Lgbt travel guide: Your Guide to Gay Tours, Gaycations & Gay Frired endly Hotels
30+ Essential Resources for LGBTQ Travelers (Updated 2022)
Updated: 10/9/20 | October 9th, 2020
Back again this month is our LGBTQ+ column leader Adam from travelsofadam.com who is talking about the best websites, apps, and blogs for LGBTQ travelers.
Today, modern lesbian, gay, bi, and trans travelers no longer need a print guidebook to find underground, gay-friendly places. We don’t have to walk around with colored bandanas to send secret signals when cruising. Why? Because now — more often than not — we’re out in the open.
The basic LGBTQ trip now starts like any other planned holiday. Where do we go? What do we want to do and see? How do we save money? Thanks to increased acceptance over the years, we’re far more out in the open and, with that comes a lot more options — both online and off — to plan your trip and find LGBTQ friendly attractions, businesses, tours, and ways to meet people.
While we don’t have to let our sexuality define our travels, if you’re looking for activities and people who share a similar lifestyle, these are the best tools on the web:
Where to Find LGBTQ Travel Inspiration & Things to Do
Travel Blogs & Vlogs
In this new era for the travel media industry, independent bloggers and YouTubers have been at the forefront. Increasingly, we base our travel decisions (where to go, what to do) on not just our friends’ Instagrams but those who’ve already been there, done that.
The most popular gay and lesbian travel bloggers (myself included) generally publish destination guides — it’s just a matter of finding the one that fits your own personal travel style. Here are some of my favorites (starting with my own):
- Travels of Adam
- Globetrotter Girls
- Dopes on the Road
- Nomadic Boys
- Only Once Today
For more blogs, check out my complete list!
There are a handful of dedicated LGBTQ travel websites that publish detailed and up to date guides. My favorite are:
- Out Traveler – once a print magazine, still publishes and maintains up-to-date LGBTQ city guides on its website.
- AfterEllen – Regularly publishes lesbian travel guides.
- TravelGay – Provide comprehensive city guides for destinations around the world.
The Damron series started out in 1964 for men but has also published a separate guidebook for lesbians for nearly 20 years. And Spartacus Publishing has a comprehensive digital guidebook as well as other resources.
Most mainstream guidebooks (such as Lonely Planet) also include information for LGBTQ travelers as well
Local Magazines, Newspapers, and Guides
There are countless independent, LGBTQ-oriented city magazines and newspapers around the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Australia or England — you’re going to find a local LGBTQ print publication or guide. Some will include weekly listings of clubs, parties, and events; others might feature personal ads.
One of the best ways to find them in a new city is to simply go to the queer neighborhood and then look for them in a bookstore or bar — anyone who’s ever been inside a gay bar or club is probably familiar with the stack of magazines, brochures, or flyers in the doorway or by the bathrooms. (And make sure to support those businesses that carry these publications!)
Also check out the pamphlets, flyers, and advertisements on the corkboard in the local LGBTQ center.
- Siegessäule, Berlin’s free gay magazine, likes to claim one of the highest readerships and circulations of any print media in Germany.
- Windy City Times still prints an LGBTQ newspaper for Chicago.
- Washington Blade operates in DC.
- Seattle Gay News covers Seattle.
Even the biggest gay apps have started to push out content through their channels. Hornet acquired the one-time popular gossip blog Unicorn Booty several years ago and now publishes gay men’s travel guides for assorted cities (even if they’re slightly basic).
Each of the other hookup apps, including the more niche ones, like Surge and Planet Romeo, maintain regularly published blogs, sometimes featuring travel tips and local insider guides.
Scruff probably has gone the furthest in incorporating travel tips into its app with the feature Scruff Venture, which allows users to search a destination for other visitors, local ambassadors, and events.
The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association is the leader when it comes to LGBTQ tourism. Its members include hundreds of airlines, hotels, destination tourism offices, and independent tour operators, both LGBTQ-owned and mainstream.
