DisabledTravelers.com Travel Blog » airlines /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 Disabled Travelers’ Last Call for Holiday Travel Tips! /1/blog/2011/12/16/disabled-travelers-last-call-for-holiday-travel-tips/ /1/blog/2011/12/16/disabled-travelers-last-call-for-holiday-travel-tips/#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2011 07:05:48 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1107 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, New York

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, New York
Photo by: David Lat (Stock Exchange)

Welcome back to Disabled Travelers!

As you know, we update every Friday, so our next time seeing you will be on the 23rd — “Christmas Eve eve!”

It’ll be a little late to make travel plans by then, and even folks who are getting ready to go visiting for New Years will be cutting it pretty close.

So here are a few last thoughts, ideas, and tips before you head out to whatever wonders the holidays have in store.


This Year Will be Better Than Last: While we still recommend all of the pointers in our recent holiday travel tips post, there’s just no question that this year will see easier travel conditions than last year. Winter 2010 was full of record blizzards, sudden snow storms, and see-sawing conditions all over the country; by comparison, this year has been pretty simple and straightforward. Be prepared, but also breathe a little sigh of relief.

You Don’t Have to Go Far to Enjoy: Naturally, many folks will be traveling to see family or friends over the holiday. If you’ve been bit by the travel bug, though, remember that you don’t have to go very far for terrific holiday sights. That may seem strange coming from Disabled Travelers, the #1 site for accessible travel news. But bear in mind that fantastic light displays and events are everywhere, even in your neck of the woods.

To find excellent holiday displays near you, visit Christmas Light Finder.

You Can Turn a Local Trip into an Adventure: Even if you’re not going far, you can transform a quick neighborhood trip into something great by looking for new, accessible ways to enjoy the holiday sights. For example, a piece featured in the Lewisville Leader website out of Plano, Texas tells a tale of a different way to see Christmas lights: from above in a private helicopter tour! What a great way to start a new tradition.

Likewise, those who live on the riverside will likely get to enjoy accessible river cruises this year. Just be sure to drop the tour operator a quick note to clarify any mobility issues or assistance that you may need. Getting onto the same page early is the fastest and easiest way to prevent misunderstandings and ensure a smooth, memorable journey.

Weather Can Change Fast, so Watch Out: It might be a little too late to snatch some of the annual holiday deals, but you still have to get where you’re going. Even if you’ve had great luck with a friendly, accessible airline, transportation to and from the airport, and all else that you need, the weather can change fast. In a weird way, the fact that it’s been (relatively!) mild makes me fear the worst. Stick near reliable sources like The Weather Channel for news from your destination. Winter weather systems emerge suddenly!

By the time we meet next, Santa will be packing up his sleigh. Happy holidays once again from Disabled Travelers, and we wish you the very best holiday travel experiences! I look forward to visiting with you again soon.


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Disabled Travelers Holiday Travel Tips 2011 /1/blog/2011/11/18/disabled-travelers-holiday-travel-tips-2011/ /1/blog/2011/11/18/disabled-travelers-holiday-travel-tips-2011/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2011 07:05:28 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1092 East coast of Sardinia in winter

East coast of Sardinia in winter
Photo by: Patrizio Martorana (Stock Exchange)

Hello, fellow disabled travelers, and welcome back to the blog that’s all for you!

In today’s visit, we’re going to review some of the highlights of the wild winter weather series from way back in December, 2010.

If you’ll recall, many places throughout the United States were breaking records with incredible lows, unexpected flurries, and storms that seemed to go on and on.

Things sure look better now, right?

Well, there are still a lot of good tips for disabled travelers and their traveling companions from back in the archive.

So let’s take them out of “cold storage” and do a little review!

Surviving the Holiday Rush: Will you be flying this winter? There are always a couple of challenges when it comes to getting exactly what you want from an airline, no matter what your needs are. Check out this post before you book your flight, and get some ideas on making make sure the skies stay friendly. Tips for picking the right airline, navigating the terminal, and having an enjoyable time once you’re on board.

Wild Winter Weather Tips: Just because there are no major storms out there yet doesn’t mean that a few couldn’t pop up between now and New Years. Winter weather can come out of nowhere, and it wreaks havoc on travel plans like few other things can, so be sure to take a gander at this post if you’re headed to northern climes where snow is frequent. You’ll even get a few pointers on saving travel plans that get disrupted.

