Travel by people with disabilities, also known as "disabled travel" or "accessible travel, " is on the rise. The travel industry is waking up to disabled travelers' special needs by providing more services and greater accommodation. Meanwhile, the sheer abundance of information on accessible travel is astounding - much of it generated by disabled travelers themselves.
The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees that disabled travelers receive equal treatment under the law. While this would be the case in a perfect world, it doesn't always work out that way in real life, especially in foreign countries where accessibility regulations vary widely. Despite having common sense, considerable public sentiment and strength in numbers, disabled travelers frequently face inadequate facilities, prejudice, misinformation, general hassles and higher prices than other travelers.
Compounding the problem is the fact that there are as many disabilities as there are disabled folks. Each person's needs are a little different, and traveling in cookie-cutter airline seats, hotel rooms and rental car fleets can be very tricky. The following tips and resources will help disabled travelers and their companions anticipate some of the snags of accessible travel.
1. Call ahead. Service providers are required by law in many cases to accommodate travelers with special needs. However, most need some time to make the necessary arrangements. Mention your needs at the time of reservation, and call the provider 24 to 48 hours before your arrival to confirm that proper accommodations have been made.
2. Be specific and clear when describing a disability. Not all service providers know the "lingo" of accessible travel, or the medical terms for certain conditions. Give as many details as you can about what you can and can't do, and don't downplay the severity of the disability. The more information a service provider has, the better they will be able to accommodate you.
Independent Travellers Guide: Edinburgh, Capital of Scotland (VHS Video)
Video (Lismore Video Entertainment)
What does it mean In a job description, what does it mean to have the ability to travel independently
Ability to travel independently means you are able to provide your own means of transportation, whether it's car or plane!