Q. I need to go on holiday, but I’m not sure where to start?
- A. Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation which is completely new to us, through age or disability or through the recent loss of a loved one, and for some individuals this can affect their choices of where to stay or travel to.
For example if you use a wheelchair you might prefer a destination which has mostly level access, a good accessible transport service, and an accessible room when you get there. Our TFA Directory has details of properties that might meet your needs. You might also want to explore some of the other website listings that we have gathered together in Holiday Advisory Services.
If you are thinking of going abroad there are a number of companies that can take the stress away from trying to arrange this yourself, and they check to make sure that the facilities are accessible for all. You may still need to make sure that they meet your individual needs. There is a list of these in our TFA Directory under Travel Agents and Operators.
Activity holidays are popular and the choices are many and varied, from abseiling to painting, or horse riding to sailing, there are many exciting opportunities to join in the fun and meet others with similar interests. We have details in our TFA Directory under Activity Holidays.
Please keep coming back here as we will be adding and updating information as it becomes available so that we can share it with you.
Q. Where can I obtain details about the National Accessible Scheme (NAS)?
- A. The symbols and explanations of the logos can be seen if you click here.
Full details of the individual criteria are available on-line from VisitEngland. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland it would be best to contact your national tourism organisation initially.
Q. As someone with a pre-existing medical condition where can I find insurance?
- A. Most standard holiday company insurance policies will not cover pre-existing medical conditions. However there are specialist insurance companies that will do so.
Prior to applying for travel insurance you should contact your doctor for written permission as most insurance companies will not provide coverage if you are travelling against your doctor’s orders. The insurance company will usually ask you to go through a medical screening process.
Always disclose any pre existing medical conditions. Failure to do so could invalidate any subsequent claim.
From the 1st January 2006 the EHIC can be used to cover any necessary medical treatment due to either an accident or illness. If you are a UK resident, you are entitled to medical treatment that becomes necessary, at reduced cost or sometimes free, when temporarily visiting a European Union (EU) country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Only treatment provided under the state scheme is covered.
However, to obtain treatment you will need to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. For more information visit: EHIC.
Travel Insurance Guide
A new guide providing free and unbiased information has been designed to help people save money and make the process of choosing travel insurance as easy as possible.
This impartial guide compares all insurance providers in the UK in one place and advice on types of insurance (including policies for travellers with special needs, such as over 50's, extreme sports etc.) as well as factors that should be considered when looking for an insurance policy.
The guide producers are working with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as part of their 'Know Before You Go' Campaign to provide travellers with credible information and help them be better prepared for overseas trips.
For more information on specialist travel insurers please go to our Travel Insurance page.
Q. Is it possible to hire a wheelchair when I get to my holiday destination, as I don’t want to have to take mine with me?
- A. Mobility Equipment Hire Direct is a specialist mobility equipment hire service covering all major world destinations offering mobility scooters wheelchairs and a whole host of mobility and healthcare products essential for making your holiday abroad complete. Site provides details of their delivery services and product information, contacts and prices.
Q. Will customs officials be concerned if I am carrying too much medication with me?
- A. Essential medicines that you will need during your trip must be checked through security. They have to be in a clear, plastic, re-sealable bag and in containers of less than 100ml, although please bear in mind that this advice may be subject to change or alteration.
For essential medicines of more than 100ml, you will require supporting documentation from a relevant qualified medical professional and prior approval from the airline. This applies to everything from cough medicine through to insulin. You can also be asked to verify medicines at security, which may involve tasting, or testing on the skin.
Remember, spare containers can always be packed in your hold baggage and you should always make sure you have enough medicine for the whole holiday – especially in case of airport delays or travel disruption. For more information please see the Air Travel FAQ’s at the Department for Transport website.
Q. I don’t want to be stuck in the back of beyond. I enjoy mingling with all kinds of people from all over the world.
- A. Make sure that your chosen accommodation is within easy reach of any amenities, visitor attractions, bars and restaurants. For more information about organising your holiday and where you want to be, see the Travel Agents and Tour Operators section of our Directory.
Q. I’m going to be driving in France. Does my blue badge still cover me in Europe?
- A. Following the introduction of a common European disabled persons' parking card (the Blue Badge), the UK now has reciprocal arrangements with all European Union Member States under which badge holders can enjoy the parking concessions provided in the host country by displaying the badge issued under their own national scheme.
