With the Defense of Marriage Act decreed unconstitutional and increasing numbers of states and countries permitting same-sex marriages, more and more lesbians are marrying and taking a honeymoon. Merryn Johns, editor-in-chief of Curve magazine, provides her perspective on lesbian travel and honeymoons.
1. What tips do you have for lesbian readers planning a honeymoon?
A) Let your dollar speak for you: Look at the many places where marriage equality exists and choose to financially support a destination that supports same-sex couples. For example, why choose a mainstream straight resort on a Caribbean island that is homophobic, as many of them are?
Look at places such as Curacao, whose tourism board makes a concerted effort to reach out to the LGBT traveler and give something back to them. Look for hotels that are TAG- and IGLTA-approved and support them.
B) Do what your hearts desire, but you don’t have to be cliché about it: Look at the varieties of vacations that give you an experience enriching to lesbians. Olivia cruises offers a world-class lesbian-centric entertainment experience and Sweet merges quality lesbian travel with eco-awareness and voluntourism. These are options for the couple wanting to travel with like-minded people, meet other couples, and form friendships.
C) Do your research: Top on the list of lesbian travel priorities is safety and value for money. Doing your homework might make the difference between a nightmare and the trip of a lifetime.
2. What are the top gay-friendly honeymoon locations in the US?
California ranks very highly in Curve surveys as a top domestic destination; a Sonoma, San Diego region or San Francisco honeymoon sounds good, especially now that Prop. 8 has been repealed. Miami and Key West are very attractive to lesbians especially during Aquagirl and WomenFest.
Las Vegas is also very popular due to its outreach to the LGBT community and its calendar of lesbian events such as Girl Bar Dinah Vegas -- assuming that you’re in the mood to party for your honeymoon!
If you want something quiet and secluded and high in the “paradise” quotient, a destination with a reputation for beauty, quality, tolerance and safety such as Hawaii is very popular.
3. What are the top gay-friendly honeymoon locations outside the US?
Sweden, especially Stockholm, has always valued and sought to attract the lesbian market and offers a high quality mix of nature and culture, and winter or summer offer completely different experiences.
India is making a concerted effort to reach out to the lesbian community and I highly recommend the Taj Mahal as a place to celebrate your love commitment. India is a new player in the LGBT market and while not always viewed as gay-friendly it is very hospitable and has numerous small tour operators offering bespoke travel itineraries to lesbians. High on the fantasy wish list for lovers are Italy, Spain, Argentina. The live-and-let-live ethos of Latin countries (not to mention the wine!) appeal to lesbians.
4. What are the top lesbian travel sites?
Lesbians are discerning online consumers. They may do their research using TripAdvisor or Expedia’s ranking system. Curve travel is also editorially strong and vetted by experienced and reputable travel writers; it ranked highly in our reader survey of reliable travel information. IGLTA has abundant online resources and lists destinations that are actively reaching out to LGBT travelers.
5. Are there specialty tour operators who specialize in arranging tours and honeymoons for lesbian couples that you recommend?
For women wanting to visit India in safety and peace, I can recommend Pink Escapes, which is gay-male-owned and very sensitive to the needs of women wanting to travel the entire region in tolerance and safety. They’ll even haggle for you at the bazaars!
For women wanting an African adventure, I highly recommend the lesbian-owned Wild Rainbow Safaris, which offer itineraries in eight different African countries and custom safaris as well.
For lesbians wanting something exotic but without even needing a passport, try Sand Castle on the Beach, a lesbian-owned beachfront property in St. Croix. Their concierge service is outstanding and they will reveal all the island tours and secrets to you.