DisabledTravelers.com Travel Blog » personal /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’ News from the Road: Back to Chicago! /1/blog/2011/07/15/disabled-travelers-news-from-the-road-back-to-chicago/ /1/blog/2011/07/15/disabled-travelers-news-from-the-road-back-to-chicago/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2011 07:05:14 +0000 /1/blog/?p=1016 A view from Chicago

A view from Chicago
Photo by: Julian Boswell (Stock Exchange)

Hello, everybody! Today on Disabled Travelers, a special blog post to let you know what your humble host is up to. Yes, I had expected to do a full-on news post this time around and there are still some things I’d like to share, but first a little tidbit from me to you: I’m traveling to Chicago this week, for the second time in about a month, and that means you can expect a sequel to one of our most popular posts. Let’s quickly review as I pack up …

Disabled Access: Chicago was one of my first posts here on Disabled Travelers, way back in January of 2010. That post was actually inspired by a reader request, and it’s still one of my most successful: in fact, folks seem to visit it almost every day, even a year and a half later! Well, one thing led to another and I soon found myself writing a sequel, appropriately entitled Disabled Access: Chicago, Part 2.

At the time I wrote these, I had only spent a little time in the Windy City, but signs were very positive. With plenty of disabled hotels, lots of accessible attractions, plus resources like The Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities and Easy Access Chicago, this really seemed like a welcoming place. I’ll be visiting friends over there, taking in an eclectic collection of sights before I head back to tell you all about it. With luck, I’ll learn a little more about the Windy City firsthand and be able to field your questions, too!

And what’s on my itinerary so far? I’ll be visiting with a bunch of friends for a semi-annual get-together, so plans are a little bit in flux. I do know that we’ll be heading to the Medieval Times Chicago Castle, and possibly Blue Man Group. Personally, I’ve always wanted to see Chicago in Chicago, but we’ll see!

And what’s going on elsewhere in the world of disabled travel? Well, you might want to skip this one from Bloomberg if you’re about to get on an airplane: TSA’s Forced Indignities Don’t Make Us Safer. Among the recent gaffes are some involving seriously ill, wheelchair-bound patients, so travel companions might want to take a look. The Very Unaccommodating Skies builds on this theme with a discussion of the challenges facing the European Union in its efforts to make air travel accessible.

The bottom line? Things are rough up there, and they’re in the middle of getting worse before they get better. Disabled travelers should visit the Association for Airline Passenger Rights and its Passengers With Disabilities page. Learn exactly what your rights are before you hit the terminal: it’s your best defense!

Before I go, a quick tip of the hat to Miss Wheelchair Wisconsin, who sources report is in the midst of raising money to travel to the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant in Michigan. All of us at Disabled Travelers are really hoping she gets to compete!

As for us, Disabled Travelers will be back next week – but right now, I have a plane to catch!


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Disabled Travelers’ 2011 Travel Resolutions (Just a Bit Early!) /1/blog/2010/12/17/disabled-travelers-2011-travel-resolutions-just-a-bit-early/ /1/blog/2010/12/17/disabled-travelers-2011-travel-resolutions-just-a-bit-early/#comments Fri, 17 Dec 2010 07:01:56 +0000 /1/blog/?p=892 Where in the world is YOUR next vacation?

Where in the world is YOUR next vacation?
Photo by: Sachin Ghodke (Stock Exchange)

Hello, everybody! Are you excited for the holidays yet? I just finished decorating the house, myself, and I’m looking forward to all the excitement of Christmas and New Year.

For most of us, this is a time of reflection where we take stock of what we accomplished and plan for the future.

So, to help encourage all the disabled travelers out there, I’d like to talk about my own “travel resolutions” for this year. I know it’s a bit early, but you can never start too soon if you want a fun and safe trip!

Resolution #1: Take Another Trip in the U.S.

Ever since my first journey abroad, to London and Oxford, I’ve been doing my best to visit new locales throughout Europe every few years. Naturally, this requires a lot of saving up and big-time planning … so finally, my friends have suggested I take my next trip in the good ol’ United States. Now, there are places throughout the U.S. I’d like to visit. In fact, I’ve been meaning to take a camping trip for a while now; drop by AllCampgrounds for a great overview of accessible state and national parks.

