Considerations When Going On Holiday With A Disabled Family Member

frferftweIf you’re a carer for a disabled family member, you’ll understand how much planning any trip requires, regardless of their age. Whether you have a family member who uses a wheelchair or relatives that are reliant on Mobility Scooters, it can be difficult to navigate an airport and a foreign country. Despite this, it’s still possible to go on holiday and have a great time with your whole family, there are just some extra preparations you might need to make beforehand.

Is Your Accommodation Accessible?

There’s nothing worse than trying to navigate an unfamiliar environment when you have a disability. There are plenty of accessible holiday resorts, hotels and apartments available so make sure that you book somewhere suitable. Important considerations to make include whether there are steps to your room and whether the bathroom facilities are disability-friendly. Making these checks ahead of your stay will prevent you and your family from struggling to get by when you are on holiday.

Have You Told The Airline?

Most airlines require passengers who have disabilities to inform them at least 48 hours in advance of their flight. This means that special provisions can be made on the day of your flight without holding anyone up. You can find out in advance what facilities are available on your flight, such as disabled toilets, by contacting your airline. Wheelchairs are always stored in the hold, as they are not allowed in the cabin. For this reason, disabled travellers are usually given help to get on board the plane. As long as you have told the airline in advance, you should be able to sit next to your disabled family member to ensure that all their needs are met.

It’s good to know that in European airports, disabled travellers should have access to help at arrival points and help to reach check-in. Disabled travellers can also have help moving through the airport if it is required. This can help to take the pressure off of caregivers when trying to organise a family trip.

If your disabled family needs an assistance dog, they will need to follow the regulations for travelling with an animal. You must remember to bring a car harness with you so that your relatives’ disability dog can be secured during take-off and landing. There are different rules within and outside of the EU, so you’ll need to make sure you have read up before you travel with an assistance dog.

Do You Need A Hire Car?

If you are planning to hire a car when you land, make sure you have chosen a suitable adapted car. It’s a good idea to speak with the in hire car company advance to explain your needs. If you’re travelling in the EU, don’t forget that the Blue Badge scheme is available. This takes the hassle out of finding somewhere to park when you do drive abroad. When you’re travelling with a disabled family member, you’ll need to ensure that you have access to an appropriate insurance policy on your hire car. You might need to extend the policy to ensure that you are fully covered. Remember that, depending on your destination, accessible taxis or public transport might not be available so hiring a car can make it easier to get around.

Have You Packed Everything?

Packing is most people’s least favourite activity. It can bring a sinking feeling that you’ve forgotten something, even if you’ve checked your luggage three times. When you’re travelling with a disabled family member, you’ll need to make sure that you have packed anything they may need. There are specific rules and regulations for travelling with medication, and these vary depending on which country you are travelling to, so make sure that you have read up on the rules beforehand. It’s a good idea to make a check list of everything your disabled relative uses or needs on a daily basis in the run up to your holiday. This way you won’t forget anything essential when you pack. Try not to panic if you do forget something, it’s likely you can pick it up in a shop or pharmacy when you land.

Are You Going To Do Any Activities?

To avoid any disappointment, it’s a good idea to pre plan and book activities. There are plenty of disabled-friendly tour guides and travel operators with activities for people of all ages. So whether you’d like to book a family trip to see the local landmarks or something more adventurous like horse riding or fishing, take the time do your research before your holiday to find a company which can provide you a fun experience to suit your needs.

How Accessible Is Your Destination?

Around the world, cities are doing important to work to improve their accessibility. However, some locations are better than others when it comes to travelling with a disability. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take the time to do your research to find out how accessible your destination is. Is there wheelchair friendly beaches? Are the streets narrow and cobbled? If you need inspiration, some of the best-known cities for accessibility are Milan, in Italy, which won the Access City award in 2016 and Berlin, in Germany. Milan has great accessible railways and airports, making it easy to get to the popular tourist destinations. Berlin has a great accessible public transport system, wide pavements and a number of accessible cultural landmarks, like museums and galleries.

There’s a lot to think about when you are planning a holiday which includes a disabled family member but it will be worth it when you have the trip of a lifetime!

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