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Here’s The New Tech Making Travel Safe For Everyone

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In the digital age, planning our lives occurs through our screens and it’s no different when making travel plans. In the age of covid, this technological connectivity is not only helpful but crucial. For some, though, worrying about safely travelling is an issue that has long-preceded pandemic concerns. Minority groups such as POC and LGBTQIA+ community members often struggle to find seamless ways of navigating abroad without discrimination. The use of new digital tools are aiming to alleviate that burden, reports National Geographic.

HOW TECHNOLOGY IS EVOLVING TRAVEL FOR MINORITY GROUPS

There is so much uncertainty for marginalised groups when travelling. According to National Geographic, rideshare drivers on apps such as Uber more often cancel Black profiles than white and LGBTQIA+ profiles than straight. Similarly, Airbnb users will reject booking requests from Black users and even at airports, facial scanning equipment has misidentified people of colour.

Companies are employing new technology that seeks to balm the wounds that persist in communities and eliminate discriminatory practices on their sites. But these mainstream companies have less incentive to ostracise their user base by implementing harsher codes of conduct.

Google, for example, allows for users to filter options by how LGBTQIA+ friendly the spaces are and sites like Yelp allow for users to determine whether a space has gender neutral bathrooms. They don’t however have filters for further results such as transgender safety or Latin American owned business. Although major platforms are making headway, they serve a larger base and can’t cater specifically to the needs of a minority group. This is where entrepreneurial users have begun taking matters into their own hands, reports National Geographic.

FINE, I’LL DO IT MYSELF

Forgoing the wait for major platforms to catch up, people like Stefan Grant are forging their own way forward and navigating new spaces with innovative technology. Grant experienced a harrowing ordeal whilst at an Airbnb that was allegedly racially fuelled and afterwards built Noirbnb for Black travellers to find POC-friendly bookings.

National Geographic mention a whole suite of platforms and apps where minority users can find services catered to their needs. SupportBlackOwned.com and BLAPP allow for users to find Black-owned businesses, Culture onShore allows for users to get insight into the cultural experiences of minority groups in a specific city and the Greenbook Project allows for users to filter through businesses based on the hashtags left on reviews.

For LGBTQIA+ people, platforms have been created to ensure that travelling into unknown cities can be a safe experience. FabStayz, Misterb&b and Ebab all curate a collection of accomodations known to cater for queer people. TripIt and GeoSure allow users to see a city’s rating on safety for LGBTQIA+ people. Platforms like Equaldex and the Trans Legal Mapping Report highlight spaces where transgender rights are upheld.

In DNA #265, we have curated a list of Australia’s best gay-cations. These are spaces where queerness is not just tolerated, but is celebrated too. Travel can be an incredible joy when discrimination isn’t present. To read more about our dedicated gay-cation feature, read DNA #265 to find out our best picks for an LGBTQIA+ friendly travel experience.

As a whole, crafting new technology to help aid safe travels and experiences for minority groups is a very good thing. But the fact that users and special interest groups need to be building that technology themselves demonstrates the gap that still exists between the digital industry and marginalised groups. It should be a given that travelling and exploring is accessible for all, but the hard reality for many is that it’s not. Thankfully, there are excellent resources that help bridge that divide, and the mainstream tech sector could learn valuable lessons in inclusivity from these emerging platforms.

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DNA is Australia's best-selling LGBTQIA+ magazine. Every month, you'll find great feature stories, celebrity profiles, pop culture reviews and sensational photography of some of the world's sexiest male models in our fashion stories. DNA was launched in Australia in 2000 and is available worldwide in Print (in newsagents and bookstores throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK and Europe) and Digital (through DNAstore, Pocketmags, iTunes, and Amazon Kindle).

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