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Top Travel Tips & Destinations for Disabilities

Top Travel Tips & Destinations for Disabilities
Kevin Cleary

Who doesn’t love to travel? But for those who have a disability the prospect of going on a vacation may seem like a pipe dream. This wonderful world we live in is not always 100% handicap accessible and sometimes extremely frustrating to those who may have limited mobility or some other disability. So how do those with a handicap or disability get to enjoy the wonders of the world around them? We have some possible destinations and travel tips to help those with disabilities who love to travel the globe.

Travel Tips & Destinations for Disabilities

Travel tips for Disabilities from the Experts

Many people with disabilities may avoid traveling just because of the unknown. Not knowing definitively that a destination may be accessible can be a complete downer and cause those with a handicap to stay home. I travel with a wheelchair and am completely familiar with this trepidation. For instance, Europe has a “reputation” of being older and not assessable to those with disabilities. This is becoming more the exception than the rule. Travel experts, such as Rick Steves, have seen the evolution of accessibility around the globe, but still have some travel tips for those with handicaps and disabilities. These can include:

  • Plan Ahead: By doing a little research you can easily find destinations that are completely assessable to those with wheelchairs or other disabilities.
  • Book Your Hotel Early: Many hotels have a limited amount of handicap accessible rooms and by booking your room early you can assure yourself of accommodations to meet your needs. For example, I need access to under the bed for a Hoyer lift to transfer from bed to wheelchair. Not all hotels offer this access.
  • Plan Your Route: A little foresight into your itinerary can make your trip easier. Online visitor guides can point to areas that are much more assessable and can avoid areas that may be daunting, if not impossible.
  • Stay in Accessible Parts of Town: What good is an accessible hotel if the area around it is not handicap friendly? This can be difficult to attain, but ask lots of questions about surrounding areas and even restaurants. Try to avoid the sketchy and hilly parts of town!!
  • Tour or No Tour: If you decide to partake in a guided tour of a certain area, be sure to find out what type of route the guide will use. Are there stairs, cobblestone roads, or steep hills? These might be things you may need or want to avoid.



Drive Poly-Fly Lightweight Transport Chair Wheelchair Graham Field Lumex Patient Hydraulic Lift

Drive Poly-Fly Lightweight Transport Chair Wheelchair

Graham Field Lumex Patient Hydraulic Lift

As with any trip for those with disabilities or handicaps, always have a Plan B or a contingency plan in case something goes wrong. For example, what would you do if your wheelchair broke? You may need to pack a small toolkit in case a repair becomes necessary. Try to think about all possible emergencies and solutions to them. Relax, be flexible, and enjoy your trip!!

Some top Locations for Disabilities

When choosing a travel destination for those with disabilities, there are some vacation spots that are better suited for you. Before choosing a location, you should determine what type of visitation are you looking for? Do you want to go on a cruise, do some sightseeing, or just enjoy local cuisine? Some options you may want to explore are:

  1. Sonoma Valley, California: If wine is your thing, here is your spot. With the valley floor that is relatively flat, those with limited mobility can enjoy the vineyards, awesome mountain views, and beautiful countryside. One example is the Buena Vista Winery who did a lovely ADA upgrade for those with limited mobility that include ramps and elevators for tasting and tours.
  2. Western Wall, Israel: For history buffs, not many spots on the globe hold the significance of the Western Wall in Israel. Be sure to access the Western Wall through the vehicle entrance area and enjoy the flat, even grounds. You can roll right up to the wall and place your hands on it!!
  3. Barcelona, Spain: Wheelchair visitors will quickly discover that this city is extremely accessible to those with limited mobility. It offers many wheelchair assessable Metro stations and a bus system that makes it easy to get around with wheelchair accessibility on all buses. Curbs and sidewalks are easily managed and a wheelchair accessible promenade allows for access to beautiful, scenic beaches. There are several fully assessable tours available to those in wheelchairs, so you can experience the history of Barcelona.
  4. Dublin, Ireland: While many older European cities incorporate cobblestones and stone stairs, Dublin manages to maintain these without impacting those with limited mobility. As cities go, Dublin is relatively compact and surprisingly flat, so navigating with a wheelchair is made simpler. Public transportation, drop curbs, and delayed traffic lights all add to the enjoyment of this charming Irish city for those with disabilities.
  5. St. Simons Island, Georgia: Yes, Georgia has islands!! It may seem counterintuitive to try to enjoy a sandy beach in a wheelchair, but this is possible. The sand on this beach is hard packed, which lends itself ideally to wheeled transportation. Also, there are condos available on the beach that are single-story or even have personal elevators in them for increased accessibility.
  6. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: This destination may not seem like it’s good for those with wheelchairs or limited mobility, but it is a very accommodating destination for those with disabilities. Assessable campsites and trails that have boardwalks can accommodate wheelchairs and allow for breathtaking views of soaring mountain peaks.
  7. Paris, France: The city of lights is chock-full of tourist attractions. Arguably the most famous is the Eiffel Tower and believe it or not two of the three levels are wheelchair assessable. Only an emergency exit of a spiral staircase precludes those with wheelchairs from going to the third level. There are reduced rates for those with wheelchairs and accompanying guests. Other assessable sites include the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.
  8. Assessable Journeys Cruises: Is a cruise is your thing, this company has 30 years of experience with assessable cruises and shore excursions. This can allow you to experience a variety of locations while being assured of accessibility.

Bailey Padded Black Whirlpool Chair Healthline Medical All Terrain Beach Wheelchair

Bailey Padded Black Whirlpool Chair

Healthline Medical All Terrain Beach Wheelchair

​Limited mobility from a disability or handicap does not preclude you from traveling. A little foresight and research will allow those with special needs the ability to get out and explore. Overcome your misconceptions and enjoy!!

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HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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