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Travelling abroad with a disability

Travelling abroad with a disability

When you have been diagnosed with a disability, it can be nerve-wracking to travel abroad. However, with good planning, you can feel comfortable anywhere in the world. We recommend the following tips.

Research your destination


Once you know where you’re going, you can scan the internet for information on facilities for disabled persons. If your destination is the UK, for example, there’s a dedicated website for disabled holidays. Online travel and disability forums can be crucial too.

If you need special equipment, you can find out if you can hire it locally. Each destination will have online forums where disabled persons speak about their experiences.

Some things you may wish to research are step-free access to the hotel, beach and swimming pool; aids such as grab rails or ramps; storage space for a wheelchair.

It may be worth emailing or phoning the hotel to check if they have everything you need to make you feel comfortable.

Check your medication


If taking medication abroad, you will have to check whether the drug is allowed in the country. If your medicine contains a controlled drug, you will have to bring your prescription with you as proof.
It’s best to do this as far in advance as possible. If your medication is prohibited, you may have to contact your GP for an alternative medication.

Travelling with equipment


Once you’ve booked your accessible holiday and checked your medication, it’s time to plan how you will pack any equipment you may need, such as a wheelchair, spare colostomy bags or a voltage converter and adaptor.

If you require specific batteries or an oxygen cylinder, double-check with the airport or airline. They may have specific advice on how to transport these.

If you have a disability, you may carry two items of mobility equipment free of charge in addition to your standard baggage allowance.

Getting there


Before you travel, let the airline or tour operator know your specific requirements. You can book ‘special assistance’ when you buy your tickets, which ensures the airline knows to be on hand to give you support on your journey.

However you’re travelling, your departure and arrival station should have accessible toilets and changing rooms. They may also be able to offer you assistance with luggage, security and boarding.

If you’re taking the coach, you can book accessible coach journeys. These will include adapted seating, wheelchair lift and seating, along with accessible toilets and plenty of rest stops.

Know your rights


Finally, know that you are entitled to support, especially when flying. People travelling by plane to or from the EU have certain rights stating the airline must not reject passengers because of reduced mobility. If it’s not possible to board you for safety reasons or the size of the plane, they must offer you an acceptable alternative.

Help should be at hand from the moment of arrival to the moment you board. If you’re blind, partially-sighted or deaf, flight departures and in-flight safety information should be available in alternative formats such as Braille and audio.