Going on holiday should be fun for everyone, able-bodied or wheelchair-bound. Today, travel companies really do endeavour to make it this way, but for people with disabilities, there are still a number of challenges that only we face. Despite major improvements in accessibility, there are a lot of things to think about before flying away for the season.
Here are a few tips to make things a little easier for you.
Choosing a Location
Like any other person, your first thought when you decide to book a holiday should be where you want to go. Irrespective of your disability, choose somewhere that appeals to you. If you want to go to a specific place, make up your mind to do so.
However, be aware that in less developed countries, disabled access is often limited; although there will still be hotels that cater for you, these will probably carry a higher price tag. You might also struggle to navigate your way around, and find that many attractions are simply inaccessible.
If you consider these things and still want to visit, don’t be put off. Make an itinerary of places you want to go, take a look online to see if you can find information on accessibility, and plan from there.
The amount of planning involved in arranging your perfect holiday can seem overwhelming, so if you’re short on time you might want to consider using a specialist disabled travel agency. These bodies take care of everything for you; all you have to do is tell them where you want to go and give them a budget. They have lots of experience and information on accessibility around the world, which means that they’re perfectly suited to doing the legwork for you.
If you don’t want to use one, then it’s on to the next step…
Picking an Airline
The next step is to book your flights. Different airlines will cater to wheelchair users to different extents, so do a little research to find out what others recommend.
Once you’ve picked one, contact the airport beforehand to let them know of any special requirements you may have, such as needing to board the plane earlier or assistance with your luggage. If you will require medication in-flight, then be aware that you’re limited to a certain amount unless you have a note from your doctor stating its necessity. This should all be ready and organised before you step foot in the airport.
Deciding on Your Accommodation
Once you’ve chosen your airline, it’s time to decide on accommodation. Some countries will have almost exclusively wheelchair accessible facilities; others, particularly those that are less developed, will not. Do your research beforehand to make sure that you find somewhere suitable, by browsing the internet or seeking assistance from your estate agent. Look specifically for accommodation that is located close to amenities, and preferably on level ground. Remember to check that a ground floor room is available, and that a lift is present if there are entertainment or dining facilities located on the upper floors. When you find somewhere that appears suitable, it’s often useful to send them an email or call them, describing your specific condition and requirements to ensure that they can be met. Check, too, that their bedroom doors are wide enough to fit a chair through, and that the showering facilities will be suitable for someone with your handicap.
Finding Travel Insurance
Everyone who travels abroad should take out travel insurance, but ordinary policies will not always cover those with a disability. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find cover, however; specialist disabled travel insurance is available from companies like Able 2 Travel. Do your research to find a policy to suit you. Make sure that any forms you fill in are answered truthfully and offer full disclosure of your conditions so that you don’t risk your cover being voided if something should happen.
Once that’s all taken care of, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy the sunshine. Happy holidaying!