rhonaberensFamily travel is the largest percentage of the leisure travel industry, and since we here at TravelingMom understand that families come in all shapes and sizes we were happy to help host a special twitter party on November 6th that focused on LGBT family friendly travel as well as the challenges faced by those travelling to adopt. We covered the most LGBT friendly places to travel, paperwork and things to remember while travelling, extended stays during adoption, and what our fears on the road were. Along with our sponsor, Residence Inn, we welcomed moderators Mombian (a blog founded by Dana Rudolph for lesbian moms and other LGBT parents) and the Family Equality Council (an advocacy organization seeking equality for families whose parents are LGBT).

We were also joined by some fantastic panelists:

@lavenderluz Lori blogs from Denver at LavenderLuz.com. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, written with her daughter’s birth mom, is available through your favorite online bookseller. If you know anyone who is parenting via adoption (open, closed, foster, international) or donor conception (sperm, egg, embryo), or is a birth parent, check this book out as a thoughtful gift, even for yourself.

@uppoppedafox Vikki Reich writes about the intersection of contemporary lesbian life and parenthood at her personal blog Up Popped A Fox and is a Managing Editor for VillageQ, a site that gives voice to the experience of LGBTQ parents.

@designerdaddy Brent Almond is an award-winning graphic designer, illustrator and writer who travelled the world as a military brat before settling in the ‘burbs of D.C. with his husband, toddler and pre-Obama Portuguese Water Dog. His writing can be found on The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project and Mamapedia. Designer Daddy is his blog.

@debontherocks Deb Rox is the author of a blog Deb on the Rocks, a frequent speaker at social media conferences, and the Entertainment Section Editor at BlogHer. She launched Salon LGBTQ,  serves as founding President of the Board of Violence UnSilenced, and is principle of her agency Platform where she consults with businesses and publishers about digital marketing, branding and business development.

@lifewithroozle Casey Carey-Brown found blogging while completing a creative writing degree. She blogs daily at Life with Roozle and can also be found managing the Instagram community for Village Q, writing for Huffington Post Parents, and writing about the seasons for Urban Baby Bonnets.

Where do you like to travel with your family? What destinations have you found to be most LGBT-friendly?

@MaryHeston Love the St Lucia airport – they have a family line for going thru customs.

@SteveBrister One favorite – New Zealand because everyone is so friendly, and people never batted an eye at 2 dads + son.

@tringali_julie We love Disney!! They totally are!!

@DesignerDaddy We’ve traveled w/our 4yo multiple times to Ark and Ore, and once to Italy. Portland, OR wins of those 3.

@ehechtmcgowan Rehoboth Beach DE is a favorite destination too.

@debbutterflys Just had a trip to NOLA loved it!

@aes529  I love going to Maine with my family and find it to be very LGBT friendly.

@CindyRichards My fave destination is wherever I’m going next. Sad to think there are places that are not LGBT friendly.

@lifewithRoozle We love to travel anywhere with sun and a pool. Our four year old loves to swim.

@Debontherocks We also have loved New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago and D.C.

@MsAFitzy We love going to the beach! The ones we’ve been to seem to all be LGBT friendly.

@AnujadeSilva Did a great day trip to Key West & had a blast! Possible to find a lot of kid friendly stuff.

What are some concerns that you have when you travel with your family?

@lorikiddo Ensuring that we have insurance and that we have prepared for emergencies.

@kimorlando Safety is a big concern when we travel. Teens want independence, we want to grant that but hard in a new place.

@uppoppedafox I worry most about how we’ll be treated should we have to deal with illness/injury. Will we be treated like a family?

@vinessavasquez The hateful remarks toward LGBT. I don’t mind explaining it just the negativity is hurtful.

@SPN_Mom Judgement on the way we may act (it’s vacation, we’re supposed to have fun right?)

@mombian I always worry about ending up in an LGBT -unfriendly hospital.

@Saving4Jewels Looks!! Being LGBT is not always accepted it’s always nice to be in a environment where they accept Love.

