Traveling with disabilities advice
As the situation of disabled people in daily life is pretty unknown and unconsidered, we found it important to make a list of tips to help handicapped to travel as any other valid people. Indeed, this privilege shouldn’t be reserved for one type of person, and traveling with disabilities is more than possible, provided that you organize it well in advance.
More and more solutions were developed in the last years to help disabled travel. Whatever is your handicap, physical, mental, visual, or aural, vacations for the handicapped are more and more eased and more and more transportations, accommodations, activities in nature, culture or sport are now accessible to everyone.
Before checking if tourism is accessible where we plan to go, the most important is to know yourself. Because each handicap is different, our needs are also very specific and if one is looking for a bathroom well-equipped where he is planning to travel, another won’t be able to use it and will prefer a shower. Not by choice, but by the necessity of a body that works in a unique way whatever we can say. To travel first starts by asking yourself this question: what are exactly my needs, my limits, and my capacities. Then, we think of our desires. Tourism might be evolving lately regarding the reception of handicapped people, there are still some values more important than others.
Traveling with a handicap means to be organized, to be spontaneous cannot be an option. You have to prepare medical material, medications, check what paths are accessible, to have a plan A, B, and C, it’s a lot of work! Hopefully, for you, we live in 2020, so it’s pretty easy to find everything I need online.
Transportations and accommodations according to your handicap
When we finally have the destination of our next trip, and that everything is ready logistically wise, we can go. With an adapted car, if we have one, it’s the best option so far. But if we want to cross the globe, we will need something more solid of course; we will have to take public transportation.
Bus, car? Sometimes adapted and accessible, but ideal only for small trips, so regarding longer trips, logistically wise it’s not the top. Think about pipi breaks, installations, seats…
Train? Not so bad, in the condition that the train is accessible with a lift to reach the entrance, that there is enough room for the wheelchairs of handicapped people, and that the station agent would eventually know how the specialized material works, which is not always the case…
Plane? Luckily, most of the airline companies offer now full service for handicapped people, light or heavy. But here, like for the train, we advise you to inform them in advance of your needs, and you arrive one hour earlier than the time indicated on your tickets, and once you reached the plane, find a solution that you won’t have to go to the toilets the duration of the flight, as the toilets are really not accessible for wheelchairs…
About the accommodations, it’s possible to choose famous chains of hotels as, because of their reputation, they need to adapt to everyone, which, by the way, became a central marketing argument. But you will probably have to pay a lot for this; it will be for sure more expensive than an Airbnb or camping (where very few handicapped people can cope, let’s be honest…). Some hostels, according to their seniority, are also accessible but you need to accept sharing your personal space with strangers that sometimes can be very invasive.
Top wheelchair accessible travel; destinations to prioritize
Every country has a different culture when it comes to handicap. Americans for example, were always very patriotic as they really worship their veterans and soldiers. Yet, a lot of men are coming back from war with a heavy handicap. Therefore, Americans are much more used to those situations, and disabled people are much more accepted and recognized as being part of daily life. A lot of places are fully accessible, the only problem is that the devices are most of the time pretty old, bringing more complications than help or inclusion.
In Canada, cities and sites are hardly accessible and don’t count so many devices, which is not a real problem as it’s super balanced by the Canadians themselves! They would do everything to help you with kindness and happiness. Nothing to compare with their French cousin…
The Problem in France is that the handicap was taboo for a long time and it’s been only a few years that specific structures and help for the disabled were installed. Still, we count the label “Tourism and handicap” and websites that offer you a solution as a disabled person to organize your stay at best, with practical solutions and precious addresses and advice. But the path is still long before it becomes a standard.
In the rest of Europe, every country evolves on its own, but some are recognized as really inclusive, especially regarding travel for handicapped and travel for handicapped seniors which is the case of Norway for example. Vienna as well is super inclusive and counts the number of devices to make your stay even.