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Gay Travel Advice
Whilst much of the world is more tolerant than ever of gay and lesbian travel, attitudes towards homosexuality vary greatly from place to place. So we've compiled a quick guide of top tips for gay and lesbian travelers.
1. Do Your Research
Our advice is essentially the same to all travelers wherever they’re going: read up a bit about the country to which you want to go. Get your hands on a good guide book and trawl whatever information is available out there on the net. Find out as much as possible about the laws and customs of your intended destination. And remember to look out for unexpected destinations that are surprisingly tolerant or gay-friendly. Tel Aviv, for example has a burgeoning gay scene.
2. Keep it Local
Many destinations, particularly in Western Europe, and Australasia, have local sites that can provide you with detailed information on their thriving gay and lesbian communities. What’s more, the vast majority of their large cities have developed blooming gay and lesbian communities. A Gay Hostel is another good source of informatation on the local gay scene - talk to the staff and other people in the hostel about local bars, clubs and gay-friendly places.
3. Be Aware
Some countries are inevitably more conservative than others. In some places the law can be rather ambiguous, with no specific mention of same-sex relationships, or even differing from region to region. Sad as it may be, what is perfectly acceptable in cosmopolitan New York, say, might not go down as well in more rural parts of the US. It's their problem, and not yours, but be discreet if it stands a chance of ruining your holiday.
4. Don't Get Caught Out
What goes on in private may not be so well-received in the public eye. The key is to find out before you set off, not when you get there. This way you can make sure you’re aware of any dos, don’ts and cultural taboos (such as public displays of affection by same-sex couples) without having to learn the hard way by causing offence, scandal or even in some cases ending up in prison.
5. Check the Law
In those parts of the world where same-sex relationships are frowned upon, local police forces have been known to carry out elaborate entrapment schemes. You would also be well-advised to find out the age of consent in the country you’re looking to go to, as it can differ for heterosexual and same-sex relationships. If you’re not absolutely sure what may or may not be acceptable, discretion is obviously the best policy.
6. Be Safe
It may be sensible to stock up on sexual health products before you travel, as they might not as easy to come by in many parts of the world as they are at home.