DisabledTravelers.com Travel Blog » helpful information /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’ “Christmas Eve Eve”: Looking Back on a Great Year /1/blog/2011/12/23/disabled-travelers-christmas-eve-eve-looking-back-on-a-great-year/ /1/blog/2011/12/23/disabled-travelers-christmas-eve-eve-looking-back-on-a-great-year/#comments Fri, 23 Dec 2011 07:05:57 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1116 A huge Christmas tree!

A huge Christmas tree!
Photo by: Christa Richert

Hello and welcome to Disabled Travelers!

If you’ve been a long-time fan of the blog, you know that I usually spend New Year on a little journey: this year will see me in Tampa and Daytona Beach, two of my favorite places.

So, rather than wait ‘til the New Year, I like to take this chance to reflect on the blog and where it’s been over the last twelve months.

A bit ago, we talked about the future of the Disabled Travelers blog, so check that out if you want to get involved in 2012!

For now, here’s where we’ve been …

Some of Our Top Posts from 2011

How to Get Good Travel Advice Online: With the accessible travel community growing fast, I wanted to do a bit more to show my friends on the blog how to hunt up other great disabled travel resources. That was the spirit behind this post, which distills the wisdom of my experience as an intrepid web-crawler seeking out the best in travel. That’s not all, though, as we also chatted a bit about the best forums to get travel advice, putting you on the trail of some great general purpose travel boards, as well as several with a disabled travel twist. Valuable stuff here for you and your travel companions.

Disabled Travelers’ Best Places to Retire: France and Italy: Visit this post and check out the “best places to retire” tag along the side and you’ll find one of our longest-running sets of 2011. Many disabled travelers are reaching that wonderful age when they can leave work behind, and this series was inspired by some real-life questions I got on the topic of retiring abroad. You’ll find our best off-shore picks for retirement, with information on life issues like currency exchange and citizenship — and, of course, facts on the local accessibility standards.

More Good News for Paraplegic Travelers: New “eLegs” Validates Predictions: I love being able to give good news in the accessible travel world, and the eLegs prosthetic is one of the best things to happen in a long time. This experimental technology follows closely on the ReWalk, a similar set of “bionic legs” (or upright walking technology) that may enable wheelchair users to get up and walk. eLegs, a similar device, is designed by Ekso Bionics and go beyond rehabilitation purposes: it’s aimed at consumers. That means we just may see it put to use for travel purposes sometime in the future.

Disabled Travelers Visits China: A sprawling five-part series under the “Accessible Travel in China” tag, these posts aim to demystify the accessible travel secrets of the far east. With a compelling history and an intriguing future, this vast land has a lot to offer. Of course, finding the right disabled hotel or accessible tour operator can be difficult, so we’ve broken down the information in categories for your benefit: tour operators, Beijing, Shanghai, a big resource list, and a summary of all our findings.

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Best Christmas Travel Destinations? The Internet Weighs In /1/blog/2011/12/02/best-christmas-travel-destinations-the-internet-weighs-in/ /1/blog/2011/12/02/best-christmas-travel-destinations-the-internet-weighs-in/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2011 07:05:20 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1099 Christmas tree

Christmas tree
Photo by: Uros Kotnick (Stock Exchange)

Welcome back to Disabled Travelers! Now that we’ve all had the chance to recover from another delicious Thanksgiving, it’s time to turn attention to the biggest and craziest travel event of the year: Christmas season. Although many folks will have a traditional holiday with family, there are also some great opportunities to go abroad. That leads to a big ol’ dust-up every year over which destinations and deals are best. Disabled Travelers will sort out the hype and give pointers for those bitten by the travel bug this December.

Global Grasshopper has a list of 10 Alternative Christmas Holidays and all of them sound really amazing. Note that this is not a list specific to accessible travel, but after reading it, I noticed that many of the places on Global Grasshopper’s short list have been covered here on Disabled Travelers; so if any of these catch your fancy, use the search function on the side of our blog to find out more. The top destination? Finland, one of Santa’s favorite haunts! The rest includes New York, Edinburgh, Sydney, and other hot spots.

