Back in the old days, traveling was a distant dream for differently-abled persons. But the rise of Accessible travel in recent times has ensured that such people receive all the assistance they need for touring the world. The travel industry, too, has become conscious of the needs of impaired travelers and provides exceptional care for such customers. From getting special transport facilities to having access to comfortable travel accommodation- the disabled people have all the reasons to smile while on their dream trip.
However, it requires adequate planning and information-gathering to benefit from the special provisions available for the impaired travelers. Here are five helpful tips for the differently-abled to travel effortlessly.
1. Mention Your Special Requirements Clearly
When you are booking accommodation and airline tickets for the disabled, it is highly crucial to describe the nature of the disability accurately. Unless the caregivers are fully aware of the kind of assistance you need, they won’t be able to take safety measures to provide you a comfortable journey.
While some airlines extend you special care services upon request, others will ask you to present a medical certificate and a doctor’s note attesting to your physical condition. Medical certificates also assist you in breezing through security checkpoints without hassles, especially if you carry medical equipment like a walker, a pacemaker, or a pride mobility scooter. If you are traveling alone, let the caregivers know if you need help handling such medical devices. It would be better if you could label all the equipment clearly. Get to the airport in advance to get through the additional screenings related to your medication and medical devices.
2. Choose A Travel Plan Tailor-Made For The Differently Abled
Travel agencies generally create itineraries for the common public that may not have the special facilities required for the disabled. Therefore, you either need to ask your travel agency to make special provisions for you or choose an agency that offers customized programs for such travelers.
Taking the service of agencies specializing in handling differently-abled people would be far more convenient for you, as they will take care of flight booking, hotel booking, restaurant visits, and sightseeing. Moreover, you won’t need to worry about your transport, security screenings, luggage transportation, and travel planning since all of these will be handled by your agency as part of the package. You will also end up saving a lot of money and time by booking everything at once through the agency instead of paying for everything separately.
3. Be Careful With Your Accommodation
Whether you are traveling on your own or taking the help of an agency, you should never compromise on your accommodation. Before you book your hotel, inquire if they will provide solutions like a pick-up and drop facility, accessibility vehicles such as a wheelchair, and a specially modified bathroom equipped with specifications required for the disabled. Responsible hotel chains promoting accessible tourism generally go a step further by offering refitted rooms, modified wardrobe, desk design, adjustable bed height, accessible kitchens, etc. Many of these hotels extend inclusive services for differently-abled tourists, such as quad bike trips, cycling, and assisted horse riding.
Although hotels mention their facilities on their websites, the wording can be tricky, and it is always better to confirm these on the phone or by email. And make sure you mention your check-in date so that they have enough time to make the arrangements.
4. Ensure Medical Assistance Throughout Your Trip
Depending on the state of your physical impairment, you may need medical attention at any point of your tour. Before you set out on the journey, explain to your doctor all the activities you may indulge in. A doctor can suggest measures to minimize the effects of a long flight, bumpy road trips, inadequate medical facilities in your destination, and other pitfalls that might occur. Take a doctor’s statement with you so that you can show it as a reference if you require emergency medical aid.
Have your doctor’s number saved on your mobile and written in a diary so that you have access to medical advice, especially when you are traveling to remote locations. When you reach your booked hotel, gather information regarding the availability of medical facilities and emergency healthcare services so that you are not caught off guard in case of a health emergency.
5. Choose The Most Convenient Travel Timings
As a differently-abled person, it is not in your best interest to visit crowded places. You may face difficulties steering your wheelchair and find it hard to explore the area with thick crowds. Even if you are visiting such sites, avoid traveling there at peak hours. Spots like beaches remain packed in the afternoon while markets and public transport get congested in the morning and evening.
You can avoid large crowds by cleverly choosing the season of travel. Famous cities like Paris and London are usually less crowded in the first half of the year. Ocean attractions like the Maldives and Australian coasts see the least footfalls in winters, while tourist spots in India witness peak tourist entries in winter and spring.
Differently-abled persons deserve the joy of exploring the world just like everybody else, but they often face setbacks such as misinformation, prejudice, logistical hassles, and inadequate facilities. The tips mentioned above can help differently-abled people travel peacefully and gather cherishable memories.