With New Travel Advisories, Are You Rethinking Your Vacations?

Where are you not traveling to this year? With the recent travel warnings to the Bahamas and Jamaica, made me think about this a little bit more. My travel calendar is not full for the year, yet, but there are some places that will never make it on my list to begin with. As a gay American, where should I not be traveling to? May it be because I’m gay or an American or just for any person’s general safety.

Just at the end of January, the U.S. Department of State issued a new warning for American travelers headed to the Caribbean. Because of the rise in violent crimes within Jamaica and the Bahamas, it’s becoming treacherous for visitors and locals alike.

Jamaica –

US raised the travel advisory for travel to Jamaica to Level 3 travel advisory for Jamaica last month, asking Americans to “reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime and medical services.”


“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” the advisory, reissued on Jan. 23, stated in a summary of what’s happening in the Caribbean country.

“Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence,” the alert warned. “Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities.” – ABC7

“In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the ‘Over the Hill’ area (south of Shirley Street)where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population,” the government alert states. Violent crime has been happening “in both tourist and non-tourist areas,” according to the alert, so the State Department is urging travelers to “be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.”

Map of part of Nassau, Bahamas. You can see Prince George Wharf where the cruise ships dock. Shirley Street runs along the north shore and if tourists are being told stay north of Shirley, that does not leave much to explore.

Seven years ago, I heard the warning about not going south of Shirley Street, but we did anyway. We did do the John Watling’s Distillery tour and we did venture out to The Fish Fry, an area not south of Shirley Street, but out of town.

For our first night on the island, we ventured to The Fish Fry which was a short cab ride from the resort to an area that’s basically a bunch of houses in a row that have been turned into eateries. Be prepared to be hounded beyond belief by the persistent almost vicious callers trying to get you to eat at their establishment. We tried ignoring most of them, but as they were calling out to me and my brother, they were saying, “Hey big boy, come eat here, we have ….” and it wasn’t just one caller that labeled me big boy. I’m overweight and they went with that. But in my head, I was just saying I probably would not have fared too well there if I was more flamboyant. And something that happened in the casino a couple of days later made me believe that would have been true.

One night, as I watched my brother “crap” away his money at the craps tables, I noticed a couple of younger guys in my peripheral vision standing very close to each other. The hair was on point, the outfits, and I knew they were family. Of course, my peripheral vision exploded when they decided to hug each other and it wasn’t a bro hug. In the pit area behind the craps tables, there were three employees in suits overseeing the 4 surrounding tables. When they saw the affection being displayed between these two men, they all flipped out. One pointed and flailed in the direction of the two men whom were proceeding from behind my left shoulder to my right and then off in the 2 o’clock direction. All of the men in the pit watched in … I guess shock and a little disgust. I could not hear what they were saying but they were not happy and I feared for the safety of those two men. If this was happening in front of my eyes in this large Bahamian casino a world-renowned casino, I would gather it may be worse if it happened at The Fish Fry, down town, or just over the hill. 


I have not yet decided if I want to go back to the Bahamas. It is sad that it is not a safe destination as it is less than a 50 minute plane ride from Fort Lauderdale and many inexpensive cruises visit. 

Where Else Not To Go?

In 2023, Yahoo caught us up on where it is not safe for us to be seen being gay.

Where there is the death penalty for same-sex acts:

    • Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Uganda and Yemen.

Prison, fines, or whipping for minority forms of sexual or gender expression:

    • Brunei, Kuwait, Malawi, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Tonga, Uganda and United Arab Emirates.

I personally am okay with not visiting any of those countries ever. Yahoo quoted the statistics gathered by Insider Monkey, which then listed off the 5 Most Dangerous Countries for LGBTQ+ American Travelers.

  1. Yemen
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Somalia
  4. Nigeria
  5. Saudi Arabia
The Nomadic Boys had a different top three in their list of 15 Most Dangerous Places in the World for Gay Travelers with 1. Uganda, 2. Iran, and 3. Saudi Arabia.  

Where Should Be on Your Go To List?

The Spartacus Blog’s Gay Travel Index is a great tool that has been around for years. It advises LGBTQ+ travelers on where they can expect to feel and be most safe in. Criteria used are: anti-discrimination legislation, marriage/civil partnerships, adoption, transgender rights, infrastructure, views on conversion therapy, religious influence, local hostility, and laws surrounding prosecution.


Their top three are Malta, Canada, Switzerland. We went to Malta (EuroPride post) and Switzerland (Arosa Gay Ski Week post & Switzerland post #2) just last year and have been to Canada so many times. We agree!

And Spartacus also has a list of where not to go with its worst 4 being Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan. The U.S., well, we came in at 35 out of 199 global destinations. As for the most LGBTQ+-friendly U.S. states in 2023, California, New York, Washington, Colorado while the worst are Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia. (USA Today

Where to Next? Tell Us!

As mentioned, Instinct’s travel calendar is not full yet for 2024. We want to know where we should go and why? We would also like to hear from you where we should not go. Help us cross off some destinations to avoid. 


Go ahead and leave comments below, tag us in some of your travels on Instagram (@instinctmagazine) or head over to this post on Our Gay Life on Facebook or on our Instinct Magazine Facebook page.

Photo by Oliver Sjöström

2 thoughts on “With New Travel Advisories, Are You Rethinking Your Vacations?”

  1. As a gay man the Caribbean has largely been off my list anyway (perhaps Cuba and former Dutch colonies excepted).

    Places I’ve been that are super welcoming include Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Netherlands and Sweden.

  2. Yes there are places I will absolutely never travel to as a gay man. The Nomadic Boys made a great list of places that the gay community should stay away from.


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