It’s no secret that I love to travel. In fact, there’s no place that I can think of that I wouldn’t like to go, simply to experience the sights, sounds and culture and explore new territory. But as a wheelchair user, sometimes impulsive exploration is far from the easiest thing to do. Over the years, I’ve learnt to do a few things each time I go away to make my life that little bit easier:
Planning is everything
As much as I’d love to book a one way plane ticket and go wherever the wind takes me, I know that this wouldn’t be my most sensible move! Those of us who are disabled can still have amazing and exciting trips away to far away lands and exotic locations, it just takes a little more preparation. Want to go on safari? There is a company that will take you. On a cruise? There are plenty of ships with accessible amenities. It’s just about taking that extra time to do the research and find them – you won’t regret it.
Check, then check again
You know on websites like booking.com there’s a filter to search only for hotels and apartments that are suitable for disabled guests? Don’t take that as gospel. Call the place yourself, explain your requirements and check that they can cater for them. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’ll save time and tears in the long run. I once booked a hotel in Madrid. It had a lift to all floors….with five steps leading to the lift doors. Go figure!
A little extra can go a long way
As much as it pains me to say it, accessibility is sometimes more expensive. You might need to grab a taxi when a bus isn’t available, or eat at a slightly more pricey restaurant due to step-free access. Make sure that you have a little ‘extras’ fund for these things, if and when they do arise. You won’t feel rubbish having to limit your spending money but you will be able to do all the things you’d hoped to.