The LGBT community has been making great strides in the last few years. With the federal passage of same-sex marriage equality, things are on the up for LGBT rights. However, when looking to travel for fun and exploration, not every destination is gay-friendly. To avoid experiencing problems while on vacation, it’s a good idea to choose a place that is welcoming to the gay community.
Here are eight gay-friendly travel destinations to consider for your next vacation.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio received a much-needed boost to its tourism with the recent 2016 Olympic Games. Parts of the city were cleaned up to welcome the athletes, but the same charismatic charm remains. Dance to the samba, bask on the Ipanema, Leblon or Copacabana beaches, and enjoy the exotic feel of this gigantic country.
In terms of safety, stay in the central areas, watch your bags and belongings, avoid ostentatious displays of wealth, and you’ll be fine.
Thailand, SE Asia
With the millions of tourists who visit the Land of Smiles every year, it’s not surprising that the LGBT finds a happy home here. Drag shows and a mix of gay and lesbian bars adjacent to straight bars means there’s little bias and a high degree of tolerance for all lifestyles.
In fairness, the drag queens are likely to get up to far more mischief than you’ll ever do. Keeping a smile on your face and just having fun is the order of the day.
The popular U.S. territory made marriage equality a reality with a recent court ruling, so tying the knot in Puerto Rico is entirely possible to top off a dazzling vacation. Wild nightclubs, excellent beaches, and fun daytime activities provide a varied backdrop for this travel destination.
Be sure to look around Old San Juan to get a feel for how things used to be in Puerto Rico. The rainforest beckons, too, so don’t miss out experiencing it for yourself. Surfers should head on out to either Vieques or Rincon to ride the bigger waves.
As well as its Nordic cuisine, Denmark made its mark by being the first country to officially accept same-sex partners. The Centralhjornet is famous as an openly gay bar that opened in the 1950s. Copenhagen is an interesting mix for visitors because it combines trendy areas like Vesterbro with a red-light district that doesn’t hide in the shadows.
Boasting one of the most tolerant atmospheres in Europe, there’s LGBT events and accommodation that’s friendly to same-sex partners. Just near the City Town Hall is the Rainbow Square, renamed in 2014 as a statement about equal rights for all.
New Zealand led the way in 1998 by adopting a “gay and lesbian-friendly” sticker to help the community know where it was safe to stay. The early initiative has now been adopted globally. There is an active list of homestays that are lesbian and gay-friendly spread across the entire country.
Along with running the Gay Ski Week during the summer, as a component of Winter Pride, the country adopted same-sex marriage in 2013. Since this time, New Zealand has been vocal in its support of equal rights to its neighboring Australia and elsewhere in the Pacific Rim.
Sitting on the coast within easy reach of Barcelona for a spot of big city shopping, Sitges was host to the first gay disco in Spain. Ever popular with the LGBT community, its optional nude beaches are popular with the guys. There are also numerous events held during the summer season that cater to both queer and straight people.
Once visited by Jackie Onassis, this bustling Greek island is a mecca for gay parties and fun experiences. Filled with sandy beaches, clubs, turquoise waters, and glamor, it’s a happening destination particularly for gay men. For a boutique hotel exclusively for gay couples, Mykonos Town hosts the Elysium Hotel.
The island of Skiathos with its rocky landscape, mix of pebbly and sandy beaches, and seafood draws in crowds of people every week during the hot summer months. There’s mostly Greek and Italian food on offer here, with meaty gyros and fresh fish on the menu. The best sandy beach is on the other side of the island to Skiathos Town, but is only a short bus or taxi ride away. The island is friendly to alternative lifestyles, especially with locals who go out of their way to be helpful.
When going on your next beach holiday, be sure to pack appropriate swimwear. Foreign locations don’t always have Western sizes or suitable fashions in local stores. For any ladies who wear a plus size bikini, it’s possible to find flattering styles you’ll enjoy wearing on the beach. Be sure to pick up a bikini or one-piece before you fly out on vacation.