In which order do you book a holiday? Do you see a cheap airfare and book it, then try and fit the rest of the holiday around it? We’re not that spontaneous, unless it is a destination we’ve previously visited and know it will suit our needs. I thought I’d share how we go about booking an accessible holiday in the hopes our experiences can help others new to travel with additional needs.
As with most things we do, there is a lot of planning and research and that is before we even decide on our destination. Earlier this year I mentioned on Facebook we were deciding between Northern Territory, Hawaii and Western Australia. It took us quite a while to lock in a destination. I spent time researching what was wheelchair accessible at our destination and what would make the trip good for each person in the family.
Everyone’s needs are different but here is the way we go about choosing and booking a trip –
- Come up with a list of possible destinations.
- Get a rough idea of cost to work out if it is within budget.
- I then check the options for wheelchair accessible accommodation and activities. It is important to us that a trip will have highlights for everyone. We have varied interests.
- We decide how long we will need at the destination to ensure we can explore it without rushing. We find longer in one place is much better.
- If it’s an international destination and I’m ready to book, I check we can get existing medical cover for that destination for BJ. I advise getting a quote.
- I check airfares and seat availability but I still don’t book.
- An appropriate car is a must for us. We have to have something that will fit BJ’s wheelchair so I book that first. Most car companies only require a credit card guarantee and you can usually cancel up to 24 hours prior.
- Then I lock in airfares.
- Accommodation is next on the agenda.
- Lastly, we book in experiences. In New York I wanted to take AJ to a popular Broadway show so once we had everything else booked I made a theatre booking. In Uluru some of the fancy dinner experiences book out early so we’ll book that in advance.
- I may be biased, but I find that blogs provide great tips of things to do and see. Even if they are blogs without a focus on accessible travel, I use them as a guide and then do my own research on access. For our trip to the US I used lots of Mommy blogs for information about things the kids would enjoy. Things that were not on the usual tourist lists.
- We ‘like’ the Facebook page of the local tourism organisation for the region we will be travelling to and follow that for more tips.
- Instagram is a great source of information on things to do at a destination. Search the hashtags for where you are going and follow along for as long as you can before you leave. If you like photography it is a good guide for the best photo opportunities and locations.
In winter we look for destinations with good accessible walks and other indoor attractions. The Blue Mountains is one of our favourite spots in the cooler months.
We live in an era where people share so much, particularly travel. I can guarantee the more time you invest into researching and planning your trip, the smoother your travels will be.
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