As the world slowly eases its way out of lockdown, we’re on the verge of a new era of travel. Everyone is slowly starting to plan their upcoming trips again, and many of us will take the longer airport queues and travel restrictions into account.
Even though there are some inevitable hurdles that almost all globetrotters must overcome at some point, including jetlag and missed flights, for the LGBTQ community, planning a trip can be extra tricky, simply because of who they love or their sexual identity. As LGBTQ rights can vary greatly from state to state, LGBTQ travelers may face risks and challenges other individuals may never experience when traveling abroad. This is where Voyemo steps in, to offer LGBTQ-friendly travel services that help all clients to fully enjoy their trip without having to worry about restrictions, regardless of their sexual orientation.
SHOULD I VISIT THE PLACE IF IT’S ANTI-LGBTQ?
Although there are over 70 countries that still criminalize same-sex relationships, it doesn’t mean it’s not safe to travel to those places as an LGBTQ tourist. Just like even though homosexuality is illegal in the Maldives, it’s still one of the top gay honeymoon destinations. As tourism is the backbone of the Maldivian economy, pink dollars are very welcome. Unless you are on local islands where public display of affection is probably not a great idea, there shouldn’t be any major issues for LGBTQ tourists on the private resort islands. Though acceptance towards LGBTQ travelers has been growing worldwide, sometimes LGBTQ individuals can still experience prejudice simply due to the demographics involved while traveling abroad. Think ignorant fellow travelers that could come from any corner of the world.
Whether or not one should visit anti-LGBTQ places has been a hot issue within the community. Some might argue it isn’t ethical to support the economy of those places. But in reality, boycotting such destinations could potentially do more harm than good. Apart from missing the opportunity to support any LGBTQ businesses at such places, boycotting can also lead to a vicious cycle where people in those places remain sheltered because of the lack of exposure to the LGBTQ lifestyle. And also, why deprive yourself of the right to visit any places? Yes, you can be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, or anything you feel comfortable identifying yourself with, but that shouldn’t be a label that defines you, for you are not only your sexual identity. You are an unlimited being who shouldn’t be defined and limited. Instead of ruling out those 70+ countries, simply do extra research in advance on local customs and laws. Stay aware and mindful during your trip so that you travel in a safe, respectful and careful manner. And of course, you can just sit back and let Voyemo take care of everything for you. The boutique travel advisor provides bespoke travel services as well as expert advice and support, so you can travel to your dream destination with the ease of mind that comes from knowing that every detail of your trip has been taken care of for you.
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WHAT ARE THE TOP LGBTQ-FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS?
Voyemo’s founder Riccardo Barile believes that most LGBTQ travelers pick their destinations based on two main aspects: local laws related to LGBTQ rights, as well as people’s acceptance towards LGBTQ individuals in that country. Of course, everyone has a different priority.
“My husband and I love places like South Africa and Costa Rica, where acceptance for LGBTQ travelers is very high, and most of all, because of the beautiful nature,” Barile says. “Nature is our main decision-making factor after the legal situation in the country. Both aforementioned countries are indeed very open and have a very liberal constitution regarding these topics. But basically, I would suggest avoiding destinations that might be dangerous for LGBTQ travelers. For example, I would never suggest a trip to Uganda, Turkey or South Arabia. On the other hand, although there are some countries with a pretty strict legislation, they accept and tolerate LBGTQ tourism quite well, such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Morocco, Indonesia and Lebanon. The more willing our client is towards adapting to possible restrictions, the more I suggest visiting the above countries. In general, some of the most beloved destinations among the LGBTQ community are South Africa, Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay (very liberal and open to the topic), Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Portugal, Greece and Israel.”
BEFORE AND DURING THE TRIP
To offer a highly personal service that caters to your every need, Voyemo talks to clients to understand their preferences and expectations in order to help design the trip of their dreams.
“During the trip, Voyemo provides a travel map that includes all attractions, bars, restaurants, and routes that are carefully curated by the team,” Barile adds. “We also offer guided tours and local experiences, such as a day with a local family, as well as day tours to non-touristic routes. During the whole trip our clients can also reach us via Whatsapp if they have any problems.”
Voyemo ensures all suppliers are LGBTQ-friendly, from the accommodation, to tour guides, drivers and more.
“The main suppliers of Voyemo I have all personally met, or someone from the team has met them. In this way, we can know for sure the suppliers are LGBTQ-friendly. The villas and apartments we offer in Italy, Greece, South Africa, Florida and Costa Rica are owned by members of the LGBTQ community that I know personally.”
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To make your trip truly one of a kind, Voyemo offers a whole range of bespoke experiences and lifestyle services. You can request for a personal photographer to capture beautiful moments of your trip, a personal fitness trainer to help you stay fit on the go, a private yoga teacher to guide you through your inner journey of healing and awakening, a personal chauffeur to take you anywhere and anytime, a dedicated 24/7 butler, a private chef – you name it, they’ve got it. The travel agency also offers luxury concierge services, so you can enjoy anything from candle light dinners under the stars on a white sand beach, to exclusive sailboat cruises and Ferrari rental services for you to get behind the wheel and enjoy the most scenic routes of Italy, or taking in the breathtaking landscape among the big and small Cyclades in Greece.
Voyemo’s upcoming retreats: