Tips for Travelling As a Lesbian Couple: Interview with Maartje and Roxanne

Tips for Travelling As a Lesbian Couple: Interview with Maartje and Roxanne

Maartje and Roxanne are two Dutch girls who fell in love and decided to travel the world together as an LGBT couple. has interviewed them to learn more about the challenges they have faced as a lesbian couple in different countries and LGBT travel advice that can help other people plan and enjoy a trip abroad. Read the interview and get to know these amazing travel experts!


One of your tips for traveling LGBT couples is to adapt to the country’s culture. Is there any destination where you found it particularly difficult to blend in?

Blending in is hard for us anywhere, as we’re both very tall and blonde! But with regards to adapting to a culture, we usually look at how local couples behave and if there are any same-sex couples showing affection in public. Public displays of affection (P.D.A.) in Asia, for example, are considered ‘indecent behavior’ for everyone - also straight couples. So when no couples hold hands nor kisses in public, neither do we. That can be hard for couples that are used to being very affectionate in public, but for us, it is always quite easy to adapt.


Is there any tip you wished you had known before you started traveling together?

We were afraid to create an Instagram-account where we’re openly gay and visible to the whole world. There is always so much hate, so many homophobes online, that we thought we would expose ourselves to all that hate. But the opposite happened: we get so many heart-warming messages from girls who see our travels and lifestyle as an inspiration.

Girls that came out because they saw that it was possible. Girls finally deciding to go travel with their girlfriend, because they now know where to go safely - and because we show how beautiful the world can be, ALSO for gay couples. And the haters?! They don’t follow us, because why would they?

lgtb travel couple


Have you ever felt discriminated against as an LGBT couple? If so, where did it happen?

We are very fortunate that we’ve never experienced any direct discrimination as an LGBT couple. Of course, we’ve had difficulties with booking a double bed in a hotel, but we were never denied a room because we’re a couple. We’re both straight-passing, so that helps us a lot while traveling. We have experienced discrimination in Vietnam for being white/blond, but that was unrelated to being queer.


Can you think about any destination that surprised you for being more open to LGBT couples than you have thought? And the other way around?

We traveled to Taiwan before same-sex marriage was legal, and it surprised us! We saw PDA by same-sex couples (remember, PDA in Asia is rare in general) and there was such a welcoming vibe throughout the country! Surprisingly, we don’t feel all that safe in the United States. We know every state and even city is very different, but it’s a country where we’ve heard a lot of offensive language towards us as a lesbian couple. Where people in Asia keep their opinions to themselves, in the USA everyone seems to want to share their unasked opinion. And offensive language can be scary because we never know if something worse follows.

What was the most homophobic country you visited as an LGBT couple? Did you try to hide your relationship while you were there?

We visited a few homophobic countries, including Brunei. Brunei was in the news in 2019 for having a death penalty for people that have gay sex. Other countries we visited that aren’t gay-friendly are Russia and Ethiopia. In those countries, we ‘hid’ our relationship, though we noticed in Russia many girls walk hand in hand, so we could too! Our advantage is that people always think we are sisters. Of course, it’s weird for us when people think that, but it helps us while traveling. Now that we are all over the Internet as a lesbian couple, it is more difficult to hide our relationship. That’s why when we traveled to Ethiopia we went ‘offline’ for the time we were there.


What information do you consider essential for LGBT couples to research before a trip?

It’s essential to look up the laws. If being gay is illegal, you have to know about it before you visit a place! But at the same time, the laws shouldn’t scare you. As a tourist, not all the laws that apply to locals, apply to you. Sometimes laws aren’t enforced at all. And the public opinion often differs from the laws too, so it’s a great idea to connect to other LGBT travelers (in Facebook groups for example) and hear their experiences.

travel the world as a lesbian couple


What would you tell LGBT couples that are afraid to visit homophobic countries?

Of course, you should not visit a country that you’re afraid of. But, we also have to say: every country has homophobes. There is not a single country in the world without them. But for countries with explicit anti-LGBT legislation, you have to be comfortable with going back in the closet, toning down PDA with your partner, etc. But if you are a curious traveler like we are, don’t shy away from these countries only because it’s ‘bad to support such nations’, because every single country has LGBT people. And not visiting a country because of the laws, only hurts the local LGBT community. As a tourist, you’re always much safer and there are many ways to visit an anti-gay country safely as a queer person.


Maartje and Roxanne also share their experiences on their Instagram and their blog Once upon a journey, where you can find useful travel tips, beautiful photos of their destinations and guides to more than 20 countries. These gay travel gurus give advice about accommodation, what to eat and things to do, so their website is definitely a good resource to get some travel inspiration.


As you can see, it is possible to travel as an LGBT couple anywhere in the world if you follow these experts' advice. If you investigate a little bit before your trip, you can even find activities to learn more about the LGBT history and background of some places. A good example is this free tour in Mexico City; from LGBT pre-Hispanic traditions to the actual site of Latin America's first equal marriage, you can learn everything there is to know about this community in the city.

Visit and book your tour now!

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