Connecticut Voice

Your LGBTQ+ Voice

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Part II: LGBTQ+ Top Travel Destinations, Danger Zones, and Experiences to Treasure

Two girls stand holding hands on the background of the Lofoten Islands, traveling to Norway, Scandinavia northern Europe

By Ashley Rogers


LGBTQ+ people are some of the most itinerant and exuberant travelers, and many have the income and the inclination to “do it up right.” Even if your beer budget doesn’t match your champagne tastes there are tremendous, life-changing destinations, both globally and close to home, that are welcoming the queer community with like-minded people and great adventures to explore.

Although there’s no one-size-fits-all vacation spots or business travel destinations, there are some areas of the world that are more inclusive, accepting, and welcoming to LGBTQ+ travelers. Select hotels, airlines, booking agents and guides that cater to this large travel audience have also jumped on the Rainbow bandwagon, recognizing the lucrative opportunities with this audience, who LGBT Capital says has purchasing power exceeding $3.9 trillion globally.

Same-sex couples also tend to have more disposable income, because they are less likely to have children and more likely to both be employed, according to an article in The New York Times in June, 2023. Married gay men have the most spending power, with a median household income that is more than $25,000 higher than their straight and lesbian counterparts, the article reports.

To identify which companies are truly gay friendly—and not just providing lip service to get a piece of the LGBTQ+ pie—the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) has created an innovative initiative for LGBTQ+ travelers who seek genuine accountability in their travel experiences.

John Tanzella, IGLTA President and CEO explains. “The 2022 Edelman trust and credibility survey unveiled a compelling shift in consumer behavior: nearly 60 percent of consumers now make purchasing decisions based on shared beliefs. These findings hold significant implications for businesses aiming to attract LGBTQ+ travelers who seek genuine accountability in their travel experiences. To address this need for authenticity, IGLTA has introduced IGLTA Accredited. This groundbreaking initiative—which is open to hotels and accommodations worldwide—establishes an independent quality assurance process that offers concrete evidence of participating hotels’ sincere welcome to LGBTQ+ guests through tangible actions, going beyond mere words. Travel advisors can now confidently direct LGBTQ+ clients to accommodations that truly embrace and support them, wherever they go.”

Misterb&b has been likened to Airbnb for the LGBTQ+ community. The company’s founder, Mattieu Jost, says “Hosts are able to sign up through the platform and list their extra bed, room, or full house with a verification of identity and proof of residency. Guests can then explore over one million accommodation options from our hosts, as well as LGBTQ+-friendly hotels and hostels. Users can sort accommodations by amenities that are important to them, from LGBTQ+-friendly gyms and spas on-site to naturist-friendly accommodations.

“After booking their stays through the app, misterb&b users can connect with their host or, with the launch of our new in-app travel social network Weere, they can find and connect with other travelers,” Jost says.

International brands such as Hyatt, Marriott, and the W hotel are on the IGLTA’s list, as are Others World Rainbow Hotels, Purple Roofs, and Sparticus, which list gay-owned hotels and guesthouses. LGBTQ+-friendly airlines include American, United and Delta. The best search engines for LGBTQ+ travel according to IGLTA are FabStays, Trip Advisor (type in LGBTQ+ or Gay and get real traveler reviews), and Misterb&b. And reputable tour companies include Out Adventures, HE Travel, Atlantas Events for cruises aimed at the party crowd, and BRANDg.

BRANDg ( is one of the premier LGBTQ+ river and land cruise travel companies in the world. The luxury company offers a buffet of exotic, top-of-the-line, all-inclusive trips including river cruises along the Danube, Rhine, Mekong, Ganges, and Amazon Rivers; glamorous African safaris; and land expeditions to places like Egypt, Bordeaux, Nepal, Morocco, Cambodia and Colombia.

They cater to well-seasoned travelers, with a median age of 60, but also have guests ranging in age from 20-80 on their trips. Approximately 20 percent of travelers are singles, and the company has a program that provides discounts for single travelers and also matches single travelers with other solo guests. All trips are 4.5- or 5-Star luxury experiences.

According to their co-founder and owner, Brian Van Wey, what makes their trips special is the size of the trips (from 40–200 people), the intimacy and service such small groups afford, and the lasting friendships that result from this environment aimed at “real travelers”, not traditional tourists.

“Our trips are authentic. The people are authentic, and the experience is authentic. Because we are a smaller group, we are able to offer trips that are really curated to our travelers. Whether it’s the food, the entertainment, the excursions, it’s not just a cookie-cutter type thing. We provide something unique for our guests,” says Van Wey. “You can play the right music. You can have the right appetizers, but it’s really the people you invite to the party that make it a success. And yes, you’re going to see the big five in Africa, but it’s that sunset that you had with these new friends 3,000 miles away, on a trip you’ve all always dreamed about. That is the magic and the memories you will cherish.”

Philanthropy is an also a huge part of BRANDg. “From our first trip, where we were working with Prague Pride, and then when we were in Vietnam there was a school there that we have a long-term relationship with. We built a library. We provide books, and we get computers. We put a roof on a school in Miramar. In India we have a project with an orphanage. So, for each destination we go to, we try to have a local charity. I think giving back is beyond instrumental to what we do because it is the core of who we are as people. Also, it really makes our guests feel good about the destinations we’re in.”

Insider Monkey  (, a finance website that aggregates select data from SEC filings to help users trade like insiders, complied an informative list of the “15 Gayest Cities in the World” in 2023. In ascending order they are: Rio de Janero, Toronto, Miami, Sydney, Berlin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, New York City, and San Francisco.

The publication also identified the 20 Most Dangerous Cites, with the top 5 being (5) Saudi Arabia, (4) Nigeria, (3) Somalia, (2) Afghanistan, and (1) Yemen.

IGLTA’s John Tanzella cites São Paulo, New York City, Palm Springs, London, Sydney, Cape Town, and Osaka as offering vibrant LGBTQ+ communities, diverse cultural experiences, and a range of LGBTQ+ events and festivals.

If your next vacation is a “staycation” in Connecticut, Anthony Anthony, Chief Marketing Officer of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, offers up his state’s best of the best. “Connecticut is an incredibly welcoming state. From pro-LGBTQ+-friendly legislation being passed and signed by Governor Lamont, to Harford being named one of the most “exciting LGBTQIA-friendly cities in the world” by we talk a big game and back it up where it matters most, in people’s everyday lives.”

New Haven was also hailed as one of top 52 places to go in the world by The New York Times in 2023 ( “For those who want to experience a coastal vibe, Mystic has a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that appeals to LGBTQ+ travelers. Visitors can explore its charming downtown area, visit the acclaimed Mystic Aquarium, eat copious amounts of oysters, and indulge in unique boutique shopping experiences,” Anthony adds,

As potentially exciting as travel is, LGBTQ+ business travelers may face a few issues that regular vacationers do not, so it’s important to know your company’s policies, rights and support network prior to traveling to any country that is not welcoming—or has explicit anti-LGBTQ+ policies. Conducting business in a country that does not respect, recognize or even worse punishes homosexuals can be tricky, while trying to represent your business in a positive light. Understanding the cultural, legal, and social nuances of these countries, as well as the corporate complexities of doing business in these regions is key.

Whether business or pleasure, there’s a big, incredible world out there and the LGBTQ+ community is taking this world by storm. So do your homework, find the right destination, and activities that are tailor-made for you … then enjoy, have fun and be proud.

This is Part 2 of our travel series “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” To read Part 1 go to ….