Three Accessible Travel Products I’m Loving Right Now
A solution to blue badge theft, a stylish glass holder, and a gorgeous accessible handbag – my favourite products which make travel easier for me as a wheelchair user.
Disclaimer: The three products mentioned in this post were gifted to me for the purposes of this review. This is an honest review and my opinions, as always, are entirely my own.
When you’re disabled life can present many challenges. Barriers to mobility equipment, care support and accessibility in general can be difficult to overcome, and some days just getting out of bed is too difficult.
I’m fortunate that I was able to fundraise for my ideal wheelchair, I have a wonderful support network, and I’m able to work from home which helps me to conserve energy.
However, some of the more relatively minor challenges in my life, like being able to eat and drink independently when I’m travelling solo, securing my belongings, and having an accessible but stylish luggage solution, have been solved by the three products I’ve reviewed in this post.
Blue Badge Protector
In 2018, the Local Government Association reported that ‘The theft of Blue Badges used by disabled motorists in England has risen by 45 per cent in the past 12 months and is up sixfold since 2013.’ These alarming and frankly sad statistics mean that disabled motorists need to protect their independence – another battle that we shouldn’t have to face, but one that there is a solution for.
The Blue Badge Protector offers security to prevent the theft of your Blue Badge whilst parked.
There’s a single protector if you just want to secure the badge itself, or a double protector to include the timer clock. The steel based sleeve and Perspex sliding cover allow the Blue Badge to be clearly displayed whilst your vehicle is parked, and the flat, flexible cable secures it to the steering wheel.
I have a Motability car which my husband drives for me, and a Blue Badge. Leaving anything valuable in the car is obviously a worry, and whilst a Blue Badge can be replaced, there can be quite a long wait for a new one, with the added anxiety of how you’re going to park in the meantime.
I have the double protector, which is pleasingly solid and sturdy, and the cable is long and flexible enough for it to be easily secured. It comes with two keys meaning that my husband and I can each have one, and I love the way the timer clock can be easily adjusted whilst in the protector.
DRINK Universal Glass Holder
A long-term annoyance for me – travelling solo, with my wheelchair in manual mode, I order a takeaway coffee or am passed a glass of wine at an event, and suddenly I’m rendered immobile. Two hands and two wheels, do you see my problem?! The options are clutching my drink between my knees and risking scalds and puddles (NOT a good look!) or wheeling one-handed and going around in circles.
Here’s the product description from the retailers website ‘Deck chair, buggy or wheelchair, DRINK, is an elegant solution for people who have their hands full. It’s clever design attaches to practically anything and holds a glass of almost any shape or size.’
This product is stylish from the moment you open the box. Funky packaging, a range of colours that really pop (black, blue and red, with customised options on application) and a design that is anything but clunky.
The clamp is really easy and quick to attach to a wheelchair… or a bench, a shopping trolley, a bicycle, a table leg… there is even a photo of it attached to a vacuum cleaner!
What I love about DRINK is that it will hold almost any shape or size of glass. So when I’m at the train station heading to a meeting I can grab a takeaway coffee. I can order my own glass of wine in a bar and not have to wait for it to be brought to my table. Even with my power pack on my chair, I find this product so useful, because it always helps to have a free hand.
Mia Tui Samantha bag
Designed in collaboration with disabled actress Samantha Renke, the Samantha is Mia Tui’s first accessible bag. It’s a gorgeous, stylish yet totally practical handbag, with the optional addition of mobility clips to hang it from the back of a wheelchair.
I took this bag with me on my weekend trip to Northumberland in February and instantly fell in love – I’ve used it every day since!
There are specially designed pockets for a water bottle, phone and pens, and a clip for keys so they can be easily found. It comes with an extra clutch bag with wrist strap, which makes such a difference.
It’s not always easy for me to reach into a bag on the back of my chair to find what I need, so to have a smaller bag for my phone, cash and tickets which I can keep on my wrist, whilst still having a free hand, is so much easier. I love how smart it looks on the back of my chair – with a rucksack on there I can sometimes look like I’m off mountaineering; not exactly the aesthetic I want to channel on a date night or city break.
More Accessible Products
I’m always looking for things to make life easier – the Independent Living website is one I use a lot when searching for reliable, impartial advice on disability and accessibility products. They cover everything from bathroom, bedroom and kitchen aids to health and exercise, motoring and so much more. I’ve been reading their buyers guide to Stairlifts, Homelifts and Other Stair Climbing Solutions as I’m aware that this is something I’ll need in the future.
At the moment, when I’m at home, I can easily get around in my chair and on my knees, and this is how I manage to live in a house with stairs. However I know that as I get older this won’t always be the case, my pain and muscle spasms will get worse, and I think buying a stairlift could help.
I hope you’ve found my review of these three accessible travel products helpful. Do you have a favourite product that makes travel more accessible to you? Do let me know in the comments.