Everyone loves a holiday, but for people with limited mobility due to disability or medical condition such as arthritis, COPD or the after-effects of a stroke, going on vacation can often be a stressful and frustrating experience.
Luckily, more and more destinations and holiday companies are cottoning on to the fact that accessibility is a key consideration for many holidaymakers, and facilities are being adapted accordingly. If you’re looking for an accessible, worry-free holiday, try heading to one of these disability-friendly holiday locations.
With a fully accessible bus fleet and 80% of the metro system offering wheelchair access, Barcelona is one of the top European cities for people with disabilities or mobility problems. It’s also cobble stone-free and fairly flat, meaning that getting around all the sights this city has to offer is pretty straightforward. And there are plenty of sights to see, including the famous Las Ramblas, the Museo Picasso and La Sagrada Família, which has the added benefit of offering free entry to people with disabilities. Don’t forget to declare your medical conditions with your travel insurance.
Vienna in Austria is another European city that has a good level of accessibility. Unlike most other historical centres, Vienna has removed its cobblestones along with many of the kerbs, making it a relatively wheelchair-friendly destination. With its rich history and musical legacy, there is plenty to see and do in Vienna, including the Schloss Schönbrunn and the unforgettable Kunsthistorisches Museum, and most of the museums and attractions are fully accessible. The transport system also makes it easy to get around the city, with low floor trams and lifts down to the metro system.
The Singaporean authorities have been committed to barrier-free accessibility for the past 20 years, making Singapore the most accessible city in Asia, and possibly the world. The vast majority of buildings offer step-free access, and the mass rail transit and city bus systems are accessible for people with both visual and motor impairments. Accessibility is the rule rather than the exception in Singapore, so you can enjoy all the city has to offer- whether that’s shopping, sampling the street food, or visiting the city’s own zoo – without any worries.
The Guinness world record for the first blind woman to dive to 41m was set in Sicily, as was the record for the first paraplegic to dive to 59m – so it’s little surprise that it’s a great destination for people seeking an accessible holiday. Aside from the famous Italian food, there are plenty of activities and attractions for motor or visually-impaired visitors to enjoy, including scuba diving, olive oil making, off-road driving, a tactile museum and the only sensorial botanic garden in Europe.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
If you’re looking for a beach holiday combined with historical sightseeing, head to Playa del Carmen in Mexico. Around one hour’s drive from Cancun Airport, this laid-back resort offers accessible accommodation and an accessible beach complete with beach wheelchairs. There is also adaptive equipment on hand to enable you to go snorkelling among the coral reefs. If history is your thing, take a trip to the nearby Mayan ruins, Chichén Itzá and Tulum, which are wheelchair-accessible.
When it comes to accessible destinations, there are lots of options to choose from, and the good news is this list is growing all the time. There are also companies that specialise in accessible travel, such as www.accessibletravel.co.uk.
As with any trip, forward planning is key to arranging an accessible holiday. Before you book, make sure you research potential destinations, looking at travel options, accessible accommodation, wheelchair hire and available sights and activities. Don’t forget your travel insurance! Good single trip cover will make sure you have cover for a medical emergency, delayed trip, or loss or damage to your baggage or equipment – leaving you free to relax and enjoy your holiday.