On its website, you’ll find a useful “Plan Your Trip” feature that searches through its members (just be mindful that these are members who have paid for their placement). It’s a great place to find LGBTQ-specific things to do on your trip.
Related: An In-Depth Guide to Planning a Lesbian-Friendly Trip
Often the most challenging part of gay travel can be finding an LGBTQ-friendly hotel or accommodation. Some of the biggest hotel chains and brands have actively supported the LGBTQ community by participating in Pride events around the world, by training all their staff (from the front desk to the reservations center) in diversity and inclusiveness issues, and by running LGBTQ-inclusive campaigns.
There are gay-specific accommodation websites such as Rainbow World Hotels, Purple Roofs, and MisterBNB, but you’ll almost always find the same listings on mainstream sites for far cheaper prices.
You’re paying a premium when trying to book through a gay-specific website, and in most instances, the mainstream sites and listings are increasingly safe and comfortable for LGBTQ travelers.
How to Meet Other LGBTQ Travelers
Gay travelers today are much luckier to have apps like Grindr in their pockets. I never would’ve discovered a gay bar in Amman without the Grindr app and a local’s helpful directions, nor would I have met that handsome tourist from Austria during Prague Gay Pride.
Meeting strangers is one of the joys of traveling, and there’s nothing better than having an LGBTQ local to show you around. It will certainly make a trip more interesting, much more memorable. Here’s where to find them:
The Hookup Apps
If there’s one thing that’s revolutionized our little gay world, it’s Grindr, the location-based hookup app for gay men. For better or worse (you either love it or hate it), Grindr has changed the way we find sex, love, or even friends and it’s also quite simply enabled a lot more connections. Grindr makes it easier to meet locals when you’re abroad, whether it’s for a romp in the bushes behind Berghain or an innocent coffee date. While sex does happen often enough through these apps, it doesn’t have to be the end goal or even your main objective to still find value in them. Here are the main useful apps:
For a long time, Couchsurfing was one of the best places to meet other LGBTQ travelers and locals. With a strong community, the bed-sharing and hosting network made it easy to connect with other travelers — and the “Queer Couchsurfers” group was one of the site’s most active and welcoming. There were plenty of times I used Couchsurfing not just for a place to sleep but also to attend local get-togethers.
On Meetup.com you’ll find most major destinations have LGBTQ/queer-themed groups and meetups, and these are often a great and safe way to meet other LGBTQ travelers in nonsexual encounters. Sometimes you’ll find them for very specific interests, whether it’s a group of gay science fiction fans in Berlin or LGBTQ professional networking in London.
StartOut, a nonprofit for professional business and entrepreneurship networking events in various American cities, is also worth checking out. Facebook, with its thousands of public groups, can also provide a great meeting point online — and then offline — through local city or regional networking groups. It’s just a matter of doing some research beforehand to find the right networking group for your trip.
A Note on Safety
As I’ve written before in this LGBTQ travel column, safety and comfort is an important part of any gaycation. Thankfully, there are more than enough resources online to help you decide what or where might be safer to travel. For a more independent look at the LGBTQ rights and safety situation, Equaldex is my favorite.
Unlike media and blogs, this is a crowd-sourced platform where users can post and share country-specific news articles related to LGBTQ rights. This can be especially helpful for those less-familiar places and to get a general comparison of LGBTQ inclusiveness around the world.
Over the years and thanks to new technologies and new formats for our media, the way we travel now has changed for the better. And for LGBTQ travelers specifically, these advancements have made it not just easier but also safer and friendlier. Using these tools and resources, so much more of the world is open to us.
Adam Groffman is a former graphic designer who left his publishing job to travel the world. He’s a gay travel expert, writer, and blogger and publishes a series of LGBTQ-friendly Hipster City Guides from around the world on his gay travel blog, Travels of Adam. When he’s not out exploring the coolest bars and clubs, he’s usually enjoying the local arts and culture scene. Find more of his travel tips (and embarrassing stories) on Twitter.
