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    How to Navigate Developing Countries as a LGBTQ+ Traveler

    How to Navigate Developing Countries as a LGBTQ+ Traveler

    How to Navigate Developing Countries as a LGBTQ+ Traveler: Tips for Egypt, Peru, India and Africa

    Looking for new destinations and adventures as an LGBT+ traveler? Europe and the Caribbean have long been popular destinations for gay cruises and land tours – with good reason – but eventually travelers yearn for new and more exotic experiences.

    Fortunately, LGBT+ travel company Brand g Vacations – the #1 operator of luxury all-LGBT+ cruises and land tours – offer vacations to some of the most #lifechanging destinations on earth. These countries (many still developing) offer incredible experiences, exposing visitors to extraordinarily unique cultures; but navigating them can be challenging at best.

    This premise could be an interesting story for June issues and beyond as Pride celebrations begin. It’s also tied in with details about exotic destinations: Egypt, Peru, India and Africa.

    Some of these countries are not traditionally known as “welcoming” to LGBT folk, which causes some guests to wonder why anyone should travel there.

    Brand g co-owner Jeff Gundvaldson explains it this way:

    “We certainly understand travelers’ feelings about supporting a country that has laws or cultural norms that don’t embrace the LGBT community. But we have found that a large segment of the citizens often don’t agree with those laws or norms, and that by traveling there and interacting with the locals, we can have a profound impact on their understanding and acceptance.”

    This, of course, is what makes group travel to these countries so important and valuable to the LGBT+ guest. Traveling in a gay bubble (and its attendant “strength in numbers”) makes the experience infinitely easier than traveling alone, and you’re met with smiles and warmth and gratitude because the tour company has smoothed the way.

    The logistical details of seeing a developing country can be incredibly daunting. One Peru guest told Jeff, “We started trying to put this trip together ourselves, and it was completely overwhelming. Way too many details. When we stumbled onto the Brand g trip, it was like they had created it just for us. We got to see exactly the places we wanted to see, and have every detail handled by somebody else.”

    On a Brand g tour of India about five years ago, a guest had a sudden medical emergency (a heart issue), and the staff were able to get him treated and then airlifted back to the U.S. without incident. That kind of assistance can be worth its weight in gold.

    Here are some of the destinations from Brand g that bear consideration, along with tips for the best ways to travel there.


    Egypt puts the ruins of places like Greece and Turkey to shame. Well-preserved, beautifully presented temples, tombs and more offer some of the most jaw-dropping ancient sites on the planet.

    Brand g, offers an add-on to Jordan which is a must. The stunning sites of Jerash and particularly, Petra (along with the red sand desert of Wadi Rum) will make for a spectacular finish to your journey through these middle eastern gems.

    But being heavily Muslim countries, it’s best to travel with a group, since there can be many hiccups on your own. A gay couple who recently went to Egypt on their own, for example, were refused a room – at a large, international chain hotel – because they were two men traveling together who wanted a king-size bed.

    With a 5-star tour group you’ll likely never feel even a whiff of threat or intimidation, thanks to copious advance planning by pros and the fact that a small security detail travels with the group everywhere they go. When you’re in a bubble like this, you have nothing to worry about and can focus on the amazing sites at hand.


    Peru is a land of extraordinary contrasts, from the jungles of the Amazon to the sophistication of Lima (with one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-star restaurants in the world) to the mysticism of Machu Picchu.

    This country does not suffer from religious strictures the way Egypt does. It’s highly Catholic, but tolerant, and the Pope’s recent blessing of same sex marriages will only strengthen that. What is taxing about seeing Peru are the logistical challenges in trying to see these many varied parts of the country. Luxury tour operators like Brand g have created trips that fold all these planes, trains and buses into a neat and quite well-paced package that allows guests to cruise the Amazon, spend time seeing Lima and Cusco and the Sacred Valley, and tour Machu Picchu – all in 5-star comfort.


    High on the list of #lifechanging destinations that can be overwhelming is India. Again here, a group tour is a must, and a 5-star version will provide you with the sort of hand-holding necessary in a land of overcrowded cities (albeit ones with profound cultural and religious sites) and poverty.

    It will also provide you with the kind of luxurious respites that will restore you after a chaotic day. Luckily, India is inexpensive by American standards, so a 5-star trip here will cost what a 3.5 or 4-star trip would elsewhere. Brand g, which has hosted a dozen trips to India, pair touring the Golden Triangle sites with a peaceful and culturally enlightening river cruise on the Ganges, all using 5-star amenities (river cruise ship, hotels and restaurants).

    Since the amount of travel time it takes to get to India is considerable, those for whom vacation time is less of a concern will often also opt to tour neighboring Nepal & Bhutan, which border India on the north. Bhutan in particular offers some of the most hospitable people on earth, along with spectacular sites like the Tiger’s Nest monastery, which clings to the side of a mountaintop.


    Perhaps nothing is more #lifechanging than sitting in an open-air jeep 20 feet from a pride of lions. Taking a safari is not the place to economize. For starters, low-end tours merely offer drives on paved roads through Kruger National Park’s open areas, where a line of cars are constantly snaking through. This is less of a “game drive” and more of a Disney version of a safari.

    On a luxury safari, you’re drive down dirt paths and through brush with extraordinarily experienced, top-flight rangers. You observe lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes and other species, all from the comfort of a first-class vehicle. The experience is breathtaking.

    And you feel safe. As one guide put it on a private reserve game drive, “Here in the reserve, the wildlife look at a jeep and its occupants as one entity, and a nonthreatening one at that, since no one in these jeeps has ever tried to hurt them.” So they generally ignore the jeep and just go about their activities, which makes for incredible viewing.

    But it would be a shame to visit Africa without seeing some of the other extraordinary sights on this massive continent – like Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, or sophisticated Cape Town, South Africa, one of the world’s great cities. Brand g Vacations packages all of these together to create a beyond imagination luxury trip.

    LGBT+ tourists are some of the most well-traveled and adventurous tourists on earth. If you’re ready to sample the world’s more exotic destinations, there are companies ready to smooth the way.

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