DisabledTravelers.com Travel Blog » accessible crusies /1/blog Interesting information, reviews, and pictures in the world of accessible travel... Tue, 30 Oct 2012 01:47:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3 October 2011 Disabled Travel News, Part 2: More on Travel for the Deaf and Visually Impaired /1/blog/2011/10/21/october-2011-disabled-travel-news-part-2-more-on-travel-for-the-deaf-and-visually-impaired/ /1/blog/2011/10/21/october-2011-disabled-travel-news-part-2-more-on-travel-for-the-deaf-and-visually-impaired/#comments Fri, 21 Oct 2011 07:05:26 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1076 Sea lions in the Galapagos.

Sea lions in the Galapagos.
Photo by: hollyrereid (Stock Exchange)

Welcome one and all to the Disabled Travelers blog!

Last week we unveiled some exciting news when it became known Disabled Travelers was mentioned on no less a web destination than the travel section of The Today Show.

Today, we’re continuing our news coverage for the month with some new information and resources on travel for those with visual and hearing impairments.

We have some brand new resources, fresh off the internet and straight to your door – so let’s chat about them.

Adventures in Vision: A moving memoir by a Stanford professor in Feminist Studies who invites us into her world as she “loses sight and finds vision.” The full title of this volume is “Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision With a Guide Dog by My Side.” While not devoted to travel exclusively, it’s such a gripping account that I wanted to include it as soon as we talked about (and with) blind travelers again. From the website, you can watch or listen to an author interview. As you’d expect, the book is available in accessible formats, which includes accessible PDF, digital audiobook, and Braille. You can listen to audio excerpts on the same page with the accessible version information.

Traveleyes International: Recently featured in the UK’s Guardian according to its front page, Traveleyes is a premier provider of “sensory experience holidays” that cater to the needs of travelers with visual impairments. Their 2011 catalogue includes Italy, China, Malta, Iceland, Turkey, Australia, India, Vietnam, and even a Caribbean cruise. Disabled travelers who choose Traveleyes can expect assistance from beginning to end. The company distinguishes itself as a business with a visually impaired founder, so you can be sure that your needs and expectations are well understood by everyone on the team. Sighted travelers are welcome to join in the fun at a discounted price. Register here.

Deaf Globetrotters: I’ve commented before on how so many deaf travelers seem to really love cruises, and from a tour operator like Deaf Globetrotters, you can enjoy “paradise cruises” to Alaska, Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands (!!!) and many more. But that’s really only the beginning for a tour operator that truly pushes the envelope on the growing world of deaf travel. If you’re interested in visiting Turkey for the upcoming Deaf Olympics in 2013, Deaf Globetrotters is your source for that trip, too! Even if you’re not up for a fantastic deaf-friendly adventure right now, you should still stop by the website for one of the best travel photo galleries I’ve seen on any disabled travel site.

At Disabled Travelers, we strive never to leave anyone out – everyone enjoys a travel adventure. So, I sincerely hope these links will help you bring your travel aspirations to life. Look for more coverage in deaf-friendly and visually impaired travel as we move into what I hope will be a phenomenal 2012 for a blog I love to write. Thanks for visiting and doing your part to make this website special for travelers just like you.


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Disabled Travelers’ Best Forums to Get Travel Advice /1/blog/2011/09/23/disabled-travelers-best-forums-to-get-travel-advice/ /1/blog/2011/09/23/disabled-travelers-best-forums-to-get-travel-advice/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2011 07:05:45 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1060 Beautiful and accessible! Who could ask for more?

Beautiful and accessible! Who could ask for more?
Photo by: Robert Linder (Stock Exchange)

Howdy, travelers!

Last week on the Disabled Travelers blog, we talked about some good guidelines for getting the very best travel views and information when you check out an internet forum.

Now, we’ll be looking at some of the best discussion boards for disabled travelers to visit for all your travel needs.

There are great travel communities all around the Web, of course, but these stand out as credible, friendly, and super-valuable for the kind of meticulous trip planning so many disabled travelers are experts in.