The First Name and the Last Word in LGBT Travel
The classic gay men’s travel guide since 1964.
Over 12,000 listings of gay-friendly businesses in the US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, South America, Europe & Asia.
Quick facts on everything the gay traveler on the go needs, including accommodations, bars, bookstores, gyms, restaurants, men’s clubs and more.
Also a yearly calendar of film fests, circuit parties, leather and bear events, conferences, etc.
European cities now include Paris, London, Edinburgh, Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Rome, Prague, Dublin, Copenhagen, and Barcelona, Madrid, and Sitges, Spain.
In South America: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Santiago, Chile.
In Asia: Tokyo & Bangkok.
Cover price: $22.95
with 20% discount when you order from Damron: $18.36
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BETTY & PANSY’S SEVERE QUEER REVIEW New York 3rd Edition
Betty & Pansy’s uncensored, steamy, side-splitting reviews of queer life in New York City.
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BETTY & PANSY’S SEVERE QUEER REVIEW San Francisco 7th Edition
Betty & Pansy’s uncensored, steamy, side-splitting reviews of queer life in San Francisco.
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Bob Damron’s Address Book 1987
We have a limited amount of this edition that is a blast from the past. A must have for those who want to search gay history and reminisce about the good ol’ days Price: $75.00
Damron Accommodations Guide 12th Edition
Now you’ll always have a home away from home! Damron Accommodations is the only full-color guide to gay-friendly B&Bs, inns, hotels, and other accommodations around the world—with hundreds of color photographs and in-depth descriptions.
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One-time special price of $11.98 for new subscribers. Only one discounted book per subscriber, please. Offer applies to the Damron titles only. Membership must be current to receive discount price.
Damron Amsterdam Guide
Updated & revised, still the only guide a lesbian or gay traveler needs. You’ll find the standard tourist info inside, plus hundreds of queer-specific listings
Damron Amsterdam Guide Special for Subscribers
One-time special price of $6.48 for new subscribers. Only one discounted book per subscriber, please. Offer applies to the Damron titles only. Membership must be current to receive discount price.
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Damron City Guide 4th Edition
A must for the sophisticated traveler. More than 130 full-color maps pinpoint gay & lesbian accommodations, bars, and bookstores in 75 major cities & resort destinations.
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Guide to the 2022 World Cup, where debates about politics, LGBT, money and death overshadow football
Qatar-2022. What you need to know about the most scandalous World Cup in the history of football
The World Cup in Qatar will be unlike all previous tournaments. Photo: Reuters 9The 0004 FIFA World Cup in 2022 is a hell of a mixture of money and politics, spiced with LGBT scandals, reports of thousands of worker deaths and rumors of match-fixing. But from November 20 to December 18, all the same, the whole world will follow what is happening on the football fields of Qatar. Can Lionel Messi finally get the most coveted title? Will France break the curse of reigning champions? Can Brazil take the 6th World Cup?…
KP Sport has compiled a guide to the most unusual World Cup in history, with the hope that in our time the 2022 World Cup will not turn into a war of scandals.
The composition of the groups and the schedule of matches of the 2022 World Cup
When and where will the 2022 World Cup take place
The World Cup will be held in Qatar from November 20 to December 18, 2022. But even the place and time of the World Cup turned into a powerful scandal in Qatar-2022. For a long time, the media have been writing about bribes, gifts, and even about surveillance of FIFA officials by Qatar. But the other day, former FIFA President Sepp Blatter made sensational statements: the sheikhs of Qatar, in fact, bought the right to host the World Cup, and ex-President of France Nicolas Sarkozy helped them in this. In return, the French received a $14.6 billion contract for the supply of fighter jets. Blatter’s words are serious.
The timing of the 2022 World Cup is also a scandal. Football World Cups have always been held in the summer. Qatar, when choosing the host country, promised that it would build stadiums with air conditioning, where it would be cool for both players and spectators even at +50. After the victory, the promises were forgotten, and the entire world football calendar was turned upside down in favor of Qatar-2022. And now we are waiting for the first winter World Cup in history. But the temperature will still rise to +35.
