Red Means Danger

Author: , April 7th, 2018

queer travel risk map

Do you enjoy ‘non-traditional sexual relationships’? Then mind where you travel. Over the last two decades, same-sex marriage and legal protection for the LGBTI community has become commonplace throughout many countries. But that has only widened the gulf with other parts of the world, where homosexuality remains illegal, criminal and in some cases even punishable by death.

This map was published by the Australian company Travel Insurance Direct as a risk guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex tourists and travellers.

Coded in the colours of the rainbow flag, the map ranks countries from places with the broadest legal recognition and protection (purple) to those where the law is used to prosecute rather than protect LGBTI people (red).

By Frank Jacobs – Full Story at Big Think

Bocas del Toro: Safe for Gay Couples? – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , January 11th, 2018

Bocas del Toro - Nomadic Boys

Two gay boys hanging out on Bluff beach with no one around, except a few friendly Golden Retrievers, the palm trees and the gorgeous backdrop of the Caribbean.

We celebrated Stefan’s birthday in Bocas del Toro in Panama, an area with a wide mix of people who do not care about your sexuality. We found it to be very relaxed, with an incredibly tolerant and friendly vibe. Many LGBTQ expats have even chosen Bocas as a place to live or set up a new business, so there’s a handful of gay owned places here to check out.

We absolutely loved our holiday at Bluff Beach and definitely recommend it to other LGBTQ travellers looking for a private and very romantic slice of Caribbean paradise.

Where is Bocas del Toro?

Bocas del Toro province is in northeast Panama on the Caribbean coast and next to the border with Costa Rica. It includes a chain of 9 islands, each with its own unique charm and character. Temperatures here rarely drop below 20 degrees (68 Fahrenheit), and when it rains, it’s just a quick tropical burst of showers before it quickly clears.

Bocas is the main town and transport hub into the region, located on Colon Island. You can reach it via daily flights to/from Panama City (45 mins) or overland by bus from Panama City to Almirante (around 11 hrs), followed by a boat from Almirante (30 mins).

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Panama Gay Travel Resources

Is Colombia Safe for Travel?

Author: , September 24th, 2016

Colombia - Dani

Confession: I almost didn’t get on my plane to Colombia because in the days leading up to my departure, I got scared. I spent the last few hours before my flight departure in agony, going back and forth about canceling my flight. I had just read this article:

Solo Female Going to Colombia? Just Don’t.

I came across it the very day before my flight, and reading the headline alone made me wonder if I should read the article or not. It wasn’t just that article: a few days earlier during a travel meetup, a friend of mine offhandedly mentioned to me that her friend recently got back from Colombia where she and her friend had being robbed at gunpoint and lost everything.

I was scared, if not terrified.

Was I crazy for traveling to Colombia as a solo female traveler, just as many family members and friends suggested I was when I told them I had purchased a plane ticket to Cartagena? Even though the country has gotten considerably safer in recent years, there is still a government warning for travelers to Colombia in place.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

Colombia Gay Travel Resources

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Travel, But Be Careful

Author: , July 4th, 2015

Don and ray

As a lot of us are taking off for summer travel, we always need to remember to be very cautious and safe. That includes not only our person but our valuables, laptops, cell phones and most of all our money and credit cards. Having anything stolen while traveling can be a near total loss of your trip.

Atlanta, GA, October 2, 2009 - Approximately 30 FEMA Logistics (LOG) staff are about to depart Dobbins Air Force Base for Somoa to set up logistical assistance in response to the recent devastating tsunami. George Armstrong/FEMA

Airlines keep losing luggage and we read so many articles about the baggage handlers who are very unscrupulous. For the life of us we cannot understand not being able to lock your checked luggage because anyone can open it up and put anything in it, and then YOU are the one that gets the blame. And, in addition dozens of people can open your luggage and take anything out.

When you arrive at a hotel and especially a large hotel, many times you get there before you can actually check into your room so you are forced to let them put your luggage in separate room with dozens of other luggage and since your luggage is not locked, again, you can only take your chances that nothing will be taken.

We have heard horror stories from readers who have had things stolen from their hotel/motel rooms by the staff. After checking in the room, we always put our laptop and other valuables and put them in a locked suitcase. We often go so far as to use a bicycle chain lock and lock two suitcases together.

