Nearly five and a half years ago Have Wheelchair Will Travel went live. I felt equal parts excited and anxious when it did. In retrospect it was ridiculous because no-one but family knew of its existence. The blog was a small idea, a way of sharing our tips and research after a successful and liberating experience of travelling as a family to America. We’d had a holiday of a lifetime and were keen to share what we’d learnt with other people. I figured if we felt nervous doing it, even with my 16 years’ experience in the travel industry, then other people travelling with a family member with a disability must feel the same. It seemed a waste not to share what we’d learnt on our trip.
I had no idea what we were embarking upon. The website has evolved over the years and my passion for spreading the word about accessible and inclusive tourism has been fuelled by our HWWT community. The emails, private messages and personal stories some of you have shared has given me a greater understanding of a wide range of travel barriers and the need to educate the tourism industry and wider community.
The birth of social media has opened up the opportunity to share information and ideas across the globe with ease. When BJ was young I loved buying travel magazines but there were no images or stories I could relate to. None of the stories shared information on where we could travel or how I could travel with my young family with a wheelchair. As Have Wheelchair Will Travel gained exposure I was on a mission to get a story in a magazine and a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to start writing for Out & About with Kids magazine, the Bound Round website and Family Travel magazine.
Over the years many of our readers have suggested I get back into the travel industry and start to book accessible holidays. I felt I had more to share by way of advocating and sharing information, but I did keep an eye out for an opportunity to work with an established agency. I’d put feelers out on a few occasions but there were no takers. I needed to find someone who ‘got it’, someone who could see the value in being inclusive and providing travel opportunities to people of all abilities. And I’m happy to say I’ve found that person.
So, I’m super excited to announce today the launch of Travel with Special Needs, a travel agency which specialises in booking packages for people of all abilities and needs. The aim is to make travel more accessible and affordable, so more of you can take that dream holiday. If you’ve been following our travels for a while, you’ll know that I’m passionate about holidays and believe that shared travel experiences as a family, connect us and keep us strong. I want to see less barriers to travelling with a disability. Our Have Wheelchair Will Travel community has continued to inspire me to look at new ways of assisting people with a disability to live life to the fullest. I know from researching our own travels it can be difficult to find accurate information, competitive prices and knowledgeable agents. I am keen to turn our road-tested holidays into purchasable packages and that’s where Travel with Special Needs fits into the equation. This isn’t a project that could happen without a partner with industry knowledge and an existing infrastructure to enable you receive good value for money.
I’d love for you to pop over and check out the new Travel with Special Needs website and make sure you subscribe to receive our latest holiday packages. We’d love your feedback on destinations you’d like to see in the future.
Nothing will change here at HWWT, in fact, I hope in the future I will have a greater opportunity to bring you a wider variety of reviews and information. I’ll still be sharing our holiday tips, family finds and day-to-day experiences as our family navigates the changes and BJ’s needs.