29 August 2018
Accessible Holidays for People with Disabilities – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Suzanne Eustace
Holidays are our lifeline to sanity, a chance to step away from everyday life and reconnect with the people we love; a time to relax, to be the real us, or indeed to be whoever we want to be.
Besides providing much needed breaks from the day to day routine, holidays provide common reasons for celebration and shared experiences. Research has shown that people who come back from holiday are more satisfied with their lives in general when they return.
Holidays are good for your health
Chronic stress puts a strain on your body and puts you at risk of ill health. Although we all need some periods of stress in our lives, it’s also important to know where to draw the line and how to take time out. A holiday offers a chance for your body to turn off the stress systems, to recuperate and to repair. This is why school holidays, and more importantly, family holidays, are so important for your children’s development. School holidays aren’t just an opportunity for your children to rest or a chance for them to have fun and just be children, school holidays are also the perfect opportunity for your family to bond.
Arranging a holiday can be stressful, booking flights, accommodation and tours etc. Arranging a holiday with a family member who has a disability can be even more challenging as you need to consider accessibility issues with regards to your chosen mode of transport, where you are going to stay and the locations and attractions you plan on visiting.
Recently I took my goddaughter, who has a disability and uses a wheelchair, on a trip of a lifetime to the USA. We went to Los Angeles and New York. Overall, Los Angeles transport was accessible and easy to hop on and off.
New York subways do indicate which stop has wheelchair access but the lifts are hard to find. The trains provide level access but the length of the platforms can be very long and distances can be arduous for anyone with limited walking ability.
Disneyland was wonderful! They had scooters for hire everywhere to cover the distances at the park and they could be locked up when you go on a ride. Some of the rides have wheelchair accessible cars that are set up for specific wheelchair access. Disneyland was an easy place to get around but sometimes dodging the scooters was the biggest issue!
Handy holiday tips
1. Websites such as Homeaway, Stayz and Trip Advisor list wheelchair accessible apartments and homes on their websites. There are also a wide range of specialist disability travel companies that can assist you with your holiday planning such as Leisure Options, Clubmates Travel, Wheel Experiences, Disabled Holidays.com, Can Go Anywhere, Careaway Tours, Elite Assisted Holidays;
2. Some airlines will offer discounts to carers on certain flights, just make sure that you ask when booking; and
3. Accommodation websites can state that a facility is wheelchair with level or lift access and level bathrooms with rails, however, you should call the hotel you are considering booking to confirm.
Interchange Australia can assist you to prepare for your next holiday with domestic assistance, packing and assisted short term travel. For clients receiving services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), we can assist with travel arrangements as well.
For more information, please call one of our friendly and experienced Consultants on 1300 112 334.