National Services Scotland logo

Fit for Travel Logo

Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad. About us.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Travellers

Attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) travellers vary significantly around the world. In eight countries, homosexuality is still punishable by death, a further 72 countries and territories worldwide continue to criminalise same-sex relationships, including 45 that outlaw sexual relationships between women.

Some countries may recognise some LGBT rights, however, this does not guarantee cultural acceptance, certain acts may not be legal and the local population may be intolerant of LGBT travellers. It is advisable to carefully research the cultures, laws and customs of intended destinations before booking travel. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)Icon Newwindow website provides individual country information on travel safety warnings, details of the nearest British Embassy or Consulate, and information on local laws and customs.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex AssociationIcon Newwindow website provides maps which detail information about LGBT rights across the world and highlight potentially dangerous regions and countries.

Key Points for LGBT Travellers

  • Cultural attitudes and laws regarding LBGT people vary significantly around the world, carefully research intended destinations in advance of booking.
  • In some countries where homosexuality is illegal, the police have been known to carry out entrapment campaigns, deliberately trying to entice people to partake in same-sex sexual activities.
  • Local LGBT groups may be best placed to advise on the attitude of local residents hold towards LGBT community.
  • Some countries may recognise some LGBT rights; however, it may not be culturally accepted.
  • LGBT travellers may be subjected to hate crimes; overt displays of physical affection may be best avoided in some countries.
  • Criminals sometimes exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of the gay scene - be cautious of new acquaintances.

Travelling for Pride

If you are travelling to an international Pride celebration, including those held within Europe, it may be advisable to get vaccinations before you go.

Please see our destination pages for country specific travel advice, including detailed information on any advisable vaccines.

Personal Safety and Security

LGBT travellers may be subjected to hate crimes; these crimes are known to be under reported, consequently the true extent of the problem is not fully understood. 

As with any traveller, LGBT travellers should research intended destinations prior to booking travel. Gathering knowledge of intended destinations can increase awareness of potential risks, allowing travellers to best prepare themselves in advance of travel.

Travellers intending to visit ‘cruising areas’ or use dating apps should be encouraged to exercise extreme caution and to take sensible precautions if meeting someone:

  • Tell a friend or have a friend in the same vicinity.
  • Limit the amount of personal details revealed.
  • Meet in a public place, ideally during the day.
  • Moderate drug and/or alcohol consumption (stay in control).
  • Plan own transport i.e. do not agree to be picked up or dropped off by the person being met.

For further information on personal safety and security whilst travelling please refer to the Personal Safety advice page.

Sexual Health

Research shows that a large number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur as a result of unprotected sexual intercourse during international travel. This may be attributed to aspects of travel which encourage risk-taking behaviours such as freedom from usual social restraints, increased alcohol and/or drug use, increased opportunity, loneliness and peer pressure.

Please see the Sexual Health Risk Reduction section of our Sexual Health Risks page for detailed risk management advice.

Culture Shock

Cultural attitudes towards LGBT travellers vary greatly across the world. Experiencing cultures with differing values, customs and social behaviours may leave LGBT travellers vulnerable to culture shock. LGBT travellers should be encouraged to consider the cultural background of intended destinations prior to booking travel.

For further information on the management of culture shock please refer to the Culture Shock advice sheet.

Passport Identity

Transgender travellers may obtain a passport in their new name by providing documentary evidence detailing the date and circumstance of the name change, the Identity and Passport ServiceIcon Newwindow provides detailed information on this subject.

Further Information

Further information and advice for LGBT travellers can be found via the following links:

back to top