Have a favorite forum not listed here? Leave me a comment and let us know about it!

TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is a review site for hotels (including disabled hotels), vacation rentals, and flights. Yes, they are selling something; ad space and affiliate agreements drive the site. On the other hand, it is one of the biggest travel sites in the world – if not the biggest – and the destination-based forums are perfect for getting all the answers you need from folks that have been where you’re headed. There’s even a Traveling With Disabilities forum where you can find some real gems, including a user-generated Accessibility Checklist for Hotel Accommodations.

Cruise Critic: Disabled travelers love cruises, and why not? It’s like floating on a luxury hotel on the water, and there are great solo and group activities; not to mention terrific shore excursions, fun events and shows, and much more. But to get the most out of your voyage, you have to have accessible cruise features. Many cruise lines have a stellar reputation for service to disabled travelers, but not all; and what better way to know before you go but to head to Cruise Critic? The site is well aware of the disabled traveler community, with many reviews that pertain to mobility, sightedness, and other issues; and there’s a Disabled Cruise Travel board, too.

Apparelyzed: Apparelyzed is a site for spinal cord injury survivors, and it’s become known around the Disabled Travelers blog for being the source of some of the best travelogues out there on the web, including great previews of accessible attractions and disabled hotels. Of our selections today, it’s the only one that focuses exclusively on disabled folks and their carers. Don’t be wary, though; anyone respectful of the community is welcome in the Apparelyzed forums, and for our purposes? You’ll be wanting to check out the Travel Tips & Wheelchair Accessible Holiday Destinations forum.

Now, that’s not all of the great forums out there – I’m sure there’s many, many more. But I think you’ll find even hardcore travel buffs can spend weeks shooting the breeze at these three sites and always find something new to learn. If you’re planning a trip, head on over to each one and get to know some folks. You’ll be surprised what you find out, and how much better a great trip can be when you plan ahead and make the most of it.

That’s it for this week, but pop by next Friday for more Disabled Travelers! Cheers!


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Thank You to Our Readers! Disabled Travelers is #1 On Google /1/blog/2011/08/19/thank-you-to-our-readers-disabled-travelers-is-1-on-google/ /1/blog/2011/08/19/thank-you-to-our-readers-disabled-travelers-is-1-on-google/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2011 10:56:00 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1038 “]Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland

Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland
Photo by: BrightyG (Stock Exchange)

Hello and welcome to Disabled Travelers!

Today I’d like to take time out to extend a special thanks to those of you who’ve been with us a time.

Our loyal Disabled Travelers readers and their traveling companions have helped us reach a splendid milestone: Our parent site, disabledtravelers.com, is #1 on Google for disability travel searches!

This is a great honor, to be sure, and it has all come about thanks to your patronage.

So, what else is near the top of the list?

Today, we’ll review some of the best disabled travel sites … both the new, and old favorites that have shown up in our access guides over the months.

Accessible Journeys: This site has been one of our favorites for a good, long time. Accessible Journeys is one of the most well-established, comprehensive, and downright fun tour operators catering to the needs of those with any kind of disability. Their accessible group tours are among some of the most intriguing and exotic in the industry, and the company also handles independent wheelchair travel planning and my personal favorite, accessible cruises. Specials include Alaska, Chile, Egypt, and more.

Global Access News: Global Access News is one of the longest running disability travel newsletters on the internet, and provides a monthly e-zine in the form of travel tips compiled by readers around the world. Content is eclectic, with detailed reports and travelogues that cover the good, the bad, and the ugly all over the globe. Other regular features include an archive by geographic region, disability website links, and trip planning tips, among much more. A great place to get the absolute freshest travel views.

Disabled Cruise Travel: This new entry is part of the user community at Cruise Critic, one of the oldest sites on the web for getting inside insight on the best cruise lines and deals anywhere you care to go. Cruise Critic has been around for fifteen years now, and provides both editorial reviews and user-submitted content. I don’t usually link to forums, but this one is bursting at the seams with terrific tips. It’s ultra-busy, welcoming, and you can probably find someone to help you with just about any cruise-related question.

