Accessible holiday destinations
Posted by: the Personal Truths Team
If you’ve sustained a serious injury that has consequently resulted in a disability, the thought of going away on holiday can sometimes be overwhelming. Travelling abroad or even within the UK can be a daunting thought if you’re out of your comfort zone and in a place that just isn’t familiar. Maybe you’ve experienced challenges in the past that have highlighted your disability and stopped you enjoying your holiday, but this shouldn’t be the case.
Regulation 1107/2006 under the European law states that all passengers who have a disability are entitled to receive assistance when flying, free of charge (visit Abta.com for more information). And there are many disability-friendly locations which provide necessary resources such as ramps and specially designed beach wheelchairs for those less mobile. If you’ve had trouble trying to find somewhere to travel, we’ve pulled together a few recommendations, to give you peace of mind on your next trip!
- Life’s a beach
Ibiza now has 26 accessible beaches throughout the small island. The Ibizan reports that various locations, such as Santa Eulalia, have amphibious wheelchairs and crutches for hire along with adapted bathrooms and showers with hot water. Various beaches in San Antonio also have ramps and walkways, as well as adapted shower modules and parking spaces.
For an unforgettable experience, travel to Key Largo, Florida, USA where the locals specialise in snorkelling and diving for disabled travellers. To make this a safe way to explore underwater sea life, boats are fitted with modified equipment to emerge you in and out of the water and even supply adapted wheelchairs for underwater experiences.
Disability Horizons report that: “Sirens Resort, Loutraki, Greece offers one of the best wheelchair travel experiences in the world.” Easy navigation is provided by the wide walkways and the beach is even equipped with a ramp that extends into the sea. This resort is one of the only resorts in the world that offers direct wheelchair access to the ocean for total immersion experience.
Cancun, Mexico also offers fantastic wheelchair access to its beaches, among some of the most stunning scenery. Cancun Accessible is a local company dedicated to providing support and resources for disabled visitors. They not only offer transport to and from the airport, but also accommodate private tours and medical equipment rental.
- For the 'adrenaline junkie’
Thanks to numerous specialist travel operators, it’s now a lot easier to go on an adventurous holiday with a disability. For those wishing to head to the Plains of Africa, Go Africa Safaris (East Africa), Endeavour Safari’s (South Africa) and Epic Enabled (South Africa) are all recommended for visitors with limited mobility.
If the idea of desert heat is too much, why not swap it for some snowy terrain? It’s never too late to learn! Shred down the side of a mountain resort in Canada with Whistler’s Adaptive Sports Program, who offer ski and snowboard lessons as well as a full therapeutic programme for all ages. If North America’s a bit far for you to travel, you’ll find plenty of European alternatives with Crystal Ski who can cater adaptive transfers, accommodation and ski schools to ensure the best experience for your ski holiday.
Always wanted to dive in tropical waters? Bali International Diving Professionals (BIDP) is an adaptive diving specialist which offers a four day open water diving course, including theory. Once in the sea, the buoyancy of the water ensures stability of your frame and a professional instructor is always by your side. We should mention however, Bali isn’t great for accessible accommodation (find an exception here) and diving isn’t for everyone, so why not try a taster diving course in the UK first with company Diveability, before heading further afield?
You’ll find a great holiday for the family at UK Youth Outdoor Activity Centre in New Forest National Park. This huge outdoor adventure centre has more than 40 activities on site, adapted with hoists and special equipment making it accessible for all. From zip wiring to wall climbing, make it a family day out or stay over in their on-site accessible accommodation.
For more of a weekend or winter sun break, Enable Holidays offer a variety of accessible hotels and self-catering properties in the Canaries. They can look after any necessary arrangements you may need.
- Cruise convert
According to the trade body, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the growth of UK cruise passengers has seen the highest increase in eight years. In 2016 CLIA reported that 145,000 more British travellers took to the ocean for a cruise holiday and for a disabled traveller, what could be better?
By having everything in one place you can travel the world without the hassle of boarding a plane, bus or train and only have to unpack once. Whilst activities and entertainment are available on board, some cruise liners now offer adapted excursions that facilitate all needs and allow you to explore new places off the ship, to ensure you don’t catch cabin fever.
- Small UK getaways
Whilst the majority of us focus on seeing the world, sometimes we take for granted what’s on our doorstep. Cities will provide you with a cultural experience and small towns a historic one, but the great outdoors provides some of the most stunning and beautiful scenery. Enjoy the fresh British air and some down time with disability and wheelchair-friendly destinations.
Get lost in the countryside at one of Wallops Wood’s award-winning, self-catering cottages in Hampshire. This step-free accommodation comes with additional and accessible features depending on your stay; a wood burner for those cosy winter nights or a barbecue for that rare summers evening.
If you’re more of an adventurous type, try the Daisybank Cabin. This self-catering lodge located near Bakewell (yes, as in the famously well-known pudding) offers off-roading wheelchair adventures, as an alternative way to explore the Peak District area.
Fancy a trip down the canal? The QEF Jubilee, moored at Hemel Hempstead is wider than a standard canal boat and fully adapted to enable comfortable and easy wheelchair access.
Safe Haven offer fully refurbished and redesigned sea-view bungalows that accommodate wheelchair guests on the coast of West Wales. The sandy beaches nearby provide wheelchair access as well as the Ceredigion coast path, which links to several nearby coves.
Don’t just take our word for it, you’ll find loads of websites and bloggers out there with recommendations for those who may find it more challenging to travel. However, there is no one better to provide top tips on destinations than those who have experienced them first-hand. What are your recommendations?