The historic embankment, where you can see crafts, how pearls were mined, hold birds of prey in your hands. Photo: Alisa Titko
Formula World Cup 2022
32 teams will take part in the 2022 World Cup. They are divided into 8 groups of 4 teams. The top 2 teams advance to the 1/8 finals and then play the World Cup for elimination. The 2022 World Cup final will take place on December 18, 2022. Match for 3rd place — December 17.
But this is the last World Cup played according to this formula. 48 teams will participate in the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada.
Brazil with Neymar and Argentina with Messi are considered the main contenders to win the World Cup. Photo: Brazilian national team social networks
Why Russia is not participating in the 2022 World Cup
Politics is to blame. The Russian national team could directly get to the 2022 World Cup, but in the last qualifying match they lost to Croatia and ended up in the play-offs. In them, the draw chose the most unfortunate opponent from a political point of view — the Polish national team. After the start of the SVO, the Poles were the first to take advantage of the situation and put forward an ultimatum with a refusal to play against the Russian team. UEFA accepted the conditions of Poland and excluded the Russian team from the selection.
As a result, the Polish team was left with a big win — it went through the first round of joints without a fight, beat the tired Swedes in the second, and went to the 2022 World Cup.
The Poles and other European teams refused to play with the Russian national team, and instead of the 2022 World Cup, our team now plays matches with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Photo: Social networks of the Russian national football team
Brazil and Argentina named top favorites for 2022 World Cup in Qatar
Who will win the 2022 World Cup? Favorites — Brazil, Argentina and France
World Cup 2022 is taking place at an unprecedented time in a hot climate, and no one fully understands how this will affect the balance of power. On the one hand, the players of European clubs must be in shape, on the other hand, the national leagues were played a week ago, which means there was no time for preparation at all. But bookmakers still single out three favorites:
- Brazil. This team has won on every continent, Neymar is in great shape now, the two best goalkeepers are Alisson (Liverpool) and Ederson (Man City). And in addition, in all lines of the star — Marquinhos, Vinicius, Eder Militao, Casemiro …
- Argentina. Last tour of Lionel Messi in the national team. Last year, he took the first trophy with the national team — the America’s Cup. And now he is in excellent shape, and the entire Argentine national team has not lost 35 matches in a row.
- France. Current trophy holders. But since 1998, all World Cup winners have failed in the following tournaments. Can Mbappe break this curse?
And then there are Germany, England, Spain…
Sheikhs believe in French striker Kylian Mbappe. Photo: Reuters
A fine of 1.15 million, insults from Manchester United veterans. What happened after Ronaldo’s interview
2022 World Cup Top Intrigues
Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, is not named among the favorites. On the eve of the 2022 World Cup, KR7 made a global scandal, gave out provocative interviews, and finally quarreled with Manchester United. And now everyone is wondering what it was? Has 37-year-old Ronaldo given himself extra motivation to tear and throw in Qatar? Or did the nerves fail because Krish senses failure?
There are other intrigues. For example, how will the Iranian team fight in the same group with England and the USA? Or can someone from Asia or Africa make it to the semi-finals? Or will Belgium, with its golden, but already aged generation, be able to thunder at least somehow?
The FIFA gates are constantly crowded with LGBT protesters. Photo: Reuters
Qatar 2022: Construction slaves, mascot mess, LGBT protests
Qatar 2022 World Cup scandals
Well, for sure this World Cup 2022 will break all records for scandals. The organizers continue to deliver them in real time. Three days before the start of the 2022 World Cup, the Qatari authorities suddenly banned alcohol from stadiums. Religious principles turned out to be stronger than agreements with FIFA.
Now everyone is wondering what will happen to the other promises of Qatar? For example, the authorities said that they would not persecute representatives of the LGBT community who came to the World Cup. Although Qatar has such strict morals that it prohibits sex before marriage, even among heterosexual couples. But given how these LGBT communities are able to make loud provocations, it’s interesting how it all ends.
