because each country is different with their stance on LGBTQIA rights, you’ll want to research this information ahead of time. The U.S. State Department is a great resource, which allows you to search by country or area, and assess the risks of traveling there. It also provides travel checklists, general safety tips, and a special section for LGBTQIA+ travelers. Another site that keeps tabs on LGBTQIA+ rights-related laws around the world, Equaldex, relies on a network of user contributions to create an interactive map with information related to discrimination, same sex marriage, and changing gender. It is currently tracking over 8,000 related laws around the world, and it also allows you to explore the status and timelines of LGBTQIA+ rights in each country.

Find Reliable Inspiration for Your Next Trip

So much to do, so little time! Or it certainly feels that way. With post-Covid travel possibilities opening up every day, it can be difficult to pinpoint the best way to start planning. That’s where we come in, with Orbitz’s LGBTQIA+ travel hub inviting you to open your world through travel. Check out resources for the best wedding destinations, day trip ideas, beaches, and more. Orbitz has also partnered with the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) to present a calendar of queer events around the world. Whether it’s celebrating Provincetown’s Girl Splash in July or Atlanta’s Black Pride weekend in September; Copenhagen’s WorldPride in August or San Francisco’s Folsom Street Presents: MEGAHOOD2021 in September, the list keeps growing and is updated on a regular basis, so be sure to bookmark it for the future. 

Try the New Orbitz LGBTQIA-Welcoming Hotels Filter

Orbitz advocates for LGBTQIA+ equality and inclusion in travel, and along with that comes the belief that everyone in this world should be able to travel freely, safely, and confidently. Orbitz continually identifies and elevates travel partners who share our values. By signing Orbitz’ Inclusivity Pledge, its lodging partners agree at minimum to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for hateful, disrespectful, or discriminatory behavior. Many have also committed to additional anti-discriminatory measures, such as instructing staff to use gender-neutral language. You can search for these hotels in your favorite travel spots by using our new filter, which makes it easier to identify these properties.

Check out What LGBTQIA Influencers are Doing

Simultaneously stoke your wanderlust and breathe life into your travel plans by following the trail of LGBTQIA+ influencers. Among them are Jeff Perla of The Travelin Bum; and travel couple Allie and Sam, who share photos from their trips both near and far. Or, immerse yourself in the life of Ruff, a lesbian influencer from California who documents her travels with her wife and three kids. For details of her fabulous life, check out Kandy Muse, the runner-up on the thirteenth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Trans travelers may find inspiration from Eli Erlick, a trans activist, Christopher Rhodes, an Austin-based transguy, Kai Wed Bigwood, a queer trans nonbinary artist, and Arrows, a trans nonbinary model. 

Secure Your Identity as a Trans Traveler

The National Center for Transgender Equality supports gender-nonconforming and transgender travelers by providing a comprehensive guide to airport security that addresses relevant information such as what to expect from airport body scanners and pat downs, and how to prepare for air travel. For additional ways to prevent issues with your passport and ID, visit the U.S. State Department’s requirements for obtaining a Change of Sex Marker, which includes submitting a medical certification. It also addresses frequently asked questions, such as whether you need to have the sex on your birth certificate and/or driver’s license changed before it is changed on your passport. (Short answer: no.)

Explore Your Options With These LGBTQIA Travel Apps

There’s an app for that! And when it comes to planning your next LGBTQIA+ vacation, options abound. Visit ManAboutWorld, a gay travel magazine that is available on iPad, iPhone, or Android devices, and is free to access. You’ll have a plethora of tips and travel offers to choose from, as well as guides to LGTQIA+ travel safety. Damron Gay Guides, which has been referred to as “the little black book of gay travel,” also has an app called Gay Scout. The app offers over 18,000 listings covering 2,700 cities around the world. These listings include restaurants, bars, gyms, bookstores, and entertainment venues. With GeoSure, you can gauge your personal level of safety at any moment, anywhere in the world, with an app that provides real-time, hyper-local safety information for travelers. Its LGBTQ+ Safety Ratings category is defined as safety from all forms of mistreatment, discrimination, and violence committed against LGBTQ+ persons or groups. 

Join the Orbitz Rewards Program

Before you plan your next vacation, be sure to sign up for Orbitz Rewards, which lets you earn hotel savings and gives you travel perks like free TSA PreCheck (the more you travel, the more you get). It’s free to join, and you’ll start earning Orbucks as soon as you book your next flight, hotel, package, or activity. Think of Orbucks as your virtual travel benefactor: For every $1 Orbuck that you earn, you’ll receive $1 off your hotel stay. That adds up quickly, and you’ll unlock perks as you book more nights, including free WiFi or breakfast, free room upgrades and early check-ins, and reimbursement up to $50 Orbucks on seat upgrades or bag fees. And the best part? There are no blackout dates, allowing you to use your Orbucks any time of year.  See Orbitz Rewards Terms and Conditions.

Mine Social Media for Networking Groups 

Want to find other like-minded travelers who can help you plan the logistics of your trip? Consider joining a Facebook networking group such as LGBTQ Travel, which has created a space to network, and share travel tips and advice. The Lesbian Travel group is open to women (including genderqueer or trans persons), with an interest in travel. #gLt Pride is an official subgroup of Girls LOVE Travel that invites members and allies of the LGBTQIA community to share their experiences traveling the globe. And the LGBT Takeover Travel Squad celebrates the Black LGBTQIA+ community. You can also engage in important conversations on Twitter with hashtags such as #travelingwhiletrans or #lgbtqtravel.

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