I’ve just returned from one week in Barcelona and this weekend is Berlin’s annual Christopher Street Day pride parade. It’s officially the start of the summer season with festivals and pride events in just about every major city. June has come and gone but that doesn’t mean the pride festivals have stopped. Still to come are big pride festivals and LGBT parties and festivals in Stockholm Pride, Amsterdam’s Milkshake Festival, Manchester Pride (the UK’s largest pride festival), Chicago’s Northalstead Market Days, Dallas Pride and even the *brand* new Caribbean Pride (in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic).
I don’t know about you, but traveling for gay pride events in foreign cities is one of my favorite ways to experience a new destination. You get to see a completely different side of the city that otherwise might not be seen. Activities and things to do are likely different than on any other normal weekend, but that’s half the fun. To manage all that fun, I’ve put together a helpful guide on what to pack when traveling for gay pride.
Of course what you pack depends on the destination as well. Going to Tel Aviv for gay pride? You’ll want a swimsuit (preferably skimpy). In Berlin? No swimsuits necessary. Also: note that this list is mostly geared toward those gay pride festivals in traditionally LGBT-friendly destinations!
Summertime Travel Packing Essentials for Gay Pride
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1. Your favorite underwear
If the sun is shining and it’s summer, people at pride festivals wear surprisingly little clothes. (That’s probably not surprising.) And while it’s certainly possible to find a lot of skin during a gay pride, you can also expect quite a bit of cool clothes. Funny t-shirts, mesh clothing, sexy underwear, leather — you name it, you’ll probably see it at gay pride.
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2. Fashion accessories
A little bit of bling can go a long way at pride. It’s an easy way to glam up for a fun day in the sun. I’ve recently been sporting a coconut bracelet from a recent trip to Costa Rica, but other accessories like necklaces, statement jewelry or even just glitter (lots and lots of glitter) are great to wear at pride festivals for an extra bit of glamour (and maybe an extra bit of attention from potential suitors).
Buy: Cheap bracelets are plentiful at pride festivals – whether leather scraps or rainbows.
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3. Good shoes
Unless you’re at a gay pride festival on the beach (looking at you, Tel Aviv), shoes are probably the one piece of clothing you’re guaranteed to find. Marchers in the festival might be totally naked, but they’ll still be wearing shoes. If you plan to march, you’ve got two options: either go for comfort, or go for style. Try high heels if you dare. A lot of pride festivals even have “high heel stiletto races” where drag performers race down a street in their highest heels for a prize (looking at you, Amsterdam).
Buy: Converse, Adidas, TOMS – the usuals are always great for comfort. But if you’re going for style or you’re in drag, go for the spectacular: high heels and ridiculous colors are sure to steal attention.
4. Pride flags and rainbow things!
A staple of every pride is the rainbow flag. Whether it’s painted on your face or a piece of cloth, it’ll be everywhere. Bring one of your own or else find one at the pride. Learn more about the history of the gay pride flag here.
Buy: Glitter! Pride flag stickers and other rainbow-coated things will almost always be available during parades and festivals. And if you don’t have your own glitter, you’ll almost always find someone to share their own at pride.
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