Summer's here in full swing, meaning now is the perfect time to pack your bags, book your ticket, and take the vacation of your dreams. As dreamy as traveling can be, certain complications could arise because of your identity as a transgender woman. Traveling as a transgender woman can pose several difficulties, ranging from strange looks to threatening situations, which can become challenging to deal with while on vacation.
No one deserves to face discrimination, especially on vacation. As a transgender woman, you have every right to make the most of your trip.
To help you with your travels, here are seven tips for traveling as a transgender woman.
Research As Much As Possible
Traveling as a transgender woman is a unique experience that often requires research. With the proper education, it can be as easy as lounging on a tanning bed and soaking up the rays. There are several things you'll want to consider investigating before you travel. Here are a few questions you could ask yourself to help you get started:
What are the LGBTQ+ laws and regulations like in the place I want to travel to?
Where are the LGBTQ+ hotels and resorts?
Are there any LGBTQ+ events, festivals, or tours I could visit on vacation?
Are women and men viewed as equals in the destination I am traveling to? If not, how can I prevent discrimination?
Researching these points can give you a fresh perspective and clearer insight into your travel destination. Whether you want to travel somewhere local and cozy or distant and daring, proper education is vital to keeping yourself protected.
Gather the Right Gear
Several transgender women feel more comfortable in their bodies with certain tools, equipment, or gear. No matter what helps you feel more in tune with your gender, it's important for you to prioritize comfort and safety on your travels.
As a transgender woman, there are several accessories you could use to help you feel more confident in your body. These objects could include wigs, padded undergarments, gaffs, and more. By taking the accessories that make you feel affirmed in your gender, you can help yourself feel more comfortable on your travels.
Satisfaction in your body is vital to a wonderful travel experience, but safety is even more important. Many transgender women, especially women of color, are often threatened and discriminated against. Because of this, you must pack some extra tools to help keep yourself safe on your travels. These tools include a portable door lock, an alarm keychain, crossbody bags, or a backpack. No matter where you travel, it's important for you to keep your safety in mind.
Navigate the TSA With Confidence
The TSA, known as The Transportation Security Administration, was created to ensure a safe and organized manner of airport travel. Though they can be intimidating, it's important to remember that they pose little threat to you as an ordinary traveler. Remembering this is key to getting through the TSA with ease.
First, remember who the TSA is looking for. They primarily investigate suspicious behavior, so if you take a deep breath and remain calm, they should avoid you.
If you still worry about a bad experience, there are several measures you can take to prevent any extra harm. During your security check, you can inform your TSA officer about your gender identity to avoid unwanted pat-downs and confusion with the scanners. If you would prefer a pat down, specifically by an officer of the same gender identity, feel free to express that - the TSA is usually more than happy to make you comfortable. If you have the extra time and funds, consider signing up for a TSA precheck. This will give you a more personal and private experience, which can help you feel safer during the security check.
The most important thing to remember while navigating the TSA is your rights. If a member of the TSA intimidates you, threatens you, or discriminates against you, do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Reporting them to security or filing a consumer complaint can help protect yourself and other trans travelers. Never be afraid to stand up for what's right!
Consider the Cultural Norms of Your Destination
Attitudes towards different genders and transgender identities vary from culture to culture. Considering your identity as a transgender woman, it's important to consider your presence at your vacation destination. Some destinations might be friendly towards transgender people and women, while others might not be so progressive. Familiarizing yourself with the societal norms of your travel destination can help you feel more relaxed.
Gender is socially constructed, and mannerisms associated with femininity differ between locations. Taking a moment to research how the women of your destination and mimicking their behaviors can make you feel more feminine on vacation. Study women's pronouns and mannerisms in your location to replicate their actions.
Ensure Your Safety as a Woman
Traveling can be scary for anyone, but as a transgender woman, it can be hazardous for you. At Rainbow Getaways, we want our travelers to be as safe as possible, so we educate them on ways to keep themselves safe.
There are several ways you can ensure your safety as a traveling transgender woman. The most prominent thing you can do to keep yourself safe is travel with trusted friends, family, or lovers. Traveling with others is a great way to ensure someone has your back. If you have no one to travel with, consider joining a travel tour or finding a group of other transgender travelers. Teaming up and traveling together is a great way to make new friends and keep each other safe.
If you wish to travel alone, have someone you can rely on back home. Texting a loved one regularly is a great way to let others know about your safety. Packing special tools, such as a hotel door-stopper, hidden wallets, or portable self-defense tools, are great ways to protect yourself from outside threats.
Most importantly, if someone threatens you while you're abroad, do not hesitate to call for help. Teach yourself about the emergency hotlines, routes to safehouses, and the regulations surrounding threats before your travels to keep yourself safe.
Stay Positive - Don't Let Negativity Ruin Your Experience
After hours of researching your rights, packing the proper equipment, navigating the TSA, and braving cultural differences, it's time for you to enjoy your well-deserved vacation. Now is the perfect time to flaunt your confidence and own your identity, so don't be shy! You've worked too hard not to be confident about your identity.
If you do approach cultural confusion, don't be afraid to educate others. You are never obligated to explain your identity to others. However, sharing information is a great way to promote positive education. Even if you do not wish to do this, never feel shy about correcting your pronouns or certain adjectives one might use to describe you. The locals of the destination you're visiting most likely don't know you, so feel free to remain confident.
Unfortunately, encountering transphobic or misogynistic behavior is a common occurrence. That said, you should still be able to enjoy your trip, no matter what others might think of you. Keep your head up and stride with confidence. Don't let the negativity get to you - you've worked far too hard for this vacation, so enjoy it to the fullest!
Vacations are all about savoring new experiences, making new memories, and having fun - so have fun! Being a transgender woman is one only fantastic thing about you. The fact that you're a traveler yearning for adventure is the real reason you're going on vacation, so let that be your motivation. If you keep your head high and remember these tips, you can easily have your perfect vacation.
I hope you found value in these Tips for Traveling as a Transgender Woman. If you're interested in scheduling the trip of your dreams to figure out where to start, schedule a consultation with Rainbow Getaways. Not only will they design a vacation with all your interests in mind, but we will also consider your identity as a transgender woman and keep your safety at the top of our mind.
Rainbow Getaways proudly help travelers of the LGBTQ community (and our allies) research, plan, and book incredible vacations where you feel confident and comfortable enjoying and exploring your destination. We plan each vacation to meet your specific needs, so you'll have an experience just as unique as yours.