Disabled and planning to go away

Free Man with Prosthetic Leg walking on a Wooden Footpath Stock PhotoTravelling abroad can be difficult at the best of times, but if you have a disability, you may have to consider a few more things before you step out of the front door.

If you have decided which country you want to visit, check that they have the necessary facilities you require. This could be anything from accommodation to travel requirements to nearby shopping facilities when you get there.

Check your hotel location

You don’t want to stay in a hotel perched on a hill if you have difficulty walking, or fly on an airline with cramped seats if you are bigger than the average person.

There is a whole host of countries like Germany, UK, Netherlands, Brazil, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Canada and the USA, that cater for the disabled, but it’s still worth checking out for specific facilities before booking your trip.

There are a few companies that are pushing for more thoughtful travel experiences for the disabled. These include: Travel for All; Seable Holidays; Easy Access Travel; Planet Abled; Wheel the World; and Tapooz Travel.

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According to a recent report from MMGY Global, “Portrait of Travelers with Disabilities: Mobility and Accessibility,” approximately 12.5 million disabled people travelled in 2018-19, so don’t be put off. But do your research to get the best price for your holiday. There are plenty of comparison sites available for that last-minute deal.

Your disability may not be visible, so don’t be afraid to let the travel agent know before buying your ticket, or telling airport staff when showing your boarding pass. If it is a visible disability, like needing extra help when walking, make sure you get the right walking stick that keeps you upright.

People with disabilities have rights

Remember that as a disabled person you have rights. There is plenty of legislation to protect you. This means that reasonable help is given to you at your hotel and when boarding a plane. If you have a wheelchair, check with your airline what requirements they offer.

All Government’s should provide advice on whether it is safe to travel to a country, and what services they provide for disabled travellers.

Here are a few websites for British travellers:

Passport services for disabled customers(external link opens in a new window / tab)
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Foreign travel advice(external link opens in a new window / tab)
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When you get to your destination and have unpacked, take a good rest and then get your bearings. It’s always good to have a sensible backpack that can evenly take the weight off your shoulders.

Travel insurance is a must as hospital can be expensive

If you have medical conditions make sure your hotel is not too far away from a pharmacy. Also, it is imperative that you get appropriate travel insurance. Ending up in a hospital in a foreign country might prove very costly.

Always pack your medication into your hand luggage in case you need it urgently. There is also the chance that your suitcase may go missing. If you have a disability that is linked to a charity, they can give you great advice. More than likely their members have been on holiday, so you can learn from their experiences.

But before you do anything else, get yourself checked out by your GP if you are going on a big trip. If you can’t do long-haul, don’t give up, make it a staycation. Always pack your medication into your hand luggage in case you need it urgently. Lastly, wherever you are going, find out if you can take your best friend with you.

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