The LGBTQ traveler loves to travel
The queer community has close to $1 trillion in disposable income and many of us don’t have children. How are we spending that? Well, as an LGBTQ traveler apparently.
LGBTQ traveler advantages
One-trillion dollars for people typically without kids is a lot of money and not a lot of responsibility. So how are we spending our discretionary income?
It’s so common it’s cliché: Queer people love to travel! According to the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as of 2016, “American LGBTQ consumers spend over $100 billion annually on travel.” According to a recent study performed by Grindr (yep!), 40% of LGBT millennials travel quarterly and 24% travel monthly.
If it sounds like you’re an LGBTQ traveler, here are five cost-conscious tips to get your queer travel on right.
1. Use LGBTQ traveler friendly sites
We’re super fans of websites and apps that make our travel planning and budgeting easier.
One of our favorite apps is Rome2Rio. It maps the most efficient and cheapest routes to get from point A to point B. If you’re in Brussels and want to get to get to Cape Town Rome2Rio will get you there.
Another favorite for the LGBTQ traveler is Skyscanner. Skyscanner searches the sky for the cheapest flights to get from one location to the next. It relies completely on algorithms to find flights and not its relationship to airlines, so its recommendations are unbiased.
Our friends Stefan and Sebastian, who blog at The Nomadic Boys, say, “Our starting point for planning our travels is Booking.com. It not only shows the best prices for the filters entered, but after using them for a while, you’ll receive discounts.”
2. Less is more when it comes to your load
In 2012, we spent a month Down Under. For 30 days, we traveled to Sydney, Australia, to be tourists; Cairns to snorkel The Great Barrier Reef; Sydney again for Mardi Gras with Kylie Minogue as Grand Marshal; Melbourne to eat up its foodie scene; Auckland, New Zealand, to be tourists; Waiheke Island for wine; Kaikoura to swim with dolphins; and then Rotorua to sit in hot springs.
With all that travel, we each had one medium-size suitcase full of clothes. What at first seemed impossible was a lifesaver. When hopping from planes to trains to automobiles, elevators, steps, sidewalks and, yes, sand, we were all the better for our lighter load.
Packing light will also save you money because many cost-conscious international airlines charge for luggage over a certain size or weight.
3. Stay off the beaten path
Take the road less traveled. Below are some LGBTQ traveler friendly destinations that are uncommon and cost-conscious:
Costa Rica is a Central American country with coasts in both the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans. Costa Rica is known for being very friendly to the LGBTQ traveler, with the heart and soul of its queer community in Manuel Antonio. In addition to seaside activities, Costa Rica boasts beautiful volcano parks, rivers and waterfalls that are great for hiking, playing and exploring.
Latvia’s coast is on The Baltic Sea and borders Estonia and Lithuania. Latvia prides itself on “green tourism” and hosts many natural and manmade wonders. It started warming up to the LGBTQ traveler in 1992 when it broke from the Soviet Union. While same-sex marriage is still illegal, the country does prohibit discrimination against queer people.
Belize is another Central American country on the Caribbean Ocean. It has amazing marine and coral life, especially where we traveled, in San Pedro, which makes it great for snorkeling and scuba diving. It includes hundreds of small islands called “cayes.” Though Belize is accepting of gay people, it’s a conservative country and frowns on all public displays of affection – gay, straight or otherwise.
4. Stay with a gay
Sites such as VRBO and Airbnb are popular, but we’ve found Misterb&b cheaper and friendlier to the LGBTQ traveler, at least from our experience.
Misterb&b is not related to Airbnb. Misterb&b connects travelers with locals. You can rent the home of a queer peer while they’re away or sleep on their couch while they’re home. In most cases, doing so is cheaper than hoteling it and seems to be cheaper than its straight peers.
Another travel site is Ebab.com, which stands for “Enjoy Bed & Breakfast.” Ebab was the very first gay travel site, originally founded in 1996 when queer rights weren’t what they are today. Ebab was founded on the principle that “everyone has the right to travel freely and without discrimination.”
5. Stay safe
Even though the queer community has made much progress in the last 20 years, especially in the U.S., homophobia still exists. Even the U.S. State Department publishes a useful page with LGBTQ travel information.
Other sites to visit when planning your LGBTQ travels are Equaldex.com, which shares LGBTQ rights and news from all around the world. 76crimes.com reports on the LGBTQ news from the 76+ countries in the world where homosexuality is still illegal.
As you’re planning your next vacation alone, with your partner or family, consider these cost-conscious tools, tricks, and destinations to help you save money — and stay safe.
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