Seven Things to Do When #TravelingWhileTrans

Author: , November 30th, 2015

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The recent tale of a transgender woman humiliated, demeaned, detained, delayed, and derailed by the Transportation Security Administration has struck fear into some trans travelers and validated the paranoia of others who vow not to travel (or avoid airports) so as to avoid a horror story of their own.

Well, as a trans woman who’s traveled the country by nearly every means available, I have something important to tell you: whatever happens, you’ll survive.

But I know from my own experience that bad things happen at the airport screening area all the time, ranging from the simply annoying to downright soul-crushing, as in the case of Shadi Petosky. Her friends and supporters created a hashtag on social media to help others share their experiences: #TravelingWhileTrans.

And let’s face it, airport insecurity is hardly a new phenomenon.

By Dawn Ennis – Full Story at The Advocate

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Basic Rules for Hotel/Motel Safety

Author: , September 19th, 2015

do not disturb

We hear horror stories from our readers all the time about hotel/motel safety. And we have also had ‘problems’ with hotel/motel safety. We do need to add that in all of our travels from coast to coast that we have NEVER had a problem while staying in any Bed and Breakfast, NEVER!

The first problem anymore is when you check in, whether you have already made reservations with your credit card or just walking up and checking in. You present your credit card and then they want to see your driver’s license which we certainly do not mind showing. Then the new thing now is that they want to make a copy of your driver’s license for their files. Let’s see now, they have your name and address, telephone number, credit card number and now have a copy of your driver’s license which includes your photo!

Is that not something that an unscrupulous $10.00 an hour clerk to take advantage of? Talk about easy credit card fraud! The rate of employee overturns in the hotel/motel industry is astounding so why take a chance doing that? We never allow them to make a copy of our driver’s license, NEVER. Most often we have to talk to the manager on duty and they say that they will make an exception this time just for us, but of course they just want no problems with us We never mind showing our driver’s license but will not let them copy it.

room safeThen you check into the room, check for bed bugs and if the TV and all the lights works. Does the air-conditioning work? Is it clean? Then we go to the room safe (and is that not an oxymoron)? All room safes are not made equal. Most hotels have in-room safes and most of them charge you for that added security.

Yet this added hotel security does not mean your belongings are insured by the hotel if there is a robbery. Most hotels are protected by individual states’ innkeeper’s laws, which state the hotel is not responsible for theft from your room – including the in-room safe. Using the safe in your hotel room does not even mean your things are locked up. Most hotels have a back-way into their in-room safes, be it a master key or a master code. Management has access to these in case they need to assist guests if they loose their keys/code to the safe.

This poses a security risk since there are people who can access your belongings. Just think about it! Since we always travel by our own automobile, we have a special safe in the trunk of our auto and to get to that, they would have to steal our entire automobile and we triple lock it all the time! Just for the heck of it, sometime, simply touch in 0000 on the safe keypad and see what happens. Rather scary isn’t it?

bicycle lockWhenever we leave our room, we put our laptops in a suitcase which we lock, plus we have a bicycle chain lock so that we can lock all of our suitcases together and sometimes even lock them around a leg on the bed.

We know many guests who have returned to their rooms to find one of their pieces of luggage stolen by an employee or a thief. Walking down the hallway with 3 or 4 pieces of luggage chained together is more or less a dead give away that they are stealing them. Luggage locks and bicycle chain locks can be purchased anywhere for under $10,00. One can just never be too careful when traveling.

If your room keys are electronic and one is lost ask the hotel for a new room key – not a duplicate. This will reprogram the lock on the door in case the key was stolen. It’s important to note there have been a few security flaws reported in common keycard locks, resulting in many hotel room break-ins. Essentially the electronic locks were hacked, allowing thieves to enter hotel rooms undetected.

Insurance is a necessary evil. Before you purchase travel insurance though, check with your existing homeowners or renters insurance to see if your policy covers things like thefts when you are traveling. Making your room always look occupied deters thefts. Simply leaving the TV or radio on a low volume can make it appear that someone is in the room.

luggageAnd, if you do not need your room cleaned, hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door to keep cleaning staff out of the room. This does not just eliminate possible thefts from hotel staff but from someone pretending they are staying in your room and coming back to grab a few things while the room is being cleaned.

