“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
(Mark Twain, 1835-1910)
During the lifetime of Mark Twain author of Huckleberry Finn, which no doubt inspired many to set off and adventure ? this sentiment would not have been extended to those faced with difficulties in getting around. The facilities just didn not exist and the infrastructure was not in place. Now, however, in 2016 there are no more excuses ? it is time to get out there and see the world.
You could be forgiven for assuming that accessible holidays might be subject to enormous geographical restrictions, but that, thankfully, is simply not the case. There are so many wonderful places in Europe and beyond that tick all the necessary boxes for an exciting, but comfortable holiday adventure for those who need assisted access.
Of course, the very term accessible holidays is a blanket term that covers trips for people with an array of disabilities or mobility issues, ranging from blindness or learning difficulties through to those in wheelchairs. For the blind, there is an excellent company called Travel Eyes, who offer trips that place a great emphasis on enhancing experience through the other senses (hearing, smell, taste, touch) and just like mainstream tour operators offer a choice of holiday type to help narrow down the opportunities.
- Activity Breaks
- City Breaks
- Sun, Sea & Sand
- UK Breaks
The fact that you have to ?narrow down? the search fields just shows how far things have come. It is important to reiterate this message as many might not be aware just how things have progressed in such a short timeframe.
There are many sites online which offer guaranteed accessible holidays usually stating that there will be a room with a level access shower (as a minimum base level of accessibility). Let us take a look at some of the amazing places that can be visited.
Perhaps one for Christmas, this is many people’s dream winter holiday and thanks to wonderful safe catering cabins in the notorious skiing village of Yll’s, this trip can be ticked off the bucket list!
Closer to home there are many choices of gites and cottages all over France, from Brittany and Normandy to the Dordogne and for wine lovers, near St Emilion in Bordeaux.
How can I make my holidays more accessible?
Making the holidays more accessible involves creating an inclusive and accommodating environment for everyone. Here are some suggestions to help make your holidays more accessible:
Consider Accessibility Needs: Take into account the specific accessibility needs of your guests or family members. Communicate with them in advance to understand their requirements and any accommodations that may be necessary. This could include considerations such as wheelchair accessibility, mobility aids, visual or hearing impairments, dietary restrictions, or sensory sensitivities.
Clear Pathways: Ensure that the pathways in your home or gathering space are clear and free from clutter or obstacles. This helps individuals with mobility challenges or visual impairments navigate the space more easily. Remove rugs or secure them firmly to the floor to prevent tripping hazards.
Provide Seating Options: Offer a variety of seating options to accommodate different needs. Ensure that chairs are sturdy and provide adequate support. Consider using chairs with armrests or providing cushions or pillows for added comfort.
Make Restrooms Accessible: Ensure that restroom facilities are easily accessible and have features such as grab bars, raised toilet seats, or adequate space for wheelchair manoeuvrability. Make sure the restroom is well-lit and consider adding non-slip mats for safety.
Create Visual and Tactile Cues: Use visual and tactile cues to assist individuals with visual impairments or cognitive disabilities. This could include labelling food items with large print or Braille, providing written materials in accessible formats, using contrasting colours for decorations, or providing tactile markers to help navigate spaces.
Mindful Lighting and Noise Levels: Be mindful of lighting and noise levels, as these can affect individuals with sensory sensitivities. Create a comfortable environment by adjusting the lighting to a level that suits everyone and keeping the noise levels moderate.
Offer Dietary Options: Take into account dietary restrictions or preferences of your guests. Provide a variety of food options, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or allergen-free choices. Clearly label food items and consider providing ingredient lists to ensure everyone can make informed choices.
Foster Inclusive Activities: Plan inclusive activities that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of abilities. Consider games or activities that are adaptable and offer different levels of participation. Encourage participation and create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere.
Communicate and Educate: Foster open communication and educate others about the importance of inclusivity and accessibility. Encourage guests to be mindful of others’ needs and sensitivities, and provide resources or information about accessibility services or local resources that can assist with accommodations.
Remember, each individual’s accessibility needs may vary, so it’s crucial to engage in open and respectful communication to ensure a welcoming and inclusive holiday experience for everyone involved.