Travel Outlook for People with Disabilities

If you think walking to the corner market might be intimidating for a person who is blind, imagine how it might feel to navigate a bustling open-air street market in another country. If you've ever been on a cruise, you already know it can be a sublime experience, with inspiring sights, tranquil sounds and an abundant array of leisure activities available at all hours. Imagine, though, how it would feel to know that you could not take full advantage of the shipboard amenities because of the lack of wheelchair access. What if you were deaf and your heart's desire was to lose yourself in the cool confines of an art museum, but for lack of a docent who could communicate in sign language, you could not avail yourself of the rich historical context in which the precious artifacts were created?.Although these scenarios make travel seem impractical, if not impossible, for those with disabilities, it doesn't have to be that way. With a little research, planning, and spirit of adventure, nothing has to come between you and the trip of your dreams.

Below is a short list of a few places to begin your investigation. If you are a person with a disability or if your special someone is disabled, you'll want to explore these wonderful travel websites, which specialize in accommodating travelers with disabilities.1000 Tips for Trips ( website caught my attention because it is easy to read and navigate.

My favorite features are the "Tips For Trips" sections, where travelers from all over the world have contributed practical words of wisdom. There are tips lists just for traveling to specific destinations, tips for parents traveling with small children, safety tips and, of course, tips for travelers with disabilities, all submitted by people who have been there, done that. You may even find a few of my own recommendations there.Disabled Travel USA (www.ability.

From Acadia National Park to Zion National Park, this wonderful list of accessible places would be awfully handy when you're ready for a road trip. The list briefly describes the type of accommodations you can expect. Call ahead to verify that your needs will be met, and relax knowing that a warm welcome awaits.

Also see Disabled Travel Europe, and page after page of disability-related resources by Journeys (

This is the world's largest cruise travel company specializing in wheelchair travel. Visit the "About" page and read their story. It offers great resources for planning your trip, understanding shipboard illness and a variety of tour types to suit the adventurer in everyone.Independent Living Links (www.

A head-spinning list of links for every aspect of independent living. Don't miss their extensive list of travel resources. This site could keep you busy for hours.Tips for Travelers with Disabilities Brochure (http://travel.state.

gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_1228.html).This is a U.S. government site with additional brochures and links to other travel sites. Lots of important international travel information here.

Remember that outside of the U.S., there is no such thing as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other countries are under no legal obligation to make accommodations that will ensure fully accessible passage.For even more options, just type "disabled travel" into your favorite search engine.

You will be amazed at the choices. You can find travel companies that specialize in a full range of services, such as mobility equipment rental, travel companions, medical supervision, and more. There are travel companies that will arrange every detail of your holiday, from your door to your destination and back. Thoroughly investigate your options during the early planning stages of your trip. Whether you walk or roll, set your sights on these great web resources and bon voyage!.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.


Laura Gillson is a speaker, author and educator specializing in disability awareness, advocacy, accessibility and assistive technology. For corporate, community or caregiver training, visit Eloquent Insights at If you need help with in-home care, you'll find it at In-Home Insights at http://www. Finally, you'll discover a site for sore eyes at Accessible Insights at The author's email address is

By: Laura Gillson

New York City

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