Slow Travel: If traveling at a slower pace is your preference, check out Slow Travel. This site is full of travel reports and guides, reviews of tour services, and listings for adapted vacation homes in a number of popular countries. At last count, they had sub-sites running for Italy, France, the UK, Switzerland, Spain, and North America. All of these have planning tips, forums, disabled hotel listings and accessible restaurants, as well as user-submitted maps of the local area using Google Maps. Very helpful!

As you can see, Disabled Travelers is in some good company, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re very pleased to have a positive impact on so many readers. Don’t forget to spread the good cheer by visiting some of the sites above, or suggest your own disabled travel resources in the handy comment box at the bottom of the page. Once again, Disabled Travelers is nothing without you, so thanks for your support!


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Last Call from Chicago! Fresh Accessibility Notes from the Windy City /1/blog/2011/07/29/last-call-from-chicago-fresh-accessibility-notes-from-the-windy-city/ /1/blog/2011/07/29/last-call-from-chicago-fresh-accessibility-notes-from-the-windy-city/#comments Fri, 29 Jul 2011 07:05:40 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1024 The Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

The Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier
Photo by: Nicole Shackleford (Stock Exchange)

Welcome home to the Disabled Travelers blog!

Chicago is one of the most popular destinations for disabled travelers and their travel companions, and posts about it have always been some of the most popular.

Now that I’ve spent some time taking in the sights, I think it’s a great time to give my impressions on accessible attractions and other amenities in the Windy City.

Here’s a quick summation of my trip and my thoughts.

The Chicago Metra: All 11 trains of the Chicago-area passenger train services are accessible, with features to help disabled travelers who have issues with vision, hearing, or mobility. Combined with the People With Disabilities Ride Free Program, commuter transit is pretty easy around the Chicago area, especially compared to other big cities.

The Metra tends to be extremely crowded, especially when heading toward Union Station. It may not be comfortable, but there is definitely accessible space set aside for wheelchair users and a variety of other riders with special needs. Chicago Union Station itself has a number of stairs, though, so be careful.

For more information, check out the Chicago Transit Authority.

Medieval Times: This was dinner my first night in Chicago and is a popular family attraction. Note that it’s not actually in Chicago, but rather in Schaumburg, a community about an hour away that plays host to some of America’s greatest shopping malls. Those with mild to moderate hearing or vision impairments may still be able to enjoy the show, though some portions of it are conducted in low light. I did not see any evidence of disability friendly seating, though, so call ahead to be sure.

Navy Pier: One of Chicago’s most iconic attractions, and the place you’re likely to end up after taking an accessible cruise up the Chicago River. (Note, if you’re interested in the accessible cruise, either the architecture tour or the night tour, also read up on the accessible drop-off area.) The Pier itself is largely wheelchair accessible, as the FAQ indicates. Crowds for rides such as the Ferris Wheel are actually pretty reasonable, but be aware that prominent safety warnings prevent individuals with leg, breathing, or heart-related issues from riding many of them.

Bourgeois Pig Cafe: Plenty of outside seating, some of which might be amenable to disabled travelers using mobility devices. Though this place isn’t very well known outside the neighborhood, it deserves special notice thanks to the delicious, hand-made sandwiches. Very flavorful, in keeping with the bohemian atmosphere! The “Hobbit” was delicious and kept me satisfied for the rest of the night. They also have green tea imported directly from Japan!

Paddy Long’s: This is another spot that makes no pretense to being accessible (visitors should be prepared for “traditional” high, backless bar stools), but I have to mention it thanks to “Beer and Bacon”, a delicious and festive tasting of regional bacon and beer from around Chicago and the world. It’s one of the most popular events at Paddy Long’s and for good reason. The bacon is delicious and the pairings will delight you!

“Willis” Tower: Formerly (and some would argue, properly) known as Sears Tower, the Skydeck is the big draw here, helping you enjoy the view from 103 stories up – still the tallest building in the western hemisphere despite losing the top spot worldwide.

