May 8, 2021

COVID Travel Picks Up So How Can LGBT Travel Stay Safe

As travel rebounds, and some international borders open to U.S. residents – especially, or exclusively, if you're fully vaccinated – you'll need to pack more than a suitcase to ensure safe trips during the pandemic's latter days, and far beyond.

After all, it's not quite a COVID-free world yet, nor will it be for a while. (And yes, I'm staring at those who traveled to dance parties and other superspreader events during the height of the pandemic.)

Since the world packs travel hazards besides COVID-19, from accidents to dangerous individuals and villainy targeting queer tourists, the National LGBT Media Association compiled some advice and resources for LGBTQ travelers to take into consideration. Bon (safe) voyage! 

'Travelers are ready to explore':LGBTQ travelers leading the way to tourism recovery 

Before booking that flightcruise, hotel or car rental, secure a travel insurance policy. Make sure it covers COVID-19 related calamities, including hospitalization and cancellations on either your end or that of the airline, cruise line, hotel, tour company, etc. – as many learned since March 2020, most policies did not cover everything.

For several years before the pandemic hit, I took out an annual individual policy with Allianz (they've added COVID-19 benefits to some policies), which I made one claim on during early 2019 for a doctor's visit in Singapore. The claims process was easy and paid out in a timely manner – a simple urgent-care illness situation that included medication. 

When my husband joined me in Bangkok for just a week, I purchased a single trip policy from Travel Guard for him (which does not appear to cover COVID-19, as of now). LGBTQ-friendly insurance company Seven Corners offers policies for both singles and same-sex couples, and can even ensure you stay together if a medical evacuation is required for one partner – check out the video about clients Daniel and Felipe on their LGBTQ landing page. Seven Corners also offers policies covering COVID-19. 

Lastly, if you have homeowners insurance, inquire whether your personal property is covered against destruction or theft while traveling.

Geotag everything

Be sure to activate your phone, iPad and laptop's geolocation features. Worst-case scenario, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your iPhone's been stolen if it's suddenly five miles away from where you last left it and can deactivate the device (also, though: Don't leave your phone unattended).

I've learned it's an all-too-common practice for airlines to take bags off planes pre-departure if the vessel's too weight-heavy or may excessively tax its fuel supply. They won't always confess yours lost the lottery and where it's chilling, but Apple's new tracking device, AirTag, could spill the tea.

 Know the LGBTQ+ laws of the land

Homosexuality is still illegal and even punishable by death in parts of the world. Some of these anti-LGBTQ laws entail toothless legislative holdovers, like Singapore's Penal Code Section 377A, which remains on the books despite ongoing legal challenges and an open, even thriving local gay scene (and entertainers like “Drag Race Thailand” queen Vanda Miss Joaquim). 

 for same-sex relations include Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northwest Africa's Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

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