Month: Jul 2016

Holidays as a wheelchair user

Holiday season is upon us, so here is our quick guide to holidays as a wheelchair user.

Travel as a wheelchair user can be interesting and fun but being prepared is the key. Do your homework on where, how to get to and stay at your chosen destination. Your first trip abroad can be daunting but is totally doable!

We have travelled all over the world and extensively in the UK. Here are some of our top tips.

Choosing your destination…okay it’s not just the beaches and nightlife; is it hilly, proximity to airport, hospitals, restaurants etc. – you don’t need to know everything however its best to know if the town is on a steep slope. Do you want to get on the beach or swim in the sea – many European and Worldwide coastal resorts now have beach and aquatic wheelchairs available to hire or use free of charge.

 

When looking for accommodation, many people ask what questions do you need to ask.

  • If travelling by plane or train book assistance as far in advance as you can and always confirm again a week before travel. If you are flying, you can take two pieces of mobility equipment with you free of charge (Some non EU airlines may differ).
  • The same goes for resort transfers – wheelchair accessible transfers are now quite common but you need to check this early on if this is essential for you and if there are additional charges.
  • Location of the hotel – is it at the top/bottom of a slope. Remember what some people class as a slight slope you might think is really steep. Google (and Google Maps) is good for more information. There are lots of online forums so ask other wheelchair users for their recommendations.
  • Are there any steps in the hotel, public/garden areas or are there ramps (and how steep are they – you’d be amazed at some country’s ideas of ramps!).
  • Are there wheelchair accessible rooms. Always ask the width of doors to the bathroom and balcony. Is it a level access shower or a bath? Is a shower chair provided? Don’t be afraid to email the hotel and ask for photos – don’t always rely on what your travel agent tells you (unless you are using a specialist travel agent for accessible holidays).

Whether you are travelling near or far it’s also a good idea to take some basic repair equipment with you – puncture repair kit, duct tape, allen keys and a spanner – it’s amazing what you can repair with these key items.

If possible, download the manual for your equipment to your smart phone just in case. This could be as important as having copies of prescriptions stored on your phone. If you use more bulky medical equipment such as catheters or feeds speak to your delivery company – they can sometimes arrange delivery to destinations for you.  Suitcases that have 4 wheels will make moving them easier.  Just be aware and keep your money and valuables safe and in front of you.

Always have Travel Insurance. You never know when you might need it. Insurance is not just about falling ill, it also covers things like missing flights and damage and loss of personal belongings. Our Travel Insurance Sponsor Fish Insurance is a specialist disabled insurance provider and will ensure existing conditions are covered.

We’ve had many fantastic trips abroad and visited great places but the key is to relax and be prepared to do things a different way. We have always found local people happy to help and have often learnt so much from these encounters.

So, don’t be afraid of travelling abroad embrace it and have fun.