Booking accommodation for holidaymakers with disabilities
A big part of any holiday is deciding where to stay. Access for people with disabilities has improved considerably over the last few years.
Often a disability is not obvious to other people, so make sure you explain your particular requirements clearly when booking accommodation or dealing with a travel company.
You should not assume that staff will automatically know or understand your needs. This is particularly important when booking by phone, post or over the internet.
Hotels and businesses differ in what they offer. For example, some places will be fully accessible to a wheelchair user travelling independently. Others may be accessible to people who have limited mobility but can walk a few paces.
Some charities produce guides detailing specific holiday accommodation. They may have information such as whether there are:
- ground floor bedrooms
- wide corridors and doorways
- menus and other information in Braille
- adaptations in the rooms
- staff trained to assist people with disabilities
It's also worth checking if companions, or carers, can accompany you at a discounted rate.
Equipment, adaptations and services while on holiday
You, or the person you care for, may be used to equipment or adaptations at home. It's important to check that your hotel - or other accommodation - meets your needs.
When booking accommodation directly, or through an organisation or travel agency, check what's on offer.
Some places are able to support people with different needs. For example, some hotels have rooms adapted specifically for people who are blind or visually impaired. Here are some examples of the types of adaptations and services that may be available:
- wheel-in showers
- raised toilet seats
- manual and electric bath hoists
- manual and electric bed hoists
- alarm systems in rooms
- vibrating alarms
Depending on your needs, check what help staff can provide. For example, can they assist wheelchair users, or are they trained to use sign language?
Carers and companions
You can hire a companion, carer or nurse to provide extra assistance - some commercial companies provide this service. It's worth checking if companions or carers can accompany you at a discounted rate.
There are also charities set up to arrange holidays for people with disabilities and provide volunteer companions and helpers.
Carers UK is a charity set up to help the millions of people who care for family or friends. You can visit its website for a directory of relevant national organisiations, and other useful information, at the following link.