Dealing with “Enhanced Screening”: The Transportation Security Administration hasn’t been in the news much lately, which is a relief for disabled travelers and our non-disabled friends alike. But that doesn’t mean that screening has gone away, so if you use a medical device or take medications regularly, browse this post to make things easier. With a bit of prior preparation, you can make the likelihood of issues that much less.

It sure is a relief to know that, so far, this isn’t shaping up to be one of those winters that will go down in the history books. But stay tuned to Disabled Travelers, because we’re doing our best to make this holiday season — and every holiday season — as easy as it can be for our disabled readers. Got a tip or a gripe? Let your fingers do the talking and tell me about it in the comment section below. I love hearing from you!

Wishing you a safe and happy Thanksgiving and beyond,


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A Disabled Travelers News Update: New Accessibility Regulations Push Forward /1/blog/2011/10/28/a-disabled-travelers-news-update-new-accessibility-regulations-push-forward/ /1/blog/2011/10/28/a-disabled-travelers-news-update-new-accessibility-regulations-push-forward/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2011 07:05:36 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1081 Accessible airlines are ready to fly!

Accessible airlines are ready to fly!
Photo by: Michael Towse (Stock Exchange)

A few weeks ago, the Disabled Travelers blog reported on an important new initiative from the U.S. Department of Transportation that will extend valuable accessibility features throughout airport terminals and on airline websites.

In that post, I mentioned that it’s critical Disabled Travelers fans participate in the federal government’s public comments on the measure, which are still ongoing.

This is so important to me that I’ve been keeping up with it, and there’s been some movement — so I’d like to take this time to inform disabled travelers and their travel companions about the progress.

Thanks to Regulation Room, a service of Cornell University Online, interested parties can now find out everything there is to know about the ongoing discussion surrounding new accessibility rules. The website combines news functions with social features that allow you to get a feel for how others understand the situation. I think Disabled Travelers readers can really make a positive difference by helping to explain to others, who might not have contact with disabled people in their family or social circle, just how vital it is to empower everyone to enjoy safe, efficient, friendly air travel.

Also remember that there are already a huge number of resources in place to help with airline accessibility. Air Accessibility at the Department of Transportation is a good capsule overview of how federal laws protect disabled travelers in the air. This includes guidelines on how security screenings can be modified to meet the needs of disabled travelers as well as facts on filing a complaint and understanding the responsibilities that each airline has toward every passenger. If you haven’t gotten involved with the public comments or the chatter on Regulation Room, I urge you to make a quick visit! It could really spell the difference in helping airlines serve you better.

For another quick treat for disabled air travelers, here’s an article originally from TravelLuxe e-Magazine: Who Really Offers Accessible Travel? It is a plug for one of our favorite sites, Accessible Journeys, but also outlines some of the best and most trusted airlines in the accessibility arena. There are some more detailed insights available from this article at Boots n’ All, which bills itself as a “One-Stop Indie Travel Guide” established all the way back in the internet’s wilderness days: 1998.

Tune in next week for more accessible travel news, destinations, and access guides from your world traveling blogger, Si. Don’t forget, you can get in touch with me any time; just leave me a note down below in the comments section and I’ll be in touch promptly! Some of our bests posts at Disabled Travelers have come directly from your suggestions and feedback. Hope to visit with you again next Friday!


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Great News for Air Travelers: There’s a Movement for Disabled Access /1/blog/2011/10/07/great-news-for-air-travelers-theres-a-movement-for-disabled-access/ /1/blog/2011/10/07/great-news-for-air-travelers-theres-a-movement-for-disabled-access/#comments Fri, 07 Oct 2011 10:17:29 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1067 The skies are about to get friendlier

The skies are about to get friendlier
Photo by: yenhoon (Stock Exchange)

Welcome to Disabled Travelers, and here’s hoping fall has reached your home, wherever it may be!

This is Si, and I’m back with another blog post: this week, we’re delving into news from the airline industry.

This is often a mixed bag, but there’s some great changes on the horizon: an international movement is building up to make airports more accessible, airlines more responsive, and the websites for both a lot easier for disabled visitors to navigate.

This is a natural next step after the big push for a Passenger Bill of Rights!

There have been a lot of encouraging developments lately, so let’s take a peek.