The Skydeck accessibility page confirms my hunch that the whole experience is set up for wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers. Guide animals are also permitted throughout the building. Disabled travelers and their travel companions should have no problem, and the customer service is very good.

Make note, though, that the elevator that leads up to the Skydeck is required by management to be slap full, and this part of the journey will be pretty uncomfortable for anyone who dislikes tight spaces. On the Skydeck the view is … penetrating, so those with a fear of heights should also consider passing. (A final cautionary note: You will be photographed in the lobby … and once you get down, the sales team is pretty aggressive!)

Chicago is a terrific place – very welcoming, very accessible. If you’re up for a trip to a bustling city with terrific sights (something like New York with about half the people) you can’t go wrong with a visit to accessible Chicago.


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Accessible Cruises Series: An Index of At-A-Glance Info /1/blog/2010/08/25/accessible-cruises-series-an-index-of-at-a-glance-info/ /1/blog/2010/08/25/accessible-cruises-series-an-index-of-at-a-glance-info/#comments Wed, 25 Aug 2010 07:00:56 +0000 /1/blog/?p=863 Here comes the Costa Victoria!

Here comes the Costa Victoria! Photo by: oziris (Stock Exchange)

Hello, everybody! Today’s Disabled Travelers blog is dedicated, once again, to accessible cruises; it’s been a tough nut to crack, but I’m finding new ways to make it easier to choose your cruise line.

Last time, we shared some new handicapped travel resources for ocean voyages, including a great new website with lots of articles.

Now, I’m going to put the accessibility information for major cruise lines “at your fingertips” by rustling up each company’s hub for disabled travel info, and giving an overview.

Carnival: All of Carnival’s ships have certain adapted services for the blind, hard-of-hearing, and mobility impaired access – and the newer ships are truly top of the line. Accessible elevators on all ships allow for use by passengers in wheelchairs; tactile controls and audible signals help out with navigation. Braille signage and cabin kits for the deaf are also offered. While on deck, accessible routes are posted and accessibility maps are available for every ship in the fleet right from the website! Not comfortable with long voyages, or maybe shore excursions aren’t your thing? No problem – choose a “Cruise to Nowhere”, which allows you to enjoy the famed shipboard hospitality and entertainment of Carnival without shore trips, and can be as short as 2-3 days.

Celebrity: Celebrity has a complete compendium of information covering wheelchair users, the blind or deaf, adapted tours for shore days, and handling your medical needs while onboard. Wheelchair accessible staterooms feature wall-to-wall adapted furniture and barrier-free paths, including ramped bathroom thresholds, grab bars, roll-in showers, and other useful features. One thing you can be sure of when going on a cruise is that ship staff members have measurements for every door and passage, so you’ll easily be able to tell if your “ride” can be accommodated by Celebrity and most other lines.

Disney: Looking for accessible cruises with more family-oriented fare? Disney may just be your best bet at sea. On land, the Disney properties are known for thorough attention to accessibility for visitors with all kinds of special needs, which recently included upgrades to parks worldwide to make them even more accessible for the deaf. At sea, accessible accommodations on Disney ships are first class, and all events onboard feature special seating areas for wheelchair users. Just be aware that beach wheelchairs used on some excursions are on a first-come, first-served basis; if you have a favorite beach chair, you might make arrangements to bring it along with you.

Princess: With luxury cruises going to such destinations as the Caribbean, Hawaii, the South Pacific, the Mexican Riviera, and more, not to mention their amazing world cruises, Princess Cruise Lines is one of the leaders in providing a true luxury experience. First-time and veteran cruisers alike will find something to love here. The same goes for handicapped travelers, who’ll benefit from Princess Cruises’ partnership with Special Needs at Sea, the premier medical supplier for ocean voyages. Princess does have a few issues – for example, collapsible wheelchairs are recommended since door measurements are not standardized, since every ship is a little bit different – but these are easily remedied thanks to SNAS, a truly international outfit.

When it comes to disabled travelers, the fact is that not all cruise lines are created equal. These are some of the best choices, though, and I hope I’ve made it a little bit easier to get the information you need for your next vacation. Remember, there’s no substitute for getting in touch with your would-be ship line directly if anything looks amiss; if the customer service isn’t all you expect, then you know all you need to know!

