We aimed to describe HIV risk practices of gay men who travel locally, regionally and overseas. We analysed data from the Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey 2009 about high-risk sexual practices in four locations (locally, while travelling in NSW, Australia and overseas) and with partners of HIV positive, negative and unknown serostatus in each location. Analyses of associations used generalized log-binomial estimation procedures with Type I error of 5 %. Of 1,839 sexually active participants, 70.1 % reported having sex locally. 19.7 % elsewhere in NSW, 20.1 % interstate and 18 % overseas. Unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) was reported by 29.9, 28.6, 21.3 and 19.3 % of men in each location respectively. There was no difference in the levels of UAI locally and elsewhere in NSW, but UAI levels were lower in other Australian locations [adjusted prevalence rate ratio (APRR) = 0.76; 95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) 0.66-0.88] and overseas (APRR = 0.76; 95 % CI 0.65-0.89). UAI was more likely if partners were seroconcordant HIV positive (APRR = 1.67; 95 % CI 1.32-2.11) and less likely if partners were of different HIV serostatus (APRR = 0.39; 95 % CI 0.33-0.47) as compared to seroconcordant HIV negative partners. UAI was associated with group sex and use of party drugs. In this community sample, UAI levels were higher in the local context than in travel destinations, suggesting that familiarity between partners may play a role. High-risk sexual practices can nevertheless contribute to bridging different HIV epidemics and HIV transmission across borders. HIV prevention programs should develop effective approaches to target sexually adventurous gay men and HIV transmission associated with travel.