LGBTQI+ Family travel:
The LGBTQI+ family always finds dangers in traveling with the family, which is long overdue, everyone should be able to travel with tranquility and peace, but in the meantime, Miles Logistic has brought these tips for you and your family to avoid certain threats.
The world is an amazing place, full of people to meet and places to discover. Traveling can be trickier for LGBTQI+ family, but that doesn’t mean they should stay in New York’s Greenwich Village or Chicago’s Boystown. The vast world is out there for everyone to experience.
Our same-sex family has traveled near and far since our daughters were little, earning and using points and miles along the way. We have a few tips to help make these tours as smooth and stress-free as possible. These travel tips for the LGBTQI+ family shouldn’t be necessary. However, here we are.
Our girls are two of an estimated 3.7 million children who live in LGBTQI+ family nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition to the complications of family travel that all parents with children encounter, there are unique challenges to traveling as a parent who identifies as a member of the LGBTQI+ community.
My husband and I decided that we would continue traveling after adopting our daughters. We wanted to instill a wanderlust in these beautiful girls, encouraging them to be citizens of the world and appreciate the similarities while respecting the differences. As evidenced by our thinnest wallets and stamp-filled passports, we definitely made it.
Traveling as an LGBTQI+ family requires some organization and planning for other families may not be necessary. It doesn’t stop us, and it shouldn’t stop you.
6 Documents LGBTQI+ Family Should Bring:
You have passports for your entire family and that’s all you need, right? This is not necessarily the case for LGBTQI+ parents. You may need to bring additional documents.
It wasn’t too long ago that my husband and I had to prove to several airline employees that our oldest daughter was actually our daughter. Returning to the US from a foreign country, we had to establish that we were its legal guardians. They actually accused us of child smuggling. It was scary and even though we had all our travel documents they still held us back while clarifying our status.
Events like this happen rarely and are more of a concern for younger children who cannot speak for themselves, but these situations are still to be prepared for. Here’s a checklist of what you might need to carry to feel safe during airport and hotel check-in, security checks, and passport control.
Your child’s birth certificate:
If you or your partner are not parents listed on your child’s birth certificate, make sure you have a notarized letter from the parent whose name is listed authorizing you to travel with the child.
Official adoption documentation:
We only stopped taking adoption papers for our daughters when they were 10 or 11 years old. It wasn’t until then that we felt comfortable so they could answer questions for themselves. Add your child’s official adoption documentation from the state you live in to your carry-on bag.
Child custody documents:
Carrying child custody documents is even more important if your children do not have the same last name as you.
Letter of “permission to travel” with notarized signature:
If you and the child you are traveling with do not share the same last name, it is wise to have a letter from your partner (preferably notarized) that stipulates that you are allowed to travel with your child. If you are traveling internationally with a child under the age of 16, U.S Customs and Border Patrol advises that: “Unless the child is accompanied by both parents, the child must have a notarized letter from the other parent or signed by both parents, stating, ‘I acknowledge that my son/daughter is traveling out of the country with [adult’s name] with my permission.’”
Copy of health insurance cards:
In addition to the health insurance cards you have in your wallet, take pictures of the cards so you have digital copies as well. It doesn’t hurt to bring an additional paper copy too. Contact your insurer and see if they will issue a card with your child’s name along with yours (most insurers only issue cards with the insured’s name, however).
Emergency contact information:
Upload a list that includes phone numbers for the pediatrician, dentist, and any other medical professionals your family uses.
This list highlights the one thing LGBTQI+ family should never leave home without, whether their destination is Peoria or Peru: a bag full of their important documents. Carrying them in a sealed plastic bag can help you feel safer when traveling with your kids.
Travel tips for LGBTQI+ family:
In addition to the documents described above, some extra preparations can be helpful for LGBTQI+ family to travel safely and happily.
Choose your destiny wisely:
There are more than 70 countries that make same-sex consensual relationships a crime. In some of them, these “crimes” can carry severe punishment. So why would you go there? Why would you take your kids there? We decided not to travel to specific places because we didn’t want our daughters in these types of countries. You can check the US Department of State website for safety tips for LGBTQI+ travelers. Also use the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association as it is a comprehensive travel planning resource.
Be ready for dumb questions:
Unfortunately, people all over the world can occasionally be ignorant and shameful questions arise. We were asked, “Where is mommy?” when checking into a hotel or on a flight. It gets uncomfortable, but rather than reacting angrily, I try to use this as a teaching moment to help the person better understand my family. Most of the time the person apologizes when corrected, embarrassed by their faux pas.
Sponsor companies that support the LGBTQI+ family:
Travelers want to feel welcome. For LGBTQI+ family, there is the added anxiety of not knowing how they will be received. Eliminate some of that anxiety by using travel brands that train employees on inclusion and make a concerted effort to be queer-friendly. Hilton, Kimpton and Fairmont are some of our favorite hotel brands for this reason. Most US-based airlines also have inclusion training and programs dedicated specifically to LGBTQI+ customers and families.
Be prepared for paperwork headaches:
Before planning your next fabulous adventure abroad, you need to get passports for your family. For LGBTQI+ family, this is not always straightforward. You will need an original birth certificate to obtain a US Department of State passport. Obtain a birth certificate by submitting an application to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The application must be submitted in your child’s state of birth, which is not necessarily the state you now live in.
Single parents may face resistance from the agency because of the lack of a custody agreement. Look for the latest forms that stipulate “Father/Mother/Father” to help alleviate this problem.
When you apply for a child’s passport, you must do so in person with the child and both parents present.
While it can be difficult to travel as an LGBTQI+ family, it’s worth it. I sincerely believe that every time LGBTQI+ family travel, we are showing the world that we are just like any other family. For many people who haven’t seen families like mine, we’re changing their perspective and traveling to some amazing place at the same time.