@DesignerDaddy Our son experiencing 1st example of homophobia. Easier (but not 100% possible) to protect him/control situation at home.

@faroop Going thru security sucks with kids no matter what but my husband is trans which intensifies the stress.

What should parents who are LGBT know when planning an interstate trip or International trip?

@labgal99 I say “good parenting trumps gay parenting”. Well-behaved children go long way during travel, regardless of family.

@debbutterflys Yes I have files I emailed myself in a travel folder, can access anywhere.

@SeymaShabbir Always carry birth cert. and legal docs! This summer from Turkey to Cyprus, sis in law was delayed for this!

@ehechtmcgowan For Trans travelers there is great resource re: TSA on Nat’l Center For Trans Equality website.

@mombian I also make sure to have our lawyer’s phone #, just in case.

@debbutterflys Don’t forget medical power of attorneys, never know when a med emergency arises.

@uppoppedafox Carry all documentation – birth certificates, passports and any paperwork you’ve had drawn up by attorneys.

@DesignerDaddy Be prepared; be confident; don’t get defensive. If I go in expecting trouble, more likely to be irrational/emotional.

For fantastic advice on what to carry and other resources visit the Family Equality Council.

Have you or someone you know stayed out-of-state/internationally for an extended period to adopt a child? How’d you cope? 

@lifewithroozle Our friends ended up unexpectedly staying 6 weeks out of state for their son’s adoption. They needed a lot of support.

@Saving4Jewels Previous boss decided to adopt a brother and sister so they wouldn’t separate.

@ihopeudancealot Our friend went to China! For two weeks had to go alone hubby back here with sibling – proud! Not easy!

@debontherocks Also can be lots of waiting, and need to still work from afar to save leave for after getting home, so WIFI is needed.

@designerdaddy The key for them was to feel connected to people back at home. Technology helped.

Families who travel to a different state for adoption often face unique legal challenges. What was your experience?

@momfluential Our judge in Russia was uneasy granting adoption to non home owners. We rented at the time. Thought it was risky.

@7littlemexicans We are going to Nicaragua in the spring. We probably need advice.

@kimsimes 2 trips to Guatemala to bring home our daughter. Did our research and found allies in country right away.

@lorikiddo One of my kindergarten parents adopted a son from Haiti and spent considerable time learning French.

@MaryHeston Have had friends travel to China & Central America for adoptions. Always unexpected twists & turns.

@AndreaGuthmann Stayed for 5 weeks in Colombia! Que bueno! Took advantage of it by learning about the country, its people & culture!

How have hotels made you feel welcome while staying long-term during adoption? How can a hotel make you feel welcome?

@bodinesteph A simple hello makes you feel at home.

@designerdaddy SEPARATE rooms biggest draw.

@debbutterflys It’s awesome when the staff acknowledge you when you walk in and out on long or short term stays.

@debontherocks Free grocery delivery at Residence Inn is genius! I want to live there.

@momfluential Hotels can provide simple supplies for kids like crib & crayons, coloring book and also babyproof the rooms!

@sskkennedy Hotels can offer child care and activities for the brothers and sisters.

@granolasusan Clerks that ask if we *really*want one bed ruin it all at check-in.

@NicholeMcKinnon Cookies 🙂

@lovethatmouse Friends of ours traveled to Taiwan & Russia for adoption. It was all so stressful. I only hope the hotels were a haven for them.

@Saving4Jewels Stayed for 2 weeks when I was doing fertility treatment I love that they do wake up calls so helpful.

@uppoppedafox If a business respects and embraces my family, I’ll be loyal to their brand forever.

@ChaoticKarma23 Great customer service is key.

*Note: Comments are sometimes edited for spelling (the vs teh due to fast Twitter fingers!) and for abbreviation that our non-Twitter bretheren may not understand (DH vs dear husband). They are not edited for content as we feel it is valuable for everyone’s original thoughts to be heard.