How to Stay Safe & Healthy on Your Gaycation

Gay Coyple - Peter Minkoff

The world is rapidly changing when it comes to how our colorful community is treated and welcomed across the globe. There are now more safe and secure places for your gaycation than there ever were, and thanks to those changes, we can now enjoy travel more than ever. This liberating, eye-opening experience of immersing yourself in new cultures, exploring what it means to be gay in different regions and their authentic gay scene, it’s all alluring in its own way. However, safety should always come first!

Now, due to the global pandemic that has put most travel to a stop, or at least reduced it to a minimum, we all need to take different precautions, stay safe, and protect other travelers while on the go. Here, we’ll cover a few gaytastic safety and health ideas to keep in mind for your next queer travel adventure, whenever it may be, so that you can put your own mind at ease and keep all those around you safe, as well.

Choose your destinations carefully

Some cultures are more open-minded and gay-friendly than others, and in order to stay on the safe side of gay travel, it’s wise to choose cities and countries where all things gay flourish! From NY Fire Island, to Tel Aviv in Israel (yup, the Middle East can surprise you!), you can take your pick from a wide array of gay-perfect spots around the world.

The occasion for your travel can also define your choice of destination. This year, many gays have decided to spend their Thanksgiving in Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta, since local venues are not just perfect for the occasion, but they also follow COVID-related rules and regulations, making your travels safer and healthier all around.

Pick healthy and safe activities 

Gay Couple - Peter Minkoff

Now that the pandemic is still in full swing, completely changing how we perceive travel and how we organize our activities, you need to plan your trip according to the latest government recommendations. That said, in addition to having access to a range of venues that are within their right to work and provide their service, you can organize your trip to spend more time outside, in the fresh air.

For example, hiking in a national park of your choice can help you discover beautiful natural spots with your partner, spouse, or your kids. Other outdoor activities can also help you make the most of your trip during these trying times, but also infuse your travels with rewarding activities that will keep you safe.

Keep an eye on your health

Awareness is one of the most important factors in the travel equation for 2020 and the following year, so if you want to keep traveling and stay healthy, there are certain precautions you should take. For starters, check what kind of health screening protocols you should follow for different destinations. Add to that, keep track of potential coronavirus symptoms to spot the earliest signs of infection and seek medical help.

That way, you will be a mindful traveler and you’ll prevent spreading the virus during your travels. Even though your tests might be negative when you board the plane, you should always listen to your body and isolate yourself in case you do start feeling feverish, fatigued, or feel any other symptoms associated with the virus. 

Discover gay-friendly accommodation and tours

Gay Man - Peter Minkoff

Has it ever happened to you that you’ve booked a room or an apartment only to discover that you and your partner aren’t welcome on the premises? Well, being gay while away can be risky when you don’t do your homework, so it’s best to look for types of accommodation that openly support the LGBTQ+ community and that make it clear you’re welcome.

Add to that, you should look for specialized gay tours in your destination, so that you truly have a taste of the local gay scene in its full glitz and glory. From South African safaris meant for your gayest self, all the way to island-hopping in Greece, you can turn your adventure into a gaylicious one in a heartbeat. 

Mind your behavior abroad

Being openly gay is, in some countries, an actual legal conundrum, meaning that you can get sent to jail if you publicly show affection to your partner. Are you allowed to hold hands and kiss in public? What about staying in the same room?

While it is smart to choose destinations that support public expressions of your sexual preference, if you do pick a country where these things are illegal – arm yourself with knowledge, be mindful of your surroundings, and always stay in line with the law.

Whether we like it or not, we have a long way to go when it comes to fully ensuring our rights to free expression of our love and affection. Different countries treat the LGBTQ+ community differently, so if we want to make the most of every journey, it’s up to us to do some research, prepare properly, and be mindful of the environment that we’re about to visit. With that taken care of, you can safely enjoy your travels and discover the world in all of its beauty. 

How to Stay Safe While Traveling – The Nomadic Boys

How to Stay Safe While Traveling - The Nomadic Boys

During our extensive travels around the world as a gay couple, we’ve enjoyed a whole array of experiences, mostly positive, but a few less so. Whether induced by homophobia such as experiencing life under the anti-gay laws in India or going back in the closet in Russia, we’ve certainly learnt a great deal about the best ways to stay safe while travelling.

We’ve put together our 10 best tips for how to stay safe while travelling, which apply to all travellers whether straight or gay:

Check Official Government Advice

Before doing anything, check the official government advice. This is the starting point for staying safe while travelling. Is it politically stable and secure? Are there are any areas to avoid? Are you at a higher risk of going because you’re gay? Any customs you need to be aware of? Do you need to carry your ID with you at all times (like in Russia), or better locked away in your hotel safe? How high is the risk of terrorist activity? And more…

Based on all these factors, you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to visit. We highly recommend the UK Foreign Office Travel Advice.

For us, travelling as a gay couple, we are at a higher risk in a large number of countries where being openly gay is either a punishable crime, or such a taboo in society that it could lead to trouble. We’ve put together a comprehensive summary of which countries are the most gay friendly and also recommend checking the US Department of State’s LGBTQI Travel Information for excellent practical advice.

If you do choose to visit countries where being openly gay is a punishable crime, we highly advise taking extra precautions in public, for example, avoiding public displays of affection and setting your social media networks to private.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Red Means Danger

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

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?

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