Traveling is one of the most enriching experiences a person can have. It brings you outside of your routine, introduces you to new flavors, and generally opens your eyes to new perspectives. The ability to travel should belong to everyone. Regardless of background or life situation, you should be able to travel andexpand your horizons as you see fit.
That’s why today I’d like to share a few tips for travelers with limited mobility:
1. Plan your destination well
While people are often capable of a lot more than they give themselves credit for, there’s no reason to force yourself into an experience that’s exhausting and makes you feel uncomfortable. So while selecting a destination, find one that has everything you’re looking for.
Always dreamed of spending a few weeks in France? You’ll be happy to know thatNice and even a sprawling city likeParis can be quite accommodating to people of all ability levels. There are a number of businesses that have thoughtfully designed their campuses with all abilities in mind (including ours if you’re interested in French in France).
How about a trip to the UK?Eastbourne andOxford are known for their pedestrian-friendly city centers which can easily be traversed by people from all walks of life. Look for facilities that have made safety and ease of access a priority with details like wheelchair accessible buildings, elevators, and accessible interior design (again, we have that if you’d like ti study English in the UK).
For those interested in exploring a more exotic English-speaking destination,Malta is a fantastic option (and sunny the whole year around).
If you’d like to explore Germany (and perhaps study German while you there), considerMunich. It’s a peaceful and idyllic place with plenty of city greenery, cultural sights and tasty food accessible to all.
2. Look into resources
As travel becomes more accessible, it’s easier to find solid resources to plan your trip around. Thanks to blogs, websites, and guidebooks on the subject, it’s never been easier to find someone who shares a more similar experience and perspective. Take advantage of some fantastic resources like:
- Wheelchairtraveling.com – This website helps offer advice, information, and stories from those with limited mobility. There are even helpful articles on specific destinations like Munich and Tokyo.
- Tourism for All– A great resource for those traveling to the UK. This website gives you a helpful list of businesses and services that make exploring easier than ever.
- Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum – And of course, everyone’s favorite travel guide, Lonely Planet has plenty of resources for travelers with disabilities. One of the best places to get information is their Thorn Tree forum.
3. Call ahead
When you’re planning your trip be sure to call ahead to businesses to learn more about what they offer for any of your concerns. Major airports are known for their services that help travelers with disabilities and reduced mobility to travel throughout. Many will even guide passengers onto the plane, directly to their seats so they don’t have to wait in line.
From the airport when you land, you can arrange for a taxi or shuttle to come pick you up and take you directly to your destination. When using this service for my parents (both seniors with limited mobility) we always joke that it’s probably the closest we’ll come to being VIP celebrities. You have door-to-door service, someone to carry heavy bags, and virtually no wait time. That’s a win-win for everybody!
4. Don’t be afraid
The most important thing to remember can be summed up in three words: don’t be afraid. Sure, travel comes with its risks but those exist for everybody and as tourism continues to evolve into something more accessible worldwide, more opportunities exist to fit everyone’s unique needs.
You have the same rights as anyone to travel and there are so many companies and individuals who’ve made it their goal to give the best experiences to all of their guests. So take the trip! You’ll be happy you did.