Bon voyage – and adventure on!


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A Disabled Travelers “Quickie”: The Latest on Accessible Cruises /1/blog/2010/08/23/a-disabled-travelers-quickie-the-latest-on-accessible-cruises/ /1/blog/2010/08/23/a-disabled-travelers-quickie-the-latest-on-accessible-cruises/#comments Mon, 23 Aug 2010 07:00:06 +0000 /1/blog/?p=860 A cruise ship at Willemstad

A cruise ship at Willemstad
Photo by: Paul Jursa (Stock Exchange)

Hi, all! As you’ve definitely noticed around here, Disabled Travelers hasn’t touched on the subject of accessible cruises very much.

And in all honesty, good information on the topic still seems to be pretty scarce!

However, since it’s been quite a while I thought I’d offer what I’ve been able to put together since our last go-around, many moons ago.

There are some new resources and a couple of tips I want to emphasize so handicapped travelers will get to enjoy voyages at sea just like everybody else! It’s not to be missed …

The biggest news on the accessible cruise front is Cruise Critic. Cruise Critic is a comprehensive resource for cruising, which also happens to include a bevy of facts and articles pertinent to disabled travelers. Reviews encompass pretty much every major cruise provider and give you the pros and cons, do’s and don’ts, and insider information you need to make the best cruising decision. Though there are pieces offered by writers and editors, much of the real “golden” information is provided by recent passengers.

Holland America is still going strong as the best travel option for handicapped passengers, hands down. Though this article from Sealetter Cruise Magazine is several years old now, it demonstrates a real commitment to accessibility that has only grown in the years since. Just check out the amazingly detailed accessibility info on the Holland America website that covers virtually every access topic imaginable.

Also bear in mind that in some cases, deaf travelers may have even more cruise options than folks requiring mobility impaired access; as I’ve pointed out before, deaf travelers love cruising. Deaf organizations and tour operators are known to keep their fans and friends sailing as much as possible. Just about every installment of our deaf travel series, released monthly, has at least one cruise operator especially for the deaf.

For a lot of great travel tips, including further resources and in-depth articles on accessible cruises, visit our unofficial “top tour operator”, Accessible Journeys. Most “travelers with wheels” will probably find that their best bet in cruising is to partner up with a reputable tour operator, but if you choose to go solo, be sure to check out some crucial points: If you need travel equipment, will you have to bring it or does your cruise line have a designated medical provider? What accommodations are available for your specific needs, including room, shipboard movement, and getting on and off the ship?

Accessible cruising is a challenging subject, but Cruise Critic makes it much easier than it was before. Also don’t forget travel community sites like Lonely Planet where you can connect with other travelers who’ve had positive (and not-so-positive) experiences like the ones you’re seeking! Many major cruise lines have a whole host of destinations, so once you find a line that works for you, you may never wish to switch!

Thanks for tuning in to today’s blog. See you soon, on land or water; and adventure on!


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Handicapped Travel Resources for “Any” Trip: New and Review /1/blog/2010/08/19/handicapped-travel-resources-for-any-trip-new-and-review/ /1/blog/2010/08/19/handicapped-travel-resources-for-any-trip-new-and-review/#comments Thu, 19 Aug 2010 08:16:44 +0000 /1/blog/?p=857 The Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, one of my favorite destinations

The Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, one of my favorite destinations
Photo by: Alan Rainbow (Stock Exchange)

Thanks again for visiting Disabled Travelers!

You know, over the past many months we’ve covered a lot of territory, and some of our favorite sites – the ones that are most useful for handicapped travelers around the world – haven’t gotten as much attention as they used to.

In this post, we’ll visit some old favorites and also some new entries in the world of accessible travel, and take a little refresher course on what they offer and where to find them.

Quite a few new pages have popped up, too!