London Gatwick Website First to Meet Disability Travel Gold Standard: London is one of the most beloved travel destinations for visitors from America and all sorts of other places, so it’s great to see London Gatwick, one of the two local international airports, embracing diversity by striving to meet the “user friendliness” standards reviewed by Reduced Mobility Rights. RMR is a disability watchdog group helping to make sure that airports throughout the UK display information relevant to disabled travelers in a complete, concise, and helpful way. Let’s hope other UK airports follow suit soon.

Proposal: Make Airline Kiosks, Sites Accessible to Disabled: A plan by the U.S. Department of Transportation will establish guidelines for airlines to follow in expanding accessibility for the blind within their reservation and check-in functions. All the other content of airline sites would have to be upgraded as well, over a period of about a year. Once you reach the airport, you’d be treated to accessible boarding passes and luggage tags with Braille lettering, as well as more audio messaging in kiosks and airports. New screens will also be installed at an accessible height for wheelchair users.

A Call to Action from Disabled Travelers

Now, it’s great to see that the rest of the world is working hard on accessibility issues, but for those of us in the U.S., most travel is going to take place right here within the lower 48. So, bear in mind that the Transportation Department proposal above isn’t out of the woods yet. There’s a lot of backlash from lobbyists, those well-paid, ever-present folks always trying to help big businesses get off light with their social responsibilities.

The new rules have just been published in The Federal Register, which means that the 60-day period for public comment has just begun. You can head over to Regulations.gov to submit your comment. The search function is a bit counterintuitive, so here’s a direct link: Nondiscrimination on Basis of Disability in Air Travel: Accessibility of Web Sites and Automated Kiosks at U.S. Airports. If that doesn’t work for you, you can actually find it on the front page search feature by selecting “Proposed Rule” and typing “kiosk” in the search box. Either way, this will give you the chance to make your comments heard.

Now, you don’t get to see what others have commented or how many people have done it, but if we all do our part, these important new rules are all the more likely to become part of the air travel scene. So this is Si, signing off and encouraging you to dash off a comment and tell your family and friends. Let’s work together to make air travel a safer, more accessible experience for everybody. Until next time, Disabled Travelers!


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From the Mailbag: Disabled Access in Daytona Beach, Florida /1/blog/2011/09/30/from-the-mailbag-disabled-access-in-daytona-beach-florida/ /1/blog/2011/09/30/from-the-mailbag-disabled-access-in-daytona-beach-florida/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2011 09:44:57 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1064 Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach
Photo by: Roberto V. (Stock Exchange)

Hello and welcome to all our friends out there on the internet, and new wanderers who might be visiting us from Google!

Today’s Disabled Travelers blog will see us jet off to Florida’s “Fun Coast” for one of the biggest tourist draws outside Disney: Daytona Beach.

As many of you already know, I myself am a life-long resident of Florida, and lately I’ve been eyeing the Daytona area as my next home base.

Well, there’s a lot of fun to be had in the Sunshine State, and I’ve covered a lot of it in previous posts; but Daytona is completely new to me, so let’s see what we can find up there!

To my delight, it’s not hard to find a bunch of different access guides, disabled hotel lists and other resources attached to many of the more general Daytona Beach guides you may see out on the web. One of the better ones is Accessible Daytona Beach, operated and edited by self-proclaimed active paraplegic Steve Deal. The site features long pages and full business listings in areas such as transportation, care service and equipment, beach access, disabled hotels, activities, and – yes – Steve’s favorite restaurants. You can’t go wrong with Steve’s combo of exceptional cuisine and accessible venues!

One of the most beloved attractions in Daytona is, of course, the Daytona International Speedway. The official website provides information on accessibility, disabled parking, and transportation assistance at and around the track. Also check out the Track Tours page. Availability for these “all access” and VIP fan tours is limited since they’re so popular, but once you do, you’re sure to have a great time! Don’t forget that the Daytona area is serviced by its own international airport. You can get a look at the terminal map, facilities, and route map from the official site.

With 23 miles of beaches and a hospitality industry that plays host to 8 million visitors every year, there are dozens and dozens of great hotels to choose from around Daytona. This includes disabled hotels at a variety of price points. For a great general selection, try out the Daytona Beach disabled hotel listings from LetsBookHotel.com. This offers up 42 disabled hotel listings with spectacular features like, in many cases, accessible VIP suites, pools, and much, much more. These are definitely world class accommodations, and there are plenty to choose from to match your specific needs.

