Tips For Travelers
Travelers With Disabilities
For the most part, Montana complies with federal and state guidelines for handicap access. State and national parks feature accessible trails when possible, and most modern hotels provide barrier-free lodgings. However, Montana is a rural state, and you may find that facilities are less accessible off the beaten path.
Travel Montana has a TDD line at 406/841-2702.
Although it’s not the expected thing, there’s little reason for a woman to feel uneasy about traveling alone around Montana. If you’re not up to being outgoing, people will generally leave you alone. But if you get to feeling chatty or flirtatious, you’re in real luck. You’ll be a curiosity, and men and women alike will sit you down and spin tales, feed you, and make you grin. You do have to look out for weirdos, but they’re usually about as much of a threat to the average female traveler as grizzly bears, and easier to deflect. If a place makes you nervous, do the smart thing and leave. On the whole, travel in Montana is exhilarating and ego-boosting for a woman on her own.
Gay and Lesbian Travelers
Like much of the mountain West, Montana is socially conservative, and open displays of affection by gay people won’t be found endearing by the majority of natives. While there’s no reason to anticipate open discrimination or hostility if you’re openly gay, it’s good to remember that Matthew Shepard was murdered in neighboring Wyoming—especially in bars, don’t assume that everyone is going to think it’s cool that you’re gay. Don’t ask, don’t tell is a reasonable rule for gay people traveling in Montana.
That said, both Missoula and Bozeman have active but somewhat underground gay networks, largely because of their large student populations. Montana may seem on the surface more hospitable to lesbians than to gay men—to the untrained eye, there’s not a lot of style and fashion differentiation between young lesbians and young straight women out in the backcountry.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition