Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • #74604
    Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    Hi All

    I’m preparing the January 2013 edition of Target MD, which is going to focus on travel and leisure. I’d be grateful for your thoughts on the following:

      have you had a brilliant/awful travel experience?
      what is your experience of getting travel insurance?
      do you have any tips or advice to share about travel within the UK or abroad?
      favourite countries/places to visit?
      most accessible/least accessible countries/places to visit?
      what are your favourite leisure activities?
      how accessible are your local cinemas/theatres/bowling alleys/restaurants/pubs/etc?

    If you have any other discussion points to add here, please feel free to do so.

    I’d value your ideas and thoughts in brief here, and we can then discuss them further via email.

    Thanks!
    Ruth

    writerRuth
    Participant
    Posts: 141
    Joined: 22/06/2011
    #86813
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    Most awesome holiday experience ….. sailing with the Jubilee Sailing Trust – only planned on doing it once, but did it four times, kept a detailed [dis]abled seapersons twig, which are on my website as blogs, complete with pictures :P

    Awful experience – heathrow Airport, nuff said. :evil:

    Favourite City – Vienna, beautiful to just meander around, the greater majority of places were eager to help make sure my manual wheelchair had room, but cab travel no wheelchair taxi’s discovered [yet]

    Local accessibility – up in the City, Theatre is brilliant [and very generous with their concesions too], number of restaurants are not but they are in 17th/18th century buildings I do not expect them to have. Bella Italia is accesible, thats good enough – I always book so they know a wheelchair is coming. Local locsl, its a bit hit and miss don’t go out that much [can’t afford it] but we do have a number of good taxi firms with wheelchair cabs available :D

    Where ever you are travelling .. plan … plan … plan … and plan some more. Research addresses, print off maps, wing off emails to places , get yourself ‘informed’. If it is a major city contact the tourist office and email them with your needs — start this early, like a month before travel don’t leave it til the last night. :ugeek:

    `okay … thats my instant answer, might come up with more later.

    I'm always the animal, my body's the cage

    I blog about nothingness www.amgroves.com

    AM
    Participant
    Posts: 4,751
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #86814
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    our local pubs are a joke for access. i live in a town called pudsey, which is mainly full of older people. now most of the pubs are the old style with the sandstone steps but they dont have simple things like a grab handle . yet the more modern pubs which do have wheelchair access, have the toilets up stairs. so its like they are saying “you can come in but you cant use the toilets” :x . 2yrs ago weatherspoons came to pudsey and theyve been an absolute godsend by putting a wheelchair ramp and a disabled toilet downstairs :D . now surly pubs could follow weatherspoons example and make pubs more accessible to the disabled.
    its only a thought but by making all pubs and shops dissabled friendly, this would increase their profits. wouldnt it?

    stefan

    littlestef
    Participant
    Posts: 526
    Joined: 04/10/2011
    #86815
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    None of the pubs within tottering distance of me are accessible. There are a couple of country pubs with good ro serviceable access, but only one has an accessible loo.

    I'm always the animal, my body's the cage

    I blog about nothingness www.amgroves.com

    AM
    Participant
    Posts: 4,751
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #86816
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    Ah, very interesting – I see a theme emerging …

    Keep the thoughts coming, and I’ll be in touch soon! Thank you thank you.
    Ruth

    writerRuth
    Participant
    Posts: 141
    Joined: 22/06/2011
    #86817
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    Hi Ruth

    Think the idea for this type of article is great.

    Travel Insurance is a nightmare. I have a yet undetermined type of MD. I am either treated as worse case scenario or declined insurance as I cant tell them what my condition is. When treated as worse case I either get declined or get quotes of £1200 plus which is often more than the trip itself. I am a keen traveller so I want to visit a number of countries well I am well enough and mobile to do so.

    Travelling in the UK I find ok as I contact the location in advance and advise of any specific requirements I have and if they are not met I know not to go back there again.

    I dont go to the cinema much so cant comment on that but I pubs and restaurants are not great. Many have toilets upstairs or downstairs, although im not in a chair I find stairs difficult due to pain and weakness…If a disabled toilet is available I ask to use it, its usually locked and I am told to go upstairs as they think I can. I end up trying to go upstairs or getting into an argument if I have to show my blue badge.

    I hate Heathrow with a passion! My local airport i better but again its if I contact them before hand or my travel agent does.

    Trailfinders travel agent are great and will sort everything for you.

    Will let someone else have their say now.

    Good luck with the article

    Gill

    miracle77
    Participant
    Posts: 267
    Joined: 17/08/2011
    #86818
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    Went to Luxembourg a few years ago – horrific access and no drop curbs…such a shame because it’s a lovely place.

    Edinburgh sits on two extremes, either really accessible or really inaccessible. Old town is least likely to be accessible but there are exceptions. What I will say is public transport is amazing – we have First buses etc which still live in the dark ages (at least here) but the main bus company is Lothian Buses. Virtually all of their buses have ramps and wheelchair spaces and they have been doing this for years, so it’s not a case of waiting for a new bus to turn up because the old ones dont have access (like First). The staff are good too if there are any malfunctions with the ramp, they’ll actually help.

    I’ve found with trains can be hit and miss, obviously phoning their assistance line to arrange the ramp at both ends is a must. Scot Rail’s wheelchair space in standard class is ridiculous, you need half a chair because there’s a folded chair taking up the space and it’s next to the loo, for the lovely aroma(!)

    Hope that helps :)

    What about second breakfast?

    IG: https://www.instagram.com/kissofdarkness1/

    kissofdarkness
    Participant
    Posts: 266
    Joined: 01/10/2010
    #86823
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    Thanks, Gill and kissofdarkness, for your thoughts and ideas and comments about your own experiences – it’s all very helpful indeed.

    Keep them coming – I’m taking notes and will be back in touch soon!

    Enjoy your day
    Ruth

    writerRuth
    Participant
    Posts: 141
    Joined: 22/06/2011
    #86819
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    I haven’t done any major travelling for a long time but am glad to say that my local cinema [Brighton marina] is fully wheelchair accessible. All screens have wheelchair spaces at the rear with a seat alongside for friend/carer. This summer we had many trips out to other seaside places in Sussex so I took maps or lists of where the disabled loos were. I can’t think of anywhere we couldn’t get into due to access problems. But we did get turned away from the restaurant on Brighton pier because we only wanted a coffee and not a meal [and it wasn’t even half full, being about 5.45pm!]

    Sybylla

    sybyllascarlett
    Participant
    Posts: 383
    Joined: 07/02/2012
    #86820
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    There are many of the older shops in my town which are not accessible because of steps outside, so no entry for me chariot. And I do mean a lot & Aylesbury (Stoke Mandeville) want to claim to be the birth place of the Paralympics ! The KFC in town is a no-no, as is the carphone warehouse but, both these lovely chains have also opened up second shops, almost next door to each other, in a new retail development, both have big shiny new push buttons outside the entrance doors to automatically let me in & neither have ever worked :( . A lack of zinger tower burgers does not make a happy Woogy.

    I have yet to negotiate the underground or even try to get to my beloved WHL to see Spurs because it isn’t clear which stations are accessible to me. The Aylesbury train arrives at Marylebone & I cant get down to the tube from the british rail platform. So, since using me chariot I’ve only been to WHL once via a hired minibus with a tailgate lift & it cost £150, cost which was divided by me mate & his family that were with me but, they can’t do that all the time.

    There’s also the fear factor of trying to tackle London alone. Standing I’m 6’2″ & had few problems, sitting in my chariot I feel vulnerable & nervous, even in Aylesbury where I live. I never wear my neck chain out socially unless I’m with friends & never ever answer my mobile unless I’m in a shop or at home, not in between in case it’s snatched from me.

    Coming home from town on the night Spurs beat Man Utd I didn’t have my hood up, forgot to ask my mate I just left & couldn’t manage alone. My shaved head was getting cold quick. I asked two different passing men if they wouldn’t mind pulling my hood up & without thinking they said no. It was only a passing merry couple that saved me getting a chill, when the lady happily pulled me hood up & gave me a reassuring pat on the head as they bid me a good night, and I did them. I also fell over, when I was able to walk with my stick, at Silverstone & nobody helped me up, 130,000 people walking by until two drunks, one himself in a chair, offered to help.

    Combine that & the fear thing makes me very reluctant to leave town on public transport or travel. I’ve also struggled for help in supermarkets trying to reach food on shelves & in freezers, many a time other shoppers have ignored me struggling as many that have offered to help. The good stuff is always up high ;) . So, mostly my shopping is home delivered.

    And lastly, I have an Estonian friend who lives on an island in the Baltic Sea. I’ve visited her twice when walking with me stick but, can’t any longer because there are no flights direct to her island & the planes that do fly there from Tallinn can’t take wheelchairs. And there aren’t taxis or public transport that can accommodate my chariot. So, I can’t visit her anymore & she’s not going to be able to travel to me for ever. She was born with CP, struggles herself & has had her own bad experiences, the last being the worst when they either left her or just forgot her & she was stuck on an empty plane waiting for the wheelchair assistance that didn’t turn up !

