The love of traveling is almost universal, however, the experience varies from person to person. For some it’s simple - you pick a location, buy a ticket, find a place to stay, and enjoy your trip. However, for others, specifically minority groups, there are certain obstacles that pop up along the way.
There are still 72 countries with anti-gay laws and still many states within the US that do not have any laws against discrimination in public accommodations. In other words, a member of the LGBTQI+ community can be refused service at a restaurant, hotel, museum, and even a doctor’s office.
Other issues which may arise are for those whose religious beliefs are not “traditional.” Some Muslim and Jewish travelers have dietary restrictions or need places to pray. While traveling is about immersing yourself in a new culture it does not mean you have to abandon your entire belief system, however, it can be difficult to find halal and kosher friendly hotels.
Society has come a long way in awarding and accepting minority rights, however, some countries are more progressive than others.
As a result, some minority groups require more resources when traveling, and thankfully there are many at their disposal. There are 3 different types of resources to help you plan for the best trip possible: blogs, trip-planning tools and apps.
Sociologists like Stuart Hall believe that representation and identity are entwined, and as a result, representation influences one’s identity. Therefore, if people are shown examples of others like them traveling it makes it easier for them to imagine traveling themselves.
People within minority groups often share the same struggles, which is why it can be beneficial to hear the travel experiences of someone who understands them.
While representation is significant, it is also important for certain minority groups to have access to the resources needed to plan a trip. However, the accommodations needed vary based on the minority group.
Whether it is dietary specifications or knowing whether you would even be allowed into a certain location, these are important questions and knowing the answers to them can considerably affect your trip.
In other words, you may not want to go to one of the usual trip-planning websites, but instead, go to a source which understands the obstacles you may face when traveling.
When it comes to sleeping arrangements there are lgbtqi+ friendly websites like Purple Roofs and World Rainbow Hotels. There are also resources like Olivia Cruises and Source Events when booking a trip.
For those who are members of the Jewish community you can use websites like the Jewish Travel Agency and Totally Jewish Travel to plan your next trip. Websites like these make it easy for you to plan a trip that allows you to respect and follow your religious beliefs.
Not only do we have access to resources online, but there are also many apps available which can help members of minority groups feel better when traveling.
Refuge Restroom is an app for, transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people find safe restrooms near them.
Gay Cities is an app with a combination of social networking and recommendations which allows travelers to find safe lgbtqi+ businesses and meet others within the community.
Muslim Pro is a great travel app to help find local prayer times as well as which direction to pray towards. The Halal Navi app can help you find Halal restaurants, hotels, and prayer rooms while on vacation.
Some black owned travel apps are Black Nation and Capway. The Black Nation app helps you find the nearest black owned businesses, which can be helpful when traveling. The CapWay app is a banking app that can help you save for your next trip.
The Minyan Now app alerts other jewish men nearby when someone is looking for a minyan, and allows them to communicate in order to meet. This can be helpful when traveling because it allows you to communicate with others from within the jewish community and form a minyan no matter where you are.
The Kosher Near Me app shows you where to find the nearest kosher restaurants and grocery stores which can be helpful when you are traveling and unfamiliar with your surroundings.
The Be My Eyes app helps connect visually-impared individuals with sighted volunteers who can help then navigate their way through unfamiliar surroundings, and when traveling most of your surroundings are new.
Wheel Mate is an app that can help you locate the nearest wheelchair-accessible restroom which is useful when traveling.
Traveling is a unique experience which varies based on the individual, but if you are part of the minority issues can arise that can negatively impact your trip. While it would be ideal for everyone to be accommodated it is not likely to happen overnight. So in the meantime we have to find ways to travel safely and happily, and thankfully there are many resources out there for members of minority groups to do just that.