Let’s look …

Start off with 14 hot disabled travel tips from Independent Traveler, which also offers a great links page that covers a lot of topics including accessible cruises. Then try Global Access News for a local, ground-level perspective on international travel destinations; new travelogues from wheelchair users are posted every month! Current articles cover Prague, Amsterdam, and points of interest in England, and accessible hotels are highlighted, too. Speaking of hotels, please use Hotels.com and encourage them to continue expanding their disability-friendly search features!

Gimp on the Go is good for a collection of interesting travelogues; though the site itself hasn’t been updated in many moons, the archives are still worth visiting. Apparelyzed, a spinal cord injury support and community website, is also great for reading about others’ valuable international travel experiences. Disabled World also boasts a huge number of articles on many, many topics relevant to disabled travel, including accessible cruises, tour operators, and way more stuff than I could even list! Makoa.org also has a stellar general directory of handicapped travel links; prepare to be astonished!

Speaking of tour operators, Accessible Journeys has always been at the top of our scorecard. Providing customized, disability-friendly itineraries worldwide for over 25 years, it’s now visiting destinations including New Zealand, South Africa, Buenos Aires, Israel, and Chile. World on Wheelz is another well-established firm that seems to be everywhere at once: Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and the U.S. West, among many other places. It’s the only handicapped travel organization I know of to visit Ecuador and the Amazon! For another option that’s adventurous and challenging, Endeavor Safaris is a big name in African excursions for the wheeled crowd.

And what about wheelchairs? A lot of “all-terrain” wheelchairs have sprung up on the market, which we like to highlight from time to time for those who want to get off the beaten path. Renegade Wheelchairs is one of the pioneers in this biz; and many folks find the Renegade ideal for outdoor sports like hunting and fishing. Everyone enjoys a day at the beach, and you might want something more specialized for such a trip, so check out De Bug Beach Wheelchairs and Natural Access. For getting in the pool or spa, Aqua Creek products might be your best bet, and the Tiralo handles beautifully in the ocean!

So, here you see the best of the best, the creme de la creme, the Triple Crown winners of handicapped travel in a whole slew of categories. Also remember that we’ve covered dozens of destinations around North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and even a few trips down south now and again, so anything that’s not covered here is probably in there somewhere! It’s been a pleasure to serve you – thanks again for reading, and adventure on!


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Disabled Travelers Australia Series: Melbourne /1/blog/2010/07/26/disabled-travelers-australia-series-melbourne/ /1/blog/2010/07/26/disabled-travelers-australia-series-melbourne/#comments Mon, 26 Jul 2010 08:55:13 +0000 /1/blog/?p=830 City lights of Melbourne

City lights of Melbourne Photo by: Timo Balk (Stock Exchange)

Are you ready for even more of the Disabled Access Australia series?

Today, we’re hitting the bush trail once again to visit Melbourne, the second most populous city, on the bay of Port Phillip.

A major cultural hub, home to the Australian film industry, television, and avant garde art, it’s an eminently livable place and a great base for your visit to the Land Down under.

But how does it rate for accessibility? Well, we’re about to find out!

Melbourne Airport has one of the most detailed disability access pages of any Australian airport we’ve looked at so far, definitely a good sign. Wheelchair accessible features include free wheelchairs available on request from all airlines, disabled parking, wheelchair accessible restroom facilities throughout the terminals, and assisted pick up and drop off of disabled travelers at the front of the airport. More information on accessible airlines and local airports is available from the Visit Victoria website. Transitions Abroad has strong content on various accessible public transit options.

Also from Visit Victoria, you can get information on over a dozen accessible hotels, motels, and rental properties, including Wheelies Rest, Countrywide Cottages, and Corella Rise Bed and Breakfast. Likewise, Backpack Melbourne is another public site with a useful mobility impaired access page giving you quick facts on accommodation, public transport, tickets, accessible transit lounges, toilets, taxis, emergency services, and more. If you’ve ever gotten a wheelchair banged up by inappropriate “care” from a taxi driver or sky porter who isn’t knowledgeable about handicapped travelers, you know how useful (and how rare!) some of this information is!

