- 05. 01. 2022
Top Tips for Travelling with Disabilities
21. 09. 2021
Travelling with a disability might be a bit daunting at times, especially if you have no experience in planning such adventures for yourself or your loved ones. However, there are a number of ways that will help you ensure smooth and exciting journeys all over the world. Why restrict yourself to places nearby when you can become a true globetrotter? Everything you need? A few tips and a little bit of preparation. Piece of cake!
Our top disabled travel tips will help you satisfy your wanderlust and make sure you have the most amazing holiday wherever you go!
Planning and packing
The most important part that comes even before taking off and reaching a new destination is definitely planning and packing everything you will need on your trip.
Check out some tips for traveling with disabilities that will help you make sure you do not forget to tick anything off your list:
Choose the right destination
Take time and think about the destination. Some countries are more accessible than others—for example, old cities with paved roads will be more difficult to navigate. However, do not immediately assume a certain destination will be inaccessible.
Take your time to research places that have been on your bucket list since forever and you might be surprised to realize you can take an accessible trip to Machu Picchu or even the Amazon rainforest.
For more ideas on disability-friendly cities check out this article.
Rent equipment at your destination
Make packing easier for you and check if you can simply rent everything you need at the destination. This way, you will save time at the airport or leave more room in your car for other things you need to take with you.
If you are travelling to Slovenia, Feel no Limits helps you rent all the necessary gadgets with delivery straight to your hotel. You can rent a wheelchair or a scooter, as well as a toilet/shower chair, medical bed and other necessary equipment. For those embarking on active holidays, there is even the possibility of renting a monoski for para-alpine skiing or piloted dualski!
You might be able to rent all the necessary equipment at your destination so you do not have to overpack.
Bring spare parts and tools
This accessible travel tip might not be an obvious one, but could save you a lot of hassle. We strongly recommend you assemble a small kit of spare parts and tools for emergency repairs. Wheelchairs can take tremendous abuse while traveling so you might have to do some quick repairs once you have landed at your destination.
Moreover, you may also be required to dismantle a wheelchair for certain flights or activities so make sure you or your travel buddy know how to do this and bring all necessary tools with you.
Transfers are usually the part disabled travelers are most worried about. But it does not have to be like that! With only a couple of accessible travel tips you will avoid a lot of trouble and make sure you reach your final destination stress-free!
Avoid connecting flights
Even though wheelchairs are the last item checked onto a plane (and therefore the first one to take out), it is still a better idea to focus on direct flights when you book your holidays. This will definitely save you a lot of trouble as well as time.
However, if you are planning a trip somewhere far away and you do not feel comfortable spending more time on a plane due to airplane lavatories etc., shorter flights with layovers might be a good option after all. If you decide to book connecting flights, make sure you leave enough time for reaching the gate and everything you have to do before your next flight.
Avoiding connecting flights will save you a lot of time and hassle.
Ask your airline for help
This is perhaps the most important tip that will make your air travel with disability much much easier. Do not be afraid to ask your airline for assistance. Many airlines have designated employees for such tasks and someone will meet you when you arrive at your destination or help you with check in and guide you through security before your flight.
Good news is that such service is usually free, however, different airlines might have different policies so make sure you check the fine print before you fly. Moreover, many airlines also allow guide dogs on board (again free of charge!) for visually-impaired travelers. Reservation before your flight is required, though, so again check how far in advance you have to take care of it should you require such service.
You can request help for other transportation services as well, in case you are traveling by bus, train, etc. We strongly recommend you to kindly ask which services a certain carrier is offering and they will for sure do their best to make the journey easier for you!
Once you have reached your destination, the relaxing part of your journey should begin. To make sure it really ends up being relaxing, follow some tips for travelers with disabilities to avoid unnecessary hassle:
Book in advance
Always book your accommodation far in advance! The main reason for that is that accessible rooms in hotels are often not so numerous so you want to avoid the best ones being taken. In case you are planning to travel during the summer, it might be a good idea to start hotel-hunting as early as in December.
In case you are worried about your plans changing in between, choose a room with free cancelation before a certain date and then set up a reminder on your phone to guarantee you get a full refund if you decide not to travel.
Book well in advance if you want to get a room in the best hotel.
Stay in accessible parts of town
Another reason to book your accommodation early is to be able to stay in the best part of the town. If you are traveling with a disability, you probably want to stay near major sights and the city centre, but keep in mind that you are competing for a handful of accessible rooms with other people with disabilities that have similar wishes. If you wait too long, the best locations will be long gone, which means longer bus/train/tram rides before you reach the attractions.
You also do not want to end up in the least accessible parts of town. So, when you check hotels, do not only focus on the room and interiors, but also check what you will find when you walk/roll out the front door. Is the hotel located in a hilly part of the town or are there stairs leading up to it? Will you have to roll over cobblestones? What can you find nearby? Make a thorough check of the neighborhood using Google Maps’ Street View to get a better picture so you do not end up negatively surprised upon arrival.
Traveling with a disability might sometimes be difficult to combine with getting around the city. This is why our disabled travel tips include some valuable information on transportation:
Plan your route
We cannot emphasise the importance of this step enough. If you are in a new city, thoroughly research all the transfer options before leaving your hotel (or even before getting on your flight).
It will definitely help to know how to get to the tourist attractions you want to see, whether there will be wheelchair ramps, flat terrain, and smooth pavement. If you are planning to roll around the city using your wheelchair, the situation will be much more relaxing if you know how to avoid steep hills, paved streets, flights of stairs, etc.
Use public transportation where possible
You will probably not be able to use your wheelchair for longer distances, so research the accessibility of bus routes, subway stations, and other useful information before embarking on a day of sightseeing. Do not only check for accessible routes, but find the information about the payment process and other bits that will simplify your journey.
If you do not feel comfortable using public transport, many cities also offer accessible transfers. It is not always the cheapest option, but hey, you are on holiday, so why not spoil yourself a bit and make sure you are really able to relax?
Do not be afraid of public transport. Many cities have made tremendous efforts to make public transport accessible to everyone.
Now that you have checked more serious tips for travelling with disabilities, let us get down to the fun part!
Consider booking a tour
Booking a tour might nowadays have a negative connotation as everyone is so eager to satisfy their wanderlust without any additional help. But why should you not make it a bit easier for yourself?
Finding a trusted agent and booking a tour can actually make your day much more fulfilling. Experienced tour guides are an amazing source of all sorts of information about the city you are visiting.
Using a special tour company that specializes in assisting travelers with additional needs also means they will lead you down the flattest, smoothest, shortest routes without missing any of the must-see parts of the city. This way you will be able to relax and soak in all the information!
Visit accommodating museums
Luckily, there are many museums around the globe that take care of visitors with disabilities. The majority nowadays offer accessible ramps, lifts, accessible restrooms and much more.
You might be surprised to learn some even have perks such as free passes and tours for the disabled. You can also often skip the line and not only save your money, but also time!
For more ideas on accessible activities in seven different cities around the globe, check this article.Back
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