This post was updated on February 1st, 2020.
We’re starting off 2020 with a list of our favorite and most useful travel resources. These tips, tricks and travel advice are both LGBT focused and mainstream and we’ve curated this list to help inspire your travels and give you some practical guidance when travel planning and being on the road. Whether you’re in the savings stage or ready to book that next gay pride trip or gay group tour, we hope that at least a few of these resources will help make your travel experience for 2020 one of the best yet!
Dobot App Savings Planner
Dobot makes saving money easy by automating savings, linking savings to financial goals (like travel!) and letting couples and groups save together for a common goal. For any traveler, you’ll need to have a good financial plan and you’ll likely need to save money before you head out on that big trip. This app helps you plan your savings and automatically deducts monthly contributions to help you build a large savings to put towards your trip.
Meet Gay Locals with Hornet
If you’ve never used a gay dating app then you’re either living under a rock or you’ve specifically convinced yourself to avoid downloading one for whatever reason. Enter Hornet – it’s currently the #2 gay network in the world second to Grindr but perhaps you’ve not used it or even heard of it before? If that’s the case it’s likely because Hornet is extremely popular in places outside North America and Europe especially in countries like Brazil or Russia. But the app is growing and has a lot of cool features. Hornet goes beyond the typical geo-location dating app for finding sex. It’s a great tool for meeting locals in a new city and you can even search for people in places you’re planning to visit or even by interests or hashtags.
If you want to find cheap flights out of your area, Kayak Explore has you covered. You can get flights all over the world for excellent prices. For those with some flexibility, you could let the low fares help you decide where to visit next. You can also focus on your destination of choice and explore all of the options available. Either way, you can find a way to get to where you want to be at prices that can be much lower than those found elsewhere.
Get the most from your frequent flyer miles with this innovation online service. With ExpertFlyer you can find flight availability, flight upgrades and awards plus frequent flyer information. The service includes both free versions plus a paid subscription giving you a variety of options when planning your air travel. Finding awards and upgrades is easy with ExpertFlyer’s unique online and mobile tools. You can even start a no risk, free trial to see if the service if right for you.
Hosts offer up their homes, or rooms in their homes to travelers coming through the area. You can also find unique options like castles and igloos, letting you pick accommodations that show the unique culture or history of an area. Stays can be booked online and the financial part of the transaction is managed through the site. Visitors can review their hosts and all reservations are confirmed. The site also offers excellent, 24/7 customer support. New users can sign up here to get $25 off your first stay.
Travel insurance provides protection throughout your trip. You can get coverage for medical expenses, loss of equipment, rental property damage, theft, legal fees and trip cancellations. That means, if the worst does happen, at least it doesn’t cost you a fortune. We’ve personally used World Nomads for the last 4 years and recommend their service.
Travel by Bla Bla Car
Bla Bla Car is a website focused on connecting riders with drivers who are already heading the same way. While the site conceptually focuses on carpooling, it works well for travelers too. Just select your starting location and destination and see who’s heading your way. Bla Bla Car currently operates in more than 20 countries worldwide.
Buy a Eurail Pass
One of the best ways to travel by train across Europe is to take advantage of a Eurail pass. These passes offer unlimited train travel within a region and time duration of your choice. A Eurail pass gives you access to the entire European rail network and saves you money compared to buying individual train tickets. The passes allow train travel in specific countries, regions or throughout Europe depending on the pass type. You can use the pass in up to 28 European countries and durations range from 3 days to 3 months.
Try Couchsurfing for Free Accommodation
Couchsurfing offers the ability to connect with local hosts and stay in their homes at no cost. Not only that, but you get to spend time with someone who knows the city. It can be a unique opportunity to see the exotic places only locals know about while making new friends. We’ve even included a guide in our couchsurfing blog post on how to connect with LGBT hosts using the website.
Stay Like a Gay Local in a Shared Apartment Using misterb&b
If you’re looking for a place to stay on a budget, try renting a room in a shared apartment. We’ve recently starting using the LGBT-oriented booking site mister&b with gay owners who list their apartments. Understanding a city’s gay scene is much more easily done with the help of a local and apartment sharing is one of the best ways to meet someone living in the city who knows the best insider advice. Plus, if you’re a new user to misterb&b you can save $25 on your first booking by signing up here.
Attend a Gay Event
We personally love traveling and visiting a city during major events. We’ve curated a list of our favorite gay parties and events on our blog. In addition to just big parties, we’ve included a few unique, LGBT-specific events in places like California, Iceland and even Slovenia. Some of our top pics include TropOut in Thailand and New Caledonia, Barcelona Pride with Rainbow Gay Tours, Tel Aviv Pride with Outstanding Travel and Pink Week in Slovenia. You can view our listing of events and also get special offers and discounts – more info here!
Join a Gay Group Tour
A gay group tour is a great option for an amazing travel experience that’s already pre-planned and purchased as a package. It’s particularly useful if you’re too busy to plan your own trip or if you’re a solo traveler because you’ll quickly make new friends in your group as you travel together. We recommend a few different tour operators that do gay group trips and they all offer great itineraries and experiences that you’ll surely want to repeat. Some of our favorites include Detours Travel and Out Adventures – both who operate adventure style trips all around the world. A few other companies we like are Pink Iceland, Rainbow Gay Tours (in Europe) and Outstanding Travel (Israel and Greece). Check out our listing of gay group tours here. You can even save up to $200 with some of the companies by using our special offer for Two Bad Tourists’ readers only.
