The world is finally opening up as more and more countries are relaxing their attitude towards the LGBT community. This means that there are now more places where gay travelers can go without a fear of violence or discrimination.  LGBT travelers are a growing market and several places have recently been identified as LGBT friendly. The following list may help with travel planning.

The appeal of sun and sand – gay friendly beach destinations

The sparkling blue ocean and sandy beaches stretching for miles on sunny days provide ample opportunities to enjoy beach sports – most people define an ideal vacation in this manner. If you love the beach and and pristine waters, the Caribbean is the place to be. There are several islands that are LGBT friendly like Saba, St. Martin and St. Barts and don’t forget, Puerto Rico. The Saba Island is particularly noteworthy for its water sports like diving and hiking facilities and has gay and lesbian population of its own.  If you are looking for some quiet moments away from the frenzy of modern cities, hit the St. Barts Island. The private villas and the laissez-faire French culture will allow you to unwind and soak in the beauty of the Caribbean in luxury.  However, Puerto Rico makes its mark for its thriving nightlife and Miami is another vibrant location that invites everyone to enjoy the sun, sand, bars and restaurants for what promises to offer a fun time.

If you are ready to travel far and wide, Australia can be the ideal place for you. The country is gay friendly and it sits along a backdrop of exquisite beaches memorable natural locations. The cities of Melbourne and Sydney draw gay and lesbian people in huge numbers. The North Bondi Beach of Sydney is known as one of the best gay beaches in the world. Australia also puts on a fabulous Mardi Gras for the large number of tourists that come each year just to let their hair down for that event.  Australia’s climate is generally warm year-round and there’s always a cultural show or event to be found.

Other cities that play great hosts to the LGBT community

There are several well known tourist destinations of the world that promote LGBT tourism. Among them Berlin, Amsterdam and Brighton deserve special mention.  Berlin has attained legendary status for its tolerance towards LGBT people. On the other hand, Amsterdam has become the gay and lesbian capital of Europe with its innumerable gay hotels, bars, nightclubs and sport clubs. If you are keen to visit this lovely city, do so in the month of August. The water-borne gay-pride parade of the city is something you should witness.

Photo:  Vicki Burton

Brighton- the theatre hub of England is a popular destination for LGBT people for its hotels, saunas and cafes. Rio de Janeiro is famous for its Carnaval that takes place during February-March.

Down the far East, Thailand is fast emerging as a world tourism hotspot and with no prominent antigay culture, it is becoming favorable to the LGBT community. Bangkok is famous for its thriving nightlife and the scenic beaches and colorful markets. You can plan a happening vacation in this oriental country.

Some other places worth visiting if you just want to have fun and frolic include New York, Prague and Puerto Vallarta. Choose locations that appeal to you and your partner and have a memorable vacation.