More Than Mobility can understand going on holiday can be enjoyable for people mobility issues and their loved ones, as it can offer new experiences and a break from routine. A fresh environment, new faces and a change from daily routine can lift your spirits. Some people like to travel alone, although this can become more difficult as issues progress. Others prefer to travel with a companion – often the person who normally cares for them. Don’t forget, remember a travel companion might be so concerned about giving the person with a disability a good holiday that they themselves forget to relax. For this reason, it is important to make plans for the most suitable holiday for everyone involved. There are holidays to support and help you whatever your circumstances, Silver Travel Advisor is a unique travel reviews, information and advice website, especially for travellers aged over 50.
Airports, railway stations, bus stations, ships, trains and even large aeroplanes are usually busy and confusing places and it can be very easy to get lost or to lose touch with someone. Consider travelling at quieter times if possible, avoiding weekends at the height of summer.
Travelling By Air:
Airlines generally state that people who travel with a ‘permanent or stable condition’ do not require medical clearance. However, it is best to check at the time of booking what, if any, medical information is required. British Airways advises people with a condition that may affect their ability to fly to contact its Passenger Medical Clearance Unit, which offers a free advisory service to doctors, other healthcare professionals and passengers.
Airports and airlines should provide the following assistance to anyone with a sensory, physical or learning disability:
- assistance to reach check-in
- a briefing on emergency procedures and the layout of the cabin for those who are travelling
- help with getting on and off the plane
- help with stowing and retrieving baggage on the plane
- an on-board wheelchair (not always available)
- someone to meet you off the plane and help you find your way around the airport.
Travelling By Train:
Rail companies can arrange to meet a person at the departure station and escort them onto the appropriate train, if they are informed at least two days in advance. They will also take a person to their connecting train, if necessary. This support can be booked through the national Assisted Passenger Reservation Service. To arrange assistance, phone National Rail Enquiries on 0845 7484 950 and ask for the phone number of the rail company you are travelling with.
Eurostar provides a complementary assistance service for passengers with special needs, and assistance can be provided at any Eurostar terminal. This service can be arranged when you book, as long as it is at least 48 hours before the journey. For more information call Eurostar on 08432 186 196.
Travelling by coach or bus
Although passengers are responsible for seeing their luggage on and off the coach, the driver should assist with actually putting the baggage into the storage area under the coach. Keep all valuables, tickets and medication with you on board. Many individual coach companies run their own services for travellers with special needs – for example National Express has an Assisted Travel Team.
There are also a number of specialist companies that offer UK and European coach travel with fully accessible vehicles, for those who use a wheelchair. For more information, contact Tourism for All
Travelling by sea
Vessels that travel more than 12 miles from the UK coastline are not covered by the DDA, so may be less accessible than ferries travelling from the mainland to the Isle of Wight, for example. Check with the ferry or cruise ship operator to see if they require someone to have a companion or escort, or medical clearance for the journey. Tell them what assistance you will need at the time that you book the ticket. Some UK-based ferry companies offer discounted fares for disabled people. However, you may need to apply in advance to obtain a discount.
Travelling by car
If you are planning a long car journey, try not to travel for more than around two hours before having a break. Consider using a taxi service or asking a relative or friend to drive. Try to ensure that everyone is comfortable and that seatbelts are properly fitted.
Plan your journey carefully, factoring in regular breaks from driving, and listen to traffic updates before you set off.
Finally check out our range of portable and lightweight mobility travel products – perfect for taking away on holiday or for visiting friends and days out! Including portable travel mobility scooters and lightweight wheelchairs.
More Than Mobility Team