This does happen, and according to recent reports it’s fairly common. The Do Not Disturb sign is not a sure fire way to keep cleaning crews out of your room though. To help ensure the cleaning staff does not enter your room, call down to the front desk and ask them to not clean your room.

As we mentioned, we have never had any problems while staying at a Bed and Breakfast, but only at hotels and motels. Just always be safe when traveling and have a great time.

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Las Vegas Gay Travel Resources

Eight Travel Tips for Gay-Family Getaways

Author: , August 5th, 2015

father and daughter

Traveling with my little family has always been a pleasurable experience. I believe it’s because of the research and preparation we’ve done prior to booking any trip. I’ve compiled a checklist of sorts that will help you when planning for your vacation. The last thing you want to do is have your family feel uncomfortable or have a holiday ruined because you did not take the time to prepare. Being welcome as an LBGT family makes for a vacation that you will cherish forever.

1. Go Beyond Gay Family Friendly Logos

When searching for amazing gay family getaways, it is important to understand that “gay friendly” may differ from gay “family” friendly. Some people may be okay with same-gender couples, but may be intolerant of same-gender couples with children. Call hotels and resorts and explain that you are a LGBT Family and would like to know how you may be received. You’d be surprised how honest (positively or negatively) they may respond.

I learned that national and international registries boasting “gay family friendly” travel destinations may not be entirely accurate. I’ve also learned that resorts and/or hotels can pay to be on some of these registries, no matter if they have had “sensitivity training” (as they call it in the service industry) towards LGBT Families. You should also know that any travel website can put up a “gay family friendly” logo just to attract travelers. Ask friends, check forums, and review sites to see what others have experienced when staying at these hotels/resorts.

By H. Luiz Martinez – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Gay Travel Tips for Touring Europe

Author: , September 29th, 2014

Europe - Apple MapsThe Gay European Tourism Association (GETA) has launched an information campaign to educate LGBTI travelers touring Europe. GETA’s new website explains the ‘difference in legal and social attitudes to homosexuality across Western, Central and Eastern Europe,’ so LGBTI travelers are aware of how homosexuality is treated throughout European countries.

Using countries like Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Russia as case studies of how society and laws might treat LGBTI people differently, GETA advises: ‘It is for individual LGBT travelers to decide what countries they wish to visit but as a rule, the further east you travel in Europe, the more careful you need to be about public displays of your sexuality.’

GETA’s website also advocates proper planning for families and same-sex couples traveling throughout Europe. ‘Most countries in Europe welcome LGBT tourists,’ said GETA’s Executive Director Carlos Kytka, ‘but there are a few simple tips to make sure your trip is safe.’

Full Story at Gay Star News

Image via Apple Maps

Travel Tips for Gay Travelers

Author: , June 14th, 2014

Gay Travel Tips - Adam Groffman

Did you know June is National LGBT Pride Month in the USA? It’s a time for celebration, yes, but also an important month for awareness. In the past weeks, there have been several large exposes about the state of gay travel today, most notably in The New York Times. Articles defining what “gay travel” means, ones shedding a light on little-known but still gay-friendly destinations and countless articles (and photo essays) from LGBT pride events around the world. It’s an exciting month to be gay.

Traveling as a gay individual isn’t much different than traveling any other way. But sometimes there are special considerations to be made. In some countries you might receive funny looks when you’re a same-sex couple booking one bed in your hotel room. Those kinds of awkward situations can make or break a holiday. We all like to travel to relax when on a vacation. To make gay travel easier and more enjoyable, below are a few of my favorite travel tips for LGBT travelers.

1. Meet the locals: Use your apps! Grindr, Scruff and Planet Romeo have long been touted as some of the best gay social networking and meetup (or is it hookup?) apps. But you can also use them for PG-13 purposes! Create a friendly profile, let people know you’re a tourist and ask around for local tips, suggestions on the best bars or little-known tourist sites. There’s also a new gay app out, Distinc.tt, which aims to connect LGBT individuals in more meaningful ways through events and networking.

Authored by Adam Groffman. See the Full Story at Travels of Adam here.

See Adam’s full blog here.

Five Tips for Toronto Pride

Author: , April 24th, 2014

World Pride Toronto 2014World Pride Toronto is hedging its bets on success when it joins forces with Pride Toronto on June 20-29, 2014 for what’s expected to be the largest Pride event in North America.

