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GUEST BLOG – A MISSION TO REVOLUTIONISE ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL

My name is Srin and I’m on a mission to make travel easier for my fellow disabled people and their families!

I’m a co-founder of Accomable. A new technology startup based in London that aims to be a platform for booking accessible travel and to one day make the process of travel as easy for disabled people as it is for anyone else.

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We’re focusing at the moment on listing accessible holiday properties from our community, a bit like an ‘Airbnb for disabled people’, so if you’re interested in listing your place or can recommend a place you’ve stayed at, please get in touch at hello@accomable.com.

As mentioned earlier, at Accomable, we’re on a very heartfelt and personal mission to make travel easier for disabled people. My co-founder, Martyn Sibley and I have been disabled since birth due to a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which means we are dependent on powered wheelchairs and need 24/7 personal care assistance. I’m 29 and Martyn is 31, but we met over 20 years ago as little children at a conference for people with SMA and we’ve been best of friends for a very long time.

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We both love to travel and have dedicated the past few years to trying to explore our beautiful world as much as possible. My personal travels have taken me across the world from Australia and Japan, to around Europe and US and to as far afield as South Africa. I’ve also tried to make my travel as adventurous as possible. I’ve scuba dived in Bali, camped out in the wilderness in South Africa and wheeled through mountains in California’s Yosemite National Park.

While both Martyn and I have done a lot of fun travels, it has never been easy. Finding accessible places to stay, suitable transport and hoists to rent has always been a nightmare. We’ve had tons of mishaps and plenty of instances of turning up somewhere inaccessible when it was supposedly accessible when it was booked online.

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Last year, Martyn and I decided we had to do something! We’d already been working on Disability Horizons, an online lifestyle magazine for disabled people, for two years and knew that others had experienced similar problems.

Martyn was working as a consultant to tourism boards in Europe; and I’d just graduated from my Masters degree at Oxford University (I was formerly a corporate lawyer but went back to university to facilitate a career change) and had been teaching myself to code and make apps. I was also looking for new challenge that I cared deeply about. So we took the decision to just have a go and start building the platform in March of this year (2015).

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We launched in June and focused just on listing accessible holiday properties. We asked vendors to provide images of any accessibility that they claimed to have and provide videos where possible of disabled people using their property.

In just 3 months, we’ve recruited over a 120 properties in 14 countries. We’ve raised funding from a prestigious foundation in California that supports technology companies with a social purpose and we’ve been featured in publications such as the New York Times and Wired.

We’re still at a super early stage. Our site is still is being improved and tweaked, but to achieve our mission to revolutionise accessible travel, we need your help to recommend new accessible properties or to actually list your property as either a rental or a swap.

Please feel free to get in touch with me at srin@accomable.com.

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