If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community and planning a vaction, one of your major concerns is most likely your sleeping accommodations. How do you make sure that you’ll be staying in an LGBTQ-friendly establishment, as opposed to one that may not be supportive of your lifestyle?
When it comes to finding LGBTQ friendly vacation accommodations, it’s important to do your research. Look for hotels, airbnbs, and establishments that are featured on gay travel sites, places in known gay hotspots, or major hotel chains that have inclusivity guarantees.
Here’s some tips for making sure you make your bed in a comfortable and welcoming environment.
Tips For Finding LGBTQ Friendly Accommodations
There are two methods to use for searching out gay friendly hotels or accommodations during your vacation. The first, and most highly recommended, is to do your online research and make reservations.
- Check official sites (Equaldex and US State Department Travel Advisory)
- Note hotels with good ratings on LGBTQ oriented travel websites
- Do individual hotels have year-round LGBTQ deals and advertising on their sites?
- What are the reviews and ratings among the LGBTQ community?
- Are they part of a travel or booking site with guaranteed inclusivity?
These are great if you like to make plans in advance. If you’re a little more spontaneous, however, here are some on the ground tips of what to look for as well:
- Is the hotel part of a major international hotel chain?
- Do they have advertising or deals geared toward the LGBTQ community?
- How close are they to a known ‘gayborhood’ or hotspot?
- Are individuals at the front desk or in Customer Service aware of local LGBTQ resources, hotspots, and events?
Places that make you feel comfortable should be explored further. If you don’t feel comfortable, or aren’t getting a welcoming vibe, then it might be better to seek a different location.
Looking For LGBTQ Friendly Accommodations Online
Knowing the basic questions to ask is the first part of the hunt. But when you’re doing online research, Googling a specific location is only the start of the process.
Check Official Sites:
There are sites out there dedicated to keeping track of locations that are safe for LGBTQ members, and places that are best to steer clear of. Some of the information is pretty general, and refers to specific countries or regions, and that’s a good place to start.
Some sites you might want to check out for beginning your planning include:
- US State Department Travel Advisory
- International LGBTQ Travel Association (IGLTA)
These will give you a good idea of safe locations, and places you might want to avoid.
Note The Ratings On LGBTQ Travel Websites:
There are sites that are geared exclusively toward promoting travel in the LGBTQ community. There are also sites that are for everyone, but are known for LGBTQ inclusiveness.
If you want to stay at a specific hotel, bed and breakfast, or airbnb, check on LGBTQ oriented or community inclusive sites to see what kind of ratings they get. 3 stars and up makes it a viable option, whereas a 1 or 2 star rating might not be a great choice.
Sites like the following are geared specifically to LGBTQ travel and community:
Other sites, like the ones listed below, pride themselves on their inclusivity, and advertise LGBTQ friendly associations and practices.
Recommendations from these sites ought to be among your first choices, whatever accommodations you’re looking for.
Year-Round LGBTQ Advertising:
Plenty of hotels will offer special LGBTQ deals around Pride Month, or special holidays. But a location that truly welcomes those of the LGBTQ community will demonstrate their support year round.
A hotel that offers LGBTQ deals or accommodations, or posts LGBTQ friendly images on its websites and ads year round is one that’s more likely to be comfortable for gay vacationers.
What Are The Reviews On LGBTQ Sites?
This doesn’t just refer to sites dedicated to LGBTQ travel. This can also refer to blogs by LGBTQ community members, or by large groups in supoort of the LGBTQ community. Even Facebook pages of LGBTQ friends that have recently traveled in the area you want to visit.
What are people saying about their experiences? Or is there a conspicuous lack of reference to a location. Even a lack of information can be telling.
Are They Part Of a Service Or Site That Highlights Inclusivity?
Sites like Orbitz only accept members who are willing to sign an Inclusivity Agreement – that is, a written agreement to welcome and respect members of all communities, including LGBTQ. These sites will only promote accommodations that are gay friendly.
It’s a good idea to see if a given hotel or airbnb is part of one of these websites, to be sure you’re getting the vacation experience you desire.
Looking For LGBTQ Friendly Accommodations In Person
For more spontaneous travelers, there are some ways to be sure you’re in a good place when you walk in the front door. If you’re looking for an adventure, then be sure to keep these tips in mind when searching out proper accommodations.
Major Hotel Chains:
One way to find an LGBTQ friendly accommodation, especially if you’re tired, is to search out one of the major international chains. In order to make sure all good business practices are observed, these chains often have inclusivity agreements and sensitivity training for their employees in every branch.
Some hotel chains with these include:
It doesn’t hurt to double check other indicators, but this is a good place to start, and makes it easier for travelers who don’t like to do a lot of research.
Do They Have LGBTQ Advertising?
Hotels often give indicators of how welcoming they are in their ads, commercials and deals. Checking out the various ads a hotel offers can give you a good idea of how LGBTQ friendly they’re likely to be.
Do they offer romance packages that would suit people of every preference and orientation?
Do their onsite facilities cater to people of all statuses?
Do they have signs or subtle indicators that show inclusivity?
Do they advertise LGBTQ events or locations?
Do they have employees who appear to be LGBTQ allies or members?
Look for little signs that these locations are supportive, and you might be surprised at what you find.
How Close Are They To a ‘Gayborhood’ or LGBTQ Hotspot?
Location can be everything, especially if you’re traveling with a specific event or destination in mind. When checking out hotels, check how close they are to your intended destination.
Not only does it help with proximity for events or tours, but places that are closer to LGBTQ hotspots or neighborhoods are more likely to be LGBTQ friendly. The more well-known the location or event, the more likely that nearby accommodations will be good places to stay.
That’s not to say that locations further away from known hotspots aren’t LGBTQ friendly. But they won’t be as convenient, and there’s a slightly higher chance that they won’t be as welcoming.
Checking out the ‘Gabyorhood’ or ‘Hipster Hotspot’:
The idea of looking for a ‘gayborhood’ or ‘hipster hotspot’ may be more important for those that prefer boutique hotels, airbnbs, or vrbo locations to larger hotels. Those that want a more personalized experience can look for neighborhoods that are supportive, then search out any specific hotels or accommodations in the area.
Concierge and Customer Service Awareness of LGBTQ Resources and Locations:
This is one of the final in-person tests of LGBTQ friendliness. Does the staff pay attention to local LGBTQ presence and activity?
Hotels, by nature, often monitor events and major destinations for their guests. It helps for them to offer places to go for dinner, or drinks, or events to explore.
LGBTQ friendly establishments are more likely to have staff members who are aware of locations to fill an LGBTQ itinerary. That’s not to say that every staff member will have the information, but a hotel where NO ONE can answer queries regarding LGBTQ activity is less likely to be a welcoming one.
Asking at the desk about LGBTQ hotspots, favorite locations, or local events is a good way to get the measure of a location and its openness to the LGBTQ community.
Note: This can be an uncomfortable encounter, so if you don’t like the idea of awkward situations, this should be your test for emergency only situations.
Nowadays, the internet offers many resources for LGBTQ members to find accommodations that suit their desires and needs, including a welcoming atmosphere. If you’re worried about ensuring friendly accommodations, there are plenty of online resources you can use to make reservations at the hotel of your choice.
For those who like to be prepared, a little research and use of known inclusive sites will offer you the best chance of a comfortable and satisfactory experience. For those who like a little bit of impulse and adventure in their travels, there are still plenty of ways to make sure you find your rest in a place that’s LGBTQ friendly.