Chrystal Dean, Toronto’s World Pride manager, says Toronto is pumped. “We’ve got everything in place,” she said at her Pride Toronto office in Toronto in late March. “Each day scores of folks call to volunteer or ask to form partnerships. There’ll be representatives visiting from over 60 countries. We’re hosting the first ever human rights conference. Melissa Etheridge is headlining a free concert.”

Acrimony, coupled with financial and political chicanery, derailed previous World Pride festivities in Rome, Jerusalem and London. That won’t happen in Toronto, Dean said. And Toronto’s beleaguered Mayor Rob Ford – who refuses to resign even after admitting to smoking crack cocaine – may continue to snub Pride events as he has each year, but he has not prevented Pride Toronto from obtaining all necessary city permits.

By Robert Israel – Edge Boston | Toronto Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Eight Budget Travel Tips

Author: , April 14th, 2013

Travel BudgetAshley Welton offers 8 travel tips for budget travelers. Go Girlfriend reports:

1. Beware of travel visas and reciprocity fees

Before you travel abroad, check the entry/exit requirements for the countries you’re visiting. These little fees can blow your budget big time, because sometimes they’re not so small. Many times exit fees are rolled into your airline ticket, but entry fees are not. You’ve got to know when and where you’ll be charged.

For example, Argentina charges a $160 fee if you fly into Buenos Aires, but nothing if you cross over the border in Chile. Brazil will turn you away if you haven’t gotten a visa (not cheap) prior to arrival. Most countries let you stay 90 days, but for some it’s only 30 and if you overstay, it’ll cost you. Before you go, check it out.

For the rest of the tips, hit the link above.

Nine Tips to Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling

Author: , April 11th, 2013

Gay TravelGetting ready to travel? There are some concrete steps you can take to minimize your chances of becoming an identity theft victim. Edge Boston reports:

There’s nothing worse than waking up after an all-nighter to discover that you’ve not only lost your underwear, but also your identity. Even if you’re the type to sip Mai Tais by the pool and be tucked in bed once the sun goes down, everyone is susceptible to identity theft.

1. Keep a record. If your wallet and everything in it are suddenly missing, you need to know what you’ve lost. In a personal notebook you keep in a secure place at home, write down all of the information from the front and back of your credit, debit, driver’s license, medical insurance and other important cards. Be sure to update the list as needed. This will help you make the appropriate calls following a theft.

2. Limit your cards. What you don’t carry in your wallet is just as important as what you do carry. For preemptive protection, only carry what you need on a daily basis. If you have multiple credit cards, only carry the one you use most often. Don’t write PINs or passwords on the back of your credit or debit cards or on pieces of paper you keep in your wallet.

To see all the tips, hit the link above.

Tips for Making Your Flight On Time

Author: , March 18th, 2013

Boarding a PlaneNeed to get to your flight on time? Sherman’s Travel has some tips:

We’ve all gotten an earful of terrible advice about arriving to the airport. Just today, The Onion reported on a “father” who suggested his family arrive 14 hours early for their family vacation. Years back, my mom made me book a flight with an eight-hour layover, simply because the second leg of my flight was international…the first was a one-hour flight on the East Coast. Yeah, that was overkill. But I digress. We’re here to fill you in on what you should actually be doing to get on your flight without having to sprint through Terminal C.

See the link above for all the tips.

Everything You Need to Know About Grand Canyon Rafting

Author: , February 28th, 2013

RaftingPlanning an adventure trip down the Grand Canyon?  Edge Boston has you covered with some great tips to help you prepare for white-water rafting. From Arizona River Runners:

Dress for the river, not the runway:

A river trip will obviously involve a significant amount of time on the river, which means that you will be on, near, and perhaps in the water. Clothes should be fast drying and okay to get wet. Leave the trendy denim at home. Bring quick-drying nylon shorts and shirts that will dry off quickly or will be dry by morning.

Take protection (yeah, for the sun too):

Sun protection is very important when getting ready for a Colorado River trip. If you haven’t traveled to Arizona before, it is important to understand how powerful those rays can be. Lip balm and lotion with an SPF 30 is recommended and should be reapplied often.

Read more over at Edge Boston.

Click here for gay travel resources in Arizona.