    There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self

    I, Disabled Bloke
    Participant
    Posts: 540
    Joined: 29/10/2010
    #86821
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    has anybody got any ideas on who we can hassel to get simple things like grab handles and downstairs toilets put in pubs and shops. now obviously you cant have a toilet in a shop but a simple thing like a grab handle would work wonders. :?:

    stefan

    littlestef
    Participant
    Posts: 526
    Joined: 04/10/2011
    #86824
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    I used to love traveling and am very grateful that I have visited many places. it is a huge sadness to me that I can’t travel anymore. Obviously if I can’t go my husband can’t go either so 2 of us are effected. There is so much stress involved in flying anywhere it is easier to stay at home. The place I absolutely love is Canada and, although I was not disabled when I last went there, they are more disabled friendly than Europe.It is such a long flight though, it would be to tiring and painful. I have thought of a cruise but my husband wouldn’t go on one so that’s out. That would be quite stressful too and I really don’t do stress very well.
    Many places in the UK are not accessible. I would love to go to Totnes in Devon but it is very hilly so not much fun for my husband pushing me. The pubs round my way are pretty good but obviously it is difficult to be spontaneous as you always have to think of access and toilets.
    What we need is a holiday camp just for disabled people!

    Val

    Valerie
    Participant
    Posts: 166
    Joined: 15/09/2010
    #86826
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    i went to chester zoo yesterday. i can honestly say i cant fault the place. all the paths are quite flat and wheelchair friendly. the cafe and toilets too. and all the animal keeps are glass fronted so you can see everything very easily. :D

    stefan

    littlestef
    Participant
    Posts: 526
    Joined: 04/10/2011
    #86827
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    @valerie wrote:

    What we need is a holiday camp just for disabled people!
    Val

    Following on from Valerie’s comment, I remembered a holiday company for disabled people called Chalfont Line. A quick search on Google showed that it is still going so here’s the link for anyone who would like to browse:

    http://www.chalfont-line.co.uk/index.html

    I really have no idea how their prices compare to other holiday companies, but the link might be useful to someone!

    Sybylla

    sybyllascarlett
    Participant
    Posts: 383
    Joined: 07/02/2012
    #86825
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    @sybyllascarlett wrote:

    @valerie wrote:

    What we need is a holiday camp just for disabled people!
    Val

    Following on from Valerie’s comment, I remembered a holiday company for disabled people called Chalfont Line. A quick search on Google showed that it is still going so here’s the link for anyone who would like to browse:

    http://www.chalfont-line.co.uk/index.html

    I really have no idea how their prices compare to other holiday companies, but the link might be useful to someone!

    Sybylla

    Interesting link and range of holidays, but they’re expensive compared to ‘able’ holidays.

    I'm always the animal, my body's the cage

    I blog about nothingness www.amgroves.com

    AM
    Participant
    Posts: 4,751
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #86822
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    @littlestef wrote:

    i went to chester zoo yesterday.

    I LOVE Zoos and aquariums (and safari parks) – Chester is one of my favourite but I when I went the accessible toilets in a few locations were really bad – grab rails and toilet seats coming off the hinges etc. BUT they now do have a Changing Places toilet I am told so that in itself is worthy of a visit… I think it was only the second zoo in the UK to get one. Really want to go again. :D

    I could talk all day (and have blogged) on zoo access and aquariums before. However, my favourite trips have been weekends away in the UK – gardens, lots of museums and industrial heritage places :-). We have found Holiday Inn met our access requirements really well.

    My top tips/tactics to getting the most out of a day are along similar themes to others!

    1) I use Trip Adviser (for looking up and submitting info on access for places to stay and visit)
    2) Google and web search every place to death and prior to going ask for pictures of the toilets!!
    3) Never trust staff who say ‘x is accessible’ as it often turns out the place is up a flight of steps.
    4) Give feedback to venues when I return via Trip Adviser / Twitter / chat to staff – encourage good stuff!
    5) Take everything including the kitchen sink if it will fit in your mode of transport!
    6) Go with the right people lol
    7) Marvel at the greatness of my i-Phone for looking up places on the go, getting access info and contacting places and using the travel Apps for places :-).

    My favourite places (usually because of good access/toilet/staff, transport etc)…

    1) Accessible canal boat – we did a week on a narrow boat with family – I could steer from my chair – wonderful.
    2) Longleet – you can do the safari and get up close from the comfort of your car!
    3) Looking at thousands of ducks and walking around the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust place in Lancashire – amazing (beavers and otters too).
    4) Steam trains – far more accessible than normal trains and usually lovely scenery.
    5) Holland – very accessible ferry (during the day), self catering apartment with level shower and some nice places to go that had great access – wonderful flower gardens and towns just a short drive away from where we stayed so good if you don’t have much stamina or start your day late.
    6) My favourite cities (considering I hate built up places) Cardiff and Liverpool.