Cash and credit cards are always a concern when traveling. A lost or stolen credit card or debit card can be horrendous. We generally use just one credit card when traveling, however we always take a couple of extras that are not in our wallet just in case there is a problem.

Since we do travel a lot, our credit card companies know our agenda however if you only travel once in a while it is best to give your credit card company a call and let them know where you are going. Always write down your credit card and debit card number (in your own secret code) and the 800 number to call immediately. Find out in advance about where you can get money from an ATM machine where you do not have to pay a fee. Those fees can add up.

One thing that we just will NOT do when checking into any kind of accommodations is to let them make a copy of our drivers’s license. More and more accommodations are asking to do that. They already have your name, address, telephone number and then they want to make a copy of your driver’s license? No way! Talk about a major problem just waiting to happen! While most staff members are very honest people, it just takes one to ruin your credit with fraud! Next thing you know, you are having someone that you never head of that is opening a new credit card account in your name, If you do have a problem like that when you check in, ask to speak to the Manager. We have done that several times and they always, say, “just for you we will make an exception”. Call your credit card company and ask them about that subject and also call your Driver’s license department in the State where you live and they will tell you not to let anyone make a duplicate of your driver’s license.

Credit card scams are getting so dangerous that we no longer give our credit card to our server in a restaurant. We go to the cashier ourselves and pay, with our credit card in hand. There are hundreds of national articles telling about unscrupulous servers that know how to make new cards in just seconds so we are just over cautious whenever we use our credit card. When we go to a bar we always pay cash for our drinks, however some like to use their credit card. If you are going to have several drinks, they have you give your credit card to the bartender and they put it by the cash register. We have seen a great many credit cards stacked up and more than once they make a mistake and give your credit card to somebody else.

Have fun when traveling but always, and we do mean ALWAYS be on the alert.

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

Venere Travel Map Ranks Safety Risks for LGBT Travelers

Author: , January 22nd, 2015

Venere Gay Travel Map

Openly gay visitors are being made far from welcome in many up-and-coming holiday destinations, including Morocco – where in 2015, tourists still risk imprisonment. While some nations become more accepting, others remain stubborn in their traditional views, so it is important that potential visitors know where they stand.

For this reason, Venere.com has created an online map by taking all the information regarding attitudes toward LGBTQ people in different places around the world – giving each nation a score.

Nations that accept non-hetero-sexual people are shown in green, while those that and have hostile laws and attitudes are shown in red.

It’s a novel approach to a serious problem and one that has troubled the LGBTQ community for decades.

By Anna Lia Gerardi – Full Story at Venere Travel

Tips for Gay and Lesbian Travelers in Egypt

Author: , October 30th, 2014

EgyptEGYPTIANS have a somewhat schizophrenic attitude toward homosexuality. On the one hand, homosexuality is considered deviant and gay men are discriminated against; on the other hand, sexual relations between men are often ignored as harmless. The upside of the situation is that gay men can enjoy a variety of casual sexual encounters with relative ease. The downside is that, once identified as a homosexual, a visitor may experience discrimination and face problems with the police.

Lesbians, meanwhile, have no public profile as a group, and there is no “scene” as such. Because of this, couples can hold hands in public — this is what friends do in Egypt — but any further display of affection is not recommended.

You should also be aware that the security services actively work against the gay community. Cases of entrapment followed by detention and torture are regularly documented by human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch. Websites such as www.gayegypt.com are routinely monitored by the security services, and chat groups are used to set up fake meetings.

Full Story at the Mindanao Examiner | Egypt Gay Travel Resources

How to Visit Morocco as a Gay Man

Author: , October 22nd, 2014

Morocco - Google MapsI can only feel sympathy and solidarity with Ray Cole and his partner (Report, 17 October). It must have been a horrific and frightening experience. But as an openly gay man who has travelled more than 20 times to Morocco in the last decade (often with my partner), it seems useful to make some things clear to other lesbian and gay travellers.

1) Male homosexuality is, theoretically, illegal in Morocco. However, the law is not imposed frequently.

2) Homosexuality is an accepted part of Moroccan culture and has been for centuries. Most ordinary people are not hostile if you respect local customs (discretion, not pursuing underage boys etc). In addition, extreme Islamism is very rare in Morocco.

