Traveling with kids has its unique challenges, but most of them are pretty straightforward: sort out the kids’ passports, research the best travel gear, ask for recommendations on destinations and accommodations, etc. However, for LGBTQ+ families things are not always that easy. From documents to destinations, there is an entire world that separates family travel from LGBTQ+ family travel. So to try and make your experience a little smoother we have compiled a list of top traveling tips for LGBTQ+ families.
We all need passports, travel insurance, and medical documents, but if you are an LGBTQ+ family you might need to bring a more extensive list of documents with you.
For same-gender presenting couples, for example, it is important to not only pack the passports but also official adoption papers (if applicable) and birth certificates. It is also advisable to have parentage and custody documents for minors who do not share your last name. This is especially important when traveling internationally. Notarized letters from the non-traveling parent are always advisable if you and your child do not share the same surname.
On a more practical side, having emergency contact information handy is a bonus, especially if traveling to countries that might have different civil rights than yours. Ensure they have a copy of your itinerary. You may also consider bringing contact information for a lawyer for additional peace of mind.
We have all heard the saying “the world is your oyster” but when you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, your oyster feels smaller than the rest of the world. Did you know that there are still more than 70 countries where homosexuality is considered a crime?
Although my straight passing family has it easier than most, we do avoid those countries when picking travel destinations. Why would I take my child somewhere where her family, and her trans/non-binary bisexual parent, in particular, would be discriminated against?
When planning a trip, check out resources like:
- government websites for safety tips for LGBTQ+ travelers (like the US, the UK, and Canada);
- Equaldex for an interactive map of rights related law; and
- IGLTA (International LGBTQ Travel Association) for travel planning resources.
Let’s face it, why would you go and stay anywhere that did not promote inclusivity and diversity? When looking for accommodations, make sure to visit LGBTQ+ friendly ones. Chains like Hilton and Fairmont have dedicated training for their employees on inclusion. Hospitality companies like Accor and Hyatt run diversity initiatives that are dedicated especially to LGBTQ+ travelers. Websites like the World Rainbow Hotels are a great resource to use to search for LGBTQ+ friendly hotels.
Be prepared for cringe-worthy questions like “Where is mommy?” or “How did you do it?” Try not to let those questions get to you and ruin the experience. Although frustrating, they can be turned into teachable moments for our kids and the strangers asking the questions.
Traveling as an LGBTQ+ family may not be as simple, but with some additional research and careful planning, you will be able to have a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable trip. Do you have additional traveling tips for LGBTQ+ families? Add them in the comments below!