Choosing a travel agency is not always easy and obvious. We are looking for interesting offers for trips in tourist destinations that interest us and at the most attractive price. If something interests us, we follow this trail, heading to the travel agency that offers this trip.
There, we set the details of accommodation, choose the date of interest and sign the contract. That’s pretty much when it comes to the average tourist.
However, the reality is not so rosy – not for everybody.
Well, the case is a bit different when it comes to disabled people, in particular those with mobility limitations.
Here, the choice of vacation and travel agency is actually a key point for the trip to be fruitful and successful. Tourists with disabilities need special or more suited to their needs conditions.
However, these days it goes to arrange it, either on its own or using travel agencies.
As for the latter, they are not yet all up to the challenge, but the tendency is rather optimistic. More and more companies perceive disabled customers as every other customer. But the first question is:
How to choose the best travel agency for people with disabilities?
A travel agency for people with disabilities must be chosen with care. Only this will guarantee peace and satisfaction on holidays.
finding A good offer is half the battle.
A travel agency should provide at least three aspects needed for disabled people to travel:
- and transfer.
This is the basis, the rest such as optional trips tailored to people with locomotor dysfunction, is a nice, but rare addition. Not to mention the real tours.
The travel agency, which will provide at least these three basic points, is noteworthy and interesting for people with disabilities. At least in the first phase.
What to look for when choosing a trip offer for people with disabilities at a travel agency?
Adapted accommodation for disabled people
A good travel agency offers accommodation base that is adapted for the disabled. They are usually marked with a special icon and in addition clearly stated in the offer about rooms for the disabled.
It is worth paying attention to it, because sometimes the hotel grounds are adapted, there are ramps and even adapted public toilets (usually located near the reception or swimming pool), but there are no typical rooms for people with limited mobility.
A travel agency for disabled people should have a database of accommodation in which rooms and bathrooms are adapted.
At the same time, sometimes the office has information from which you can find out even about the height of the bed, whether there is a threshold when going to the balcony or on the terrace and how the bathroom looks.
You can get information about the width of the door, whether there is a shower or bathtub, as well as the height of the toilet and the sink on which it is hung. In addition, other important information is usually provided about whether the entire facility has architectural barriers and is wheelchair friendly in general. One of the companies certainly has such info on our market. However, nothing prevents an employee of a chosen travel agency from providing them to us.
You can always ask this question and even ask for photographs of a selected room and bathroom. In such photos you can also sometimes see how much space there will be in the room, which is also important, especially for people in electric wheelchairs.
Flights adapted to disabled people
The second important point is the issue of flight, and in fact the notification of a disabled person two days before departure to the airport from which we depart.
So that the service knows that a given person will come in for help.
Such notification is the duty of the travel agent with whom you intend to leave.
Then, after reporting for check-in, an airport employee appears to help – if we do not need one, we will only see them at the boarding, i.e. with a trouble-free sleeve or in a special car with a raised platform.
Then their help will be limited to moving us to the right seat.
In some travel agencies, before departure, they want information about the weight and dimensions of the wheelchair. Airlines have their limitations as to the number of wheelchairs transported, especially electric ones. Therefore, travel agents must provide all details before departure.
Sometimes in some travel agencies you can reserve a specific seat on the plane, although they are usually allocated at the check-in desk. Sometimes even stewardesses will decide on the place where a disabled person will sit, justifying themselves with safety regulations and their internal regulations.
In fact, people with mobility impairments or families with children cannot, for example, sit at emergency exits. Interestingly, there are usually young, strong men seated there who, if necessary, balance this exit.
Adapted transfer from the airport to the hotel for people with disabilities
Currently on the market more and more travel agencies offer accommodation that is adapted to the needs of the disabled. However, this usually ends up with a customized hotel and flight.
Yes, air travel is by definition available, because the law requires advance adaptation of airports and services for people with disabilities in their area. In addition, many hotels, especially those of a higher standard, also have rooms for people with special needs.
The problem, however, is the transfer from the airport to the hotel.
It is known that the accommodation base is not right next to the airport. Usually you have to travel a dozen, several dozen or even several hundred kilometers to the hotel.