3) The whole state apparatus in Morocco has problems with corruption. This means that officials, including police, can act for personal motives – of power, money or religion – without much regard for legal niceties.

I have mostly found warm and open acceptance from ordinary Moroccan people as a gay man. Indeed, sometimes I have been pleasantly surprised: such as when the Moroccan-owned riad where we stay upgraded us to the best suite of rooms for free, on hearing that we had just had a civil partnership.

So, I think the best advice is to be streetwise: bear in mind you are in a Muslim country where homosexuality is, at least in theory, illegal.

By Patrick Baker – Full Story at The Guardian | Morocco Gay Travel Resources

Image via Google Maps

Purple Roofs Mentioned in the New York Times

Author: , June 1st, 2014

San Francisco City OasisThe New York Times ran a series of articles on gay travel this week, and we snagged a mention in one of them, Finding Comfort and Safety as a Gay Traveler”:

SLEEP IN COMFORT. This is your vacation, so the last thing you want to do is lie awake at night feeling unwanted, or even afraid, in your hotel room. If you’re not going to a place that is obviously welcoming (and of course this could include a business trip or family event when the location itself is not perhaps your first choice), try to find a spot that is gay-friendly or even gay-owned. There are resources like Purple Roofs, owned by J. Scott Coatsworth and Mark Guzman, which is a great tool for finding gay- and lesbian-friendly accommodations all over the world. You’ll be able to find a room in unexpected spots, too, in cities not necessarily known for being especially gay-friendly, like the Lattice Inn in Montgomery, Ala., for example.

Thanks to writer Steven McElroy for including us! 🙂

By Steven McElroy – The New York Times

Safety Tips for Gay Travelers

Author: , March 4th, 2014

gay-travel1-250x250In early 2013, the US State Department released some safety tips aimed specifically at gay travellers. Most travel safety tips are the same regardless of your sexual orientation, but in certain countries gay and lesbian travelers have to be especially aware of the environment around them. Because of this, here is a reminder of some of those safety tips sanctioned by the US Government, as well as some extra safety tips it would make sense to bear in mind. Much of this is common sense, but if you think ‘safety’ as you travel then you can be sure of an uneventful and thoroughly enjoyable vacation!

Do your Research

Before you book your vacation take a little time to do some research into the country you’re thinking of travelling to. Right now Russia, for example, is not the best country for gay tourists to be visiting. Remember that cultural differences are still relevant, and many countries aren’t as welcoming to same sex couples as others. Last year a bed and breakfast in the UK refused to allow a gay couple to stay in their accomodation: their decision was ultimately overturned by the high court, but by that point the vacation of the couple involved had been ruined.

Bearing this in mind, you should always reserve your hotel room with knowledge. Take to the internet to find out how welcoming to gay people the country you’re wishing to visit is. Some hotels won’t allow same-sex guests to stay in a room with one bed: you may find you are put in a room with twin beds or even separate rooms. It’s best to inquire before booking, to avoid any upset when you arrive at your destination hotel.

See the Full Story at Pink Choice

Click here for gay travel resources.

Safe Travel for Women in Costa Rica

Author: , February 15th, 2014

Woman TravelerIn my travels, I have come across single women around the world who say, “I’d like to travel, but I don’t have anyone to go with.” Having traveled alone, I asked what was stopping them. What I found was a mixture of fears and concerns:

Blending In

Amanda Heckart from California shared, “My biggest fear is looking like a tourist because it seems to lend itself to safety issues. Will I get mugged because I look like I don’t belong? If I get lost, will I be able to find someone approachable for help? Do I have adequate resources or access to resources if I need them?”

In my experience, blending in is helpful, but not required. Looking like a backpacker, for example, does not make you a target, as long as you travel modestly, without jewelry and name brand everything. Backpackers in general travel with little money or valuable belongings, therefore, pose no threat in this role. Don’t wear diamonds, or other expensive jewelry or watches. Also, be careful about flashing iPhones, iPads, or other expensive electronics. In certain countries, those devices, if stolen, could feed a family for a year. Don’t tempt them.

Authored By Shannon Enete – See the Full Story at the Costa Rica Star

Click here for gay travel resources in Costa Rica.