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In need of a rest but don’t want to break the bank? Getting away from it all doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. But planning the perfect budget getaway can be slightly more complex for gay travellers. Not only are you constrained by your budget, there are also worries about how gay-friendly your holiday destination will be to contend with. Is there a good nightlife to discover? What’s the general attitude like on the street? And where’s good to stay?
Ultimately, planning the perfect LGBT-friendly getaway on a shoestring isn’t always easy. So to help you set sail sooner and with less stress, here is a list of the top seven favourite gay- (and budget-) friendly destinations to consider jetting off to. Bon voyage!
1. Berlin, Germany
Inexpensive flights, pints for €4, liberal locals, incredibly friendly and packed with arty types who speak better English than you do, Berlin is an excellent gay-friendly city to explore on a modest budget. Public transport can be a little on the pricey side, so make sure you buy a day pass or Berlin Welcome pass to keep costs down as you explore the city’s incredible cultural scene, which includes over 100 gay clubs.
2. Sitges, Spain
Also known as ‘the San Tropez of Spain’, Sitges is the country’s informal LGBT capital, with a lively gay community, annual Pride parade and plenty of gay-friendly restaurants, hotels, hostels, bars and clubs. It’s a small town which means transport costs are non-existent and flights can be found for less than £100. Time to head for one of Sitges’ 17 sandy, blue flag beaches for some quality “you” time!
3. Madrid, Spain
Heading away from the Spanish coast to the legendary home of gay Spanish nightlife, Madrid is a truly stunning city, where visitors can eat, drink and relax for a very reasonable rate. Accommodation is inexpensive and, as the city is relatively compact, visitors can explore its wonderful culture on foot without shelling out for transport.
4. Prague, Czech Republic
The Czech Republic’s capital Prague is easily one of the most welcoming cities in central Europe – same sex partnerships are legal here and the city is not strongly religious. It’s also brilliantly cheap and absolutely stunning, packed with medieval architecture and cute bars. Order yourself a €1 local beer, sit back and soak up the atmosphere.
5. Bangkok, Thailand
Keen to head further afield and out of Europe? Bangkok has to be seen to be believed, with a vibrant gay nightlife unlike anything you’ve experienced before. While flights will set you back a bit, the cost of food, transport and accommodation won’t hurt your pocket too badly. Even five star stays can cost less than €200 per night, while basic hostels cost as little as €15 per night.
6. Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Argentinian capital is one of the most expensive ‘budget friendly’ places to visit on our list, but as South America’s ‘gay Mecca’, it’s well worth considering as a destination. With a less-than-queer-friendly reputation, South America isn’t on all LGBT travellers’ itineraries, but in comparatively liberal Argentina, you’ll find South American culture without the homophobia – and with some very tasty, very affordable drink and dinner options. Flights will cost you upwards of £600, though.
7. Budapest, Hungary
Returning to Europe, many LGBT visitors will be surprised by the openness of Budapest’s residents. The city’s first Pride festival was held here in 1997 and progress has been steady, although not exactly visible in day-to-day life. It’s also an incredibly cheap destination. Visitors can enjoy the astonishing architecture, rich history, thriving markets, amazing food and drink and a vibrant club scene for as little as £25 per night in the city’s hostels.
Do you have a favourite low-cost LGBT-friendly holiday destination? Share your picks, trips and tales with other readers below.
Hilton Freund has been part of WizzCash.com since 2013. His extensive expertise and knowledge as a marketing and communications professional are applied in his daily work at senior executive level, where he is comfortable and competent at managing teams and process, as well as implementing business strategies and directions for success.