But, not all of my usual “travel buddies” are camping enthusiasts. I wanted something unique, so with some encouragement, I finally decided that my next adventure would be in Sin City itself: Las Vegas, Nevada. A while ago I posted a review of accessible hotels in Las Vegas in response to a viewer question, and I’ve heard good things about the area – there are a lot of businesses that are mindful of disabled travel needs and competing actively for your tourism dollar. But, that said, I’ve never actually been to Vegas – heck, I don’t even know how to play poker!

But I can’t resist the lure of a completely new travel experience, so look for my posts on this sometime around mid-year.

Resolution #2: Try Some Place “Wild”

Now, by this I don’t mean the Outback, though Disabled Travelers has been there twice: once to talk about getting around and once to highlight top accessible attractions. What I crave is something to see that most folks don’t even think about when they’re on vacation. I know this might pose certain accessibility challenges, but as it happens, I came across just the place while reading the news a few days back. Apparently, Ukraine is lifting travel restrictions on the Chernobyl disaster site.

(A good base for this is the beautiful city of Kiev, which I’ll be covering in a post soon!)

Don’t get me wrong – I have mixed feelings on this kind of place becoming a “tourist trap,” and it’s wise to wait and see how local authorities will handle increasing traffic through the area (some visitors are already permitted.) At the same time, sites like Chernobyl have a lot to teach, and I think it’s good for world travelers to be daring and move off the beaten path when we can.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this and I’ll post new developments in the blog!

Resolution #3: Learn to Use a Camera!

I have to admit, I’m no hotshot when it comes to cameras. True, some places are just plain hard to photograph – Notre Dame comes to mind, for those daring enough to flout the warning not to photograph the interior – and sometimes, things happen a bit too fast to center in your lens. But I’m the kind of guy who loves travel photos, and even with modern digital cameras, there’s a lot of skill that goes into taking really excellent pics.

Of course, there plenty of neat ways to enhance your trip. Great photography is definitely one, as long as you don’t find yourself looking through the viewfinder too much. Learning a bit of the local language is a definite help, depending on where you’re going. (For example, it was surprisingly hard to find someone to help in English while visiting Paris; but most folks in Stockholm were very fluent.)

So, what’s your favorite way to spice up your trip? Do you have a special gadget, a skill, or any other tricks that help you get the most out of your journeys? Do you have a travel resolution you’d like to share, or even a recommendation to help me achieve mine?

If any of these apply to you, Disabled Travelers wants to hear more! Feel free to contact me – now or any time – by commenting on this entry or sending me an email at my new address: disabledtravelers@gmail.com I’ll be glad to hear from you!


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November News Round-Up and More on the “New” Disabled Travelers /1/blog/2010/11/19/november-news-round-up-and-more-on-the-new-disabled-travelers/ /1/blog/2010/11/19/november-news-round-up-and-more-on-the-new-disabled-travelers/#comments Fri, 19 Nov 2010 12:14:14 +0000 /1/blog/?p=875 New York City could soon be more accessible than ever ... and YOU can help!

New York City could soon be more accessible than ever ... and YOU can help!
Photo by: clemmesen (Stock Exchange)

Howdy, all! On today’s Disabled Travelers blog we’re going to take a look at some of the news items about disabled travel that popped up while I was on hiatus. After that, I’d like to share some information about my recent travels and close by asking YOU, the viewer, to help me decide what to cover next in the blog. After all, the holidays are coming and some of the busiest travel times are right around the corner. How can I help you make the most of your trip? We’ll talk about this and much more in today’s edition.

Some of the Latest News on Disabled Travel Around the World

A lot happened in the wide world of disability travel while I was away: both good news and not so good news. From Examiner.com, a controversy is brewing over New York City over the Taxi of Tomorrow initiative. This program is intended to select a modern, purpose-built taxi to eventually take over the entire New York fleet. The fleet currently stands at 13,000 cars, but only about 240 can accommodate wheelchairs!

