Some innovative companies make traveling easier for people with disabilities

Having a disability in 2022 will not hinder you. But in reality, the difficulty of access, the cost, and the lack of choices mean that healthy people travel far more than vacationers with disabilities.

In a national travel survey conducted just before the pandemic, adults with disabilities in the United Kingdom traveled an average of 26% less and traveled 41% less miles than people without disabilities.

Thankfully, some innovative tour operators, airlines, hotels and self-catering companies are trying to rebalance. There are several places here.

Best … visually impaired and visually impaired

TRAVELEYES

By the age of 18, Amar Latif had lost 95% of his eyesight. He went to Canada for the last year of his college anyway and then went jungle trekking in Nicaragua for a BBC documentary about travelers with disabilities. Today, Amar runs its own tour company, with a mix of visually impaired vacationers and visible travelers for each of his group trips.

Every day, visually impaired people pair with visible group members to learn about destination attractions such as the United States’ Deep South, Armenia, Menorca, and Northern Ireland. Visible travelers can get up to 50% off.

Optimal … Various support

Unlimited travel

Limitless Travel organizes holidays with different types of support to destinations, including the Cotswolds (pictured)

Limitless Travel organizes holidays with different types of support to destinations, including the Cotswolds (pictured)

Founded by Angus Drummond, a former investment banker diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 22, Limitless Travel offers vacationers a wide variety of types of support. These range from helping you carry your luggage to a complete one-on-one caregiver package that covers everything from changing clothes to your swimming partner.

Destinations include Rome, Crete, the Netherlands, Jersey, cruises and stays in the United Kingdom. Prices for a 5-day Cotswold break start at £ 949.

Best … Safari

2 by 2 HOLIDAYS

Even healthy people can find safari holidays difficult, but 2 By 2 is one of the few British operators to go see the Big Five, including leopards, lions, buffalos, elephants, and rhinos.

The company has been organizing wheelchair-friendly safaris for Africa for over 20 years. We offer tailor-made trips to animal sanctuaries in Kenya, Namibia and South Africa. Vehicles with ramps for electric wheelchairs are used for trips to bushes.

A typical 7-night stay in South Africa’s Kruger National Park costs £ 1,395 pp for 7 nights, excluding international flights.

Best … self-catering

Independent cottage

Independent cottages have a much wider range of accessible properties than most UK self-catering providers. More than 250 people are at least partially wheelchair accessible.

The company’s website also has a great opinion guide on which parts of the UK are best for accessible breaks.

Surprisingly, given the many ages of the building, Oxford has scored high on above average wheelchair access, as do the beaches of Dorset and West Wales.

The price of accessible cottages is also reasonable. Currently, the Driftwood Cottage in Combe Martin, North Devon, can accommodate up to 4 people and starts at £ 249 for 7 nights.

Best … a once-in-a-lifetime trip

Responsible travel

Responsible Travel offers the above 10-day trip to Kerla for travelers who need access.

Responsible Travel offers the above 10-day trip to Kerla for travelers who need access.

Praise for responsible travel that has realized that the majority of accessible hotels and resorts are of the type of megachain.

This bespoke tour operator is moving in a different direction, specializing in small and distinctive accommodation in areas that are often difficult for people with disabilities to reach.

Its 10-day Kerala trip, which can be reached alone, with a partner or in a small group, is one of the most popular and for travelers in need of access the mountains, houseboats, forts, of this region of India. Open the beach.

But it’s not cheap. Prices start at £ 2,092pp, excluding flights. But, as Responsible Travel (quite brilliantly) states,’accessible holidays are still holidays. It’s just a special trimming. “

Best … Package vacation

TUI HOLIDAYS

Most of the major airlines that offer packaged travel do not offer much inspiration or help beyond the bare minimum when it comes to accessible travel.

TUI is an exception. There are more than 150 accessible hotels with a focus on the Caribbean Sea.

The company has a professional customer phone line for those who want a more detailed chat about their access needs before booking. There are also four types of vehicles that have been specially modified for transportation from the arrival airport to the hotel.

My life as a visually impaired travel writer

Intrepid: Rob Crosan from Hong Kong

Intrepid: Rob Crosan from Hong Kong

“You don’t look like you’re wearing Alaskan clothes,” said the woman at the boarding gate before checking my ticket and frowning further.

And I wasn’t. The idea was to cross New York’s JFK Airport and take a connecting flight to Atlanta. I wore shorts and flip-flops in anticipation of the heat of Georgia and was already confused as to why many in line had ski equipment.

As a United Airlines representative patiently explained, I was in the Anchorage line instead of Atlanta, so I had to leave the line immediately.

A four-hour wait, a nasty pizza, and a $ 325 writer for a new ticket to Atlanta (who had missed the original flight all the time) thinks about the dangers of being a visually impaired traveler and often not wanting to ask. Help meant that there was time.

It has long been ranked with me as a person with a disability (albinism and nystagmus because you asked). If you have a little common sense at airports, train stations, ferry terminals and even restaurants, you don’t need to ask for help. I was able to get to where I wanted to be, without destroying men’s pride or the UK reserves.

Why do we need a Hubble Telescope to read so many destination boards that are printed in scripts? Why is Tannoy still broadcasting a muffled announcement about where we are going and which boarding gate I need to be? Why do seat numbers are so small that I need to reach within the French Kiss distance to read them?

I’ve been a travel writer for 20 years, and I’m angry that things haven’t changed much during this time. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that wheelchair users were put on the brake vans and spoiled by visually impaired people like me (“You’re a very brave boy,” a Welsh tour guide once told me— I was 31 years old), but I’m still waiting for the trip to be super big.

Screens, seat numbers, menus, doorways, lifts. Can everything be a little bigger? I never want even the slightest risk of wearing boardshorts on the weekends in Alaska.

Rob Crosan