Activities

Learn what you need to consider when planning accessible activities for your holiday.

What accessible facilities do local restaurants and cafes have?

If you are travelling for the first time with a wheelchair, you may be anxious about what you will be able to access when on holiday.

Planning where to eat in advance

Although wheelchair access is far from perfect in the UK, it is often better than many other countries in Europe or further afield. With the exceptions of America, Australia and Canada, most other countries struggle to meet the standards you may have come to expect in the UK.

For this reason, you may find it helpful to research a few places that have wheelchair access in advance, such as restaurants and cafes.

Being spontaneous may mean being willing to ask for assistance

For a few people, this will feel too planned and lacking in spontaneity.

Spontaneity provides an element of fun but if you are going to do this, you may wish to consider ensuring the person you are travelling with is comfortable assisting if there is a lack of access.

If you are travelling on your own, you should consider whether you will be able to look after yourself or be able to articulate your needs if you require assistance.

You may also wish to consider using an indwelling catheter to enable you to access restaurants without disabled toilets. This will allow you more freedom to go where you wish, rather than where your wheelchair can be accommodated.

What are the main accessibility considerations for city breaks?

If your chosen destination is a city, it is worth getting a feel of which facilities have wheelchair access. Most of this information can be located online.

You may note that, whilst travel guides provide details as to where to go and what there is in the local area, not all of them provide information about wheelchair access for each recommendation.

In 2016, Lonely Planet launched its ‘Accessible Travel Online Resources’. The PDF details online resources for accessible travel country by country, as well as personal travel blogs, and details of accessible travel agents and tour operators.

Using a specialist tour operator

Just because you are now a wheelchair user doesn’t mean you have to use specialist wheelchair accessible tour operators. However, you may find they best meet your needs.

If you have the time to plan, research and contact various locations to check wheelchair access facilities, then there is no reason why you cannot still plan a holiday in this way.

However, it can be time consuming investigating wheelchair access provisions in foreign countries. If you do find it difficult and time consuming, it may be worth contacting a specialist tour operator to help with the planning of all or some of your holiday.

Planning airport transfers

You will also need to consider how you will get from the airport to the hotel. It may be necessary for you to have a larger vehicle which can accommodate your wheelchair as well your luggage.

What are the main accessibility considerations for beach holidays?

If your chosen holiday is a beach holiday, you may need to give some thought as to how your wheelchair will manage on sand.

Using a FreeWheel

More and more beaches are becoming wheelchair accessible, with several now having a boardwalk either up to the sand, or a boardwalk that goes straight to the sea.

Your own chair is likely to sink in the sand and will not manoeuvre very well as there is no grip for the wheels. You may need someone to help back wheel, which will make it slightly easier, or you may wish to consider whether a ‘FreeWheel’ can overcome the issues.

Renting a beach wheelchair

In countries where they are better accustomed to wheelchair users, you may be able to rent a beach wheelchair. These chairs have larger wheels to help navigate the sand. They also enable you to enter the sea should you wish to do so, without getting your wheelchair wet.

If you do find a wheelchair accessible beach, you should also check if there is a disabled toilet either by the beach or nearby.

What activities do people with similar disabilities recommend?

Planning and budgeting

If you are a wheelchair user, most things are still possible with some planning and research. Having good financial resources will also enable you to do more of what you used to do before you became injured.

Learning how others managed

Often, the best resource is reading or watching videos of how other wheelchair users managed. You may be surprised to discover places are more accessible than initially anticipated.

The internet is a huge resource and YouTube can prove invaluable if you want to see how others have accessed certain locations, as well as which facilities are available.

Sometimes just knowing something is possible is all you need to investigate and explore a new place for yourself.

Share

_