Holidays should be a time to relax and get away from from all stresses and strains of everyday life.
All holidays have to planned to some extent, but for a disabled person to derive maximum enjoyment from their holiday a number of additional things have to be taken into consideration.
The first thing to think about is how will you reach your holiday destination. If you are making the journey by train it is important that you confirm that assistance will be given at both your boarding and destination station and that, if necessary, the guard knows which station you will be leaving the train. Modern rolling stock is disabled friendly, with contrasting colours and spaces designed to accommodate wheelchairs, along with toilet cubicles which are big enough to accommodate wheelchairs.
If using any other form of transport it is also essential that you inform the transport company of your needs, so that their staff will be prepared for your arrival and can offer any assistance that is necessary. Coaches, airlines and shipping companies all have staff that can help you enjoy your journey as much as possible.
Before booking any accommodation think about how practical it will be in relation to your disability. For example, does the hotel or bed and breakfast have a step free access or a suitable ramp, if you are a wheelchair user?, does your room have a large enough bathroom and is it fitted with grab handles to assist you when using the bath, shower or toilet?, is there a lift that can accommodate wheelchairs should you not be on the ground floor? and if you are arriving by car, is there a parking space for disabled guests nearby? Also, if you have been issued with one, take your Blue Badge with you, as this will be useful in helping you park. Make sure you check the restrictions on its use first though.
Problems can occasionally arise when the hotel or bed and breakfast owner has a different perception of what a disabled friendly establishment is compared to the view of someone who is actually disabled. It is always wise to clarify this before making a booking. If at all possible, it is often best to try and secure a booking for a ground floor room.
Another consideration is to find out how far the accommodation is from the areas you will want to visit. The phrase 10 minutes from shopping area can be meaningless to a disabled person who has difficulty walking. For all you know it could mean 10 minutes, at a very brisk walk, from the shopping area. For this reason it is always best to ask for the approximate distance, as this will give you a much better idea of how close your accommodation is to the areas of interest.
One of the best ways to discover how good an establishment is is by word of mouth. When you have decided what area you wish to visit, ask around friends and relatives to try and find out if they have stayed in nearby accommodation.
If possible, make sure you receive confirmation of your booking, along with any assurances regarding facilities for the disabled guest, in writing. This will help avoid any misunderstandings over what is required and what is on offer.