Going on a day trip
Going on a day trip can be a wonderful way to spend quality time with friends and family, particularly if you spend a lot of time indoors or are unable to travel independently. There are many options for day trips depending on your travel options, your local area and your individual needs. If you have physical problems, considering the following questions can make sure the day trip is suitable:
- Is the venue wheelchair accessible?
- Does the venue have disabled toilets?
- Is this an activity you will all enjoy?
Discussing the trip with others going along will help address these sorts of issues, and will also mean that you all feel involved in the planning of the day.
Holidays in the UK
UK-based holidays are an excellent option if a holiday abroad is too expensive or impractical. They are a particularly good option if flight or train travel isn’t suitable.
There’s a broad range of adapted and accessible holiday homes around the UK, so it should be possible for you to find a suitable holiday cottage in most regions. Use Google or other search engines to look for ‘accessible holidays’ or ‘disabled access holidays’ and explore your options.
If you choose to stay in a hotel, most will have accessible rooms on the ground floor that can be booked in advance. However, always check that the facilities are suitable beforehand and find out if you need to bring extra items to make the stay as comfortable as possible.
If you’re acting as a carer for your loved one, it’s important to remember to take time for yourself as well. Respite holidays are an excellent way to take a break, and there are many different options available.
Planning an international holiday
If you’re going abroad with family or friends, it’s important to consider the support you may both need during the holiday at every stage of the planning process.
- Are you staying in a hotel and, if so, are they able to provide a room that suits your needs?
- If you choose a private cottage, is it easily accessible and is it adequately equipped?
- If you can afford it, a cruise is an excellent way to travel abroad. They usually have facilities specifically tailored to meet the needs of people in wheelchairs and this can take the stress out of flying and making personal arrangements.
It’s important to find out how the healthcare system is set up and paid for in the country that you’re travelling to. Also consider potential language barriers – will you be able to communicate effectively with the hospital staff in the case of an emergency?
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is essential if you’re planning to visit an EEA country. It allows you access to healthcare in other European countries for free or at a reduced cost. At present, the EHIC remains valid, but once the UK leaves the EU, it’s unlikely to remain so.
Travel insurance is a must for any holiday. Check carefully what is and isn’t covered under the terms of your policy to avoid a nasty shock in the event of an emergency.
Which? Money has information about how to find travel insurance if you’re over the age of 65, with guidance for those with medical problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Travelling by air
Another thing to research beforehand is your chosen airline and any associated regulations. This is particularly important if you’ll be travelling with a wheelchair.
Speak to the airline and the airport when you book to ensure they will be able to provide you with additional assistance when it comes to boarding the plane. It’s always good to be prepared when it comes to travelling, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Before you travel, make sure you have everything you need for your trip, whether you’re going away for a day or a week. It’s far better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
Lightweight and portable equipment
It can be a good idea to purchase lightweight, portable versions of the products you use at home. Folding toilet, bathing and shower supports are available and may be necessary to ensure you can use hotel facilities.
Lightweight folding wheelchairs can be a good idea if you’re not able to walk long distances and will allow you to join in family activities.
Hiring travel equipment
Hiring equipment at your destination may be the easiest way to ensure you have the products you need while not having to transport larger items yourself. A number of companies offer rental disability equipment.
Even if you don’t normally use a wheelchair or scooter, you might want to consider renting one while on holiday, as there can often be more walking involved when you’re away.
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