Per usual in Australia, Stayz is a major source for accessible hotels, and eatability knows everything there is to know about accessible restaurants and other venues in Melbourne and surrounding towns. These are definitely two sites to keep bookmarked if you’re going to spend a while in Australia, especially if you plan to move from place to place! (I’ll miss them when we’re done!) There’s also PleaseTakeMeTo, and don’t forget Hotels.com now has basic accessibility options in their search! For accessible vehicle rental, visit WheelAway. They’ll meet you at the airport with your new ride!

TravAbility is a brand spanking new website (you can tell by the .travel domain!) for a tour operator focused on inclusive, accessible tours that encompass Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Thailand, Africa, India, and destinations around North America. Customized Australia tours are available all over the continent, and can take in most of the cities and accessible attractions we’ve visited in our guide. The site also maintains a growing collection of news links related to accessible travel, updated regularly.

Of course, a city this serious about accessibility has plenty of wheelchair-friendly attractions to choose from. Major cultural venues generally have ample adapted seating available and also make room for caregivers. The official tourism site maintains a list of accessible gardens and parks. The Melbourne Cricket Ground has handicapped parking and accessible seating, and it’s the same with Etihad Stadium and the Melbourne Cricket Club, Looking for fun that’s a little less rough? The Melbourne Recital Center goes a long way to help out patrons with mobility, hearing, or sight impairments; the “arthouse” Cinema Nova is also devoted to a fully accessible experience. Melbourne just might be the most welcoming city for handicapped travelers that we’ve seen in Australia!

Next, it’s off to Perth. After that, I have a bevy of other goodies for you to enjoy before we move this party to New Zealand, and from there start to cover the whole region. Be sure to write in if there’s anything I’ve missed, or anything you want to see – this blog is for you! And I hope to see YOU for our next post … ‘til then, adventure on!


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Handicapped Travel Resources for the Deaf: July Edition, Part II! /1/blog/2010/07/22/handicapped-travel-resources-for-the-deaf-july-edition-part-ii/ /1/blog/2010/07/22/handicapped-travel-resources-for-the-deaf-july-edition-part-ii/#comments Thu, 22 Jul 2010 07:05:53 +0000 /1/blog/?p=826 Want MORE deaf travel news? You got it!

Want MORE deaf travel news? You got it!
Photo by: Henning Buchholz (Stock Exchange)

Welcome everyone to Disabled Travelers, where we’ve decided to push the envelope and provide just a little more especially for deaf travel this month.

Finding accessible hotels, attractions, and tour operators when you’re hard of hearing isn’t easy, but things are getting better – and if we do our part to make it easier, then I’d consider it a job well done!

We have a few more points of interest to share today, and then it’s back to the Land Down Under to finish up our Australia access guides. Right now, I am excited to present July’s deaf travel resources … the sequel!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a good tour operator makes all the difference in the world when you’re traveling. We’ve mentioned Connie George Travel before as a good “general” travel consultant, with interesting packages for groups, women travelers, and more. An important thing to note is that Connie George also specializes in accessible cruises and sightseeing for deaf individuals, and has plenty of in-depth knowledge for making your travel experience top notch.

islbook is a massive social networking site especially for the deaf and users of sign language. The English is a little spotty, and the site is relatively new, but it shows every sign of becoming a major resource for the deaf, and has sections set aside for accessible travel and for the world’s deaf wanderers to meet up, plan trips, and exchange advice. While I would beware of any new site, this looks like one to keep an eye on, and we definitely hope that it grows into its amazing potential! Cheers to the islbook team! Also, see DeafHello for a similar concept, a little bit more established.

Deaf Rave is a community website organized by and for the deaf. Though it focuses on meet ups, music, and other general social topics, it provides some travel links and you can find many diehard travelers among the community. In fact, it was this site that turned me on to Smile Tours Vietnam, which offers international itineraries throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Laos, and Burma. Several purpose-built deaf tours are available, including five or seven day tours of Ho Chi Minh City. There are also eight-day countrywide tours. Traveling Asia can be a challenge if you’re not familiar with the local customs, but this looks like a great option for deaf adventurers.

