Lesbian Solo Travel: All the Things to Know Before You Go

Here's how to stay safe and have a great time on your next trip-even if none of your friends want to join you.

© 2021 Orbitz, LLC, an Expedia Group Company. All rights reserved.
© 2021 Orbitz, LLC, an Expedia Group Company. All rights reserved.
© 2021 Orbitz, LLC, an Expedia Group Company. All rights reserved.

After over a year in lockdown, most of us are more than ready to hop on a plane or make other travel plans this summer. If you have never traveled solo before, there is no better time to explore a new destination by yourselfafter all, post-pandemic, most of us are used to spending more time alone than we ever were before. We already know female travelers have bigger safety concerns than men; but lesbians may face additional challenges such as awkward questions from strangers about orientation, finding a community to hang with when they’re on the road, and more. Read on to find the best lesbian travel destinations, what you can expect, and suggestions for making it your best trip yet.

Best-bet destinations to explore solo

If this is your first solo trip, I recommend starting with a domestic trip. You won’t have the language barriers and unfamiliar traditions, and you can utilize apps you already know well (maps and more), without having to rely on WiFi access or buying an international data plan.

The most important thing to start with is deciding what kind of trip you want: an outdoorsy getaway that involves hiking and nature, a city trip with culture and nightlife, or maybe a road trip to simply get a change of scenery.

If you are looking to take a city trip, I suggest starting with a gay-friendly city. If you’ve already been to popular gay-friendly cities such as New York and San Francisco, and are looking for something new, consider these spots:

Austin, Texas: Austin has a large queer community and a great LGBT nightlife with an amazing food scene (self-guided breakfast taco crawl, anyone?). The city offers an eclectic mix of art – museums, street art and galleries – and sporty activities like kayaking or stand up paddling on the Colorado River, both unique ways to see the city. While you’re there, check out the terrific live music scene featuring country, rock, blues and folk.

Columbus, Ohio: This is another stellar destination for queer travelers. The city has one of the largest LGBTQ+ communities in the US so you’ll find several queer-owned local shops and gay bars there, including Slammers Bar and Pizza Kitchen, one of the last 15 remaining lesbian bars in the country.

P-Town or Puerto Rico: If you are in need of a beach getaway, consider Provincetown, Massachusetts, the best-known queer holiday destination in the US, where you won’t have any issues connecting with other queer travelers; or Puerto Rico, which is the gay-friendliest island in the Caribbean and doesn’t require a passport.

California’s Pacific Coast: For a great road trip, California’s PCH Highway from San Francisco to San Diego is one of the most scenic drives in the US. If you are looking for a less touristy alternative to this popular route, start your trip in queer-friendly San Francisco but head north instead of south, and drive up the Northern California and Oregon coast. Take a detour through Sonoma Wine Country, where the small town of Guerneville is a popular queer haven. You might even be able to plan your trip around one of their annual LGBT events, such as Gay Wine Week or Sonoma County Pride. If not, you can still dance the night away at one of the two gay bars in town, the landmark Rainbow Cattle Company, or the r3 Hotel bar

Instead of finishing your road trip in Portland (where you should check out the popular gay bar, Crush), drive a couple of hours further north to Astoria, a quaint town right on the Columbia River with an interesting maritime history. Astoria is known for its lively LGBTQ+ community and has plenty of outdoor activities: hiking trails, canoeing, swimming or beach combing. The Astoria Coffeehouse is a queer-owned bistro that is worth visiting, and if you’re lucky, you may be in town for one of their queer parties, called Q Night.

Attend a queer event to find community

If you want to include a queer component to your trip, plan around a lesbian event or a gay Pride parade so you’ll be surrounded by like-minded queer women and lesbians.

Wikitravel is a great starting point to find events. Check out the gay and lesbian travel section where you’ll find an extensive list of the largest Pride events in the world. Other recurring events for lesbians include Dina Shore in California, LadyFest in Atlanta, Girl Splash and Women of Color Weekend (both in Provincetown), and Girls in Wonderland during the annual Gay Days at Disney World Resort in Orlando.

Decide how to handle personal questions

If you are a femme lesbian, traveling solo may prove easier because nobody can tell your sexual orientation from just looking at you. You won’t get any funny looks when you walk into a women’s changing room or a women’s restroom. If you’re a butch-presenting lesbian, however, you might find yourself having to come out repeatedly in certain situations-if you take a tour with other people, if you rent a room in a shared accommodation, if you take an Uber, and so on. There are plenty of situations in which the “partner question” could come up. Decide in advance how you’ll handle it so there will be less stress and more vacay while you’re there.

Take steps to stay safe

Make sure to research your destination thoroughly (especially the specific area of town you’ll be staying in), arrive during the day, and don’t have all your valuables and credit cards on you when you are out exploring. While there, always be conscious of your surroundings, be vigilant when you are going out by yourself at night, and take taxis instead of public transport or walking if that makes you feel safer. Make sure your phone is charged or pack a portable charger so that you’ll be able to find your way back to your hotel or call for a ride no matter where you are.

Make lesbian friends while away

If you are traveling independently, meeting other lesbian travelers or local lesbians can add to the fun. In my travels, I’ve found that there is usually at least one gay bar in the place I’m visiting, but lesbian bars are becoming more and more scarce. Lesbian parties can be a great alternative, or addition, to your itinerary.

A quick search on Google or Facebook for “lesbian events” plus the name of your destination, or “queer events in x” are a good starting point to meeting up with other lesbians. FaceBook in particular has become increasingly useful for lesbian travelers in the past few years. Do a quick search in both “groups” and “events” with the keywords “lesbian,” “queer,” and “LGBT.”

Try to see what’s happening in the place you’re traveling to. In larger cities like New York, Miami, or San Francisco, you’ll find happy hour meetups but also hiking groups, book clubs, and more-a great way to meet lesbians with similar interests.

Dating apps have become the easiest way to connect with local lesbians (even if you’re not looking to hook up) in order to meet up with someone for a night out or to have a drink. Download the apps Her, Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and OkCupid before you leave on your trip; then share your travel plans in your profile and be transparent about what you are looking for. HER, the largest lesbian dating app, also has a listing of lesbian parties, meetups, festivals, and other happenings, so you can also see what is going on in the place you are visiting. You can also use LEX, which started out as a personal connections Instagram account and has since evolved into a text-based dating and social app. You can post an ad on LEX announcing that you’ll be visiting and connect with other lesbians even before you arrive.

Orbitz believes everyone should be able to travel freely, no matter who you are, who you love, or where you’re going. Discover LGBTQIA-welcoming hotels, plan queer-friendly trips, and get inspired to vacation. You’ll feel welcomed whenever you book with Orbitz. Travel As You Are.

Dani Heinrich is the vagabonding writer and photographer behind She has travelled through over 70 countries on four continents and has no plans to stop any time soon. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.


Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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