Top Turkey Travels: Five LGBT-Unfriendly Places to Avoid

by Ed Salvato
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Nov 11, 2010

I'm a glass-half-full kind of traveler. Rarely will you find me saying I dislike a destination - or warning my readers not to go somewhere.

I can count on one hand the places I wouldn't go and that's mostly because they probably wouldn't want this gay journalist poking around. Saudi Arabia, any one?

There are plenty of turkeys that I've seen my gay sisters and brothers choose for their vacation, though. So, as I launch my new Top Five column, I start with a vaguely Thanksgiving theme to help LGBT travelers avoid common travel pitfalls.


This is the only destination I have always actively avoided. I mean, I’d sooner go to Iran!

The Caribbean is pretty conservative and ’Bible thumpy’ in general (with a few noteworthy exceptions like Curacao, St. Barts, and others), but Jamaican culture seems to go out of its way to choke its LGBT community with the threat of violence. That said, if you go to Jamaica, the Hotel Mocking Gird Hill is a gay-friendly eco-boutique hotel that’s quietly welcomed gay and lesbian guests for years.

All-Inclusive Resorts

Some of the Club Meds are more adult oriented, including the Club Med Ixtapa, which recently benefited from a multi-million dollar enhancement. But all things considered, wouldn’t you rather be around other gays and lesbians instead of heterosexuals with their children?

If you must go to a straight all-inclusive, consider going when US children are in school. Or go when one of the gay and lesbian tour operators takes over the joint for their all-gay all-inclusive: RSVP Vacations, Atlantis Events, Sweet, or R Family Vacations

Las Vegas

Las Vegas?! Relax - Las Vegas is a wonderful place for LGBT travelers. In fact, it is one of the most popular destinations for lesbian and gay travelers in the country.

My point: Don’t stay at a boring, characterless motel or a low-rent boozy, smoky hotel on the strip like Imperial Palace to save money. There are plenty of deals to be had, including at very nice hotels that offer LGBT travelers a discount for, well, being LGB or T!

Check out the fabulous and surprisingly affordable exclusive gay packages on Encore Hotel’s gay-specific microsite,

Straight Cruises

I’ve been on over a dozen cruises, including three straight ones on a variety of ships. In a word: Yawn.

Instead, take a gay cruise. Yeah, I’ve heard it a million times, "I wouldn’t be caught dead on a gay cruise." Invariably, that’s someone who’s never been on one. And almost equally invariably that very same person says, "That was the best vacation of my life," after taking their first gay cruise.

My advice: Go on a gay, lesbian, or gay family cruise. For your next cruise visit: RSVP Vacations, Atlantis Events, Sweet, or R Family Vacations


This was the marketing term launched at the height of the recession when it was clear that gay and lesbian travelers like their mainstream counterparts were hunkering down at home. Airline, hotel, and other bookings plummeted. Clever destination marketers made lemons from lemonade turning non-traveling locals into temporary visitors.

Well, the recession is officially over, and even if you’re not making as much money as you were in 2007, you’ve really got to get out of your hometown. Check back here or at for lots of great options for all budgets.

Ed Salvato is a gay travel expert, editor, and writer. He recently joined OutThink Partners, a strategic marketing and communications agency specializing in the LGBT travel segment, as managing director of their New York City office.


  • , 2010-12-05 06:13:13

    I wonder howyou missed Olivia in your list of gay/lesbian travel companies. She’s only the largest, most trusted brand in the industry. 21 years, 100’s of vacations....what’s up. check it out Ed.

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