Holiday arrangements and travel plans are often taken for granted by most, but it is a sad fact that historic difficulties have led to people with mobility issues losing faith in the travel industry and choosing not to go on holiday to save them from facing the host of problems that they have experienced. While nowadays things are vastly improved, it is clear that things can still get better and that the travel industry must work to regain the trust of disabled travellers. In 2015, for example, a Civil Aviation Authority survey that gauged attitudes regarding air travel found that among those who fly very occasionally, those with disabilities are 13% less likely to choose air travel as a result of fears as to whether they would receive the help that they need.
Let’s focus on the positives here, because many disabled people travel extensively and have predominantly joyful, life-affirming experiences that they will remember forever, for all of the right reasons. There are some handy tips to bear in mind to ensure you will be added to this growing list of satisfied accessible explorers!
- Think about exploring the UK
While I would never suggest restricting your horizons, as an able-bodied writer I can only speak glowingly of my own experiences in choosing a holiday closer to home. No airport hassle, no long waits or delays and no day or two to recover from jet lag. Add to this the possibility of exploring such jewels as the Scottish highlands and remote islands, the Cornish coast and the Lake District or any number of bustling, vibrant or historic cities then the UK cannot be ignored.
- Choose the right airline
Not all airlines are equal when it comes for making provisions for disabled travellers. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
EasyJet: Yes! You did read that right. For a budget airline EasyJet are fantastic for assisting in boarding and on-board support, despite a lack of aisle wheelchairs.
Air Canada: A wonderful option for accessible holidays – and indeed Canada – and especially Toronto – can be a great place to visit for disabled travellers. The comprehensive support available is outstanding and extra seating is provided free of charge if you require it because of your disability. You can also board with your service animal as long as they can sit at your feet!
Continental Airlines: If America is on the agenda, then look no further than Continental. Seating arrangements, on-board assistance and provisions for service animals (there’s an on-board kennel!) are amazing.
- Determine your accommodation requirements
There’s no use turning up to a hotel, villa or apartment only to find that it doesn’t tick all the boxes. Before you begin your search make sure to make a check list as to your requirements, perhaps ranking them in order of importance. That way you can make your decisions easily and with an informed choice.
- Get adequate cover
Insurance is a waste of money, I never claim anything and the insurance companies must make a fortune, right? We’ve all had thoughts along those lines, but the minute something goes wrong it is far better to be covered than otherwise. The consequences of not having the appropriate insurance for your particular disability can be catastrophic.
- Book all transport in advance
Before you go abroad it is very wise to ensure that you prebook accessible vehicles and transfers plus transportation to any excursions you have planned. This will ensure you are not left disappointed or unable to use inadequate last minute options that are not suited to your needs.