According to CMI's 22nd Annual LGBTQ Tourism & Hospitality Survey, LGBTQ travelers take an average of 3.2 vacations per year (not to mention an additional 3.7 trips for business or family.) Impressively, 77% of the LGBTQ respondents report owning valid passports (compared to an estimated 36% of the general population, according to the U.S. State Department.) And, of those LGBTQ passport holders, 53% have traveled abroad within the previous 12 months.
However, it isn't all smooth sailing for LGBTQ travelers. Especially when heading to a foreign country, CMI Survey respondents expressed anxiety over local anti-LGBTQ laws (66%), their personal safety due to sexuality or gender expression (64%), as well as the destination's overall political environment (59%). Around 6% of those surveyed reported experiencing a negative travel incident directly because of their sexuality. That number jumps to 16% for members of the gender expansive community.
When planning a trip, the best course of action for queer travelers to take is to research the intended destination thoroughly before departure. The U.S. State Department, and IGLTA.org websites are excellent resources for that.
Once on the ground, however, LGBTQ travelers should rely on apps that offer dynamic, location-based information. For instance, members of the social dating app Scruff can use the "Venture" tab to connect with locals and other travelers before they arrive. Once a traveler has arrived in a location where homosexuality remains criminalized, the app will also send push notifications, safety alerts, and relevant information on local laws
GeoSure, a company that provides hyper-local, real-time safety information for travelers, recently added the first-ever neighborhood-level LGBTQ safety ratings to its smartphone app. GeoSure combines national, citywide, and neighborhood crime statistics; health, economic, and political data; travel alerts; real-time reports; mapping technologies; and much more to determine the “likelihood of harm or discrimination against LGBTQ persons or groups” as well as the level of precaution those travelers should expect to take. With this information, queer travelers can now access up-to-the-minute safety ratings of over 30,000 neighborhoods worldwide. (Ratings range from 1 to 100, with 1 being the safest.)
Based on the data, GeoSure has determined the five safest urban neighborhoods for LGBTQ travelers to be:
1) Amsterdam’s Centrum neighborhood (Score: 17)
2) The Castro District in San Francisco (24)
3) Berlin’s Schönebergneighborhood (24)
4) Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood (30)
5) Tel Aviv’s City Center / Florentin neighborhood (31)