Tips for Travelers with Disabilities
Everyone deserves to see the world, even if it means overcoming a few challenges along the way. Those living with disabilities or chronic illnesses face a lot of accessibility issues around the world, but that doesn’t mean they have to take their diagnosis as a death sentence for their dreams of travel. Whether you’re living with limited mobility or a chronic illness, you too can explore this great world just like everyone else.
While you should be realistic with your travel goals, there’s no reason you have to sit at home watching the world pass you by. It’s possible to step outside your comfort zone and see what new places have to offer. The trick is in the planning. While you likely won’t be able to hop on a plane and take off into the most remote parts of the world at short notice, with the right planning, you can wander with the best of them.
Do Your Research
We all have heard time and time again that most of Europe’s cities are not accessible. From the cobblestone streets of Paris to the canals of Venice, it’s supposedly impossible to get around if you have any kind of mobility problem. While it’s certainly true that some places are harder to reach than others, it’s entirely possible to work around these challenges with some planning.
It’s all about your research. Only you understand your unique needs. That said, get familiar with different platforms (like booknowmed.com) that can be of help in finding the treatment for your special need. Maybe you need to ensure you can get proper medical care throughout your visit or you have to secure private transportation. No matter your obstacle, there’s a way around it if you’re able to put in the work to research your best options. There are hotels that are fully accessible across the world, and you can always find routes that are nothing but smooth sailing. It’s also crucial to research the neighborhood of the place you’re staying at. Use Google Maps’ Street View to get the idea of the surrounding area.
Talk to Your Hotel
Another great way to help your trip run smoothly before you even leave home is to talk with your accommodation. Since they’re the best source about your destination, they’ll be able to help you with planning your arrival, departure, and everything in between. If you have a specific question or need a suggestion about accessibility within the city, talk to them first.
Hotels work with a variety of different travelers and have experience helping everyone make the most of their trip. They’ll be able to help with anything from choosing an accessible restaurant to securing transportation to the property.
Don’t Overbook Your Trip
This isn’t limited to disabled or chronically ill travelers. Many new travelers in general struggle with booking the right amount of activity on their first trips and this only becomes more of a reality if you’re in a unique situation. Planning too many activities in one day is the best way to feel traveler overwhelm.
When planning your daily itinerary, it’s best to be conservative. There’s no reason you can’t plan for breaks throughout the day if needed. Remember, it’s better to be relaxing in a new place than relaxing at home. Instead of overbooking your trip, stick to one or two activities a day that you know you can really enjoy. You can always add more if you feel up to it.
Prepare for Air Travel
No matter who you are, one of the most stressful parts of getting from Point A to Point B is navigating the airport. Between carrying heavy luggage and making connecting flights, there’s a lot to worry about. These stresses become amplified when you have a disability or illness that adds time to your commute around the terminal.
You’ll want to prepare for this as best as you can before your trip to make the experience smoother. That means having plenty of time between connecting flights and talking to your airline about any necessary assistance. If possible, travel with a friend or loved one who can help you get between gates and to your accommodation stress-free.
Finally, you don’t want to set your travel itinerary in stone. There’s a certain freedom that comes from being flexible with your day to day schedule, and this isn’t only for disabled travelers. Sometimes the unexpected happens when you’re on the road. You want to learn to make the most of your independence.
Most of all, remember that traveling isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’ll get lost. You’ll need to ask for directions. Your luggage won’t arrive with your flight. Things happen, and that is just a part of seeing the world. Living with a disability makes you resourceful. You know how to overcome even the most challenging obstacles. You can handle anything, so don’t let any small bumps in the road get in the way of your good time.
No matter what your disability or chronic condition is, you should feel empowered to see the world beyond your own backyard. Don’t listen to those who tell you the world isn’t accessible. Not only is that rapidly changing in many cities around the globe, but it’s also just not true. As long as you’re willing to research and stay flexible, you can create a trip that works for your body and mind.
Seeing the world is something everyone should be able to do. Stop letting your diagnosis get in the way and start making the most of the time you have. The world is closer than you think. Now it’s time to go see it for yourself.