The pros and cons of travelling as a queer throuple

Booking for three adds a few twists (and benefits)

This article was originally published by Xtra’s sister publication Pink Ticket Travel.

Travelling as a queer couple has its pleasures, but also its challenges. First, there’s the interpersonal dynamics—all that negotiating and compromising on destinations, activities and budgets. All that time together can put a relationship to the test. Then there’s being seen—or not being seen—as a couple by those around you, and the bi, trans or homophobia—or the invisibility—that can result from such perceptions.

Now add a third member to the equation. As polyamory becomes, in some corners of the world, more common and more accepted, LGBTQ2S+ throuples are less shy about being out and proud about their relationships, at home and abroad. But travelling throuples face a few obstacles—and enjoy a few benefits—that couples and solo travellers do not.

What’s it like travelling as a throuple?

The first obstacle is a very practical one—getting enough bed space for all three adults to get some sleep. Most hotel rooms are set up to accommodate one or two adults, maybe providing a cot for a child upon special request.

“It’s usually me and Kaylie who are the planners, so we’ll both look for places to stay simultaneously—her looking at Airbnbs, me looking at hotels, trying to find places that have a king-size bed to accommodate the three of us,” says Ness who lives in Massachusetts with partners Kaylie and Katie. “And if not a king-size bed, then a double bed and a twin bed in the same room, or at least two queens.”

Ness and Katie started dating in 2017 and married in 2021. Kaylie came into the picture in 2019, starting out as a friend but quickly becoming more than that. Kaylie moved in with the couple in 2022, by that fall, the three of them decided they were in love and wanted to be a triad. All three of them are avid travellers, and they document their adventures on TikTok under the handle The Traveling Throuple. As a trio, they’ve felt more confident about international travel, since there are three pairs of eyes to watch out, three brains working on the logistics.

“Last year we did eight countries and four vacations. We do a lot of road trips, and we do a lot of camping, and we love to go to Disney,” says Ness. “Me and Katie did a lot of domestic travel when it was just the two of us. Just before we got married, we went to Iceland. We did a nomadic-style trip touring the whole country, staying in lots of places.”


Booking for three, though, adds a few twists. On a recent Italian cruise, they were not permitted to book a single cabin for three people, and so they booked an extra cabin that they used as, essentially, a dressing room and storage area.

“We had a balcony suite for two people, and then we booked an interior room for Kaylie, which was kind of a luggage room, a walk-in closet where we could get ready,” says Katie. 

“But they were on opposite sides of the ship,” says Ness, “so it wasn’t very convenient. We had to walk down there every morning in our pyjamas.”

Bringing Kaylie into the relationship meant there were now three bucket lists to work through. Greece and Italy were high on all three lists, so they did those countries last year. Kaylie’s dream of going to Scotland will come true this summer, then Ness’s pick of Australia will follow in 2025. Because the three of them have common tastes, and enjoy a jammed itinerary—they usually don’t have to compromise too much. 

“Something we try to do is cram as much as we can into each day,” says Kaylie. “If there’s a restaurant we want to try, or an activity and a shopping centre, we’ll find a way to do it all, to make sure we touch upon all our likes and interests.”

“The only example I can think of for a thing we don’t all like is ziplining,” says Ness. “Katie likes it, but Kaylie won’t do it. That’s something I have chosen to sacrifice because we prefer to do things together.”

With three people able to take pictures, documenting their travels is also much easier.

Living just outside Los Angeles, Mitch and Ben were a couple for 12 years until, five years ago, they made Benjamin a part of the relationship. Mitch and Ben loved going to circuit parties and on party-oriented gay cruises. When they met Benjamin, they realized he shared many of their interests and values. 

“We were on an Atlantis cruise and things just started clicking,” says Ben. “He was in the right mindset. He was asking the right questions. He was genuinely interested in our relationship. So, that’s when we say we finally found a unicorn. We’ve been together ever since.”

