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When it comes to travel and weekend getaways, proper pre-planning and preparation can ensure that your hard-earned holiday period is relaxing and therapeutic rather than stressful and monotonous.
While you’ll never be able to completely control what happens once you’re out of the house, using the following guidelines might be the difference between a trip of a lifetime or a costly, time consuming and stressful experience.
Accessible tourism is going from strength to strength in the international travel industry and with a little research and determination, you’ll quickly find a place that suits your needs and travel plans.
Accessible tourism: 10 useful tips
While travel agents and private organisations are becoming more and more engaged with accessible tourism planning and travel suggestions, it’s still important that you spend some time planning, packing and researching your destinations.
It is hoped that accessible tourism will become even easier to organise and book in the future. However, until such a time comes, make sure you don’t forget the little details that can affect your holiday.
1. Do Your Background Research
When you’re just beginning to plan a holiday to a new city or country, it’s imperative that you’re aware of any critical accessibility obstructions. For many cities, there is a wealth of online resources solely dedicated to providing information on accessibility.
However, for lesser known travel destinations, you might have to consult travel websites and ‘tourist spot’ reviews, to give you an idea about the accessibility of accommodation, transport, restaurants, monuments and other attractions. If things are different than expected in certain locations, try and remember that a big part of the joy of travel is the uncertainty of it all!
2. Find an Accessible and Comfortable Place to Stay
When you’re travelling, establishing a safe, relaxing and convenient ‘home base’ should be a priority during the planning stage. Due to the growing popularity of smartphones and social media, it’s easier than ever to determine the accessibility of hotels and their surrounding areas.
In some cases, informing hotel staff about your specific requirements can even be beneficial, leading to room adaptations for increased accessibility and comfort. After researching an accessible accommodation location, take the time to investigate whether the neighbourhood is wheelchair friendly. Many online maps often highlight flat areas and have symbols for buildings that are easily accessible
3. Book Ahead of Time
To save you money and stress, be sure to plan your holidays and getaways well in advance. Although it’s exciting to plan a spontaneous adventure, last minute reservations will almost always come with an expensive price tag. Moreover, if you’re planning on travelling at a popular time of the year, you may find it difficult to secure accessible rooms at short notice.
4. Consult Your Travel Insurance Company
If you’re planning on travelling via buses, trains or planes, it’s important to know the parameters, level of cover and cost of your travel insurance. To avoid unwanted complications, make sure that you communicate your accessibility requirements to any transport companies you’re using. Knowing that your wheelchair is covered by travel insurance is a great way to achieve peace of mind and will help you relax and make the most of your holiday.
5. Research Your Routes
Whether you intend to use buses, trains, footpaths or taxis, make sure you’re aware of route accessibility. You can save yourself a lot of time and hassle by researching the most accessible public transport stopping stations and priority pick up areas. Furthermore, if you have some specific travel destinations in mind, booking travel tickets and planning your route ahead of time is a great way to reduce stress on the day so you can enjoy your trip!
6. Don’t Forget About the Weather Conditions
Surprisingly, many people forget about changes in weather conditions when packing for a holiday. To avoid any surprises, make sure you research seasonal weather conditions at your destination and try to pick a travel date that minimises the risk of storms, rain or oppressive heat. Also, ensure that you pack for changes in the weather that could occur as a precaution so you’re not caught unprepared. While you’re holidaying, keep an eye on the weather forecasts and pack a small backpack umbrella just in case.
7. See What Other People Think
In today’s world, online reviews can be posted in a matter of minutes. Before you book flights, accommodation, event tickets or restaurant bookings, you should consult websites like ‘TripAdvisor’, to see other people’s ratings and comments. There are even review websites specifically catered to people with disabilities, helping you see how other people deal with unforeseen obstacles while travelling and their experience with accessibility in specific destinations.
8. Make Use of Official Resources
Despite the wealth of information online, travel websites can quickly become outdated. To be doubly sure that your travel plans are based on accurate, up-to-date information, be sure to consult official tourist pamphlets, transportation guides and city council maps. Many of the world’s most popular tourist destinations offer a wide range of travel resources, including official accessible tourism guides.
9. Always Have a Back-Up Plan
Wherever you are travelling, it’s always important to have a ‘Plan B’ when it comes to transportation, accommodation and budgeting. For accessible tourism, some of the most important precautions for travelling are: preparing for wheelchair malfunctions, having a reliable form of communication and having back up plans in place for transportation.
10. Positive Outlook
Sometimes accessible travel can be exhausting, stressful and even risky. However, whether you’re planning your next adventure or in the midst of your current getaway, you should try your best to make the most of the incredible experience.
You’ll never be able to predict everything that’ll happen on your next holiday, but by being prepared and having done some research you should have a more enjoyable and stress free holiday. Hopefully, these tips and guidelines will get you excited for your next accessible travel experience. If you experience any mishaps that aren’t covered in this article, try and incorporate the experience into planning your next getaway.
To make the most out of any accessible travelling, you’ll need a personalised, comfortable wheelchair. Sunrise Medical offers an extensive range of accessible travel equipment and you’ll be able to choose a powered wheelchair or a manual wheelchair that fits your needs and budget. If you need an assessment from our team or simply want to start browsing our range, please visit our website.