We all need to get away from time to time. Travel provides a break from our routines while exposing our senses to new cultures and environments. But it can also be stressful and uncomfortable at times, especially if you have problems with physical mobility.
The NHS reports that there are currently around 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK, yet accessibility in public and private spaces varies wildly across the world. This makes detailed research and planning essential for enjoying a smooth ride, wherever the destination.
Read four key considerations for organising a wheelchair-accessible trip below.
Pick the destination
Picking where to travel to is never easy, but you could start by consulting disabled travel blogs and agency websites to read their first-hand recommendations. Certain locations have especially positive reputations including Venice, Toronto and Valletta.
If you have key sights you want to see such as museums, try to find specific accessibility information to make sure they’re set up for wheelchair users. You may also have other needs to cater for if you’re travelling in a group, such as sight or hearing issues.
Choose a suitable hotel
If choosing accommodation yourself rather than through a travel agency, you’ll want to look for a hotel or B&B with accessible rooms. Depending on what you need, this could mean checking online or over the phone for details of an accessible bathtub or roll-in shower.
Simply searching online for ‘accessible hotels in X’ could make this stage of planning quicker and easier. It’s a good idea to inform your chosen hotel of your needs in advance so they can have everything ready for your arrival, even if that simply means having a friendly staff member on hand.
Find accessible transport
Your chosen transport method will heavily depend on your destination. If travelling by plane, make sure to research the airline’s accessibility services and aim to book a direct journey where possible to avoid the risk of your chair being damaged when transferred.
If choosing to drive instead, you’ll need a wheelchair accessible vehicle that’s large enough for your group. Adapted minibuses are ideal for transporting multiple wheelchair users.
Cover insurance and health needs
Travel insurance is an aspect many travellers forget about, but it’s especially crucial for providing peace of mind when travelling with special medical needs. In the unlikely event that something does go wrong, you’ll know exactly who to contact and what to do.
If you or anyone in your group relies on medical prescriptions meanwhile, it could be worth packing extra just in case some get lost or damaged in transit.
Travel can feel intimidating when you’re in a wheelchair. But with plenty of planning and positive attitude, you’ll make memories to last a lifetime.
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