However, the concessions badge holders are entitled to vary from country to country. For more information see the Department for Transport website.
- For USA, Orlando Tourist Information Bureau have compiled a list of all USA motor vehicles websites regarding parking badges for International drivers: http://orlandotouristinformationbureau.com/other/international-parking-badges.htm
Q. I have some learning disability or mental health needs and would like to go away, are there places that can help me?
- A. Please see the Learning Disability Holidays section of our directory, which has holiday ideas for people with learning disabilities or for those who may need support for their mental health condition.
Q. I’m a wheelchair user and I am going to be flying shortly. What precautions should I take?
- A. It is especially important to give the airlines plenty of notice and tell them as much as possible about your limitations and capabilities.
Outline clearly what they can do to help and let them know the following information:
- What you need to move about (e.g. a wheelchair, or, if you can take a few steps, crutches) and if you are able to walk a few steps for example.
- Whether you will require assistance when entering or leaving the aircraft or to reach your seat or get to the on-board toilet.
- If you have any specific dietary requirements.
- Whether you need any assistance with your meals.
- Whether you need help with luggage at the check-in desk.
- Whether a companion or personal assistant will be accompanying you.
- Reconfirm your reservation and special arrangements a week before your trip and double-check your arrangements a few days before departure.
- In addition, if possible, get written confirmation (through a letter, email or fax) of everything the airline assures you it will provide.
- It is highly recommended that you consider taking out extra insurance on your wheelchair if you are transporting it in the hold. Be sure to inspect it for any damage as soon as you reach your destination.
- Are the airports and airplane wheelchair accessible?
- Are there any special arrangements for storing and transporting your wheelchair on the plane if it cannot be brought on board?
- Is there a charge for any equipment you borrow (e.g. a wheelchair to get you around the airport)?
- If you have an electric wheelchair, are only dry cell batteries permitted on board?
- Are there tunnels or steps for boarding and deplaning? (If not, find out what the procedure will be for getting you on and off the plane)
- Is the toilet on board accessible by the on-board airline wheelchair provided? (It may be a good idea to request a seat near the toilet facilities)
- Is it possible to lift the seat armrests for easier transfer between the on-board airline wheelchair and passenger seat?
- Will there be assistance available at the baggage collection point?
Q. I have a special dietary need. Will the hotel be able to cater for me?
- A. The staff of any accommodation you travel to should be aware of all your specific individual requirements. Obtain written confirmation from the hotel that it is able to meet special needs.
Q. I’m worried as to the accessibility of, not so much the accommodation we are staying in, but the surrounding area as I do not want to have a go up a steep cliff to get to the hotel.
- A. Enquire about the accessibility of the area you intend to visit with your travel agent and either the Tourist Information Centre of the town or the National Tourist Board of the particular country you are travelling to.
Q. How do I find hotels in the UK and how do I know that they are accessible?
- A. We have a National Accessible Scheme (NAS) that operates in England that shows which hotels and accommodation has been independently assessed to make sure they meet your needs.
For more detailed information about accessible facilities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland you should initially contact the Tourism Trade Organisations for those countries, although we do have some information in the Accommodation section of the Tourism for All Directory that may help you.
Q. I need some alternative communication equipment to enable me to keep in touch with my family and friends when I'm away, where can I find some useful information about this?
- A. BT has a long history of providing standard and more specialised products and services that support customers who find communication slightly more difficult. They understand that everyone has different communication needs and, without making assumptions about capabilities and motivation to use new technology, they try to give as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision. More detailed information can be viewed at www.bt.com/includingyou. The revised website is fully accessible and is compatible with Browsealoud (speech enabling electronic text) and has British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation integrated into the pages.
Q. How can I access disabled toilets in Europe?
- A: The European Disabled Toilet Key is suitable for the German toilets on the autobahn (motorway) and for public toilets in many cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and in a few more European countries. The providing association intends to hand those keys only to disabled people, who are dependent on disabled friendly toilet facilities. To avoid an improper use, they ask you to send a copy of your disability passport with your EURO-key-order or a letter from your doctor confirming your disability. Orders for more than 3 keys are only accepted, if those are coming from a proven charity, charitable association, self-help group or organisation. You can order your key via mail or directly on their website. http://www.cbf-da.de/
Tel: 0049 6151 81 22 0 Email: email@example.com
(Last Updated: 18-10-2013)