Say the word
"Sandals," and gay travelers remember how,
until just three years ago, the resort company by that
name, whose slogan is "For couples
only," accepted only hetero couples at its dozen
Caribbean properties. Although the company rescinded
its notorious policy in 2004, the whole unpleasant
history brings to light the challenges LGBT couples have
whenever they book a trip: Who wants to deal with homophobia
while on vacation? Gay singles and even gays with kids
can often blend in more easily with straight tourists
than partners of the same gender who simply want to
enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner or hold hands on the
To be sure, more
and more tourism boards are openly courting the LGBT
traveler (at last count, 60-plus worldwide), and mainstream
hotel chains like Sheraton, Westin, and Hilton have
designed special packages for gay travelers. But at
some hotels, just asking for one bed for two people of
the same gender can send the front desk into bewilderment.
thing you should do when choosing a place to stay is call
them," advises David Toussaint, author of Gay and
Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex
Ceremony. "Tell them right away if it's
your honeymoon and [gauge] how they feel about it. If
they're uncomfortable, get off the phone and
find another place."
Gay couples these
days travel more for commitment ceremonies and
honeymoons, which have turned into a boon for places like
Vermont and Massachusetts, where a cottage industry of
mainstream romantic bed-and-breakfasts began marketing
to gay couples. "Nowadays, I have friends going
to Canada or London to get married. It seems to be the big
thing," says Toussaint, "regardless of whether
the marriage is legal when they get back home."
A good rule of thumb when choosing an appropriate
destination for gay couples is to head to a place where a
form of gay marriage is legal or at least being
seriously considered. For instance, you'll
probably choose South Africa (where same-sex marriage was
legalized in late 2006) over Egypt (where gay men have been
jailed), or Hawaii (which currently has several
marriage-equality bills being considered) over Texas
(which passed one of the toughest anti-same-sex
marriage amendments in the country in 2005).
Before you hop on
a plane for a wedding, honeymoon, or a simple
lovey-dovey weekend, a little planning can go a long way in
assuring you'll have romance instead of strife.
It's important to find a place where
you'll feel at ease putting an arm around your lover,
but not necessarily where you'll have a hunky
nude guy by the pool winking at him as you do so.
the bucks and aim for relatively upscale lodgings,"
says Andrew Collins, who writes the gay travel section
for About.com. "They attract professionals and
couples that are not really looking to get laid the way
guests often do at the less-expensive gay resorts."
But what if you
want to stay in and snuggle by the fire, while she wants
to go to the theater every night? Vacations bring a
couple's lingering differences to the
surface--so remember to follow the number 1 rule of
relationships: Communication before a problem develops can
be a marriage saver. Miami-based travel writer LoAnn
Halden explains, "My girlfriend and I always
ask each other before we leave, 'If you only get to
do one thing while we're on this trip, what do
you want it to be?' Then we make sure that we
each get our wish. It's been the key to many
successful vacations because we both feel like a
priority, and it allows room for spontaneity
Another rule is
to play to each other's strengths: "Know how
to be a good team," advises Peter Frank, editor
in chief of the luxury travel Web site Concierge.com.
"I'm good at reading a map, and my boyfriend,
Brian, is good at getting reservations at a great
restaurant. We're always thinking we'd
be great contestants on The Amazing Race." If
done right, a vacation with your significant other can
ultimately strengthen your bond.
Be sure to follow Advocate on your favorite social platform
DON'T MISS THE OUT100 SPECIAL 3 DAY MARATHON STARTING NOVEMBER 24TH!
Journey through the year’s influential Out100 – the most iconic and long-standing celebration of LGBTQ+ icons and allies – in a 1-hour television special spotlighting the LGBTQ+ people shaping the world today.