Pack your ruby slippers and strap on your seatbelts — it’s time to queer the all-American road trip. According to survey data from Airbnb, domestic car travel continues drawing the most interest from American travelers this year — a wise choice for folx hoping to avoid the unpredictability of international travel during the pandemic. That means Mykonos is out, America is in, and it’s high tide you got your car lubed up and ready to ride.
Road trips play an integral role in queer American culture. In the early 1960s, Bob Damron began creating pocket-sized address books to help gay men find queer spaces while traveling around the nation. These guides steered people to queer communities around the country, from San Francisco to Birmingham, giving LGBTQ folx an opportunity to discover what so many privileged Americans already found on the open road: freedom.
But freedom wasn’t always a given for queer people, leading LGBTQ travelers to favor well-known gayborhoods in liberal cities near the US coastlines. According to a study by misterB&B, modern LGBTQ travelers still prefer vacations in destinations like New York and California, reinforcing a coastal binary that improperly excludes a majority of the nation as “flyover country.”