Planning a holiday or weekend getaway? Increasingly more and more cities are promoting themselves as offering ‘accessible tourism’ but it’s still worth doing some research and planning prior to your trip to ensure a stress-free trip.
10 useful tips for accessible tourism
An increasing number of agents are now offering accessible tourism recommendations and we’re certain that in the future, you will be able to plan trips without having to take any special measures and can assume that any hotel or city will have suitable adaptability requirements enabling you to enjoy your stay. Until that time arrives, here are our top ten tips for travelling with a wheelchair.
Before deciding on a particular city, research its degree of accessibility. There are many websites and forums where you will find opinions and information about monuments, nature areas, accommodation and restaurants, which will give you some clues about its accessibility.
Check the accessibility of the hotel and its surroundings
It’s possible that a hotel is accessible but that its rooms may not be adapted to suit your specific needs. That's why it's worth calling ahead to find out. Don’t forget to investigate the accessibility of the hotels surroundings too (e.g. nearby restaurants, cobblestone pavements, ramps or stairs) and the area where it is located.
Book in advance
Although it is very common to make reservations at the last minute, especially for short breaks or long weekends, remember that hotels usually only have a small number of adapted rooms and if you leave it until the last minute, they may already be fully booked.
Check your travel insurance
Find out if your travel insurance covers your mobility equipment. Damaging or losing your wheelchair is obviously not the same as if it was a suitcase. - Be prepared and advised - just in case
Plan your routes
Check footpaths, buses, underground stations and accessible entrances in the buildings you want to visit (museums, churches, monuments, etc.). All these aspects are part of your trip, so it is important to bear them in mind when planning. If you are travelling by train or bus, ask if the company's fleet have adapted platforms. The same thing applies if you are going to travel by plane. Inform them in advance that you will be travelling in a wheelchair.
Choose the most appropriate time of year
Although the weather can be unpredictable you can at least aim to visit your destination during the best season and climate to suit you. Check in advance what weather is typical for each time of year and keep an eye on weather forecasts in the run up to your vacation so you can plan accordingly.
Consider the opinions of others
Before booking your tickets or making a hotel reservation, check the ratings and comments that other users make about transport, hotels etc. Pay attention, above all, to the opinions of other people with disabilities. This way you can know how they travelled around, what obstacles they encountered and how they were overcome.
Browse the official guides
Local councils, increasingly committed to accessible tourism, periodically publish accessibility guides for their city where a thorough check is made. In these guides, you will find information about accessible tourism in relation to the use of public transport, access to theatres, cinemas, monuments, accommodation, restaurants and parking.
Draw up a ‘Plan B’
It’s worth having a back-up plan to avoid your day being spoiled. What if one of the adapted entrances into a building isn’t working? If you’ve done your research in advance, you’ll know about alternative options within the area.
Positive attitude = maximum enjoyment. That prior planning should give you the opportunity to enjoy your destination and soak up new experiences without having to worry.
What if something goes wrong? Don’t worry, just keep it in mind for your next trip.
With prior planning, a positive attitude and a back-up plan (just in case) sorted you can simply enjoy your trip. Are you ready to choose your destination and pack your suitcase?
If you are a globetrotter, you need to make sure you have the wheelchair that fits you. At Sunrise Medical we have a wide range of powered and manual products so you can choose your perfect wheelchair.