Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • #121750
    Accessible Holiday Tips

    Going on holiday should be a time to relax and have fun with family and friends. But what are the things you might need to consider to ensure everything runs smoothly?

    Please tell us about your holiday experiences, both good and bad. What advice would you give to someone with a muscle-wasting condition going on holiday for the first time?

    Read some of the top tips from our Advocacy Ambassadors, Johnathon Byrne and Fleur Perry and share your own:


    Packing:

    – Keep all useful holiday contact details in one place (emergency services, hotel, insurance, equipment hire, taxi firms etc.)
    – If you take medication regularly, talk to your pharmacist and make sure you take enough with you to last a few days extra just in case.
    – Read the small print carefully on travel insurance and shop around for the best price. Make sure you know exactly what is going to happen in an emergency.
    – Check all the equipment you’re taking works, and pre-book any equipment you will be renting.

    Travel:
    – Tell the airline in advance that you require seats with extra leg room. They should provide this free of charge.
    – Make sure you arrive at your departure gate early to book in with airport assistance. Always leave plenty of time.
    – Take any small, delicate or expensive pieces of equipment with you in the cabin (i.e. wheelchair controller) so they don’t get lost/broken in the hold.
    – If you are taking a wheelchair with you, take photos of your chair before it goes in the hold in case you need to claim for damages. Explain how to control it to the airport handlers so they don’t damage it.

    Hotel:
    – Check accommodation is accessible for your needs when booking. (i.e. wheelchair access, wet room, etc.)
    – Don’t rely on disability specific terminology when making bookings or discussing the accessibility of destinations, as these terms may have different meanings in different places. Ask for exactly the equipment or facilities that you require instead.

    Activities:
    – Make a short list of local accessible taxi firms for where you are staying and plan accessible routes.
    – When booking a car, make sure it is big enough for your requirements (or overestimate!) and make sure it is safe for you to get in and out.
    – Check that the restaurants, attractions etc. are accessible. There are online reviews you can read, and for something specific it can be best to contact them first.
    – Always check to see if venues and events offer free tickets for PAs (most places won’t offer this information unless you ask).

    Muscular Dystrophy UK staff member

    Alexa Follen
    Moderator
    Posts: 32
    Joined: 12/05/2015
    #121752
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    Check out some of our relevant publications, and places that might be worth having a look at:

    Commercial air travel handbook

    The Trailblazers’ report on air travel

    Accomable

    Tourism for all

    Also keep an eye out for a feature in the next edition of our Target MD magazine concerning accessible holidays

    Muscular Dystrophy UK staff member

    Alexa Follen
    Moderator
    Posts: 32
    Joined: 12/05/2015
    #121761
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    Wow!

    What a lot of information. Thank you!

    Not been on holiday for many, many years. So complicated,
    so many things to remember, so many things that can go wrong.

    Maybe with these lists I might just think again.

    "Even if you are not paranoid, it does not mean they are not out to get you!".

    taungfox
    Participant
    Posts: 4,630
    Joined: 27/09/2010
    #121784
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    I agree with Mr Fox, though will not be booking a holiday ever again, as far as I can see. Too much opportunity for disasters to happen and stress to ruin everything.

    sybyllascarlett
    Participant
    Posts: 383
    Joined: 07/02/2012
    #124249
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    Thanks for posting Emilie! :yes:

    alexa.follen53
    Participant
    Posts: 0
    Joined: 24/02/2016
    #124545
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    I am returning to Lanzarote shortly and have recently visited, Barcelona, Sorrento and Rome. I can only access a plane via the special assistance at airports and this has been pretty good so far. It is important to bear in mind that special assistance is provided by the airport not the airline and HAS to be booked in advance as they have to book the ambulift or whatever assistance you need and airports are busy places. Don’t think that it will all be fine just turning up and expecting them to accommodate you. My wheelchair has always been loaded at the last minute and is ready for me at the other end of the flight. I take my cushion on board the plane with me so we don’t lose it. I don’t use the loo on board the plane but short haul at the moment don’t have disabled loos, but transatlantic should have and on board wheels. You can take two wheelchairs free of charge and other equipment you need because of your disability, read each airline’s policy. You can take assistance dogs. I tend to hire an electric wheelchair at the resort I am staying in and this is at the hotel on arrival.