Frommer’s is one of the most trusted names in travel, so even though this holiday travel article is from back in 2010, I just can’t pass it up. There are some selections here I’m not afraid to say I never would have thought of, such as Tunisia and Hanoi. Just a few of them go a bit further afield of accessibility than I’d normally like, but remember that Asia is also home to a growing number of handicapped-friendly tour operators who can help disabled travelers and their travel companions enjoy the ancient and exotic sights.

For tried and trusted travel spots around the U.S., nothing beats this: Top 10 Destinations for Holiday Lights. New York holds the top spot, naturally, but you might be surprised by some of the other high-rankers throughout the States: Newport Beach, CA, Denver, CO, and even good old Chicago, IL share the top five. Interested in Chicago? Don’t forget about our multi-part series over in the archives. In fact, I even spent a New over in New York City that you can read about for some trip planning tips!

As we get closer to the New Year, it gets tricky to avoid complications and get where you need to go. Start thinking ahead now and you can get the edge to make this the smoothest winter travel season yet! Disabled Travelers will be there to help you every stop along the way, so be sure to keep visiting us. We post in all seasons, 52 weeks out of the year, each and every Friday. Hope to see you next week, when we’ll be looking at the latest disabled travel news and showcasing more about the best travel spots and deals.

And remember: if you’ve got a travel tip, send it to me below!

Happy holidays,


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Happy Turkey Day from Disabled Travelers! Our Holiday Wish List … /1/blog/2011/11/25/happy-turkey-day-from-disabled-travelers-our-holiday-wish-list/ /1/blog/2011/11/25/happy-turkey-day-from-disabled-travelers-our-holiday-wish-list/#comments Fri, 25 Nov 2011 07:05:13 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1096 Mist at dawn

Mist at dawn
Photo by: jupiter60 (Stock Exchange)

Welcome back to Disabled Travelers!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving — I know I did! In fact, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays: family fun, the best food of the year, and a mind to be grateful for what you have.

What more can you ask for? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having high hopes for the future, either; and it’s right around now that, if you’ve been a good globetrotter, it might be high time to start writing that holiday wish list.

So, just for fun, here’s what I would ask for from accessible travel Santa — if I could figure out which resort he’s hanging out at!

A New Smartphone: A reliable smartphone is becoming a must-have accessory for the independent world traveler. There are so many new travel apps every month that it would be hard to even catalog them all! Of course, it’s not easy to keep up with the hardware, either; my trusty first-gen Droid is already showing its age, and there are who knows how many apps still to load on! For a good introduction to some of the most useful programs for travel all around Earth, try Best Smartphone Apps for Worldwide Travel. There are bound to be others, too; I’d wish for one that could hail a taxi anywhere in the world, but that seems to be a good ways off. Still, maybe we’ll see one someday!

A Cruise Around the World: Cruise Critic revealed that accessible cruises make up one of the fastest-growing and most welcoming segments of the accessible travel world. Holland America is still renowned as one of the best cruise experiences for disabled travelers, though there are many, many more. And just about every cruise line nowadays has something like the Holland America “Grand Voyage.” The Grand World Voyage is the most incredible of all, including nearly 50 ports of call! Of course, the price is equally astonishing: it ranges from about $19,000 on the low end to a whopping $67,000 for a 112-day round trip. Definitely my fondest travel dream! But I’d settle for …

A Trip to Oxford: Without a doubt my favorite destination, although Stockholm is a close second (I timed my last visit during the three days of summer.) A “quick jaunt” over to Oxford is a pricey prospect, but always rewarding. It’s one of the UK’s most gorgeous destinations, packed with culture; and as one of the world’s very first college towns, practically every building is historic. Although a lot of efforts have been launched to make even the ancient buildings somewhat accessible, Oxford does have a lot of cobblestones. That necessitates careful trip planning for wheelchair users. Browse the Oxford City Guide for more; as you’d expect, there are Oxford posts in our archives.

