Important Travel Tips for LGBTQI+ Travelers: Stay Safe and Informed

If you identify as LGBTQI+, we have some crucial information for you. Recently, the U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide caution alert due to the increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events. This alert is particularly relevant during Pride Month and other LGBTQI+-related events. Keep reading to learn more about the advisory and how to stay safe while you travel.

Be Aware of Potential Threats and Global Attitudes

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have highlighted potential threats to LGBTQI+ events and venues. Exercise increased caution and stay informed about your surroundings, especially during significant events. Remember, approximately 70 countries still consider consensual same-sex relations a crime, with some places imposing severe punishments. Be aware of local laws and attitudes in the countries you plan to visit.

Preparing Before You Travel

Do Your Research

Before you travel, do your homework. Visit the Traveler’s Checklist and review the country information pages for your destinations. Pay special attention to the “Local Laws & Special Circumstances” section for LGBTQI+-specific information.

Passport Considerations

If you have an X gender marker on your U.S. passport, remember that not all countries recognize it. Check with the foreign embassy or consulate before you go to avoid any entry issues.

Document Preparation

Pack copies of important documents like legal and health papers, custody papers if you’re traveling with children, and contact info for family and your attorney. Also, make sure you have the address and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Travel Insurance

Consider buying travel insurance that covers emergencies and medical evacuations. Some insurance companies offer products specifically for LGBTQI+ travelers. Make sure it covers all family members.

Enroll in STEP

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It’s a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll in their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and receive important Travel Advisories and Alerts.

Staying Safe Abroad

While abroad, remember you’re subject to local laws. Be cautious about connecting with locals online or in meeting places, as some countries have entrapment campaigns targeting LGBTQI+ individuals. If you encounter any problems or feel unsafe, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. They are there to help and will respect your privacy.

Additional Safety Tips

Stay connected by keeping your phone charged and carrying a portable charger. Share your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member and check in regularly.

Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself by dressing conservatively and being mindful of local customs and norms.

Choose LGBTQI+-friendly destinations, hotels, and accommodations. Research ahead of time to ensure your lodging is welcoming and safe.

Familiarize yourself with the local area. Identify safe spaces, such as LGBTQI+-friendly cafes or community centers, and know how to get there.

Trust your instincts. If a situation feels off, trust your gut and remove yourself from it. Your safety is paramount.

Be cautious when using dating apps or social media to meet people. Arrange to meet in public places and let someone know your plans.

Keep a small amount of emergency cash hidden on you in case of emergencies.

Traveling can be an incredible experience. With the right preparation and awareness, you can make sure it’s safe and enjoyable. Stay informed, stay safe, and happy travels!

This post was co-authored with ChatGPT.

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