Top Vacation Tips from the LGBTQ+ Travel Experts

by Emese Graham
a lesbian couple check into a hotel

When LGBTQ+ travellers need an Expert’s insider knowledge, they call Flight Centre! Our global travel brain of savvy and experienced travellers are here to help. We make it easy to find LGBTQ+ friendly destinations, get answers to your questions, and create a remarkable travel experience.

Take a look at some of our top tips for a relaxing and safe getaway:

two women play with their child with the golden gate bridge in the background

Choosing a welcoming destination

Travel is never one-size-fits-all. We can help you find the best destinations for you and everyone you’re travelling with to feel safe and welcome. Our Experts can help you navigate the local culture and laws that affect the LGBTQ+ community and point you in the right direction.

Some of our favourite LGBTQ+ inclusive destinations include:

  1. Palm Springs
  2. Sitges
  3. Berlin
  4. Curacao
  5. Puerto Vallarta
  6. Barcelona
  7. San Francisco
  8. Taipei
  9. Mykonos
  10. Sydney
  11. Thailand
  12. Gran Canaria
  13. Fire Island, NYC

Travel Expert Tip

“Puerto Vallarta is a hugely popular LGBTQ sun destination, and it’s probably safe to say every property there will provide a safe and inclusive experience for every guest.” Marc Mulrooney, Customer Experience

Travelling with your partner

Should you reserve a room with a king bed or two queens? Is it safe to hold hands while you’re exploring the city? Will you get “the look” if you request a romantic dinner for two? Don’t fret—we’ve been there, and we’re here to help!

Our LGBTQ+ Travel Specialists can help you travel safely and comfortably with tips for your specific itinerary wish list.

Booking hotel rooms with your polyamorous partners? Ask us to help you find hotels with:

  • Super king beds
  • Rooms with a maximum capacity of more than 2 adults
  • Known poly-friendly environment (like the Sheraton Atlanta Downtown which hosts Atlanta Poly Week)
  • Enough amenities for 3 or more people

a gay couple hold hands while walking through an airport

Flying with gender-affirming undergarments like a binder or prosthetic

Become a Trusted Traveller

If you’re anxious about airport screening, consider registering for TSA Pre-Check or enrolling in NEXUS so you can skip security when travelling throughout Canada and the United States. For travel within the USA, you can also get a TSA notification card to help speed up the security process if you’re wearing a binder or prosthetic.

Plan for a Smooth Security Screening

If a physical search (ie. pat-down) is required, you can ask for a private area and to have your travel companion come with you. You can always ask for a physical search to be conducted by someone of the gender of your choice or request a split-search (where one security staff member conducts part of the search and a staff member of another gender conducts the other part of the search).

You do not have to disclose that you’re transgender if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.

Stay Safe & Comfortable

Remember to follow your physician’s guidelines about safe time limits for wearing a binder, even on long-haul flights. You might want to consider planning small breaks for yourself or giving yourself extra downtime once you check into your hotel.

Flying with hormones

You’re entitled to travel with your medication, including gender-affirming hormone prescriptions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep all medications in one place along with a photocopy of your prescriptions
  • Consider packing your medications in your checked luggage to avoid delays in security
  • You can also consider bringing a sterile syringe in your carry-on and keeping the rest of your medication in your checked luggage

What to do if your passport name differs from your real name

In order to board a plane or check into a resort, you will need to make your booking using your legal name and gender marker, as shown on your passport. (We know… we’re sorry.)

That being said, our Experts are happy to request that your hotel, resort, or tour hosts use your chosen name throughout your stay.

You can apply for a new Canadian passport if your appearance has changed a lot since you last took your passport photo, even if you haven’t yet had your name legally changed. Get more information about this on the government of Canada’s website.

Travel Expert Tip

“If the gender on your passport is noted as X, there could be issues entering certain countries. Make sure to let your travel agent know so that we can check specifically for if your desired destination recognizes this.” Kate Neufeld, Burlington

a gay couple smile at each other at the summit of a trail with city views below

How to find community while travelling

Travel is a beautiful way to make new meaningful connections with other members of the global LGBTQ+ community. Ask our Experts for their recommendations for:

  • Gay, lesbian, or trans cruises
  • LGBTQ+ neighbourhoods and hotels
  • International pride events

Travel Expert Tip

“I highly recommend travelling with Out Adventures, Atlantis Events, and Olivia Travel” Ryan Bond, Toronto

Planning a destination wedding

It’s no surprise that not every country is accepting of LGBTQ+ unions culturally or legally. So, unfortunately, same-sex couples have more to think about when planning a destination wedding. 

Typically, your two options are a symbolic ceremony or a legal ceremony. With the right Expert to help, a symbolic ceremony can be pulled off almost anywhere (with the papers being officially signed back here in Canada), while legal ceremonies are limited to a smaller list of destinations.

Travel Expert Tip

“For my LGBTQ couples, I always recommend Mexico, and for weddings, I especially recommend properties that have LGBTQ Couples included in their Promotional Materials for weddings. Karisma, Hard Rock and Sandos all do this, to name a few.” Carolyn Menard, Flight Centre Groups

Make sure your big day is beautifully executed by planning it with our dedicated Group Travel Experts.

Talking to an LGBTQ+ Travel Expert couldn’t be easier.

We offer travel consultations in-person, by phone, email, online chat, video chat, and our 24/7 Customer Care Line. Whatever works for you!