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LGBT travel

Hi guys,

I was curious if there was anyone from the LGBT community on here who has traveled Rick's way? I would like to plan a trip for my partner and I when I graduate college a couple of Springs from now. We are still in the dream stage at the moment, but I am thinking Great Britain, France, and Germany for somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks. I grew up in a small town and I'd like that type of experience when we travel. Any thoughts on the matter?

Fix

Posted by
6 posts

That's great, thanks! I think I'm looking to connect with couples that have done the independent route, outside of organized tours.

Posted by
16742 posts

I don't believe you'll find any major stumbling blocks or even be much noticed. Remember that same-sex marriage is legal in several European countries, and that list will probably grow in the next couple of years, while you plan your trip. Some staff and guides employed by Rick Steves' Europe do fit into both the RS and LGBT communities, and they travel freely in Europe, wherever they wish. There are plenty of online news articles about the "best" spots for gay and lesbian travel, but I'd start with the Guardian newspaper, since I like their reviews of other travel topics.

Posted by
23243 posts

And the 2014 winner of the Eurovision Song Contest was Conchita Wurst, singing for Austria. Definitely LGBT.

And voted for by Europeans from all over Europe. By a landslide.

Posted by
8889 posts

If you get to London, take a day trip by train to Brighton. It is at the southern end of commuter range from London (you can't get any further south, the channel is in the way). For some reason Brighton is the gay capital of the UK. Do a search for "gay Brighton".
Last time I stayed there (with my wife!), the hotel we booked was, purely by chance, run by a gay male couple. It's that sort of town.

Posted by
9361 posts

And, of course, whatever is true now in a particular location could be completely different two years from now when you intend to travel.

Posted by
103 posts

It's been so long since I've been to Europe that we were spending guilders rather than euros. But way back then as a male couple touring England, Wales, and the Netherlands on our own, we had zero issues. We easily found gay owned and friendly hotels and other venues in London and Amsterdam, and even when staying in a farmhouse B&B in the English countryside or visiting aged small town Devon school chums of my aunt and a fellow stamp collector in Rijnsburg who I knew only by mail we were made welcome and never felt like anything special was going on. There was no issue renting a car in England which we were both authorized to drive, getting a cabin together on a cross-channel ferry, or getting a room together arranged by the VVV in Amsterdam or Tourist Information Centres around England and Wales. When we visited the Anglican church in Burnham-on-sea, the rector was totally cordial and gave us "the grand tour." Waiters in restaurants wherever we went had no problems cheerfully taking our picture with our arms around each other. I'd had some concerns before we went, but it turned out to be a total non-issue. As always, YMMV, but unless you visit some super conservative and old fashioned place or are unusually outrageous in appearance and behavior you probably have nothing to worry about.

Posted by
4 posts

Fix:
My spouse and I have traveled throughout Europe in the last ten years and have not encountered any problems. (As lesbians in our 40s-50s we tend toward the invisible anyway.) We try and be mindful of where we are and might subconsciously adjust our behavior for smaller towns as opposed to cities, but really, it hasn't been an issue. Cities are always less provincial/conservative than small towns so I'd say just use your best judgement when you are in the countryside. We've been to London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Prague, Madrid and Barcelona as well as a handful of small communities near these cities and islands in the Western Med. (This year we are adding Oslo, Amsterdam and Stockholm to the list!) We have followed Rick's advice and have been polite and observant and tried not to stick out as Americans as a way of showing respect for the locals. We do learn a bit of the local language to at least exchange greetings and goodbyes (the one exception was Prague - but there were so many English speakers it wasn't an issue.) The worst things that have happened to us are coming across rude Americans and feeling like we have to apologize for them, and getting ripped off - once only - by a cab driver in Rome. After the first two days of our first trip we learned to spot a scam artist (it seems most of them are Roma, but I hate to buy into the stereotype.) During the first trip we had some trouble with our bank and I learned to carry phone numbers other than the "report stolen credit cards" number (they held a check after we thought it had been deposited and my account was overdrawn. I left Chase bank after that.) My spouse got a horrible toothache that resulted in needing a tooth extraction in Palma de Mallorca - and we had to pay for it with a credit card (500 Euros - much cheaper than in the US!) Some of the best choices we've made were purchasing Rick's books Europe 101: History and Art for the Traveler and Mona Winks: Self Guided Tours of Museums. Other than that I'd advise watching Rick's three part series on European Travel Skills. If they aren't all here on the website I think they may be on YouTube, or you can buy the DVD. We've also rented apartments on Air BnB from people who designate themselves as LGBT friendly, which has been a terrific help in understanding the local culture. Best wishes to you and happy travels!