Join a Gay City Tour
If you’re looking for a city tour geared towards the LGBT traveler, then we definitely recommend Rainbow Gay Tours. We’ve been on several of their tours in Madrid, Barcelona and Gran Canaria and had a great time. They offer city tours as well as nightlife tours with local gay guides that can answer any possible question about the city that you could ever think of. This is a great tour option for a more personal and comfortable experience than you would normally get as an LGBT traveler with a standard hetero tour guide or group. You can now join a Rainbow Gay Tour in 8 different cities in Europe including Barcelona, Berlin, London, Madrid, Lisbon, Bilbao, Rome and Gran Canaria. Plus, you can save 10% on all tours by using the promo code “TWOBADTOURISTS” when booking online. (Note: since January 2020, Rainbow Gay Tours has closed)
Gay Ski Weeks
If you’re a reader of our blog then you know we love gay prides, LGBT parties & events and winter sports. So what better way to celebrate than to attend a gay ski week – our absolute favorite winter activity! We’ve attended several events in the past in both North America and Europe and we recommend attending an event near you. They are all different in size and offering as well as location so choose the one that most suits you. Have you ever attended a gay ski week? Check out our list of world class events across North America, Europe and even New Zealand – we hope to inspire you to hit the slopes and join the fun!
Gay Hotels and Accommodation
We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular gay and gay-friendly hotels and accommodation options on our blog. Most of these accommodations are gay specific; however, we’ve included a few gay-friendly favorites as they are great options and very popular with gay travelers. Our list also includes the general service and price category including budget, mid-range and luxury to better help you plan your trip. You’ll find a variety of options like hotels, hostels, guest houses and apartment rentals. Check out some of our favorites here like Axel Hotels with multiple locations in Europe, Gaythering Hotel in Miami and the Late Birds in Lisbon.
As an LGBT traveler, you might not be aware of this organization because they tend to focus more on business-to-business relationships. But as consumers, we all benefit from the work they’ve done the past 30+ years. Today, airlines, hotels, destinations and travel companies from around the world join IGLTA to improve their products and services for the LGBT community. Among other things, they help to train non gay-owned companies to be sensitive to LGBT issues when it comes to travel. They also have a great database of LGBT friendly businesses, which can be particularly useful in countries that are not generally welcoming to the LGBT community. Click here to visit their website.
Omio gives you rail, bus and air transportation all in one search engine for Europe. You can find the best route based on price, time or duration. This is a great option if you’re traveling around Europe and want to compare the best route from one city to another. Omio is currently optimized for UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland with direct connections to the countries’ transport networks.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
We’re excited that after 3 years of avoiding video, we’ve officially relaunched our YouTube channel – Two Bad Tourists Talk. Just like our blog, we plan to offer travel tips and advice plus features on the best gay friendly destinations, city guides, festivals, events and more. We’ll be publishing monthly travel videos plus occasional special features with some of our favorite LGBT YouTube stars. So join us now on YouTube – Click here to Subscribe to our Channel!
Download our Free Gay Travel Guide to Europe’s Top Cities
Europe is without a doubt the most gay-friendly region in the world. After all, same-sex marriage was first legalized here in 2001 and the majority of countries with marriage equality in the world are located in Europe. Not only is Europe a top destination for any traveler, but the amount of LGBT specific offerings found in Europe can’t be beat. You can download our free gay travel guide to Europe here and we’ll email you a PDF so you can use it at any time. The guide is packed with 50 pages of tips and advice featuring eight of Europe’s best LGBT destinations. We’ve done the research to find the best deals, happy hour specials and have even collaborated with many business and tour operators to offer you discounts worth more than 500€.
SkyRoam Portable WiFi
What’s the point of a charged phone with no service or wi-fi? This is when we pop out the portable Wifi adapter from SkyRoam. This miraculous device creates a mobile hotspot for up to 8 devices such as phones, laptops and tablets. Keep in touch with friends and family, update social media and look up directions or find a place to stay while avoiding expensive roaming charges. SkyRoam currently works in more than 100 countries around the world.
Save Those Points and Miles
The best airline frequent flyer program to join is the one you fly most often. If you live in a city that acts as an airline’s hub, then you’re more likely to fly that company. Also, you can usually earn and redeem airline points on one airline by flying with one of their partners. The most common partners include the three global alliances including Star Alliance, One World and Sky Team. If you stick to one alliance you can usually earn miles with your preferred airline, even if you don’t always fly them. For example, you can redeem British Airways miles (called Avois) on American Airlines flights or earn British Airways miles when flying American – just be sure to always add your frequent flyer number when booking the ticket or checking in for your flight. Hotel points are another great way to earn free hotel stays – again, sticking with the major chains might be your best bet since they have so many hotel locations all over the world (e.g. Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, Carlson, IHG or Accor) to redeem for your free stay.
Know your Rights
If you’re traveling in North America or Western Europe, you probably don’t need to worry about LGBT rights. Sure, you should always practice some caution when traveling but by and large, being gay in these areas is not a safety issue except in extreme cases. But if you are traveling to more sensitive regions perhaps in Latin America or Asia and certainly the Middle East or Africa, you should really do your research in advance. The US Department of State and British Department of Foreign Affairs have good resources for LGBT travelers going to volatile regions. And remember our buddies at ManAboutWorld Magazine? They’ve published an entire guide to LGBT business travel – a segment within a segment, which has rarely been addressed in large scale within our community.
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