    If you need advice about hotels etc I would recommend using a disabled holiday specialist in the first instance, if you are not sure, but most holiday companies can accommodate but be aware that the disabled rooms are booked up well in advance and are in the minority with wet room facilities. You can be cheeky and look through the disabled holiday specialist resorts and then book yourself. This is often cheaper but you are not ATOL protected, your flights are via the airline.

    Insurance is the other factor. Be sure to check this prior to booking as in some cases the cost can be prohibitive.

    Because I am a total control freak and we fly from Gatwick I book the premier inn the night before an early morning flight. They also provide valet parking which is fantastic, the hotel is literally yards from check in. We can book our baggage in the night before with the airline we use and fly with minimum hand luggage (a change of clothes is recommended, especially if you are getting connecting flights (our baggage did not make it to our connection but did arrive at the hotel the next day, put your name and address/hotel in each suitcase in case your labels get lost. but we survived). Have a look around for accessible beaches too. I have been able to swim in the sea, something I thought would never happen again because of accessible beaches, with amazing lifeguards and volunteers. Getting there is the most stressful bit.

    Feel free to ask questions I will help if I can :wave:

    Ambassador LizWill
    Participant
    Posts: 1
    Joined: 30/01/2015
    #124594
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    Never ever use a bog standard holiday firm, I made that mistake by using Thomson for a trip to Singapore…pffft….was a cock up :nono:

    Vicki
    Participant
    Posts: 1,015
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #124631
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    i am going my first ever holiday via plane in june.

    I have hired bed. how much does hiring chair average out.

    I booked via a accessible holiday firm.. never heard term ambulift. should I ask this :scratch:

    """""""What doesn't kill you makes you stronger""""""

    Cat (Mod) Cat (Mod)
    Moderator
    Posts: 1,002
    Joined: 20/09/2010
    #124645
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    I am taking a powerchair. what is best to do with large charger. is it best to buy a bag and duct tape it to chair.

    """""""What doesn't kill you makes you stronger""""""

    Cat (Mod) Cat (Mod)
    Moderator
    Posts: 1,002
    Joined: 20/09/2010
    #124775
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    Hi the chair hire worked out at 19 Euro a day but it would vary from each hire company and each country etc. I think if you have it for a week and or 2 it gets cheaper but if you work it out on that basis it gives you a rough idea. The ambulift is a generic term for the vehicle that will take you from the gate to the plane if you do not board via a tunnel, This is just a vehicle that will lift you to the height of the door of the plane. They are all different at each airport and some airports use a stair climber. I have not used one of these but all adds to the excitement. :D If you google ambulift you can see a picture of the vehicles, I look at it as a personal vip taxi. If you cannot climb stairs you just need to state this otherwise they will make you climb them which is why being specific about your needs is important when booking the flight, if you need a wheelchair to get you to your seat you will have to transfer to a hannibal lecter type narrow chair. Also you will be asked again at check in what your requirements are and are advised to be early as they may want to board you first but you could be last too depends on lots of variables, including if the plane is being refuelled.

    Ambassador LizWill
    Participant
    Posts: 1
    Joined: 30/01/2015
    #124776
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    I haven’t taken a power chair with me so not sure. You may need to look at each airlines guidelines too about batteries as these can cause problems on check in.

    Ambassador LizWill
    Participant
    Posts: 1
    Joined: 30/01/2015
    #124847
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    Batteries are fine as long as they are dry cell which most chairs are these days, as for battery charger I got a good strong box, bubble wrap the charger first then place inside the box, once sealed I made sure it had all outgoing flight detail over it then did the same on return flight. Label your footplates too incase they get parted from your chair.

    Vicki
    Participant
    Posts: 1,015
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #124885
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    :Post:

    Yes I agree with Vicki – label everything! Think I went a bit over the top but everything detachable got a label which included my mobile number – this proved most useful when a suitcase of ours got taken by another family in error.

    A learning experience is one of those things that say, “You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.” - Douglas Adams

    sar78 sar78
    Moderator
    Posts: 2,246
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #127458
    Reply To: Accessible Holiday Tips

    Thanks for all the information Emilie I doubt I’ll be flying anywhere exotic for a long time but maybe somewhere in the lakes will be nice.

    weeble
    Participant
    Posts: 44
    Joined: 23/09/2010
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