Accessible Travel Tips for Individuals with Disabilities

Travelling can be an enriching and joyful experience, but it can equally be challenging for individuals with disabilities. Accessible options may or may not be available in faraway destinations, thereby limiting travel options, or, at the very least, posing unique challenges for these individuals. Nevertheless, the joy of travel can be experienced and enjoyed with the right support and the following tips:

Accessibility Needs for Travellers

When travelling as an individual with mobility impairments or with a friend or family member with a disability, the first and most important thing to consider is the specific needs of the individual and their circumstances.

Wheelchair-bound individuals, for example, may need additional support at airports as well as travelling to and from an airport, whereas elderly individuals may need to take breaks to rest. Knowing the needs of the individual is critical before planning any travel at all.

Plan Your Travel Well in Advance

Not all destinations worldwide have the same accessible features common in most urban areas of Australia; some may have similar accessibility features, others may have none at all, even in big touristy cities. For example, the cobblestone streets of Florence, Italy, and its high pavement kerbs can make traversing the city centre extraordinarily difficult for anyone with a mobility impairment. Conversely, cities such as Turin and parts of Milan tend to have much better infrastructure in many parts of the city centre.

Furthermore, consider the availability of ramps, lifts/hoists, accessible bathrooms, and security railing in hotels. Many hotels clearly indicate their amenities for disabled individuals and these should be a priority.

Arranging Transport

Many foreign destinations have trains, public transit, and other transport options that can accommodate individuals. Research well in advance to make sure that transport is feasible and note any wheelchair-accessible train carriages, for example, to make sure that the individual can indeed travel via that mode.

Moreover, always research the airline in advance to make sure that they can accommodate the individual needs, as well as provide wheelchairs at the airport. Also take advantage of priority boarding, as many airlines allow individuals with disabilities to board first.

Pack All Essentials

This applies for any traveller, but it’s extremely important for individuals with disabilities. Pack any essential medical supplies such as prescription medications in carry-on luggage, and keep medical records in the event that any prescriptions are questioned at customs. Moreover, be sure to pack all relevant travel documents including emergency contacts, insurance information, etc.

Hospitality & Restaurants

Not all restaurants are capable of accommodating individuals with certain disabilities, such as wheelchair-bound individuals, for example. Research some restaurants and hospitality venues (e.g. cafes, pubs) that clearly indicate accessible entry and other features (e.g. bathrooms).

Not all disabilities are clearly visible, so it may be wise to schedule a reservation at hospitality venues well in advance and to ask the manager if they can accommodate the individual’s needs.

Cultural Experiences

Some countries have many cultural similarities with Australia, many others do not. Unfortunately, some foreign cultures may have a different attitude towards individuals with disabilities and while not always easy to research beforehand, any foreknowledge of these sorts of attitudes could influence your choice of destination.

Better Care Services

Better Care Services is a leading provider of quality-of-life services for individuals with disabilities including assistance with travel and transport. Get in touch with us today.

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