    Things that I never go on holiday without – impairment related:

    1) Plank of wood and raised blocks (to make foot stools for support on high toilets and places where foot plates can’t be used, raising tables)
    2) Assorted blankets and pillows to stuff around me and keep me upright in strange environment I’m not used to.
    3) Mattress topper – pressure relief needs to continue away from home.
    4) Grip / none slip mat – for public loos and apartments with slippery bathroom floors.
    5) Large foam blocks – wedge them at side of loo for support to rest/lean arms on. Also props me up in bed!
    6) Manual chair – used in the shower and for emergencies if power chair fails.
    7) Of course meds and BIPAP stuff!
    8) Straws – Lots of them or it could be a thirsty trip!
    9) A hubby who is fully charged and ready to get a full body work out trying to lift and move in strange places for a week/end. (Poor thing – it’s never so much a holiday because a new environment is always exhausting for both of us to manage in as everything at home is millimetre perfect to get just the right heights of things which you just don’t have on holiday and means a lot more ‘care’ work.)

    Bad points: :twisted:

    I’d just like to say also the fact the ‘accessible’ places to stay or often double or triples the price. E.g. as a couple we would normally pay say £400 for a self catering cottage/farm stay in the UK – but the accessible ones usually sleep 6-8 people which can cost nearly £1000 in the same place. There is a HUGE cost to disabled people if you want to travel alone or in a small group. Also, I can’t fly and where as a friend can get a £30 cheap flight to Scotland or Ireland – I would be stuck to expensive boats costing hundreds (or a car journey involving a stay over to take all the equipment).

    Traveling is very costly but if I win the lottery I would travel a lot more and have the car load of equipment taken over by a PA first! It’s not that it ‘can’t be done – it’s just too expensive. :? :?

    criptic
    Participant
    Posts: 307
    Joined: 15/03/2011
    #86828
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    Planning stays away has become more and more difficult as I’ve become more reliant on equipment. Although most hotels, including the budget chains, have rooms that they classify as having disabled access, it’s hard to tell what exactly this means unless you’ve actually seen the place – a “disabled access” hotel room can mean nothing more than that there’s a rail somewhere in the bathroom. If you can talk to the people who run the hotel it’s sometimes possible to find out more, but as many of the hotel chains now use a central booking line, it’s often impossible to get the relevant information.

    There are very few hotels or other sorts of accommodation in the UK that have rooms with ceiling hoists, which is a real problem for those who need them. The Ceiling Hoist Users Club website (when it works) attempts to list them: http://www.chuc.org.uk/. We have now acquired a portable hoist, but it’s not always suitable, is large to transport, and requires a pretty fit assistant to operate it (as it were).

    Days out also need a fair amount of planning. Zoos can be excellent, but some of the smaller ones, though lovely, have very uneven surfaces to negotiate. Museums and galleries are improving: one of the best days out we’ve had recently has been at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, which has good access and you can pre-book a blue badge parking space: http://www.rmg.co.uk/

    Stately homes tend to be very variable. For every one that’s improved accessibility, there’s another that’s decided that they can’t do anything, with the excuse that they are a historic building. We’ve had good and bad experiences with this.

    Pubs and restaurants likewise are very variable. Some have made a real effort to make themselves accessible, others simply don’t seem to care. And even if there’s reasonable access, the availability and quality of disabled toilets is often poor. I’ve built up a reasonable relationship with a local Bella Italia, where a small group of friends with various disabilities and I usually go for lunch together once a month or so, and the staff look after us well.

    Local cinemas and theatres round here are not bad, and some have good concessions available. However, a flaw especially with cinemas seems to be heavy doors into the various screens, which often means you need assistance.

    Music venues again are variable. Some have made good progress in accessibility, others simply haven’t. It’s worth asking about concessions when you book, and some larger venues do have dedicated disabled access booking lines.

    Sports venues: again, there seems to be good and bad. For anyone who likes rugby, Twickenham Stadium is one of the better that I’ve come across for access and disabled ticketing policy.

    Anyway, that’s quite enough from me for now. And better not get me started on the problems of public transport…

    petered
    Participant
    Posts: 564
    Joined: 24/01/2011
    #86829
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    @criptic wrote:

    9) A hubby who is fully charged and ready to get a full body work out trying to lift and move in strange places for a week/end. (Poor thing – it’s never so much a holiday because a new environment is always exhausting for both of us to manage in as everything at home is millimetre perfect to get just the right heights of things which you just don’t have on holiday and means a lot more ‘care’ work.)

    :lol: Wonder if I could hire one of these ….. :P Do they come with a universal charge socket

    I'm always the animal, my body's the cage

    I blog about nothingness www.amgroves.com

    AM
    Participant
    Posts: 4,751
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #86830
    Re: Travel and leisure ideas for Target MD

    @amgmod wrote:

    Do they come with a universal charge socket

    This one doesn’t but I’m sure an adapter might work :-) – could do with the quick charger v 1.2 though if you see one – or whatever that Duracel Bunny used to have…. :D

    criptic
    Participant
    Posts: 307
    Joined: 15/03/2011
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