Whether you’re planning a holiday for the elderly or you’re booking a disabled access holiday, you need to do your research into your hotel, airline, airport and all the bits in between before you go. We’ve highlighted some of the most important things to take note of when booking an assisted holiday for the elderly or disabled. Read more below.
Accessible holiday planning tips
Without getting carried away with which destinations look the nicest and the most fun, the first thing you should do when planning an accessible holiday is figure out what type of holiday you are after – or will suit you best. Be that a sunny holiday on the beach, a relaxing river cruise or a sight-seeing city break. Then, you need to know what accessible facilities there are and how easy it will be to get around and see the sights.
Getting to know where you’re going
Always discuss your requirements with your airline and hotel so they can get a better understanding of your needs and help to prepare properly for your arrival. When booking accommodation and transport, put together a checklist of all the facilities you require and tick them off as you go – then you can compare each location and find the one that suits you and your needs best. Some of the items that you may need while you’re away and might want to add to your checklist are:
- Ground floor facilities
- Wet room
- Wheelchair hire
- Accessible transport facilities
Rather than booking your accessible or disabled holidays online, we would suggest phoning in your booking so that you can ask questions about the accommodation, airport or location. You should always obtain written confirmation that your requests and requirements have been recorded on their end to avoid any complications when you arrive.
Most airports offer a good range of accessible services – including well-designed wheelchair access, dedicated parking spaces throughout multiple airport car parks, reserved seating, suitable toilet facilities and accessible payphones. The majority of airports also offer an assisted travel service with transport offered across the airport. Be sure to check what accessible services your airport offers before you fly, and put any additional transport aids into place before you get there for a smooth start to your holiday.
Reviewing your airline’s wheelchair guidelines
Gain an understanding of their wheelchair policies before you fly, so you know what you can and can’t take with you. For example: whether you can fly with your own wheelchair, stow away a battery-powered chair or use wheelchair equipment to help you board the plane. Either look this information up online or call the airport’s customer service line in advance for help.
If you’re bringing your own wheelchair, take measurements so you know what type of access you need, and where you can store your chair – that way you can find the best airlines and accommodation for you, so you won’t have to worry about it when you get there. You may find that airlines have different sizing requirements so it’s helpful to have them to hand. The standard maximum size is around 84cm x 86cm. But don’t worry if your chair comes up big, because you can stow it away and use the airport’s wheelchair to help you get around.
While some airlines allow you to carry detachable items onto the plane (including seat cushions and footrests), it’s likely that if your wheelchair is powered by a lithium ion battery, it will be removed and sealed in a protective covering to stow away in the cabin until you land.
Getting through airport security
If you are unable to stand to walk through the body scanner, inform a member of staff who should allow you to go through in your chair. Although you will likely have to undergo a hand search by a security agent, too. Most airports have private search areas where you can go if you don’t feel comfortable with being searched in public.
As you are likely already aware, in your hand luggage you can carry any liquids, creams, gels, aerosols and pastes in 100ml/100g containers – but they must be kept in a clear, sealable bag and only bag per person is allowed. There is, however, no limitations when it comes to prescription medication. But the prescription must be clearly visible on the front of the bottle.
Choosing the right airport parking
Another way to make sure your trip goes smoothly is through meet and greet parking. Simply drive up to the car park in the comfort of your own car, where you’ll find yourself just moments away from the check in desk. No battle against bodies on the airport transfer bus and no worry of not being able to find a suitable parking space. We’ll handle all of that for you.
But what about parking abroad? If you own a Blue Badge, take comfort in knowing that these are recognised across all European countries, so you can make use of all disabled parking facilities. But it’s also important to check the rules for disabled parking in the country you are visiting as these are not always the same.
Booking an airport hotel
Better yet, why not add a hotel to your airport parking package and locate yourself just moments away from the check in desk? You’ll take comfort in the fact that you’re settled down the night before your flight and there’s no need to rush to the terminal in the morning. Take it easy with a short stroll to the airport straight from your hotel room.
Relaxing in an airport lounge
Working your way through crowds with limited mobility can be difficult, especially when you’re surrounded by bodies constantly rushing by to reach the gate. Why not hide away in a luxury airport lounge where you have access to complimentary food and drink in a calming environment?
Now you know what to look out for when booking an accessible or disabled holiday, you just need to decide where to go! To get you started, why not take a look at these accessible holiday locations and tourist hotspots?
- Whistler in Canada – offers a variety of accessible sports venues and public spaces
But no matter where you go, when you’re booking your assisted holidays for the elderly or your disabled access holiday, be sure to plan ahead using our top tips.