Last in our lineup today is Especially 4-U Tours, a tour operator with extensive connections in California, Arizona, and Mexico. plus some excellent theme tours, and even a stop in China now and then. Accessible deaf tours are available, fully customized and staffed by certified signers. Family owned and operated, they have been in business over thirty years now. If you are looking to see the see the States, the South, or the Far East, put them at the top of your list.

Wow! There are some promising new companies and sites in this batch. Here at Disabled Travelers, we believe everyone should be able to go around the corner or around the world – travel is for everyone, and there’s just no replacement for it. So, I hope we’ve helped our deaf and hard of hearing friends to make their next trip that much easier and more special. Next time, it’s back to Oz for the continuation of our Australia series, so seeya again right here in a few days. Adventure on!


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Handicapped Travel Resources for the Deaf: July Edition /1/blog/2010/07/20/handicapped-travel-resources-for-the-deaf-july-edition/ /1/blog/2010/07/20/handicapped-travel-resources-for-the-deaf-july-edition/#comments Tue, 20 Jul 2010 08:46:19 +0000 /1/blog/?p=823 Costa Rica, one of the more popular deaf travel destinations

Costa Rica, one of the more popular deaf travel destinations
Photo by: Kurt Raihn (Stock Exchange)

Good day, all, and welcome!

It’s time for July’s Disabled Travelers deaf travel update … and just as I predicted, there’s more and more going on in the deaf travel world every month!

Granted, I haven’t found what I would call “access guides” for the globetrotter with hearing loss, but I’m kicking up my search a notch and hope to report back with more findings very soon.

There’s so much to share lately, you might see a deaf travel doubleheader from me this month!

From Travel Weekly, the insider news source for the travel industry, ‘My heart is with the deaf’ tells the story of travel agent Rod Smith and his company, Harvesttime Deaf Travel, based in Minnesota. Smith, raised by deaf parents at a time when “experts” warned against teaching children sign language, became interested in travel at an early age, and now operates Harvesttime on a part-time basis while teaching at North Central University. His heart is definitely in it, and we wish him luck growing his business!

The tour operator of the day is Great Deaf Vacations, an affiliate of Cruises and Tours Unlimited providing information on group travel for the deaf. Accessible cruises are a big feature here, with an upcoming selection including a Halloween cruise, new Disney dream vacation for families, and even the “epic” seven night round trip bringing you through the Caribbean from beautiful Miami. Next on the horizon? A trip to Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas. Sounds like a place I want to visit!

In partnership with GoPhilanthropic, the new handicapped organization Discovering Deaf Worlds is offering travel opportunities including Costa Rica, Cambodia, and Thailand. In addition to great sightseeing at sites like Thailand’s world famous temples, you’ll learn all about local deaf communities, meet local deaf leaders, and find out how you can contribute to international solidarity and full integration for the deaf.

When you think of handicapped travel, the tiny African nation of The Gambia probably isn’t at the top of your list. Interestingly, though, an article on the UK’s Deaf Travel site suggests there is a thriving deaf community there, very proud and protective of its recently developed Gambian Sign Language. The Gambian Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is working diligently to develop the language, which is unique in a region where most deaf folks use American Sign Language. Aside from info on the deaf lifestyle in The Gambia, there are interesting facts here about travel and tourism.

One of the big challenges I always face when traveling abroad is getting a good alarm clock for the journey. and it can be extra difficult for those who are deaf. Though I don’t usually endorse products here at Disabled Travelers, I would definitely recommend taking a look at Harris Communications, which provides a whole array of products keyed into the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing abroad. Vibrating clocks, ADA-compliant hotel kits, closed captioning decoders, and much more are available. There’s a healthy selection in every category, so you should be able to find exactly what you need!

That’s a wrap for today, but tomorrow’s another day at Disabled Travelers. There’s more coming down the pike for our deaf readers, and we still have a lot to do to finish up our ongoing Australia adventure, which has looked at accessibility in the Outback, Canberra, Sydney, and Brisbane so far! See you soon, and adventure on!

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