And the scandals don’t end there. There was a rumor that the Qatar national team bought a 1-0 victory in the opening match from Ecuador for $7.4 million. Before that, there was a lot of talk about bribes and accusing Qatar of the deaths of 15,000 migrant workers. “This World Cup in Qatar is built on graves,” some media claimed before the tournament. And after the starting whistle, they are unlikely to stop.
In Russia, the 2022 World Cup will be shown by the Match TV channel. Photo: Global Look Press
Which channels to watch the 2022 World Cup
Everyone is used to the fact that such global tournaments as the World and European Championships, even if our team is not there, Channel One and VGTRK are still shown live. This time, all matches of the 2022 World Cup will be broadcast by the Match TV channel.
Almost all games, with a few exceptions, promise to be shown live on the free federal channel «Match». And for the next month, fans will get used to turning on TV at a strictly defined time. 2022 World Cup matches will start at 13:00, 16:00, 19:00 and 22:00.
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Puerto Vallarta: An LGBT Guide — GPress
On Lázaro Cárdenas Street in Puerto Vallarta, a cobbled street lined with gay bars in the Mexican city, men were embracing as if World War II had just been won. Bright rainbow banners fluttered overhead. The sun shone brightly over the sea, sparkling like a freshly opened Dom Pérignon.
It was Vallarta Pride 2021 in May. Vaccines were released and Puerto Vallarta hosted one of the world’s first major Pride celebrations. The clouds — in the form of COVID — had not yet thickened, and at that moment, unbridled happiness swept over the city.
Although the realities of the pandemic have somewhat dampened these bright prospects, Puerto Vallarta remains an oasis. LGBT tourists from all over the world flock to this city for its beauty, seaside entertainment, partying and, above all, freedom. On the streets of Zona Romantica, the LGBT neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta, the sight of two people of the same sex holding hands is unremarkable. What’s more, it’s a sign that the city’s tourism-dependent industry is thriving.
My partner and I have visited Puerto Vallarta almost a dozen times over the past few years. (We live in Los Angeles, which is only a 2.5 hour flight away.) It remains our favorite vacation spot, in part because every time we visit, our experience has always been different and exciting. The city is an adventure that you choose for yourself, and I will describe several paths for the vacationer ahead.
Best places to stay for LGBT tourists
Puerto Vallarta is a resort city, so it’s easy to be a tourist here. In particular, Nueva Vallarta, the area closer to the airport, is replete with large resorts offering all-inclusive holidays. Why leave the hotel when the big chains — Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and more — offer unlimited food, drink, entertainment and beach activities?
While this experience may be enticing to some, especially rainbow families in need of entertainment for the kids, many queer people will want to take advantage of LGBTQ resorts. For those who really want to be in the know, Almar Resort is the best. This waterfront hotel boasts dazzling ocean views and an almost exclusively gay clientele that mingles at a rooftop gay bar offering food and nightlife, the newly opened Eden Pool and Garden Lounge, and Mantamar, a seaside club with sun loungers. Mantamar is a frequent venue for parties and events, with DJs.
For a more budget-friendly alternative, consider the nearby Blue Chairs Resort by the Sea. It is closer to the ocean and the suite we booked had more space and a much better view than the Almar rooms. However, the property shows some wear and tear. Want to get closer to the nightlife? I’ve heard good reviews on Airbnb for finding the many luxury apartments and seaside homes in the area.
My favorite PV resort is Casa Cupula. Set on a hillside, this gay-owned hotel is a charming, if more expensive option, with individually decorated rooms and sweeping city views. Whether you’re a guest or not, don’t miss the weekly Naked Pool Party.