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season! Don’t forget, Disabled Travelers will continue its weekly updates every Friday throughout the whole shebang; my next trip isn’t until January, and I’ll even be posting from the road. So, catch you next week and every week! Happy holidays!


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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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Disabled Travelers: Things to be Thankful for This November /1/blog/2011/11/11/disabled-travelers-things-to-be-thankful-for-this-november/ /1/blog/2011/11/11/disabled-travelers-things-to-be-thankful-for-this-november/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 07:29:03 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1088 Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves
Photo by: Craig Goodwin (Stock Exchange)

Hello, and welcome back to Disabled Travelers!

You know, one of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. I love the meal, I love seeing family, and I love the whole concept behind taking some time to reflect on what’s good in life.

As disabled travelers, we face some challenges when it comes to our favorite hobby, but there are actually a lot of things going right in the world of accessible travel these days.

This post will zoom in on some of the high points we’ve hit over the course of this great year on the blog.

Accessible Journeys: Accessible Journeys is a truly incredible travel company focused on fully accessible itineraries for disabled travelers all over the world. With one of the best and longest records in the industry, their group and independent wheelchair-accessible tours have ranged all over the globe. Right now, they’re advertising opportunities in Scotland, Ireland, Peru, and Chile, but this really only scratches the surface of what this amazing team is capable of. Tours, cruises, and safaris are available for Alaska, Egypt, Israel, Kenya, New Zealand, and many other places. Most highly recommended!

Cruise Critic: It’s rare when a site not devoted especially to disabled travel has such great resources that we end up recommending it again and again. Cruise Critic is an exception. One of the internet’s foremost sites for planning a cruise and discussing your experiences before, during, and after, it’s also a haven for disabled travelers seeking the best cruises out there. With Cruise Critic, anyone can join in and get expert advice from other cruise-goers, whether you have questions about mobility or need accommodation for hearing, sight, or medical needs. Stop by for the columns, but stay for the friendly atmosphere.

Nondiscrimination in Air Travel: This new proposal by the Department of Transportation stands to be one of the most important developments in air travel for the disabled in a long, long time. The Nondiscrimination Act will require airport kiosks to feature full accessibility, and will extend accessibility requirements to airline websites. This is a leap forward for those with sight or hearing impairments, as every step of your air journey will now be required to meet the same high standards expected of your time on the airplane. The Nondiscrimination Act isn’t a done deal yet, so if you haven’t gone to the official site to make your comments, please visit! It could make a world of difference!

The Passenger’s Bill of Rights: Horror stories about delayed flights, lost baggage, and all kinds of other inconveniences are on the downward slide nowadays thanks in part to activists all around the country and recent moves by the Department of Transportation. Extended rights for flyers have reduced tarmac time and put new processes in place to keep travelers from getting stranded. Just as importantly, more and more flyers are now informed about their rights. If you have a question, this page from the Department of Transportation provides a great overview of just about everything, including a primer on the rights of disabled individuals in the sky. Browse this before a flight — just in case.

What are YOU most thankful for in travel this year? Let me know below!


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Disabled Travelers Update on Travel in Athens and Greece /1/blog/2011/11/04/disabled-travelers-update-on-travel-in-athens-and-greece/ /1/blog/2011/11/04/disabled-travelers-update-on-travel-in-athens-and-greece/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2011 11:54:26 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1085 The Parthenon, Greece

The Parthenon, Greece
Photo by: milspa (Stock Exchange)

Welcome back to the Disabled Travelers blog!

Today, I’d like to address a concern on the minds of many globetrotters, including disabled travelers and their travel companions; what’s the situation for travel in Greece?

As the birthplace of democracy and haven of so many sites that influenced ancient culture around the world, this proud country has long played host to tens of millions of tourists every year.

With recent economic trouble, many have wondered if they should put off their Greek vacations – and even if it’s safe, how’s the accessibility situation?

