Lesbian Travel: Finding Your Place in the World as a Lesbian Traveller

by | May 8, 2024

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Last updated on May 14th, 2024

Featured image: Travel is a way to explore and to find your place in the world | Photo by micens on Envato

Creating safe spaces for women

by Ginny Lunn, Joint Owner, Walking Women

I sit here in Zurich looking at these magical mountains, reflecting on travelling as a lesbian. This is a topic that I am often asked about. It is so important to provide opportunities to be able to be openly gay and travel safely.

It feels like this is the time to write about travelling as a lesbian and why lesbian holidays are part of what WalkingWomen offers – and has always offered since the company began 24 years ago.

Lesbian travel isn’t just a niche market for us; it’s a profound commitment to our roots and to every woman who still seeks safe spaces. Our approach is inclusive of all women, and we continually strive to collaborate to bring rich experiences to our guests but also to be able to suggest other experiences if ours are not right. For those looking for different experiences, we are here to help connect you with the perfect adventure, ensuring everyone finds a holiday that feels right for them.

Feeling safe living in Zurich

I am very lucky to be in a country where same-sex marriage between women is possible and in a city where I have never felt intolerance. I can be open and safe as a lesbian.

But sadly, this is not the case everywhere. We live in a world where 41 countries still criminalise ‘lesbianism’ and where we are still subject to arrest or threat of arrest. We still feel discrimination in workplaces, in families and in our day-to-day life.

I reflect on my own life and on what being gay means for me as a traveller. I grew up in a small rural village and saw no one like me. As soon as I could, I traveled to explore and to find myself and my place in the world. To be able to travel and have freedom to explore and experience without fear of prejudice and discrimination – to feel safe and supported is so important.

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To be able to travel without fear or prejudice is so important/ Photo provided by Walking Women

Questions about lesbian travel

One bed or two?

I have travelled a lot. Over 40 years ago, I met my first partner while travelling in Spain. I was shy and definitely kept our relationship hidden. Years later, I had a partner who always felt embarrassed checking into a hotel and asking for a double bed!

Sometimes, as two women booking a hotel, we were automatically given two beds and we had to return to reception to ask for a change of rooms. I am sure this isn’t uncommon. That look at check-in! Happily, I don’t face it so much now, but it does sometimes still exist in some places.

And sometimes we know women book two twin beds rather than getting that look!

What bed do you prefer?

I love it when women ring up and say, “I want a double bed for my wife and me.” They know there is no judgment, and we can happily deliver.

This is why I love that my sister and I own and run the travel company WalkingWomen which does what it says – walking holidays for women.

 Women join from all over the world to come together to be outdoors, walk, talk and have special time together in the company of other women / Photo credit Walking Women

Are there lesbian holidays?

We run over 60 holidays a year for women, and within these 60 holidays, we have some which are our ‘ lesbian’ holidays. Sometimes, we dedicate our holidays to lesbian women to provide an opportunity for lesbian women to be together, to walk together, to relax together, and to share experiences together. We know it’s important as we have requests all the time.

The rest of our holidays are for all women and it is equally important for all women to feel they can be themselves, where they know they will have a women’s guide and a hotel safe for women. Sometimes we women just want this time – to walk, connect and revive.

Over the last few years, we have been holding an annual summer lesbian holiday at the Glaramara Hotel in Borrowdale, Lake District, England. This was something that was started by the original founder, Diane, and we are proud to carry on the tradition she began. This year, we have taken over the whole hotel and have added live music and other surprises to the evening entertainment.

We have just a few rooms left, so please join us for the Annual Lesbian Break Glaramara in August 2024. Read more here! 

Find a lesbian-friendly tour or retreat on the women's travel directory. Lesbian travel tours.

Being recognized and valued as a lesbian

We have other holidays we include in our programme – enjoying the winter sun together in Malaga and trying snow sports together in the French Alps, where we stay at a lesbian-run French chalet.

Our answer lies in the belief that is important to remember our history and what we have fought hard for – to be recognised and valued. While the broader travel industry has made strides in inclusivity, the reality remains that lesbian women often face unique challenges and discomforts when travelling. These can range from the awkwardness at hotel check-ins to more severe forms of discrimination. We want to do our bit to address this.

At WalkingWomen, we believe in celebrating the strides we’ve made while acknowledging the road ahead. Our lesbian-specific holidays provide a sanctuary where lesbian women can celebrate their identities openly, connect deeply with one another, and enjoy their travels without hesitation or fear. These trips aren’t about exclusion but about creating a space that honours our journey and fosters community.

 We will continue to celebrate, offer our walking adventures, listen, and develop to bring all sorts of holidays to women.

More on Inclusive Travel

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