People living with disabilities desire to travel and have the right to do so like everyone else. In fact, between 2018 and 2019, over 27 million travelers living with a disability took 81 million trips and spent $58.7 billion, according to PR Newswire.
If you or a loved one live with a visible or invisible disability, enjoying a perfect family trip shouldn’t be difficult. No place is off-limits for individuals with visual or hearing impairment or limited mobility in the modern world. Hotels, cultural institutions, theme parks, and museums guarantee accessibility more than ever.
However, to experience a memorable vacation, you need to prepare well in advance. Below are some simple travel tips for individuals with accessibility needs to enjoy their trips.
Plan To Avoid Surprises
Travelling with a disability isn’t easy, but proper planning helps prevent surprises that could derail your vacation. This step entails researching your desired trip destination months before the travel date. You can make use of routing apps like Route4Me Route Planner to ensure that you pick the most convenient route. That way, you can determine if the places you intend to visit are accessible and book your trip early.
Travel experts recommend booking flights over the phone instead of online. This tactic makes explaining to a travel agent the kind of assistance you need much easier. Also, invest time learning how to use public transportation to ensure you can navigate cities with ease.
Research About Hotel Accessibility
Finding accommodation that guarantees accessibility can be daunting when exploring new places. With this in mind, call several hotels and inquire about the accessibility features available in their rooms. An ADA-compliant hotel will have roll-in showers with a shower bench, grab bars, and sufficient room for individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
If your preferred hotel doesn’t have accessible features, ask them to recommend other hotels in the area. Alternatively, search online for recommendations from others with similar needs. For instance, if you’re travelling with a child with cerebral palsy, you should find online forums that support families like yours.
According to CPFN, caring for a kid with CP can be daunting, and it can be stressful when planning a holiday trip. But when you join a support group, you gain insights into how to care for your child and find the best accommodation during travel.
Know Your Rights
Knowing your accessibility rights is crucial, especially when travelling abroad. The last thing you want is to get into trouble with airport authorities. Therefore, take the time to read and understand the rights of travellers with accessibility needs.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to accept accommodation offered by an airline. For instance, airlines must allow tourists with disabilities to pre-board a plane, but they can’t force them to do so.
Additionally, if you request an accommodation, the airline should provide it at no cost. You’re also not required to pre-notify the airline about your travel plans unless you’re travelling with an electric wheelchair, or other battery-powered accessibility devices, or by stretcher.
Travelling with accessibility needs can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. All you need to do is plan your trip months before the travel date. Research hotel accessibility carefully and, most importantly, know your accessibility rights. Doing so will help you enjoy a smooth holiday trip regardless of the extra accessibility needs you have.