6 Accessible Travel Tips You Need To Know
Updated: Jan 24, 2019
It’s no secret that I love to travel, to the next town or somewhere far away. Accessible travel definitely requires extra planning, research, checking and double-checking! But ultimately it’s worth it; there’s nothing like the thrill of being somewhere new, and the sense of achievement and independence that comes with travelling as a disabled person.
I’ve worked, lived and loved accessible travel for quite a while now, and I’ve learned along the journey that with some extra thought and planning, it can be made much easier. Here are my six tips to help your holiday go smoothly.
Your destination is important…
First things first – you need to pick a destination. Give some thought to how accessible the environment, terrain and local area will be; it’s wise not to choose somewhere with steep hills or very rough terrain if you’re using a manual wheelchair. Weather is an important factor too – if you struggle in very hot or cold temperatures, be sure to consider this before booking your getaway.
Over the last few years I’ve really enjoyed city breaks in Europe; my favourite so far has been Rome, and I’ve also visited Barcelona, Palma, Pisa and Florence. I travel earlier in the season so that it’s not too overcrowded, which can definitely make things difficult for a wheelchair user.
If you’re looking for a warm, sunny holiday check out this post from Cory Lee, he’s listed ten of the world’s most accessible beaches
…as is your accommodation
Once you’ve settled on the perfect destination, it’s time to consider your choice of accommodation. Do some thorough research to establish whether your chosen hotel (or equivalent) can accommodate everything you need – ensure there are lifts, flat walkways and available aids and assistance to make your stay much more comfortable.
Enquire with a travel agent or a hotel directly to see if there are any options to make it easier to accommodate your needs; it could save you a lot of time searching online.
Insurance is vital
There’s simply no way you should travel without insurance. When heading abroad with a disability there’s a few more things that could go wrong, and without insurance you could be facing some hefty costs if you need to repair mobility equipment or access healthcare.
Make sure you look into insurance plans carefully, though – sometimes the small print could mean claims are difficult if you have a pre-existing medical condition. CTI highlights just how to go about choosing the right plan for you, as well as just how much cover you could get for certain disabilities and equipment.
Bring whatever you need to make the journey easier
When packing for your trip, be sure to bring the things that’ll make the journey there much more comfortable. Plane journeys aren’t always the most fun even for non-disabled passengers, and with the extra considerations you may require, you could be in more of a predicament.
Bring any medication you may need – for me travel sickness tablets are a lifesaver – and perhaps some comfortable additions such as a pillow and blanket to make the journey as relaxed and as easy as it can be. Be sure to enquire with your chosen airline to see what they can do for you, too.
Approach others when you need help
Don’t be scared to simply ask others for help if you’re in need. More often than not, regardless of where you are in the world, the locals are friendly and willing to assist you as much as possible.
Make sure you’re aware of where to go and who to talk to if you need further guidance, too. There are often places in your accommodation or in the city that can aid you in getting around as a disabled traveller, so it’s worth a try.
Plan your transport methods
Look in advance to see just how to get around in your destination. Are there dedicated methods of accessible transport? Buses and trains are usually good options, as are trams – but make sure it’s easy to get around with the challenge of different terrain or obstacles that could make it difficult.
Are there any other tips you can suggest for fellow disabled travellers? Be sure to leave them in the comments below.
Liked this post? Read my Wheelchair Accessible Travel: Survival Guide