While they sleep in an Alaskan king bed at home, they’ve yet to find a hotel that offers oversized king beds—though Mitch says that Marriott properties have been the most accommodating in making sure all three of them feel welcome. Many loyalty and rewards programs will provide a second perk, ticket or upgrade, but few will provide benefits for three people; all three men try to work their various rewards programs to make sure they can do things together.

While Mitch and Ben had travelled a lot together, and had many of the same approaches to vacations, Benjamin didn’t have as much prior experience. 

“Before I met Mitch and Ben, I was actually in the Canadian Air Force on the West Coast. So other than travelling back to Toronto to see family, I probably travelled once or twice a year, mostly to the States to go to the few gay events I knew about. I was not that culturally inclined.”

“He doesn’t like to walk or go explore things or go to local gay bars,” says Mitch.

“I like to hang out with whatever friends are doing,” says Benjamin.

Mitch, like Ness in the Traveling Throuple, does most of the planning and booking. “I do everything, they don’t do anything.” He laughs. But he’s learned that if an itinerary is too busy, Benjamin will need some downtime.

“In Thailand, [Benjamin] had to make a rule that every other day he had to have a relaxation day with nothing scheduled,” says Mitch. 

“… Just hang out at the pool and read a book,” says Benjamin.

“I don’t like to sit at the pool all day,” says Mitch.

“I prefer the pool to the beach,” says Ben. “I find it annoying to get sand in my feet and on my body, but I am pretty flexible.”

Over the last two years, the throuple has grown their family, adding two children to the mix. They now travel with an au pair who makes it easier for them to juggle childcare. Which brings us to another benefit of throuplehood—three incomes, plus many bills that can be split three ways. “You can even split dinners three ways, especially if it’s huge portions,” says Mitch.

Although the Traveling Throuple don’t consciously try to pass as friends, they’ve become astute at reading the situation and noticing when people are paying them negative attention.

“Our personal decision in our throuple is that we don’t all hold hands at the same time because we think it looks kind of foolish,” says Ness. “But if two of us are holding hands, we’ll sometimes get that shaming look from people, so I think the issue is more being lesbians than being in a throuple. If we’re, like, on the metro and we’re getting a lot of stares, we just keep to ourselves. We know we’re safe with each other, and we try not to let outside opinions bother us too much.

“We went to Turkey, which is a pretty modest country. People weren’t of the accepting type. We didn’t play friends. We were still, ‘Hey babe, look at this!’ Or taking pictures all together. But we’re not necessarily going to hold hands or kiss and be super affectionate.”

Mitch says he’s not sure what people make of three guys—and now two small children—navigating as a group. “We don’t do a whole lot of PDA, but I think we dress alike a lot. A lot of people look at us because we have kids, and they try to figure it out,” he says. 

“We definitely don’t hide it,” says Ben. “We took the approach early on that this is who we are. And we know our friends and families are comfortable with it. We find that a lot of people are actually very intrigued. If somebody asks me, oh, are you married? I don’t even hesitate: I have two husbands. It’s just natural now.”

“No one’s directly addressed us ever in person or given us attitude,” says Ben. “One time, I remember, when we were in Hawaii, we were all wearing the same shirts and a guy asked if we were on the same sports team. We laughed it off and said, ‘No, we’re all together.’ He was like, ‘Oh, you guys are all sleeping together.’ Then he gave us a weird look. That was it.”

For the Travelling Throuple, they have to make a special effort when booking flights to get three seats side by side. But there’s often an added bonus. “You don’t have to worry about sitting with strangers on a plane. We take up a whole aisle.”

For Mitch, Ben, Benjamin and their two children, it’s not as convenient because airlines online allow only one child-on-lap in each row—there are only four oxygen masks for the three seats. “That’s caused some delays,” says Mitch.

Paul Gallant

Paul Gallant is a Toronto-based journalist whose work has appeared in The WalrusThe Globe and Mail, the Toronto StarTHIS magazine,, and many other publications. His debut novel, Still More Stubborn Stars, was published by Acorn Press. He is the editor of Pink Ticket Travel and a former managing editor of Xtra. Photo by Tishan Baldeo.

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