We hope to answer both these questions today!

The Travel Situation in Greece

Greece is, and remains, one of the safest countries in the world, with a comparatively low rate of violent crime. However, visitors should be aware that there are some areas – including some neighborhoods near typical tourist destinations – that should be avoided. Theft can be a problem in evening hours. Likewise, with the changing political situation, all travelers should be alert to resources that can protect them. Particularly, stay aware of your local embassy, and notify it when you enter and plan to leave Greece.

Travel to common tourist destinations such as the Acropolis in the daytime. Refrain from night tours, and particularly avoid public transportation after daylight hours. As always, if you have any doubt, use an established and trustworthy tour group. You can choose from local tour groups or larger, international ones – either way, select companies that have a strong focus on accessible travel and custom itineraries. Local insight is the best way to avoid issues, but also check sites like Virtual Tourist for recent advice from other visitors.

Is Athens Accessible to Disabled Travelers?

Any city that maintains traditional, largely untouched historic districts will present some challenges, due to the slowness of accessible travel improvements around heritage sites. Athens is definitely one of these cities, so we recommend caution in developing an itinerary that takes this into account. Despite all this, a lot of progress has been made in barrier-free access in central Athens. Unlike Rome, which is known for its challenges for physically disabled travelers, Athens has a reputation for a progressive attitude.

Here are some of the latest accessible travel links on Athens:

Sage Traveling, Athens: A strong overview of the accessibility outlook in Athens, focusing on such amenities as transportation, dining, and attractions. For further information from the same authors, Disabled Access in Athens offers some insight in the city’s layout that could help you plan your accessible itinerary.

Greece for the Disabled: A very detailed page which includes special disabled hotels, accessible cruises, tour operators, and plenty of facts about some of the ancient landmarks that many folks will want to visit. I was pleasantly surprised to find such eclectic and engaging resources – including “The Best Taxi Driver in Greece!”

Notes for the Disabled in Athens: From the prominent and trustworthy AngloINFO, an introduction to resources and emergency contacts for those staying in Athens. Want to go deeper? Check out Disability Now, a Greek advocacy nonprofit that provides some fact sheets in English. Rumor is you can contact them to get questions answered!

I hope everyone can breathe a little sigh of relief now knowing the situation in Athens is still welcoming to tourists – and that disabled travelers have a lot to look forward to when heading to some of civilization’s most precious landmarks. Thanks for visiting, and drop by next week for more of the latest in global accessible travel. We look forward to having you then!


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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 News Round-Up for September and October 2011 /1/blog/2011/10/14/disabled-travelers-news-round-up-for-september-and-october-2011/ /1/blog/2011/10/14/disabled-travelers-news-round-up-for-september-and-october-2011/#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2011 07:05:33 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1071 Australia says hello in this week’s post!

Australia says hello in this week’s post
!Photo by: acadmeic (Stock Exchange)

Welcome back to Disabled Travelers!

It’s your home on the web for the latest and greatest in the rapidly expanding world of accessible travel: featuring everything from global access guides to disabled hotel listings to fun tips and treats for you and your travel companions.

This week is our regular news coverage, delving deep into what accessible tourism has to offer and letting you know just who is doing what and where!

In September, I got so excited about Spain and big changes in accessible air travel, I plum forgot to do a news post.

So, check back next week for a few more choice headlines.

Paving the Way for Travelers with Disabilities: You know that things are good when The Today Show gets involved. Today Travel partnered with IndependentTraveler.com to produce this nifty little article about the growing prevalence of accessible travel facilities. It includes some great tips, and a list of the best disabled travel resources on the Web. This includes — wouldn’t you know it? — our very own site and blog! Thanks, Today!

4 Aussie Adventures for the Disabled: Australia used to have a reputation as something of a rough wilderness for disabled travelers. As this article shows, though, things are getting better and that perception is changing fast as Australia’s natural wonders become more and more accessible! There are some great suggestions here, especially for nature lovers: dolphins, penguins, and the Great Barrier Reef all feature prominently in these suggestions from CNN Go, part of CNN International.