Daytona is looking like a truly welcoming place. Who can resist a beachside extravaganza of great activities that also has ample accessible features? That’s all for our first look, but I hope to poke deeper into this intriguing little haven sometime in the next few weeks. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to share your favorite disabled travel finds, tips, or questions with me by leaving a comment below. See you next Friday!


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Dealing With “Enhanced Screening” for Handicapped Travelers /1/blog/2010/12/03/dealing-with-enhanced-screening-for-handicapped-travelers/ /1/blog/2010/12/03/dealing-with-enhanced-screening-for-handicapped-travelers/#comments Fri, 03 Dec 2010 08:49:38 +0000 /1/blog/?p=884 Getting through security just got tougher – but it’s a breeze with Disabled=

Getting through security just got tougher – but it’s a breeze with Disabled Travelers
Photo by: Gary Tamin (Stock Exchange)

Good evening, all!

Now that Thanksgiving has rolled on by and the leftover turkey sandwiches are just about done for, many of us are turning toward Christmas and New Year travel.

Last time, we went over some general tips about traveling in this exhilarating, but exhausting time of year. In today’s visit, we’ll talk about how to get through this year’s “enhanced” airport security with a smile.

The Story Behind Enhanced Security Measures

Throughout this holiday season, the Transportation Security Administration is requiring extra security procedures for air travelers. There are two new measures in place.

Electronic scanning: Full-body scanners are now in place at over two dozen major airports throughout the U.S., including JFK in New York City, LAX in Los Angeles, and MIA in Miami. In airports where these scanners are available, passing through them is mandatory – but you can “opt out,” as thousands of travelers reportedly did over Thanksgiving.

Naturally, opting out leads to “option b” …

“Enhanced” pat downs: Pat downs have always been a part of airport security, but they’ve traditionally been fairly rare. These days, authorities are quicker to use physical pat downs. There have been some isolated reports of handicapped travelers suffering inconvenience and misunderstandings during the pat down process.

Make Airport Security Easy: Four Tips

To help make holidays for the disabled as easy as possible, remember, everything you normally do to get ready for a flight – such as packing as light as you can and arriving early – still applies. There are just a few more things to keep in mind.

Bring documentation: If you have difficulty standing, a pat down situation is uncomfortable for you and the screener. Remember that, even if you’re selected for enhanced screening, you can elect to be screened in a private room and, if you travel with a caretaker, you should make him or her aware of the situation. Bring a doctor’s note if you have a condition that hampers movement or may affect your ability to pass a metal detector, such as a surgical implant. Some travelers also document their need for medication packed in their bags.

Keep medicines and medical equipment separate: Check out the TSA page for Travelers With Disabilities and Medical Conditions, which cover the rules for medical liquids. You should try to pack medical equipment and medicines apart from the rest of your belongings, even if this only means putting them in a separate pouch or compartment in your luggage. This makes them easy for the screener to find and inspect.

Time your move through security: Every airport has a traffic pattern that changes throughout the day based on flight schedules. Security screening areas may be packed with people one moment and virtually empty half an hour later. Luckily, many airports offer dining close to security screening or the corridors that lead to them. If the screening area looks too crowded, give it fifteen minutes to see if things improve. It may seem counterintuitive, but when there are fewer people, screenings are likely to be faster and less stressful.

Be extra careful of metals: If you set off the metal detector, you’ll probably have to undergo a pat down. Many times, people accidentally cause themselves hassle by forgetting everyday items like keys and change, especially if they happen to be in a wallet. Wristwatches and eyeglasses can set off detectors, too. Remember that you don’t have to put your wallet into a separate tray for the x-ray – you can slip it into your bags before entering the security area to prevent theft. But you do have to have all metals ready to be x-rayed.

Airport security is a little tougher than usual, but it doesn’t have to be a problem for well-prepared disabled travelers. As with any trip, leave a margin for error in your schedule and be prepared to go with the flow. You’ll be on your flight before you know it! And we’ll be back before you know it, with more tips to help you and your travel companions enjoy your adventures around the world. Happy holidays!


