It can be easy to feel anxious when planning an accessible holiday. Whether you’re travelling solo or with friends, family or a carer, there are many things to consider that able bodied people wouldn’t ever need to think about.
Holidays should be a chance to relax, soothe your troubles and give you a chance to get away from the everyday stresses of life. At Karma Mobility, we believe everyone should be able to take a holiday without stress and with these 5 top tips, we hope you’ll be on your way to planning the break you deserve.
Research the destination
The destination of your holiday is one of the most important considerations when travelling abroad. You need to conduct thorough research into the culture of the location and whether there are suitable adaptations for accessibility.
It is far better to get this information from other disabled people who have visited the area, and reviews than to rely solely on tourist websites, although these are still a useful source of information.
You’ll need to make sure you understand:
- Cultural attitudes towards disability
- Laws and legislation regarding disability and discrimination
- Cost of and access to medical care should you require it
Take a look at:
- Travel vlogs on YouTube
- Travel bloggers with similar accessibility needs
- Accessible travel forums
We also recommend using resources like Responsible Travel and the blogs by Disabled Travel With Georgia to really get a feel for various destinations, as well as access travel guides, advice and tips for a spectacular accessible holiday.
Consider your transport options
Before you reach your destination, you’ll probably spend a lot of time deliberating over how to get there. As with any holiday, it’s important to know your journey back to front before you leave.
This will ensure you reach your destination safely, and can manage any issues if they arise. This includes whether you’re getting a taxi on arrival at your destination, knowing the route to your hotel and having a plan B in place.
Here are our tips and tricks for each mode of transport to consider:
Different airlines will offer different services for accessible passengers, but you should look for the ‘special assistance’ option when you book your flight. This will inform the airline that you need additional support throughout the journey.
Always check that the airport and plane have the following facilities:
- Accessible toilets
- Quiet lounges for those with sensory differences
- Buggy’s or busses to help you get across the airport
- Sunflower lanyards for you to wear that alert the staff that you may need assistance
- Pagers that alert you it’s time to board the flight
You will need to contact the travel service before your journey to explain your accessibility needs. They should be able to accommodate anything you need for the journey.
Certain coach and train services will provide:
- Assistance with luggage as standard practice
- Wheelchair accessible toilets
- Dedicated wheelchair spaces
- Braille buttons and travel guides
- Quiet carriages
- Adapted seating
- Wheelchair lift for coach staircases
- Rest breaks
If you need anything specific on your journey, make sure you ask the travel provider prior to the day of travel.
If you’re taking your car abroad and choosing to take the ferry, it can make the logistics of travelling much easier. Because you’re already equipped and familiar with your own WAV, you won’t need to worry about many of the accessibility issues that come with public transport.
However, you will need to double check that:
- Your car is insured for overseas travel
- You register for breakdown cover in the country you’re travelling to
- You meet their travel rules
Find where to stay
Whether you’re staying in the UK or have an extravagant overseas bash planned, where you stay can be the make or break of your holiday. It’s no secret that many hotels make themselves seem more pleasant online, and when you’re planning an accessible trip, you can’t afford for anything to go wrong.
You may have a lot of anxiety surrounding the accommodation you choose, but there are lots of little things you can look out for to ensure they’re the right fit for you and your accessibility needs:
- Is there lift access to your room?
- Are you able to book a room on the bottom floor?
- Is there a wheelchair friendly ramp into the building?
- Are the bathrooms accessible, with access to a wheel-in shower or bath chair provided?
- Do the rooms have wide doorways?
- Is the bed low enough?
- Are there plenty of sockets to charge devices?
- Does the hotel incorporate braille?
- Do you have easy access to the local town/attractions?
If you’re planning to use the hotel’s facilities then it can be useful to call ahead and make sure there are measures in place to make you feel comfortable.
Travelling with medication tips and tricks
If you require medication on your trip then you’ll need to speak to your GP beforehand. Give them honest details about your trip including the location and duration of your trip.
They will then be able to ensure that:
- You have enough medication for the trip
- You are able to receive the appropriate vaccinations for your location
- It is safe for you to access medication in the country you’re visiting
- You have all necessary information about your medication to take with you
Other tips for taking medication abroad:
- Check that you can take your medication to the country you’re visiting
- If you require liquid medicine on the plane, make sure you have a dosage within travel guidelines
- Ask your doctor to provide a letter about the medication you take – this can be handy on flights or if you visit a doctor abroad
- Bring twice the amount of medication you need
- Keep some of your medicine on your person in case you lose your luggage
- Keep it in secure container in case it falls out in your luggage
If you’re travelling solo and require medication, it can be a good idea to have contact details of local emergency services and your family on hand. It is also best practice to share your family/friends into your itinerary so they know where you’re going in case of an emergency.
You can never be too careful with travel insurance when taking an accessible holiday.
Unlike the UK, not every country you travel too will have access to free healthcare so it’s important to find an insurance policy that covers medical bills while you are overseas. Buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip in case anything goes wrong in the interim.
For a deeper look into the various ins and outs of travel insurance, take a look at Scope’s guide on travel insurance for disabled people.
To unlock more top tips for taking an accessible holiday, or for advice and guidance from the Karma community, follow Karma Mobility on social media.