WORLDWIDE
Evolution of Travel for Families
with Disabled Children

Catering for disabled children when selecting a holiday can be a challenging experience. Trying to ensure the journey and destination provide adapted facilities can be hard to interpret from general marketing descriptions. Be it a family skiing trip, scuba diving or discovering Morocco, a number of specialised agents are now available, often started and operated by friends or relatives of a disabled traveller who - after having done the homework for their friend’s travel - turn it into a business…..

Travelling with children can be quite challenging at the best of times, with frequent moments of “are we nearly there yet?” just five minutes into the journey. Parents of disabled children face an enormous challenge when it comes to working out logistics and ideal facilities to ensure an enjoyable stress-free holiday for all the family. In recent years, airport facilities have improved greatly with most developed world airports now having dedicated teams helping with boarding and disembarking. Modern long-haul aircraft carry an onboard aisle chair to access the loo but a) check that it actually is on board your particular flight and b) be prepared for some athletic moves in a tiny space. When booking flights, select seating at the front of the plane, as well as closer proximity to lavatories for easier on/off and in/out. Request wheelchair assistance upon arrival and seek out wheelchair-accessible security lines, both of which will help you better manoeuvre through the airport. Rental car agencies and city taxis are now catering to families in need of modified cars and vans with room for wheelchairs, lifts and specialised seats. Not all international hotels are quite so well equipped therefore we recommend you speak in advance with your destination of choice to ensure all your needs are met.
The spread of international budget chain hotels may seem lacking in charm to many travellers but to disabled clients they are a godsend. One example is Ibis hotels who offer a wheelchair accessible bathroom, being a giant hollow cube in pressed composite with all facilities included. All U.S. hotels are now required to offer wheelchair-accessible rooms, where doors are wider to the room and bathroom, and grips are provided for tubs and toilets. Be sure to request these special rooms well in advance of your stay and it’s worth asking if they also provide shower chairs. The newer and larger cruise ships, welcome and accommodate guests with special needs, by offering wheelchair-friendly staterooms, public areas and swimming pools, as well as providing shore excursions geared toward those disabled guests.
Although often small and a challenge to find, there are specialised agents who can help with specific categories of holidays with disabled kids in mind. Diving holidays for disabled teenage kids are an exciting opportunity to discover the colourful glory underwater in the safety of controlled buoyancy and guidance from a knowledgeable dive master, many who now pride themselves on taking an interest in making their passion for this sport accessible to all, such as Camel Dive in Sharm el Sheikh or Divi Dive Flamingo on the Caribbean island of Bonaire. Disabled ski schools are also becoming prolific and there are now either specialised schools or instructors within general ski schools who cater for most levels of disability including tetra plegics, which can experience the thrill of speeding down a slope in a sledge operated by a specialist driver. If exploring the rich culture and architecture of Morocco is on the bucket list, we even discovered an adapted camel saddle for disabled riders in Fez with Moroccoaccessibletravel.com
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