People with disabilities have been afforded more access to travel accommodations. Currently, the Open Doors non-profit organization estimates that disabled people spend approximately 15 billion dollars on travel each year. This may increase in the next few decades, because experts suggest that by 2030, 25 percent of the population will have a disability. One of the best assurances of safe disabled travel is ensuring you have a companion with you to help navigate through less accessible areas. In some cases, people with disabilities are required to travel with another person who can help them in case of an emergency. If you plan to travel with a disabled person, then you should spend plenty of time planning your journey to make sure it runs smoothly. Learn how to travel with a person with a disability.
Some airlines do not allow people with certain disabilities to fly and many hotels across the world are not required to have disability access in their rooms. Plan your travel while taking into account that many countries do not have laws requiring disabled access, like those in the United States or Great Britain.Research the states or countries you would like to visit.
Buy or check out recently updated books about the place to see what disabled access is available. Moon Guides and Lonely Planet Guides will have a short section on general disability access.
Book travel arrangements by phone, email or a travel agent rather than online. Trips booked through travel aggregate sites will not give extensive options for disabled rooms, airline seats and coach seats. Go to www.disabledhajj.com to find out about our services catering to disabled travelers.
Ask about special accommodations. These will differ based on each disability. The following are examples of needs that require special attention on a trip:
Consider booking a tour designed for people with disabilities.
Plan layovers that are 90 minutes apart. Make sure to take all necessary aides on board with you. Medications must be kept in their original bottles.
Read the airline policies towards disabilities prior to flying. Keep a copy of the requirements so that you can request priority boarding and other services. Don't be afraid to ask for services; it is the only way to ensure you get the access you need in a busy travel environment.
Write a succinct and articulate description of the disabled person's disability. There is not always time a lot of time to describe the full breadth of a traveler's needs. Describe the disability and ask specifically for what is needed.
Carry a phone number for the disabled person's doctor or doctors. In case of emergency, you should be aware of the medications and impairments that may need to be treated.
Bring an emergency repair kit for medical aides. Wheelchairs may require repair during the journey. Bring tools and the manual for the device.
Arrive early to flights, tours and meals. Disability seating will take extra time, so build plenty of extra time into the travel schedule.
Travel at a leisurely pace. Elderly people and those with cognition or mobility disabilities may become tired while on a trip. Traveling can be overwhelming for anyone, so do not try to do too much.
There are many resources available to disabled travelers online. The Disabled Travelers Guide, DisabledTravelers.com and IndependentTraveler.com all have comprehensive lists of disabled travel options.