There’s a growing body of info out there for travelers with visible and sensory disabilities. If you’ve found me, and you use a wheelchair or have low vision or low hearing, here are a couple of my favorite travel sites for “traditional” disabled travelers:
For those of us with hidden/invisible disabilities, the traditional disability travel info helps…some. But we’ve got our own needs, and some of them don’t map directly to those of wheelchair users.
Finding places to sit comfortably is one of my biggest challenges when I travel. Unlike wheelchair-using travelers, I don’t bring my own seat with me.
Most typical disability travel web sites and books don’t address the seating that’s available at attractions, whether hotel lobbies let registrants sit while filling out forms, or how comfortable or otherwise the chairs and banquette in restaurants feel to an aching back.
This means I’ve got to do my own research into the availability of chairs and benches and stools at my various destinations.
Disability travel info does have lots of info about restrooms–this generally focuses on stall size, door width, toilet height, and grab bars.
What I need runs more to where it is, is it locked (and if so how do I get the key), and how clean is it? In other countries, I need to know whether there are pay toilets (and how much they cost), and what the format of the facilities is. One need I share with wheelchair users is a seat I can actually sit on–squatting over a hole often doesn’t work for me.
Food allergies and sensitivities often aren’t addressed by typical disabled travel literature. Nor is the ready availability of food for folks who may need to eat right now, who include people with diabetes, hypoglycemia, and other conditions.
Tourist maps always seem to imply that it’s super-easy to walk from one attraction to another. Like Paris tourist maps make it look like the Louvre and the d’Orsay are just a short hop across the river from each other. (Note for non-Paris-knowers–this is a big fat LIE!) Because I can’t walk 10 miles per day, or even 3-4 miles without sitting down and resting awhile, I need real scale when I’m looking at a map of my destination.
Come to think of it, chair users who don’t have power chairs could make a lot of use of this info too!
Indoor/In-Park Walking Distances
If you’ve ever been to a theme park or a big museum, you know what I’m talking about. Whether it’s Disneyland or the Louvre, travelers with pain need to know how much walking they’re going to need to do once they’re inside an attraction. At Disneyland, it’s easy to walk miles in a single visit. Same goes for the giant museums of the world. And airports. And cruise ships. My most recent on-the-road collapse was the result of spending five days walking back and forth across one of the mega-huge RC cruise ships.
I’m sure I’ll think of more items to add to this list. What info do you wish travel guides would give you? Where do you get this kind of info?