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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: Perth /1/blog/2010/07/28/disabled-travelers-australia-series-perth/ /1/blog/2010/07/28/disabled-travelers-australia-series-perth/#comments Wed, 28 Jul 2010 07:01:59 +0000 /1/blog/?p=833 A view of central Perth from the Bell Tower

A view of central Perth from the Bell Tower
Photo by: Vaughan James (Stock Exchange)

We’re on an Australia marathon here at Disabled Travelers, and we’re coming ‘round the bend to the sun-soaked city of Perth, capital of Western Australia and fourth-largest city on the island, known for its brilliant beaches and lively nightlife, made even more lively by the steady stream of able-bodied and handicapped travelers who visit on a regular basis. Perth is a beautiful city, and a big part of our access guide countdown to hit all the major metro zones in the wacky and wonderful Land of Oz.

So far, local airports and airlines have been a little hit-or-miss with accessibility, and that’s a shame. Perth Airport is pretty terse about accessibility within the terminals, but you can get a wheelchair by calling ahead to the airline you’re flying with. Better news is provided by official outlets: the City of Perth website affirms its commitment to universal access in a glowing and detailed listing of accessibility features, including transit, parking, streets, and buildings. Ramps, tactile indicators and audible street signs are common throughout the city. For a more whimsical take on the city’s attractions and offerings, try Perth Tourist Centre Online.

Need a little help getting around? Swan Taxis’ Easy Access Perth fleet is totally wheelchair accessible. Captain Cook Cruises has some accessibility on cruises, but can only accommodate manual wheelchairs, and any assistance needed must be provided by members of the wheelchair user’s group.

The best all-inclusive access guides for Perth and Western Australia generally are provided by You’re Welcome Western Australia, a handicapped organization that advocates for universal access. Using their sophisticated search features, you can search for specific accessibility features like parking, restrooms, accommodations, beaches, and more in virtually every city and town in the region. Info is provided by volunteers or business owners, and seems pretty sound. There are 24 accessible hotels listed at the time of this writing, with very detailed run-downs of just what adaptations are available.

For past beachfront destinations (like my own home state, Florida) we’ve discussed beach accessibility in depth, and seen a lot of intriguing new wheelchair designs to help everyone get out on the sand. Information for Perth is a tiny bit more scant, but there’s a good report from the news site Local Government Focus. In summer 2008, a bold new pilot project aimed at increasing accessibility at popular beaches was launched. Focused largely on North Cottesloe Beach, with the North Cottesloe Beach Surf Living Saving Club at the forefront, aimed to establish special beach chairs and other features.

Naturally, I can’t get out of Perth without a wave to the accessible restaurant database at eatability. AOL Travel has the hookup on accessible hotels in the city, and so does PleaseTakeMeTo. The giant observation wheel known as the “Wheel of Perth” is accessible and loans wheelchairs. For more accessible attractions, see the article from WheelieGood, which provides total access guides for Western Australia. Places to stay, parks, beaches, and all kinds of other sights are a click away!

Would you believe there are still more cities, more attractions, and more vital info to share on Australia? It’s time for me to take a little breather, but we’ll be seeing each other again real soon – in Darwin, in Adelaide, or maybe in your own backyard! Thanks for visiting, and adventure on!


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Disabled Travelers Australia Series: Sydney /1/blog/2010/07/14/disabled-travelers-australia-series-sydney/ /1/blog/2010/07/14/disabled-travelers-australia-series-sydney/#comments Wed, 14 Jul 2010 07:10:13 +0000 /1/blog/?p=812 Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Harbor Bridge
Photo by: Claire Cresswell (Stock Exchange)

Good day, everybody!

Disabled Travelers’ Australia access guides are shaping up nicely, as we’ve hacked through the Outback and visited the capital, Canberra.

Now we have what’s arguably the most famous city in Australia in our sights: Sydney!

Home of the world-famous Sydney Opera House, now the most recently constructed UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Earth, situated in the city that’s easily the biggest tourist draw on the whole island. Without further ado, let’s explore!

It seems only fair to begin with the Opera House, which has its own comprehensive accessibility page. Virtually everything in the Opera House is accessible to some extent (usually a great extent!) and maps and detailed information about getting there, getting around, and enjoying what’s on offer is available from the main site.

