Planning a vacation can sometimes be hard work, especially when it comes to settling logistical details.
One important area of holiday planning is searching for the right accommodations, and that alone can be difficult when you have to consider location, amenities, or accessibility. In some instances, your definition of “accessible” may differ from the hotel’s. Doing an online search is not enough, and clear communication between you and the hotel is definitely a must. Take “extra time and consideration into this process, because we have different and unique needs when it comes to finding accommodation.”
With that, Cory Lee, avid traveler, has 4 simple steps that can make this process a much simpler task:
1) Search Options Online
Browsing for options online is the best way to get started with booking your accommodation. “Sites like Trivago, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and more are excellent sources to find hotels in your desired location, compare prices and look up amenities,” shares Cory. On top of that, “they often have great deals, too!” Some of these sites also have a built-in accessibility filter to make your search all the more easier.
Doing this allows you to weigh your options before you actually decide to select one. And that leads us to the second step.
2) Call the Hotel Ahead
Sometimes, just doing an online search will not be enough. The best way to ensure that you know what will be offered is by calling the accommodation. This can also facilitate clear communication between both parties – they can understand your true needs, and you can find out how they can meet these needs.
For example, Cory encountered an incident where he asked a hotel in Germany if they were accessible. They said they were, but after more questions, Cory found out that “their only real accessible feature was an elevator!”
3) Ask Specific Questions About Accessibility
Every individual will have his/her personalized needs, so it's imperative that you communicate your needs clearly to the accommodation. To do so, one should ask specific questions regarding accessibility such as:
“What accessible features does your hotel have?”
Simply asking if the accommodation is “accessible” might lead to miscommunication about what “accessible” truly means. Inquiring about specific features, such as ramps or elevators, can help you better understand how the accommodation can cater to your needs.
“What accessible features do rooms have?”
While such information may be found in the accommodation’s website, it is good to bring this up so that you can confirm what amenities are offered in the room. You can also ask specific questions about the room and its layout. Ask if the room has a roll-in shower, grab bars in the toilet and shower area, or if they provide shower chairs. Cory also recommends asking about the space under the bed, especially if you are bringing along equipment like a hoyer lift that helps you transfer in and out of the bed from your wheelchair. “It’s good to ask for a specific measurement in inches or centimeters,” he shares. This way, you can determine if your hoyer lift can fit under the bed.
“Are the accessible rooms located on the first floor?”
While elevators provide great assistance, staying on higher floors may be challenging for wheelchair users in case of emergencies. Hence, it is often better to be staying on the ground floor. After all, “it’s best to be prepared for any situation,” says Cory.
4) Ask for Photos of the Accessible Room
Photos offer a good gauge of what the room will actually look like, giving you a better idea of its layout and space. And once you are satisfied with how the room looks, “you’ll feel even more confident when you decide to make a reservation!”
These 4 simple steps will definitely make booking your accommodations a less worrisome project, and ensure that you are one step closer in enjoying a stress-free holiday.
Share this post with someone who is looking to plan a vacation soon, and hopefully these tips will come into handy when he/she is booking accommodations!