Sometimes referred to as "disabled travel" or "accessible travel", a person travelling with a disability is on the up. The travel industry has increased their focus on these services by providing better accommodation, accessible packages and offering more support in recent years. Travellers are taking to chat rooms and forums where information for disabled travellers has exploded, many sharing experiences to help others.
If you're booking a trip and you or a member of your party have a disability follow our six top tips to ensure it runs with ease.
You will always hear feedback from others “Thailand has poor accessibility” or “Rome has no wheelchair access”, there are certainly some truths and accessibility challenges that come with travelling but the key is in the research. Knowing your travel plans, routes around a city, the day trips you’d like to take will alleviate stress and disappointment once you’re away. Sites such as Tripadvisor or Lonely Planet have helpful forums to ask others for advice and compare experiences.
Book accommodation far in advance
It is almost always cheaper to book your accommodation for a holiday way in advance. Most hotels have a set number of wheelchair access rooms so advance booking in advance guarantees you the right room. For summer travel, make your reservations as early as six months before to ensure you get the best rooms, at the best rates.
Carefully plan your route
If you know what to expect before you arrive you’ll have a more enjoyable experience. It's always worth pre-booking airport transfers catering for wheelchairs in advance, spaces can be limited and can save time trying to describe the need for a wheelchair in broken Spanish. Make a note of the nearest medical centre, pharmacist or even the best route to the beach to make your stay run smoothly and have you prepared.
Staying in accessible parts of town will also provide more flexibility for your travel party. Knowing you aren't stranded or reliant on a pre-booked taxi to take you to a site will help make all the difference.
Have a backup plan
Even the most well planned trips can go wrong. If it does, don’t worry. Work out how to deal with it and use your back up plan. Packing spare parts for a wheelchair, or other medical equipment in case there is a fault, or knowing alternate transport to avoid last minute train delays can all be game changers on holiday. If possible travelling with a partner or friend who can help you during your trip and remain flexible, will help make those last minute hiccups a breeze.
If you opt for a tour
We all shop around when planning day trips on our holidays. When dealing with third parties be specific and clear about the disability you are travelling with. There are dedicated tour companies that specialise in disability accessible trips whether you have a child with special needs or wheelchair users there is something for everyone. Make sure you ask yourself, is the tour guide a licensed professional? Is it a private or group tour? Do they have experience guiding people with disabilities?
Setting off on your own? Did you know that Herculaneum's ruins in Italy are nearly identical to Pompeii's, but are wheelchair-friendly? And that some cruise passengers with disabilities don't have to take the steep path up the cliffs when visiting the Greek island of Santorini? There are lots of options open to you and your loved ones, you just need to find the right fit for you.
Enjoy your trip
Finally are best piece of advice don’t forget to enjoy your trip, you’ve earned it.
If you require a nurse or carer to accompany you on your trip our Pulse Nursing at Home team can assist clients and provide expert and experienced nursing staff for any type of homecare. Whether it is in the UK or abroad we are here to help you. Contact us today to find out more.