Planning a vacation is always the first step to making any getaway a successful one. When you’re a wheelchair user, planning usually requires more up-front time, but the effort will be worth it. Jeremy Cooper from Enable Holidays compiled a list of top ten tips for making your next getaway hassle free.
- Relaxation vs. Adventure – Do you want to spend your holiday taking in sun-soaked beaches or exploring bustling sights? Or maybe a little of both? Deciding how you want to spend your time is the first decision.
- Destination and $$$ – Now it’s time to list destination countries or cities and decide how much money you will spend on your trip. “Draw up your wish list,” suggests Jeremy. Then do some Internet research to narrow down your top choices.
- Travel Time – How much time do you want to spend getting where you ultimately want to wind up? Research flight times and any other mode of transportation required to arrive at your destination.
- Measurements – As a wheelchair user, you’ll want to know the dimensions of your chair to ensure it will fit through doorways, into lifts/elevators, etc.
- Accommodation Preference – What kind of accommodations do you want? “In the UK, you can opt for hotels, self-catering cottages, static caravans, guest houses, lodges, holiday parks, boats… and even glamping, to name just a few,” shares Jeremy. There’s tons of options, so decide which is best for you.
- Ensure Your Needs are Met – “Far too many holiday properties advertise ‘fully adapted facilities’” writes Jeremy, “but the reality is sadly anything but.” Once you decide your accommodation preference, create a list of detailed questions, and call or email to make sure your specific needs can be met.
- Let a Professional Help – If planning a vacation is overwhelming, reach out to an accessible travel agent/tour operator. Jeremy advises, “please check they are members of ABTA (the travel association) and ATOL (the aviation licensing body).
- Work With a Pro – If you’ve decided to work with a travel agent/tour operator, “Provide them with your wish list of destinations and ask for their advice,” shares Jeremy. “Explain your level of mobility and confirm any special requirements.” A professional should also be able to assist with advance arrangements at the airport.
- Patience, Please – Jeremy reminds how important it is to have patience with unique travel requirements: “In most cases, your holiday will be a tailor-made one to meet you specific needs, where lots of different elements will be brought together in one package. As such, it may take a while for your travel adviser to get back to you with a complete quotation.”
- Get Insurance – Make sure you have adequate travel insurance to cover important issues such as “medical emergencies, travel and baggage delay, damage to and loss of wheelchairs, and lost valuables.”
Once your preparations are in place, it’s time to enjoy your getaway. Share this with someone who is planning a vacation!