Having a disability doesn’t mean that you can’t travel. Certainly there are challenges to overcome, and even in this day and age not everywhere in the world is as accessible as it should be. Yet by considering a few important points when planning your holiday, you can help your experience on the ground run as smoothly as possible.
Here are some top tips for ensuring your holiday is as accessible as possible:
Plan Well Ahead
This is key to any successful trip, whether you have a disability or not, and feeling in control of the holiday will reduce the stress both before and during your adventures. Make sure you know what’s going to be happening each step of the way to ensure there are no surprises that you’ll have to work out how to deal with on the spot. Research accessibility around the locations you’ll be visiting. What is the public transport like around the city? Consider the restaurants you’ll be eating in, and the accommodation in which you’ll be staying. For example, ask if the hotel bathrooms have accessible baths or showers, and whether shower chairs are available. Or check whether the swimming pool has an access lift, if taking a dip is something you’ll want to be doing. It’s much better to know all this is organised before you arrive, rather than having to start the conversation at check-in.
Know Where Help Is
Before you travel, head over to Google and make a note of where the nearest hospitals, doctors and pharmacies are during all stages of your trip, just in case you run out of medication, or are feeling unwell and recognise symptoms you know will require specialist care. More than anything, it’ll give you peace of mind whilst you’re away as you know you’ll be prepared for as many eventualities as possible.
Learn Some Lingo
It’s also useful to learn a few words and phrases in the local language if it’s different to your own, so that if necessary you can tell someone you need to get to a hospital or doctors, or ask directions to the chemist. Download a translation app on your phone which can be super helpful in a stressful or urgent situation.
Learn From Others
You won’t be the first person delving into accessible travel, and you certainly won’t be the last. You’re in good company, you just need to know where to look. There are some fantastic travel bloggers out there focusing on their own experience of accessible travel in order to help others, so have a read. Not only will this help to boost your own confidence when it comes to travelling outside of your comfort zone – yes, you can do it too – the articles will give you inspiration for accessible places to visit, and how to deal with issues you face on the road. You never know, you might even make some new like-minded friends from this online community.
Just Go For It
Travel can be daunting for anyone, and having extra things to think about can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. But until you try travelling, you won’t know what is possible. Fears of what will happen if your wheelchair is lost or damaged, or that the places you’re staying in aren’t as accessible as you’d believed, shouldn’t put a stop to your plans. Worries like these can hold people back from travelling, but hopefully the holiday experience will be worth any hassles you’ve had to cope with in the end. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Be a bit brave. It’s a chance to get out of your comfort zone and see what you’re made of, as well as exploring new corners of the world.
Above all, keep positive, go with the flow and just enjoy your trip. If something goes wrong, there will often be people around to help, so never be afraid to ask for help. And remember, whatever the problem is, there’s always a solution.
Disclaimer: we are not disabled travellers, and have written this post through research on the web, so we welcome your thoughts on things that we may have missed.