Given people with health conditions and impairments spend around £12bn on trips in England, how to travel as a wheelchair user is an important challenge for those who live with a disability and have a sense of wanderlust, too.
If you’re worrying about your next trip away, we’ve come up with a few tips on how to travel abroad as a wheelchair user, including some destination inspiration to add to your travel bucket list.
Tips on traveling as a wheelchair user
There are a few ways you can make traveling as a wheelchair user as hassle-free as possible.
Research your destination in advance
Before you book any flights, make sure to research your destination in advance. Are there enough restaurants, museums, and hotels that are accessible? Can you do all the touristy things you want easily?
Check if your accommodation is wheelchair-friendly
If you’ve chosen your accommodation, confirm that it has accessible rooms and accessible entrances before booking it. You can check if a flat on Airbnb has an accessible lift on the accommodation profile.
Plan your itinerary
You can do this in your initial research, but planning your itinerary beforehand will ensure you can hit all the best spots, including how to get between them, i.e. with accessible public transport. Make sure to also leave enough time to rest and relax.
Make sure your phone is charged
Keeping your phone battery charged so you can stay connected means if you’re ever stuck in a dilemma or plans change at the last minute, you can quickly Google an accessible alternative. It also means you can use translation apps to explain your additional needs if you don’t quite have the time to get yourself fluent!
Holidays to add to your bucket list
The number of holidays that are accessible for wheelchair users has steadily been increasing. This means those with a disability can travel to the destinations they’ve always wanted to go to – without sacrificing anything they’d always dreamt of doing.
Here are some of our favorite wheelchair-accessible travel spots:
If you’ve always wanted to try an adventure holiday, a South African safari could be a great option. Stormsriver Adventures has opened up its Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour, where disabled customers can slide around the zip-wire course attached to a guide. There’s also a dedicated “touch and feel” experience for the visually impaired.
Tobogã, in northern Portugal’s Peneda-Gerês National Park, started offering accessible canyoning tours in 2010, and has expanded the program to include trekking and surfing.
For wheelchair users who want to explore the incredible Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Islands Adventure helps those with a disability snorkel in the beautifully clear waters.
By properly planning and preparing for your trip abroad, you can enjoy a hassle-free travel experience that takes your extra accessibility requirements into consideration. Which leaves you with more time, to well, explore!
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I'm Alice and I live with a dizzying assortment of invisible disabilities, including ADHD and fibromyalgia. I write to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental and chronic illnesses of all kinds.