Taking a holiday is one of life's great pleasures and it can be a real tonic to 'get away from it all' and enjoy some time away from home.
But as we gets older or mobility becomes more of a problem, it can often be difficult to choose a holiday that will be suitable, and to make sure our travel arrangements take our particular needs into account.
- Ask your hotel or tour operator about accessibility arrangements - for example whether the hotel rooms have accessible bathrooms, whether there is an on-call concierge service to help you, and whether wheelchairs or other mobility equipment are available to hire.
- When travelling by plane, speak to your airline in advance to let them know if you will be bringing any equipment with you, and whether you will need any help getting through check-in and to your flight. They will be able to arrange for someone to meet you at the terminal to help you. As a disabled person, you can travel with up to two items of mobility equipment free of charge. This won't count as part of your baggage allowance.
- If you're a wheelchair user, you probably won't be able to take your own wheelchair onto the plane, as it will be stored in the hold. Speak to your airline to find out what help they'll provide when boarding. It's best to do this at least 48 hours in advance to ensure that the airline has everything ready for you. Find out more about travelling by plane if you have a disability.
- If you travel with an assistance animal, you can take it on the flight with you. However, you must follow the rules for pet travel and ensure that your assistance animal is microchipped and has had all necessary vaccinations.
- Make sure you take with you any prescription or over-the-counter medication that you may need on your holiday, as you may not be able to obtain it once you are abroad. If you're travelling within Europe, apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which will cover you for most medical treatment you might need. It's also a good idea to arrange travel insurance in case of any emergencies.
- Consider booking with a travel operator that specialises in accessible holidays. They will be able to find you accessible and disability-friendly destinations and hotels, and ensure your trip goes smoothly. Many also provide care holidays (sometimes called respite holidays) which include additional services such as 24-hour carers for people with disabilities.
Find out more about travelling overseas with a disability from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
We cannot recommend individual organisations but the following companies specialise in arranging holidays for older people and people with disabilities, and their carers:-
- Revitalise is a charity which arranges respite holidays for people with physical disabilities and their carers.
- Airbnb now has updated accessibility filters (following it's acquisiton of Acomable) to allow you to search for suitable Airbnb accommodation around the world with things such as grab bars in the bathroom, an accessible-height bed, and a mobile hoist.
- Enable Holidays provide holidays for people with varying levels of mobility
- Saga provide holidays for people over 50
- Silver Travel Advisor offers travel reviews, travel advice and travel tips for people over 50
- Dementia Adventure offer small group short breaks and holidays for people living with dementia and their carers to enjoy together.
- Disabled Rights UK have produced a guide called 'Holidays in the British Isles' with details of accessible and inclusive day trips and holidays in the UK.
- Blue Badge Style have a blog with reviews of accessible (and not so accessible) places to stay in the UK and abroad.
- Tourism For All is both a website providing information on accessible accommodation, tourist attractions and other resources for people with mobility problems, and a national charity dedicated to making tourism welcoming to all .
- Traveleyes is a travel company that provide holidays for both visually impaired and
sighted travellers, to journey together in a spirit of mutual independence.
- Lyneal Trust offers canal boat and cottage holidays in beautiful Shropshire for people with disabilities, illness or injury, or any other vulnerability and their family, friends and carers who may accompany them.
- Disabled Holiday Directory is an extensive searchable directory of disabled properties across the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and America.