This is a big deal, and not just for New Yorkers: millions of travelers visit NYC every year! But don’t fret; there’s still a chance that, with a little more attention and effort, the “taxi of the future” will be more accessible than ever. Want to help? The Taxi and Limousine Commission wants your feedback on the Taxi of Tomorrow, so go ahead and write in! You won’t regret it, and I’ll be sure to update when the final design is unveiled!

One of the most challenging parts of travel for any wheelchair user is ensuring the well-being of your chair, particularly if you use an electric wheelchair. Exciting news out of the United Arab Emirates: a solar-powered wheelchair broke a distance record, taking a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest motorized wheelchair journey after traveling just under 900 miles across part of the desert country. The new record holder, Mr. Haidar Taleb, has suffered from polio since age four. Though his chair was custom-designed for the race, could mass production be far behind?

Traveling in the UK? Throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, trains are ubiquitous. In fact, it’s possible to travel the length of Britain and arrive in Scotland in as little as two hours by means of the national rail system. But not all trains are created equal: and if you’re thinking about visiting Wales, you might want to look at other transit options. A recent BBC report revealed trouble on the trains for wheelchair users in Wales. The expose was conducted by Simon Green, chairman of the Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People. Green’s work has elicited comment from the local rail authority, which claims to be spending 85 million pounds to improve their stations in Wales.

Your Turn: A Peek at the Future of the Disabled Travelers Blog

I’ve been going through your recent comments and I’m very happy to see so many of you are interested in seeing our blog keep rolling along! I’d especially like to mention a comment from Catherine, who shared her new blog about holidays for the disabled. Great work, Catherine! I hope you’ll keep it up. I was also asked some great questions; I’ll talk more about Rebecca’s query, which places I’ve found easiest to travel, at length in a future post. For now, I’d like to mention my upcoming travel plans.

My last big trip was the European holiday I discussed a bit on the blog, taking in London, Berlin, Stockholm, and Krakow. Recently, I got to enjoy a great trip to Mission Bay in San Diego, which really opened my eyes to the terrific vacation opportunities there! My next “big” adventure is quite a while in the future, and I’ll be visiting Monaco, which I talked about in a previous post. With luck, some of my good friends will be joining me – but it’s a BIG excursion for such a tiny country, so it won’t be for quite a while!

Now that we’re back, I’d like to hear from you. Where have YOU found the best travel opportunities? Disabled hotels? Places to enjoy – or avoid? And just as importantly, what would you like to see me do next with the blog? I look forward to hearing from you, and hope to visit with you again next week …


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The Great Disabled Travelers Finale: Some Final Words From Si /1/blog/2010/08/31/the-great-disabled-travelers-finale-some-final-words-from-si/ /1/blog/2010/08/31/the-great-disabled-travelers-finale-some-final-words-from-si/#comments Tue, 31 Aug 2010 15:18:02 +0000 /1/blog/?p=867 An Oxford sunset

An Oxford sunset
Photo by: Sara Haj-Hassan (Stock Exchange)

Howdy, all! It’s been great sharing travel tips with you and whipping up access guides for your exotic travel destinations.

I do hope you’ve found Disabled Travelers useful, and that you’ll keep rolling wherever your urge to travel takes you!

Sadly, this will be my final post on our blog, so I thought I would take the time to share a couple of personal memories about my favorite travel destinations.

Naturally, I’ll include some accessibility information so you can join in!

Oxford: Oxford is the first “university town” in the English-speaking world, and has been hosting international scholars — the first of these from France — for thousands of years. The university buildings are spread out across a bit more than seventeen square miles, and are totally intermingled with the town proper. Students are divvied up into “colleges,” all with their own focus and culture. Tourists come from all over the world to see the ancient buildings, housing research libraries, meeting places, and living space. I can honestly say that Oxford was the origin of my love of travel, as my first trip abroad was to study as a history student there as part of Trinity College.

Official accessibility info from the city here. Transport, including accessible taxis, here. Accessible hotels through AOL Travel here. London-area airports service Oxford; a bus service is available that makes the complete journey in a very short time. See National Express Coach for information on this, and our earlier London post for disabled travel resources focusing on the local airports.

