By Alex J Davidson
Originally published on Advocate.com November 21 2013 10:54 AM ET
A recent Twitter travel forum addressed many of the unique questions and concerns LGBT families have when traveling both domestically and abroad.
Residence Inn partnered with Dana Rudolph, founder of Mombian.com, a blog for lesbian moms and other LGBT parents, and the Family Equality Council, an advocacy organization seeking equality for families with parents who are LGBT. The one-hour forum yielded resources, tips, and firs-hand accounts of LGBT families’ travel experiences. You can see how the event went on Twitter by searching with the hashtags #RIFamily and #TMOM.
Here are 10 family travel tips that participants shared. The summary was put together by Residence Inn, an organizer of the forum:
1. Destinations with marriage equality are truly special for LGBT families to visit, says @lifewithroozle. During the chat several tweeters mentioned Quebec, which has marriage equality, but also some areas that do not, such as Florida and Portland, Ore. (thanks, @MeaganShamy!), as LGBT-friendly family holiday hotspots. Oregon, though, may be one of the next states with marriage equality, with a referendum possible next year.
2. When traveling, @Mombian says, parents should bring either the court order or the adoption papers (depending on how they did things) naming them both legal parents (not just guardians -- unless guardian is indeed their legal status).
3. Do not carry important documents in one place when traveling. @SeymaShabbir suggests keeping necessary files on a flash drive or within email to keep organized and ensure nothing is lost.
4. Expect that anything can happen and be prepared. Don’t let others ruin your family vacation. We agree, @TravelingMoms!
5. @LavLuz recommends learning the local customs and anticipating how to avoid your kids’ “terrible toos” (too tired, too hungry, and too bored!) when traveling.
6. During the chat, some parents expressed concerns about prejudices while traveling. @DesignerDaddy gave advice: Be prepared; be confident; don’t get defensive. If I go in expecting trouble, more likely to be irrational/emotional.
7. Staying informed of news happening within your travel destination is important when on the road. For international travelers, check the U.S. Department of State website for alerts.
8. For LGBT parents traveling for out-of-state and international adoption, the Human Rights Campaign is a fantastic resource for identifying LGBT-friendly countries and sharing tips for the adoption process. Per @DebOnTheRocks, a support group is key to handling stress and strain along the way. We were very inspired by @AndreaGuthmann who stayed in Colombia for five weeks and became familiar with the country, its people, and the culture!
9. Per @KimSimes, adjusting your kids’ sleep schedule in advance is an effective way to ease the transition when traveling through different time zones.
10. Hotel amenities, such as Residence Inn’s free grocery service and complimentary breakfast, can make even faraway places feel just like home!
Contact reporter Alex Davidson on Twitter at twitter.com/adwildcat