You probably can’t wait to address your wanderlust again once the global pandemic comes to an end. As vaccination rollout programs continue, various travel destinations, whether domestic or foreign, are slowly beginning to open up. After more than a year of living within the context of the health crisis, it’s well worth taking the time to pack up and see new sights.
However, travelling can be quite a difficult task if you or your companion has a disability. Planning a trip is complicated enough as it is. Add to that the extensive amount of research and preparation necessary to accommodate a disabled traveller, and it can be intimidating. Fortunately, along with the resurgence of tourism, accessible travel is also starting to come into full view.
All According to Plan
Disabled travel, or accessible travel, is essentially putting in the effort to guarantee that tourist destinations are accessible to all people regardless of their disabilities, physical limitations, or age. This includes public and privately owned locations, from environmental parks to different dining establishments.
The information around accessible travel has slowly been growing over the past years. This is thanks to contributions made by disabled travellers who have put this issue into the light. While plenty of significant changes have been made to make travel more accessible for all, it still falls upon you to plan to secure the logistics needed for a traveller with disabilities. Here are some helpful tips to help you in the process.
In Need of Assistance
Firstly, you must call ahead to an agency that offers disability support services wherever your destination will be. This will give them enough time to make the necessary arrangements for you. In specific locations, service providers are required by law to accommodate travellers with special needs.
Just having a team of assistants in proximity throughout your stay will help to make your trip more fun and worthwhile. When calling ahead, be specific and accurate when describing your or your companion’s disability. The more details you can provide, the better they will be able to accommodate your travel needs.
Secure the Go-ahead
It’s also essential to consult a doctor when planning your trip. Discussing your plans in detail with a doctor will also help you be prepared for any emergencies or complications. They will often prescribe you coping measures when travelling from long-haul flights to limited medical facilities. Ask for a statement from your doctor that includes their contact details, an explanation of your condition, and other necessary information as well.
You should also consider researching the availability of medical professionals where you plan to travel. Your doctor or local service providers will be able to help you with this. It’s simply best to be prepared in case any medical concerns arise. Bring extra essential medication and carry your medical information with you at all times when travelling.
When in Doubt, Get a Specialist
Besides the service providers, you could also hire a specialist travel agent to help with everything from accommodations to itineraries. While everyone has different disabilities, most of these agents will indeed have enough relevant experience in handling special needs similar to you or your companion. Generally, this also makes the planning a lot easier on your end.
Changing the Industry
Admittedly, the state of pre-pandemic travel was less than ideal for a lot of travellers with disabilities. They faced numerous hurdles that proved to spoil the thrill you’d hope for in a trip. Hopefully, these challenges will be left in the past as the demand for disabled travel continues to make waves. Among the countless ways that travel has become more accessible in the wake of the health crisis, perhaps the most notable comes from better policies.
At the Last Minute
Often, travellers with disabilities will opt to cancel their plans abruptly due to medical complications. This proved to have highly costly repercussions, especially when it came to cancellation fees. In light of the global pandemic, the entire tourism industry, from hotels to airports, was necessarily forced to adopt more flexible policies.
This also proves to be a step forward for accessible travel. Specific new policies, for instance, have either lowered or waived cancellation fees regardless of how close it was to the reserved plans. It offers a sense of comfort, especially for disabled travellers, to no longer be afraid of incurring hefty charges simply because of their conditions.
Ultimately, travel allows everyone that well-deserved break from the isolation and monotony that they have been forced into over the past year. This especially includes disabled travellers as well. Despite all the uncertainty you might be having because of disabilities, you need not worry about them anymore.