I’m not usually an adventurous type — my eyes glazed over when the older woman next to me on the plane talked excitedly about ziplining and parasailing. Honestly, just give me a sun lounger and a margarita. But for those looking for outdoor activities, Puerto Vallarta offers plenty of options. From whale watching to swimming with dolphins, snorkeling and quad biking tours, your best stop is Vallarta Adventures. One of our highlights from Vallarta Adventures was a cruise to Yelapu, a charming coastal town (pictured above), with a walk to the waterfall. We were also struck by Rhythms of the Night — Savia, an open-air show in the style of Cirque du Soleil, inspired by the history of the Aztecs; this island amphitheater could only be reached by boat, and the evening ended with a torchlight dinner on the beach.
There are several cruises that are exclusive to LGBT people. Wet & Wild and Jet’s offer coastal tours that end with a secluded, naked beach party. We heard that there is a cove nearby for those looking for privacy.
Back on land, don’t miss the amazing shows offered by Zona Romantica. At Palm Cabaret and Bar, we recently saw the mind-blowing Boys on Fire , a masculine burlesque show in which muscular performers tore off various uniforms to perform feats of dance and acrobatics. There we also heard a beautiful tribute to Sam Smith, and there are similar shows dedicated to the songs of Lady Gaga and Freddie Mercury.
Where to eat
Puerto Vallarta has so much great food, from street vendors to high-end restaurants. A great way to taste the best dishes is to visit the food tours of Vallarta. My partner and I chose the tequila and taco tasting tour. Not only did we enjoy it, we also ate the cow’s eye tacos, an experience we’re unlikely to repeat, but a good story nonetheless. It was also a good way to get to know the streets of Puerto Vallarta and make friends with our (mostly straight) bandmates.
Don’t like excursions? There are many fine dining options. The Iguana — located in the former residence of Elizabeth Taylor, which is now the fashionable Casa Kimberly hotel — is filled with works of art. If you’re feeling romantic and adventurous, take the 25-minute drive to Le Cliff, a cliffside restaurant with unforgettable views. The Café des Artistes in Zona Romantica has a gorgeous garden patio (with vegetarian options) and Barcelona Tapas also offers amazing Spanish-influenced dishes.
For those looking for a culinary adventure, try Tintoque, voted one of the best restaurants in Mexico. If you’re after fine Mexican food on the beach, look for La Palapa or El Dorado, nearby restaurants where you can dine right on the sand. And if you’re looking for a change of pace (and pasta), Tre Piatti is a must for Italian food lovers.
For a more casual meal at Zona Romantica, try Joe Jack’s Fish Shack — request a table on the rooftop patio — or grab a fajitas at Margarita Grill across the street. Sample an excellent breakfast at Coco’s Kitchen, served on the charming patio. Finally, there are very affordable food options at Takos PV Pancho, one of the city’s best taquerias, although the wait for a table can be long due to this reputation. Stop by Mariscos el Guero for inexpensive, delicious seafood dishes. And don’t skip the street food — look for the locals’ queues to get an idea of what’s best.
As mentioned earlier, almost all LGBT nightlife is centered on Lázaro Cardenas. The first stop I would recommend visiting on this street isn’t a bar — it’s Farmacia Guadalajara, located two blocks east of the clubs. This place has an ATM that dispenses pesos, which you will definitely need in the gay bars; many do not accept credit cards. After getting cash, it’s really a matter of personal taste. Take a look at different places and see what kind of atmosphere you are looking for. Normal night I’ll start with Mr . Flamingo, an open-air bar where the dance party spills onto the sidewalk. If the Flamingo is too wild, I’ll grab a table at La Cantina Margarita next door to watch the parade go by. Next to La Cantina is La Noche, where I will see a fun drag show. Then, climb up to the rooftop of La Noche, which is the most convenient place on the block to get some fresh air and mingle with other visitors. After that, sing with all your heart in Kooky Karaoke.
Favorite pop music plays in the main bar of Industry. House music plays in the back room during the season. There is a large dance floor next door at CC Slaughters. Around the corner, CO-DE is more of an LGBT-inclusive space with a Vegas vibe.