Here are five tops tips to help streamline your trip in advance:
1. Choose your destination wisely
First and foremost, consider the type of holiday you are after as well as your destination of choice very carefully. Research the area you are interested in to find out if the attractions you are keen to explore are accessible, whether adapted cars can be hired if necessary and whether taxis are available.
It is also a good idea to check the websites of any airports you will pass through – departure, arrival and any connections – to ensure you are aware of their facilities and services. Call or email for additional information if you require it – do not take anything for granted.
If you book a Saga Holiday, you can be safe in the knowledge that our Customer Care team will do the utmost to meet your additional needs, such as reduced mobility or visual impairment. Speak to one of our advisors on 0800 373 034 to discuss your individual requirements.
2. Discuss your needs with your airline
Be very clear about your requirements at the time of booking your tickets and if you are a wheelchair user, make a note of your measurements and weight so that you can answer any questions with ease.
Check that the aircraft is suitably equipped to meet your requirements – i.e. with special seating, moveable armrests and/or accessible toilets – and book any additional support you might need at the airport in advance. If you are planning a disabled holiday in Europe, you are entitled to assistance at airports (and tipping is not permitted) but be aware that in other countries such as the US tipping is considered common courtesy.
Be sure to get any confirmation of support in writing so that you can print it out and carry it with you on your journey.
3. Prepare for the airport
As any seasoned traveller knows, a trip can involve a lot of waiting around. Your gate might be situated a fair old trek from vending machines or food courts so bring your own snacks and keep your eye out for the closest place to pick up water after passing through the security checks.
It might be useful to print out a map of the airport in advance so you can familiarise yourself with where you need to go. Failing that, it might be worth booking an airport lounge in advance. Reputed companies, such as Holiday Extras, will be able to advise what facilities are available to you at airport lounges from your departure airport.
4. Purchase disability insurance
Although nobody likes to think about things going wrong on their holiday, unfortunate events can and do arise. It pays to be safe so be sure to purchase the correct insurance for your disabled holiday. The right plan will give you peace of mind that you won't be out of pocket should you require any medical assistance on your trip. Ensure you are covered for any damage caused to your wheelchair too.
5. Make an accommodation checklist
Whether it is a hotel, self-catered cottage, villa or campsite you are hoping to book, make a checklist of your requirements and call ahead to be sure it is suitable and that the rooms and social areas are properly accessible.
Some self-catering holiday websites allow you to filter your search results according to property accessibility features - such as ground floor facilities, bedroom and wet room. It might be an idea to phone to make your booking so you can ask any further questions about the holiday property. Again, always obtain written confirmation your requests have been recorded.