And people with physical disabilities will not enter a regular coach, which usually transports tourists around the facilities. Therefore, you have to use a separate transport, i.e. an ordinary taxi or private transfer, which is unfortunately often extremely expensive.
Unfortunately, hardly any travel agency deals with this topic. In fact, even the largest ones reserve on a good day that they do not have in their offer transport intended for people with disabilities. Only in some directions are they able to mediate the rental of a customized transfer.
Of course with the right commission.
Thus, it is either bringing the disabled person to the bus, or a taxi or adapted transport (if any at all in the place) is rented at his own expense.
What else to look for when choosing a travel agency for the disabled?
Optional trips for people with disabilities
Unfortunately, in most travel agencies there are no optional trips prepared for people in wheelchairs.
All available trips are organized with the use of coach transport which such persons cannot enter.
Always before choosing a specific vacation, you can ask for a range of optional trips and whether they are any tailored, but you should not count on it.
Sometimes it turns out that the local travel agency offers an optional trip adapted to the needs of the disabled.
In such expeditions, it is not only about proper transport, but also about proven places where a wheelchair user can easily move – no stairs or thresholds. It’s also about a calmer pace of sightseeing, so that a person in a wheelchair can keep up with everyone.
That’s not all.
What else should you pay attention to when choosing the best travel agency for people with disabilities?
Security and credibility of a travel agency for the disabled
In addition to all the requirements that people with disabilities care about most, you need to approach the topic also from the safety side. After all, it is important to choose a stable and reliable office that will be able to pay and will not fall before our departure.
Which travel agency is the most disability-friendly?
When it comes to the largest travel agencies, we’ll find offers for the disabled in all of them. Of course in terms of flight and accommodation.
Some even have in search engines the filtering options by choosing rooms for the disabled, sometimes and divided into such subsections as bathroom with shower or available swimming pool at the hotel.
Others, in turn, have valuable information about the room, bathroom and the entire hotel (e.g. are there any elevations).
Some of them have photographs of adapted rooms, and the other part can get them. However, the whole stops at the transfer from and to the airport.
As we have already mentioned, most of these most popular agencies do not guarantee transport from the airport, which is a problem especially when you need a specialized transfer, which may not be available in a given place.
Therefore, a better solution may be the choice of smaller travel companies, because interestingly they are usually more flexible in relation to the client. Maybe they care more and if it’s possible they try to meet the needs of disabled people and organize something.
An even better choice is a travel agency specifically aimed at servicing people with physical disabilities and more.
Then the matter is extremely simple.
We choose a trip, pay and rather do not have to worry about anything. Awareness of service for people with movement dysfunction of such companies is much greater than in other offices. Not only flight, adapted accommodation, but also transfer is provided. In addition, optional trips are also organized in which wheelchair users can of course take part. In their offer they even have whole traveling trips, for example around Cyprus or Tuscany.
What holiday destinations are the most disability-friendly?
When it comes to travel for people with disabilities, you can go anywhere. There are known cases of expeditions to China, and to Africa or even Australia.
The world is open to brave people.
However, when we start our adventure with traveling in a wheelchair, it is worth going to somewhat more adapted and friendly people on four wheels.
This is certainly the whole of Spain, from the coast full of sunshine, through the capital in Madrid and the famous Barcelona, to the Balearic Islands. In addition, the Canary Islands are equally well suited to people with physical disabilities, both in terms of accommodation facilities, where you can literally pick up most of the attractions, or even beaches, shops and restaurants.
A lot of people also praise Berlin, Prague, Rome and Athens, as well as Austria and Great Britain.
Opinions about the offer & travel agencies for the disabled
It’s always worth using the opinions of other people, not only when it comes to choosing the direction of our journey, but also even the hotel or travel agency itself.
If another person in a wheelchair was there, you can certainly count on a very credible and reliable opinion on a given topic. You can also search for this type of information on the web, on various types of blogs and forums regarding the travel of people with mobility impairments.
The current generation is no longer locked up in the proverbial closet, just trying to enjoy life, learn and work, and the fruits of their earnings also liquefies in the sphere of travel.
And you? What are your experiences with offers and trips organized by travel agencies for people with disabilities?
Let me know what your opinions are in the comments. Maybe you will also try a small review?
We invite you to discuss the topic of choosing the best travel agency for people with disabilities.