Just because you're disabled, it doesn't mean you can't make the most out of your holiday and travel to foreign countries. All it takes is a little preparation and a smart travel plan and you can start looking forward to your next journey. Here are 5 essential tips for travelers with disabilities.
1. Plan, and then plan some more
How many times did you hear that a city isn't wheelchair accessible or has poor accessibility? While you're bound to experience some accessibility issues when traveling to a new place, the truth is that if you do your research well, you can navigate these challenges. Doing your homework, you'll be able to pack your journey with accessible attractions and amazing experiences.
Have a look at websites such as Mobility International USA to easily find overseas disability organizations which share plenty of information regarding local accessibility.
Research your destination to learn what type of facilities are available, and which transport options are easiest to use. Consult various guidebooks, specialist tour operations and tourist boards. Have a look at travel advice by country sections as well.
Double check all your arrangements before departure and make sure to have all your bookings and reservations confirmed in writing.
2. Book accommodation in advance
All smart travelers book their hotels in advance. It's cheaper and you'll have a wider range of options to choose from. Many hotels in city centers have only a couple of accessible rooms available, so act fast and book them as early as possible.
If you plan to travel during the summer, start your search the winter before – this way you'll get exactly what you want.
3. Choose the most accessible parts of town as your base
Even if you found an amazing accessible hotel, don't rush in making your decision. Take a closer look at the area to find out whether it's accessible as well.
What will you find when outside the front door? Perhaps there are steps in all directions, or the hotel is located on a hill?
Cobblestone streets are a possibility as well, so look into it. Don't forget to check whether there are accessible restaurants nearby. Use Google Maps' Street View functionality and check out the neighborhood. Get in touch with the hotel to clear up any queries.
4. Plan your route
Knowing what you'll face during your travel will make your trip much easier – and equally exciting! When picking a tourist attraction, research all the ways it can be accessed and pick the one which is most accessible.
Choose routes with flat terrain, smooth pavement and wheelchair ramps, if available. Avoid flights of stairs and steep hills.
Don't forget to research the accessibility of subway stations, bus routes, buildings and even sidewalks. All this information will be very helpful while you're there.
5. Stay safe when browsing the web
Since research is such a big part of your trip, you might be tempted to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots to explore your location further. When accessing the internet in coffee shops or hotel lobbies, be aware of the danger such public networks pose to your personal data.
It's relatively easy for cyber criminals to intercept information like usernames, passwords or logins. To stay safe, use a virtual private network (VPN) and you can be sure that nobody will be able to snoop on you while browsing the web. Have a look at these VPN reviews on Secure Thoughts blog to pick the right service.
Wherever you're traveling, make sure to have a backup plan in place and prepare for possible accessibility issues that might arise during your trip. That's how you'll make your journey pleasant and unforgettable.