LGBTQ+ Travel Safety

Travel with Confidence. Travel with Pride.

 

Safety for LGBTQ+ Travelers

Safety should be a top priority for every traveler. Overall, traveling as an LGBTQ+ traveler isn’t much different than traveling for others, but sometimes special considerations should be made. Unfortunately, discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ people is still prevalent in many parts of the world, and travelers can face additional risks when they are in unfamiliar place. As an LGBTQ+ traveler, it is important to keep in mind a destination’s attitude toward the LGBTQ+ community. Experiences for LGBTQ+ travelers can vary globally, so understanding the destination to which you are traveling is key to an enjoyable and safe vacation or business trip.

 

According to research from the Business Travel Show Europe, most business travel programs fail to take LGBTQ+ travelers into account and that 95% of LGBTQ+ business travelers conceal their sexual orientation when traveling to protect their safety.1

AIG Travel recognizes the need for greater understanding and awareness regarding safety for LGBTQ+ travelers and developed the following resources to provide LGBTQ+ travelers with information that will help them feel more comfortable as they plan their travel.

Key statistics about LGBTQ+ travel and risks

Research by Booking.com has revealed half of LGBTQ+ travelers have experienced discrimination while traveling. These key statistics highlight the importance of safety for LGBTQ+ travelers:

82%

of LGBTQ+ travelers say they have had less-than-welcoming - or uncomfortable - experiences when traveling.2

65%

of LGBTQ+ travelers say they have experienced discrimination while traveling, citing stereotyping (28%) and being stared at, laughed at or verbally abused by other travelers (18%) or locals (17%) as the top offenses.2

82%

believe being a member of the community impacts who they choose to travel with, and 55% say it impacts the activities they participate in when away.2

Given these statistics, it’s clear that LGBTQ+ individuals face unique risks when traveling, and it’s important for LGBTQ+ travelers to take steps to protect themselves.

 

 

Consider your risks

Remember that not every LGBTQ+ traveler faces the same risk, and there is not a “one-size-fits-all” set of advice. Consider your own profile, as well as the sort of experience you want to have in your travels and determine if a particular destination is right for you. You do not necessarily have to avoid a location, but you will need to be aware of how to conduct yourself based on the laws and cultural climate of your destination.

 

Research your destination

Do your research! The most important step that LGBTQ+ travelers can take to ensure their safety and comfort on a trip is to conduct thorough research on their destination while planning their trip. The cultural and legal climate should be carefully considered, including when applying for a visa or booking a hotel or resort. 

 

Leave behind contact information

During your travels, provide a trusted contact back home with your detailed itinerary, including anyone you have planned in advance to meet while on your trip. In the event of an emergency, it is helpful if someone back home has contact information of hotels, flight numbers and a general idea of planned events on your trip.

 

Bring paper copies

There are apps to hold digital copies, but you never know what might happen to your phone. Take paper copies of your passport, flight information, hotel confirmations and other important documents with you. Keep these documents safe and out of sight as they have confidential information on them.

 

Find LGBTQ–friendly businesses

Even if you are visiting an LGBTQ-friendly destination, the level of acceptance you receive may vary from business to business. Carefully research your planned accommodations and the places you intend to visit to ensure that you are choosing establishments that welcome the LGBTQ+ community. Consider using the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA.org) as a resource for finding LGBTQ-owned and affirming businesses.

 

Take medical precautions

If you are traveling with medication, ensure that your medications are kept together in a separate bag in your carry-on. Keep all medications in their original containers and carry an official note of medical authorization from your doctor. Check beforehand that your medications are legal to carry into the country you are visiting. If engaging in sexual activity, it is advised to bring protection, but carefully research the laws regarding what you are allowed to bring into your destination country. If you are purchasing products in other countries, their reliability may not always be guaranteed.

 

Use discretion when necessary

Connect with locals online before you travel for some tips to find the best bars, parties and community hangouts. Remember that in some destinations where being LGBTQ+ is illegal, websites and mobile apps that are used in country to connect you to LGBTQ+ people and venues may be used against you by officials. Be mindful of public displays of affection. Holding hands, requesting a double bed at a hotel, casual touching, and kissing may be considered public displays, and such actions are illegal in some countries.

 

Precautions for transgender travelers

Transgender travelers may face additional scrutiny when departing from and arriving at airports and when navigating the cultural and legal landscape of a di¬fferent country. Cultural attitudes toward and laws regarding transgender people in conservative societies may present an unwelcoming and unsafe environment. When considering a destination, know that some countries may refuse entry to individuals whose documented gender does not reflect their presentation. 

 

Stay safe

In general, staying aware of your surroundings, being mindful of the culture, trying not to stand out as a tourist and disclosing as little personal information as possible is the best course of action for anyone traveling in a new place. It is usually better to always stay discreet, even in more accepting areas, to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Additionally, in some places homosexuality is perfectly legal and acceptable, but people may still maintain a low profile even in LGBTQ-friendly venues due to cultural stigmas. Those societies may require LGBTQ+ travelers to use discretion and avoid discussing or displaying their orientation. If you are harassed, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible and do not escalate by confronting your harasser. If you are being followed, find a busy establishment to enter. If you encounter harassment by officials, remain calm and courteous, request a ticket if you are receiving a citation and contact your diplomatic representation to report the issue. If you are the victim of a crime, contact local authorities and engage with your local diplomatic representation.

 

Obey local laws

Even if you do not agree with the local laws and culture in the country you are visiting, you should still obey the laws and abide by the cultural norms. Your personal beliefs will not be sufficient legal defense in the event that you are charged with a crime.

 

Consider buying a Travel Guard® policy

A Travel Guard® travel insurance plan can cover for medical emergencies and includes 24/7 assistance services to help with flight and hotel rebookings, lost luggage, passport replacement and much more. To learn more about Travel Guard’s product offerings visit our LGBTQ+ Travelers and Travel Insurance Needs page.

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Helpful resources for LGBTQ+ travelers

 

External resources for LGBTQ+ travelers

 

AIG and LGBTQ+ Equality

AIG is honored to receive a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index

In 2022, AIG earned the distinction of being one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality” from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for the tenth consecutive year.

AIG’s UK LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group was recognized as a Top 10 Network Group (ERG) by the 2022 British LGBT Awards.

In 2022, AIG was named one of Diversity Inc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity for the fifth consecutive year, as well as listed as a Top Company for Talent Acquisition for Women of Color, Top Company for Executive Diversity Councils and a Top Company for Philanthropy.

In 2022, AIG Japan received PRIDE Index’s Gold rating in its annual “work with Pride” assessment for the seventh consecutive year.

Travel insurance should always be at the top of your packing list.

 

Travel Guard travel insurance plans make it easy to get a quote and purchase. You can do either online at TravelGuard.com or through our service center, which is available at 800-826-5248.

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Coverage available to U.S. residents of the U.S. states and District of Columbia only. This plan provides insurance coverage that only applies during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home, and automobile insurance policies. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer or insurance agent or broker. Coverage is offered by Travel Guard Group, Inc. (Travel Guard). California lic. no.0B93606, 3300 Business Park Drive, Stevens Point, WI 54482, travelguard.com. CA DOI toll free number: 800-927-HELP. This is only a brief description of the coverage(s) available. The Policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Insurance underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., a Pennsylvania insurance company, with its principal place of business at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, 37th FL, New York, NY 10020-1304. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia. NAIC No. 19445. Coverage may not be available in all states. Your travel retailer may not be licensed to sell insurance, and cannot answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance. The purchase of travel insurance is not required in order to purchase any other product or service from the Travel Retailer.