Sydney’s Accessibility Test is an enlightening endeavor by The Sydney Morning Herald and former wheelchair tennis champion David Hall, who teamed up with the paper to lead an adventurous tour through the city’s transportation system, attractions, and restaurants. The result is a five-minute video that gives a good, street-level view of the accessibility situation in Sydney. Getting around is made easier for handicapped travelers by Zero200, the centralized service for wheelchair taxi booking in Sydney. You’ll also want to know about the local accessible buses, and learn all about accessible cruises from Matilda Cruises. (Psst: public ferries are accessible too!)

Wheelchair Accessible Sydney is an established tour operator that provides customized sightseeing and shopping tours through the city. Some of their most beloved itineraries include views of Sydney’s Harbor, the towns and attractions of the nearby Blue Mountains, and the Hunter Valley Wine Tour. Australia has many fine and historic vineyards, but accessibility conditions are checkered, so this may be the best way to enjoy this part of the complete local experience! Also check out the Wheelchair Accessible Tours listed over at Australia in Style.

If you’re going to Sydney, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the Central Business District, which is the at the heart of a major accessibility initiative. Accessible transportation, parking, and other handicapped travel resources are available through the City of Sydney website linked above. Local train stations that are wheelchair friendly are listed as part of The Rocks Wheelchair Accessible Self-Guided Tour, a private site. For wheelchair accessible attractions, check out My Fun, the centralized database of info for Sydney’s best parks, resorts, and points of interest. The search function gets you at-a-glance results on which sites meet your needs. For example, a quick search reveals that famous Sydney Tower Skywalk is now accessible.

Next time on Disabled Travelers, we’ll take another big bite out of Australia with a journey to Brisbane, the third-most populous city! We’re not going to be done until we’ve been everywhere and done everything in Oz … so just think of July as “Down Under” month, and adventure on!


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Handicapped Travel Resources for Summer Travel and Beyond /1/blog/2010/06/14/handicapped-travel-resources-for-summer-travel-and-beyond/ /1/blog/2010/06/14/handicapped-travel-resources-for-summer-travel-and-beyond/#comments Mon, 14 Jun 2010 07:05:02 +0000 /1/blog/?p=759 Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro
Photo by: michelmond (Stock Exchange)

Howdy, folks! Here at Disabled Travelers, we’re gearing up for the big summer travel season. As I mentioned in previous posts, it’s off to Berlin and many other destinations. But before I go, I’ve rustled up some handicapped travel resources to help you out during this often hectic time of year. A high volume of both able-bodied and handicapped travelers jet off to enjoy the summer months abroad, but that’s no reason that getting where you’re going can’t be enjoyable and easy for all.

We start with Travel Tips for Individuals With Parkinson’s Disease from AllVoices. Parkinson’s is a central nervous disorder that can have a range of movement, speech, and other symptoms. It can complicate travel, but a little extra planning will take the sting out of unexpected issues, whether you’re headed around the country or around the world. The American Parkinson’s Disease Association also has a variety of useful information.

To my surprise (I’m not sure why I never thought of this before!) the State Department has several brochures featuring useful pointers, reminders, and insider knowledge for world travel, including Tips for Travelers with Disabilities and several other valuable publications linked on the same page. Speaking of the State Department, please, please, please be aware of travel warnings for U.S. citizens issued by the government. Thailand, for example – though the subject of one of our quickie Asian access guides a while back – is considered dicey until things calm down from the current state of emergency.

When dealing with airlines, it seems like there’s a new complication every day. Baggage check fees have steadily gone up over the last 18 months, and there are more hidden fees and new rules than ever before. Don’t think you’re the only one who’s noticed: the website for popular NBC morning show Today just released a handy article: Screwball ticketing schemes and how to avoid them. Great information for cutting costs and avoiding ugly extra fees that you’re sure to find useful in your vacation plans!

For those who may be facing their first long flight with a wheelchair, you can turn to one of the most respected international handicapped organizations, the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality, for How to Travel by Air With a Wheelchair. Access for Disabled Americans, a smaller, U.S.-based organization, follows up with more terrific air travel tips for wheelchair users. There are also a few step-by-step handicapped travel stories for North American destinations, including beautiful full-color photos and a street-level perspective on accessibility.

Every summer travel season offers new opportunities to learn, grow, and enjoy through travel, and you can bet this is only a small sampling of the latest info in travel accessibility. We’ll be following up and providing even more great links, tips, and information, so be sure to “beat the heat” with Disabled Travelers – and until our next visit, adventure on!


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