When Shanna Sciara and Gabi Meit locked eyes at a lesbian bar during New York City Pride in 2015, neither could have known that it was the beginning of a love story. A tale of their love for each other, yes, but also their love for travel.

The born-and-bred New Yorkers soon bonded over their shared wanderlust, and in 2016 they combined their creative powers – Shanna as a videographer and video editor, Gabi as a photographer, graphic designer and illustrator – and launched their own travel blog, 27 Travels, which met almost instant success. Now, more than 20 countries, 30 states, an Instagram, a TikTok and a YouTube channel later, the duo have turned content creation into their day job, though they still make time for extracurricular endeavours with their production company, Industry 27, through which they offer photo, video and graphic design services for other brands.

But despite their booming businesses, for Gabi and Shanna, it’s not all about the money. They’re equally driven by a desire to promote LGBTQIA+ representation in the travel space, and to encourage others from the community to explore this wide world and live their lives freely and openly. Here, we chat with the globetrotters about their best travel advice and the unique experience of touring the world while out and proud.

What is your travel ethos?

Gabi: Our ethos is “go with the flow!” When it comes to travelling, nothing ever goes as planned, and things ALWAYS will go wrong. The more you travel, the more you realise that this is all just part of the process and part of the adventure! So when things do eventually go wrong, we try to make the best out of it and never let it ruin our experience!

As a travelling lesbian couple, what would you say are the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ travellers? 

Gabi: There are so many unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ travellers, and it’s something that if you are not a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you might not think about it, or have to think about it. But queer travellers think about these things all the time, such as the perception of your appearance, your personal safety, the homosexuality laws of every single country, and making quick decisions on whether you should expose your sexuality or gender identity.

Our best piece of advice is to do your research. Every single person in the LGBTQIA+ community has different safety issues and things that they need out of a trip. Make sure that your safety always comes first, and that you are always aware of your surroundings. There are so many businesses, airlines and hotels that are safe spaces if you just look it up beforehand — our favourite resource for that is IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) and Equaldex, for checking the homosexuality laws of a country.

Most importantly, follow queer people online who like to travel (like us, for example!) or creators who look more like you and have your needs when travelling. We are here to give tips and advice, and to talk about places and experiences that will help you be able to travel the world more easily.

What are some of the most LGBTQIA+-friendly destinations you’ve visited?

Shanna: There are so many LGBTQIA+ friendly destinations in the world that are amazing to travel to, it would be almost impossible for us to name all of our favourites! Our most recent trip was to the country of Malta. It was one of the most inclusive and welcoming places we have visited, we felt so safe just being ourselves there. Malta actually ranks #1 in all of Europe for its LGBTQIA+ rights and is also one of the only countries in the world to have LGBTQIA+ rights at a constitutional level. Not to mention it’s incredibly beautiful!

On a scale from “plan every meal, tour and bathroom break” to “fly by the seat of our pants”, what’s your general pre-trip prep level?

Gabi: Honestly I would say that we are somewhere in the middle, its all about balance! We always do some research before planning a trip, especially once our trip is booked. We always look up the laws in every country to get an idea of how locals might perceive us, and to make sure that we know whether the laws protect us or not when we are travelling as LGBTQIA+ people. At the same time, though, we never plan out every single second of our day! We think it’s nice sometimes to be able to wander, explore a place, and stumble upon some hidden gems, and we like to be spontaneous whenever we can! What we love to do is bookmark places on Google before we go, so that if we are in a certain area we can find things that are nearby us!

As a photographer/videographer couple, you are expert visual storytellers. What are your top tips for getting incredible vacation shots? 

Gabi: As you can tell, we love documenting our trips and all of our memories together! A tip that we have is to get a tripod and bring it with you everywhere you go. This honestly makes all the difference, and we never travel without ours! It’s just nice to be able to take your own images when you want to and be able to get yourself in the shot! Also you do not need the fanciest equipment to be able to take good vacation shots for yourself. A phone even works great for getting the perfect photo or video.

If you had to pinpoint one particular experience as being the most memorable or most extraordinary of all your travels, what would it be?

Gabi: We had the pleasure a few years ago of being able to go to South Africa with Ntsako Travel, which is an LGBTQIA+ owned tourism company, and it was the most memorable and incredible experience. We were able to travel with other LGBTQIA+ people in such a beautiful country, and we all got to go on safari together! We loved seeing all of the animals in the wild, and it was just one of the most amazing and unique experiences. We always tell people if you want to do something you will never forget, a safari in South Africa is worth every single penny.

As frequent travellers, what was your experience of the pandemic over the past couple of years, with lockdowns and travel restrictions?

Gabi: It has been really hard the last few years, coping with all of the changes and challenges that the pandemic has brought on when it comes to travel. It can really feel like a rollercoaster – every time you get used to something, more changes happen in the world. Truthfully, though, even though it has been challenging, especially when it comes to travel, it has also taught us so much! We have learned through the process to be more adaptable, to go with the flow more, and to accept things for what they are. There are some things that you can’t change and just can’t control, and we’ve learned more and more not to let things upset us that we have no control over.

How has your perception of the importance and meaning of travel evolved over the past two years?

Shanna: To us, travel is just as important as ever, and if anything the pandemic and not being able to travel for a while has reminded us even more why it’s important to expand your horizons, and see even more than what is just around you.

And finally, where to next? (And why?)

Gabi: So many places! We are incredibly excited for every single trip we go on, and every single place we get to travel too! Right now we are really looking forward to a trip that we are going on to Greece in July for a family wedding. We were able to go to Greece last summer and visit a few different islands, and it was incredible! So we can’t wait to go back, except this time we will be going to so many different places!

Follow Gabi and Shanna’s adventures on their blog,, as well as on Instagram and YouTube.

[Photo at top by Peter from Flyotgrapher]

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