Travel For All is the world’s leading online destination for travellers with disabilities. Their tours are designed for people who never let anything stop them from experiencing life to the fullest.
Surveys have shown that travellers with accessibility requirements require highly detailed and comprehensive verified information about accessibility rather than vague statements such as “fully accessible.” TFA provides this through self and independent verification.
Travel For All can assist with a wide range of accessible accommodation options. These include hotels, resorts and self-contained apartments. It’s important to make an enquiry about each option before booking. The key is to ask about the accessibility features. You can usually find this information on the hotel’s website or by ringing the property directly. When ringing, it’s best to call the hotel’s direct line rather than their central reservations number. Hotel staff who work at the property will know much more about what their accommodation offers compared to a reservation staff member working for a large chain.
It’s also essential to check out whether an accommodation has facilities that are suitable for people living with disabilities. For example, a simple thing like making sure plugs aren’t low to the ground can make the world of difference for someone living with a visual impairment. Other things to look for include visual descriptions on TV, easy-to-access braille signage and a voice-operated remote with closed captions.
Some accommodation providers specialise in accessible accommodation, including hotel chains such as Quest Apartment Hotels. They have a variety of accessible rooms across Australia that are well suited for people living with disabilities and offer great value for money. One of their more popular options is Emu Point in Albany which offers a calm beach, accessible parking bays, an accessible barbeque and even a cerebral palsy swing!
A resort is another great option for accessibly holidays. They’re full-service lodging facilities that have all the conveniences of home – from restaurants and day spas to swimming pools and wheelchair accessible rooms. They’re also often located in central locations such as on beaches and rainforests, so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery while staying comfortable and convenient.
When you’re traveling with a disability, an organized tour can take the stress out of planning. Especially if the company has experience arranging accessible travel. Wheelchair travel companies like Alvaro Silberstein’s Wheel the World organize guided trips for adults and seniors with disabilities and wheelchair users around the world. They focus on accessibility, with specialists paying close attention to details like how high the beds are and how much turn space is in bathroom stalls. They also make sure that prices are competitive and that their clients don’t pay extra for accessibility.
For example, Israeli-based Israel4All offers a variety of pre-arranged trips that allow tourists to responsibly explore the country. Its guides work with both local and international companies to create accessible tours that are suitable for people with a wide range of disabilities, from blindness to slow walking. Other accessible tour companies include Ability Adventures, which specializes in New Zealand, and Iceland Unlimited. These companies arrange a variety of experiences, including hiking through national parks, seeing heritage sites, and cruises along fjords.
And for those interested in exploring the art scene, Neha Arora’s Planet Abled can plan a trip for you to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery or Shea’s Performing Arts Center. The company’s staff can provide a sign language interpreter or a travel buddy, and they can arrange special access at museums and other attractions. They are also familiar with the accessibility of restaurants, shops, and other activities in their destinations. The tour companies will also work to find accommodations that can meet your specific needs, such as hotels with elevators or a room with a roll-in shower.
People with disability (PWD) need very detailed and comprehensive accessibility information about every business they plan to visit – whether accommodation, tours or restaurants. This is not the kind of information that can be conveyed via meaningless statements such as “fully accessible.”
Surveys show that PWD spend huge amounts of time and money researching travel options, using unreliable’street view’ data and often gambling on unhelpful and misleading business descriptions. Tourism businesses are missing out on the opportunity to market to this large, loyal and underserved market sector.
The ADA requires public transit systems to offer complementary paratransit services for people who can’t use regular buses. Unfortunately, these services are very expensive and do not serve the mobility needs of most people with disabilities.
Local community-based transportation systems also provide a vital lifeline for some travelers with disabilities. Unfortunately, these systems vary significantly in terms of the number of trips they offer and the accessibility of their vehicles. The Beverly Foundation report suggests that these systems should be forced or given incentives to meet ADA accessibility mandates and offer the level of service that would be possible if they were required to do so.
Private transportation providers (including taxis) have ADA compliance issues as well and offer limited availability for travelers who require accessible vehicles. Many of these private transport providers have a very small customer base and operate in niche markets, making it difficult for them to invest in the necessary equipment or train their staff in the skills needed to provide a high quality level of service to travelers with disabilities.
For those who love to eat out but struggle with restaurant accessibility, there are some amazing options out there. Restaurants, cafes, and eateries are places of public accommodation that must comply with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and there is a wealth of expert-approved resources for restaurateurs to help them go above and beyond. This includes everything from logistical considerations, like planning for wheelchair-accessible pathways through dining rooms, to more etiquette-centered tips, such as reminding staff to not touch guests’ mobility devices without permission.
Restaurant accessibility isn’t just about physical spaces, either; it also involves the online experience. For example, it’s important for websites to be barrier-free. This means that all pages must have text alternatives, and forms should be accessible to assistive technology users. Menus are another area where restaurants can improve their accessibility. They can do this by allowing customers to order through a video relay system or providing Braille versions of their menus. They can also offer digital menus that are parseable by screen readers, or allow servers to read their menus aloud.
For many people with disabilities, restaurant accessibility is just as important as it is for anyone else. But some venues still need to step up their game. Wong, who uses a wheelchair, regularly calls restaurants to ask about their accessibility before visiting them. Unfortunately, she often finds that their responses are misleading and don’t tell her about any steps at the door or a separate loading entrance for freight that would make it difficult to navigate in a wheelchair. She’s even found that some restaurants that claim to be wheelchair friendly have tables that are too high for her to roll under.
Dale and Jo have extensive worldwide travel experience with a range of accessibility needs (vision impaired, guide dog user) plus over 11 years successful business start up/management experience enabling a strong commitment to TFA’s success. Dale also has disability awareness training developed by UTAS and owns/operates tourism accommodation businesses providing industry insights and connections.
Surveys of travellers with disabilities and their families show that their number one requirement is detailed, comprehensive, verified information that allows them to confidently plan, book and experience travel. TFA is being developed to meet this need by becoming a Trip Advisor for Accessible and Inclusive Travel – a marketplace listing accessible travel/tourism businesses with extremely comprehensive accessibility information through self and verified assessment; authenticated reviews and operator/staff training. This will make TFA a mainstream platform and not just another wheelchair or niche market site. This will enable businesses to reach a large, loyal and underserved market sector. It will also help travellers find the right product/service to suit their needs and avoid disappointment. It will be free to use for everyone.