Top Trips for People with Disabilities: From one of Australia’s foremost online news portals, the great news that Australians are taking the lead as pioneers for disabled travel. There are lots of fantastic destinations listed here, well outside of “Oz” — and I’ve got to admit, quite a few that I never thought about. In addition to some lovely spots around Australia, you can hear about Bali, Hong Kong, and cruising the South Pacific. Check out the awesome links to destination info and service providers!

Disabled “Feel Excluded” From Overseas Travel: Way over on the other side of things, this article from the UK site Travel Bites lets us know that there’s room for improvement even in one of the most accessible destinations on Earth. Disheartening news as we learn that more than half of disabled people surveyed in the UK feel that travel agents don’t meet their needs. That’s a shocking state of affairs, since UK law has banned any form of discriminatory treatment from travel providers since 1996.

That’s it for today’s Disabled Travelers blog, but I hope to see you again next Friday and every Friday. Keep watching this blog … and, of course, The Today Show. Cheers!


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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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Disabled Travelers: How to Get Good Travel Advice Online /1/blog/2011/09/16/disabled-travelers-how-to-get-good-travel-advice-online/ /1/blog/2011/09/16/disabled-travelers-how-to-get-good-travel-advice-online/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2011 07:01:03 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1055 Caribbean sunshine

Caribbean sunshine
Photo by: yinance (Stock Exchange)

Howdy, Disabled Travelers fans!

Welcome back to the blog!

As the Web gets bigger and more and more people out there start providing news and views for the disabled traveler community, I’ve found myself including a resource that used to be quite rare: discussion forums.

I like to err on the side of caution when it comes to these, because they can be a mixed bag.

But more and more high quality forums are popping up, so in today’s visit we’ll be talking about how to get the best travel insights from your favorite forum.

There are a few general rules for navigating a forum successfully …

Check the dates of posts. Often, when disabled travelers look for info on a trip, some of the first links that come up are from forums. Unfortunately, search engines don’t make any distinction about the age of the post; that link could be from last week or last year. While some of the advice folks give on discussion boards doesn’t go out of date too quickly, there are situations where things change quickly: for example, I recently came across a raft of posts about how safe and secure Cairo is – from before the revolution.

Check out the folks who answer. Every once in a while, travel forums on even the best websites will be infiltrated by biased parties. They might not be scammers, exactly, but they’re always sure to promote the same product, service, trip, or guide – probably because they’re getting paid to do it. This becomes obvious after a while, and the average spammer will have to move on to new accounts on a fairly regular basis. If a user just joined the boards, take their advice with a grain of salt until you get to know them.

Pick your boards carefully. Likewise, some forums are “sponsored” by travel companies. This is fine if you’re interested in signing on to their tour or staying at their hotel, but competing services might not get a fair shake in that kind of environment. There are some boards that are so big and well-established that you can pretty much expect fair treatment, though. Both the age of the website and whether they have community standards – are there moderators? Do they keep folks in line and on topic? – count for something. The older the site is, the more it’s had to do for its visitors to stay relevant over time.

Ask good questions. The more specific you are about your question, the more others can help you. “Tell me about Madrid” is a pretty huge topic and one that’s probably better served by the place-specific internet guides out there. If you ask specifically about hotels, attractions, the weather, and so on, you’ll probably get more responses, and each one you get will tend to be more detailed. Then you can start up private conversations with the people who chimed in – they’re usually more than happy to give you the skinny.

Start with local or regional forums. Posting your question in the right place makes it a lot more likely to get a good response. If you’re visiting one of the larger travel forums, such as TripAdvisor, start in a forum dedicated to where you’re going. If your question is about accessibility issues, such as disabled hotels, then see if there’s a forum especially for accessible travel information. If there is (and they’re around more and more these days!) post your question both there and in the local forum.

Thanks for dropping in! See you next week for more Disabled Travelers!

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