Should queer women travel everywhere? Absolutely. But when your identity is a target for political agendas and harassment, traveling usually involves some additional considerations. Just ask these queer Latinas who fly on the regular— they know what we need to keep in mind when it comes to travel– whether we are visiting somewhere where Pride flags fly high, or somewhere we need to worry about being discriminated against when visiting a business, like in Wyoming.
Vivian Perez, Founder of Ladies Touch Entertainment and Travel
Dominican-American Vivian Perez started her own company (Ladies Touch Events and Travel) curating and hosting LGBTQ+ women’s events, and later group trips, when she noticed a lack of spaces for the community, especially queer BIPOC women.
“In seven years, we have taken women all across the globe and our destinations continue to expand, special thanks to our affiliation with IGLTA (The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association),” says Perez, who credits the organization for enhancing her network to provide destinations that might have been overlooked. The IGLTA is a network of queer travel businesses (including destinations, tour operators, accommodations, and more) aimed at the queer travel community that provides free travel resources and information. “With careful planning and safety in mind, the limit really is the sky!”
Perez’s two favorite destinations are Cape Town, South Africa, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
“Both locations are queer friendly, diverse, and have queer as well as lesbian-owned businesses, making them not just LGBTQ+ friendly but lesbian friendly as many destinations are more dominated by men,” says Perez. In Vallarta, she recommends checking out Oculto, and Vallarta Food Tours.
Perez says while Cape Town lacks as many LGBTQ+-owned businesses, it still has many queer-friendly hotels and a handful of queer-owned properties, as well as a thriving women’s scene.
“Our personal favorites are the Radisson Red Hotels both in Capetown and Johannesburg. These hotels are super cute and very welcoming,” she says. Some other favorites include the Silo Hotel, Belmond Nelson Mandela, the Grey Hotel, and the pet-friendly President Hotel.
Lola Méndez, Travel Journalist
Lola Méndez has been traveling full time for just over eight years, and writing articles about it for places like National Geographic, Vogue, AFAR, and Architectural Digest. Like Vivian, she also highly recommends Puerto Vallarta (where she’s lived since 2021), as well as Stockholm, Sweden.
“Vallarta is the unofficial LGBTQ+ capital of Latin America,” says Méndez. She recommends the lesbian-owned-and-operated bar, Elixir Mixology in Emiliano Zapata—PV’s gayborhood. “[It’s] where many LGBTQ+ events take place, including Vallarta Pride, BeefDip, and nightly drag shows…There’s also an annual Lesbian Pride event during Vallarta Pride [geared towards travelers],” she adds.
As for Stockholm, Méndez attended Stockholm Pride (the Nordics’ largest Pride celebration) in 2022 and says she instantly realized why it was a must-visit for LGBTQ+ travelers.
“I felt very welcome and accepted as a queer woman in Stockholm,” says Méndez.
As for her favorite spots, she’s got a couple. “My favorite queer-owned venue is the gorgeous river-front, gay-owned Mälarpaviljongen bar and restaurant with a sister vegan eatery serving delicious food,” she says. “There are many fascinating museums in town but the most exciting is the ultra-campy ABBA Museum where guests can sing along with holograms of the iconic band members, admire original costumes, sing their favorite ABBA songs in the recording studio, and more.”
Shannon McEvoy, Travel Agent with Travelmation
Ecuadorian-American Shannon McEvoy has been working in the travel industry since 2006 as a luxury resort concierge and travel agent. “I love connecting people to other cultures and assisting in creating memories,” she says.
McEvoy is a huge fan of cruises and one of her favorite destinations is Mexico’s Riviera Maya, “especially Playa del Carmen! It’s an amazing spot for a queer destination wedding and all inclusive [experiences].”
As for her preferred cruise line, that’s Virgin Voyages. “Celebrating Pride has always been part of their core values and you see that through their entertainment and crew,” says McEvoy. “PJ Parties? Drag Brunch & Drag Bingo? You’ll see me at sea multiple times a year.”
Currently residing in Central Florida, McEvoy also happens to love Disney World.
“Despite the current political climate in Florida, I’ve always felt most like myself in the Most Magical Place on Earth!” says McEvoy. “The Disney bubble is one of my favorite places in the world for my family. Everyone is so welcoming and they are great with allergies and disabilities, as well.”
“They’re both deluxe resorts with amazing food options, and great amenities, plus they’re a little off the beaten path,” she says. “But if you want to stay in the middle of it all, I love the Boardwalk Resorts!”
Luca Saunders, Travel Blogger
Argentine-Australian Luca Saunders says she’s spent her whole young life traveling, having gone overseas more than 20 times with her family before turning 18. Currently located in Bariloche, Argentina, Saunders says her main favorite queer-friendly destinations are Melbourne, Australia and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
“The queer culture in Melbourne is absolutely electric,” says Saunders. More specifically, she says Fitzroy is the suburb to be in. “It’s the central hub of LGBTQ+ culture. The 86 is a great bar in the area with drag shows and queer events, but you can find them everywhere!”
Saunders says she first visited Amsterdam for this year’s Pride festivities and says it was easy to feel safe and accepted.
“Amsterdam has a thriving queer culture and a vibrant underground scene, and there’s always something else to do and see,” she says, adding that a huge concentration of LGBTQ+ bars, clubs, and shops can all be found on Reguliersdwarsstraat. “It’s probably the most important queer street in the city!”
And when you’re ready to rest, “Amistad is kind of the quintessential LGBTQ+ accommodation option,” says Saunders, “but pretty much everywhere is open and supporting.”
Traveling can be invigorating and life changing, and it can sometimes also be a little nerve-wracking when you’re unsure if a destination and its people will be welcoming toward the queer community. Always make sure to ask fellow LGBTQ+ travelers (like the ones above, or the ones at resources like the IGLTA and other online queer travel communities) to help you plan your next trip!