Following the recent shocking election of Donald Trump in the United States, our minds are spinning out of control. What to do? We cannot relocate our lives and run away from this. We can’t secede from the union (or can we?) and we can’t just sit at home moping about so many of our countrymen showing their true colors. But we can start today making the future better and brighter for progressive events that are yet to come. How? By voting with our dollars! Our travel dollars, more specifically.
We love to travel within the U.S.A. and we love showing our kids this amazing country. True, we’ve faced opposition as a family, either from internet trolls or innkeepers that don’t want us there, but we keep on traveling. Voting with your dollars is not a new concept, but it’s not something everybody thinks about. Here are some ways that you can spend the next few seasons or years voting with your dollars and supporting the states that are trying to drive our country forward. Oh, and America is already great, so this is just one more way to keep that and work on fixing what’s broken.
Chris and with his sons at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center, California
Vote With Your Dollars in Blue States
If you’re not familiar with election maps and how votes are shown, in the United States it’s broken down with blue representing Democrats (liberal America, progressive) and red representing Republicans (conservative America, states with very visible historic and present race, class and LGBT issues). So, the blue states are the ones that elect a lot of officials who support social programs, human rights for all (such as positive immigration practices, marriage equality, ending the gender pay gap), and overall are people-focused. Red states tend to elect officials with traditional views regarding family values, officials who tend to favor economic development over environmental protections, and who believe that the America of yesteryear was stronger and better for our citizens than our country today.
But What About Traveling to Red States?
We’re all about going out into the world and showing people that we’re a normal family and that we’re just as important a part of society as the next family, and we traditionally do this in red states such as Georgia, Florida, Montana ... Well, these states have some wonderful pockets of progress and diversity, of inclusivity and general human concern. Go support those places!
True, it’s going to be more tricky to plan a trip to visit the blue areas and add to those economies, but it’s worth the effort when every visitor's pocketbook is impacting the future.
Example: Florida went red for Trump in the 2016 presidential race, but Orange and Hillsborough counties went blue. That means that visiting Orlando and doing a Disney World vacation or experiencing Tampa Bay are both subtle ways to contribute. Oh, and Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties all ran blue as well, FYI.
Rob with his son at the Museum of Science and Nature, Denver, Colorado
How Will This Help?
So, voting with your dollars in blue states: What does this mean? Well, if you don’t live in one, planning your travel to visit a blue state is where you start. When you travel, even when you’re on a budget, you’re contributing to an economy that in turn will be electing officials and feeding money into the machines that run campaigns. These campaigns are both for large-scale votes such as a presidential elections as well as smaller, local issues that could be as simple as funding for school lunch programs and mass transit.
When you’re spending in blue states, you’re helping the people who make campaign contributions and who do the footwork to rock the vote for the better. Your taxes while traveling are feeding the economies with those wonderful social programs that ensure after-school programs happen and people can commute to work together and local healthcare options are available.
It’s true that red states and red areas also have progressive individuals and leaders, but when it comes to voting and making decisions as a majority, red areas run more conservatively and in many cases vote against what liberal people like us would consider progress and moving towards equality.
Rob and Chris' eldest son at Point Wilson Lighthouse, Port Townsend, Washington
Hesitation About Traveling to New Places
Just like with the red states that have progressive pockets and diverse, inclusive communities, blue states also have pockets of racial tension, exceptionally conservative voters, and places gay families might not feel welcome. It's safe to say that most metropolitan areas are likely to be welcoming to LGBT travelers and families, but if you’re concerned, do a little research.
People tend to share their worst experiences over their best, so a good way to get a little perspective about how traveling to new places might go for you is to jump online and see what people say. We tend to share our best travel experiences via our blog, but will sometimes share the ugly too. Here are some good search terms that will return results from travel blogs, Trip Advisor and news sites to help you choose what destinations you’re going to feel the most comfortable traveling to:
LGBT discrimination + [destination]
Gay friendly lodging + [destination]
Family friendly + LGBT + [destination]
Or if you’ve already picked an actual destination and want to be sure you’re supporting the areas that support your values:
Voting map by color + [state or city]; doing it by state will show you the county breakdown
Gay business + [city]
Gayborhood + [city]
With this newly fired-up state so many cities and towns are experiencing, it’s understandable to want to proceed with caution as you travel to new places. By venturing to areas that have a history of progressive voting, inclusive businesses and neighborhoods full of likeminded individuals you can feel confident and safe in voting with your travel dollars there. Like I said, these are the areas that are contributing to political campaigns and are the homes of the citizens out there doing the footwork towards progress. Voting with your dollars can have a huge impact for the better, both in the communities that face an uncertain future, as well as for the country as a whole.
For some solid travel recommendations for states and areas to visit and to start voting with your dollars, check out the full article and destination list on our website 2traveldads.com.