Stockholm: Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and easily the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The city itself is located on 14 islands, so ferry accessibility is both a necessity and a priority for the locals. It also features some of the lowest income inequality in the world and a widely bilingual population. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to get around and communicate. In fact, in my entire time in Sweden, I never looked at a map for more than two minutes without being helped by a friendly local. Be sure to visit the Kingsgarten area, a wonderful place to while away the day; home to beautiful fountains, historic statues of famous kings, and outstanding local and American cuisine. Though I only stopped a few days on a whirlwind tour of Scandinavia, I can’t wait to get back!

Disabled Travelers has done Stockholm here.

Dublin: No matter where you come from, Ireland is truly the greenest thing you’ll ever see. Flying in over that patchwork of amazing emerald shades is a great experience, and that’s before you even get where you’re going. I definitely recommend setting at least part of your Emerald Isle journey out in the countryside, among the rolling hills. (Frankly, even the golf courses are pretty amazing.) Accessibility can be patchy out there, but that’s why there’s a thriving business in bed-and-breakfasts that cater to your every need, including your mobility impaired access needs. This is truly Irish hospitality at its finest, and something I enjoyed recently in a trip to Cork and Blarney.

Disabled Travelers has done Dublin here.

Boston: If you’ve never been to Boston, you might think of it as an immense, rushed, and kind of impersonal city, the way New York can be. But in fact, Boston has a style and a flavor all its own, and often “acts” like a much smaller town. With northeastern influences, a distinct love of seafood, and a long intellectual tradition intertwined with the founding days of the nation, you’ll be amazed at your first visit. While you’re in the neighborhood, please don’t forget to visit Cambridge, home to some of the largest and oldest bookstores in the United States, including a thriving community of family-owned and secondhand stores like you can’t see anywhere else! I definitely recommend a guided tour to point out the historic sites and locales that are literally around every corner. During my wayward history days, a Ph.D. candidate in American history showed me around, and it was truly amazing.

AbilityTrip provides good “one stop shopping” on accessibility in Boston.

Well, folks, that’s it for me! Thanks for joining me on this great trip, and as always, adventure on!


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Si’s Next Adventure: Handicapped Travel in Berlin /1/blog/2010/04/29/sis-next-adventure-handicapped-travel-in-berlin/ /1/blog/2010/04/29/sis-next-adventure-handicapped-travel-in-berlin/#comments Thu, 29 Apr 2010 08:59:39 +0000 /1/blog/?p=673 The Reichstag building in Berlin

The Reichstag building in Berlin
Photo by: Matthias Choules (Stock Exchange)

Hello, everyone! Today is the first post in a series I’ll be doing with an eye toward my own upcoming trip, where I’ll be visiting London, Berlin, Stockholm, Krakow, and Dublin. Now, we’ve already covered London and Dublin in previous posts, of course (and they’re known to be two of my favorite destinations) but in the upcoming posts we’ll be looking at access guides and handicapped travel resources for the rest. Then, once I’m actually on my way, a second series of posts will highlight some of my journey. We begin in Berlin, a melting pot containing residents from over 200 nations.

Of course, air travel isn’t all it should be throughout Europe right now. Thanks to ongoing eruptions of an Icelandic volcano, dangerous ash has spread across the airspace in many countries, grounding plenty of flights! Hopefully, this will be resolved soon and Berlin’s three major airports will be back to work. Schofield, Tegel, and Templehof Airports are all located in the Berlin area, and have a joint accessible travel page. If you’re starting off from London, as I will be, you can avoid some air travel with how to travel by train from London to Europe.

Luckily for us, Berlin is one of the centers of the handicapped traveler movement in Europe. Come to Germany’s accessibility page is a valuable hub on accessible attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and more; but it’s hardly the only great resource around. Also swing by Sage Traveling’s Berlin Page for a recommended itinerary for disabled travelers and information on travel agents and tour operators, among others. Just about any topic you can think of is covered within several separate topic pages.

For a variety of tips on transportation and other topics, including facts for deaf and blind travelers, drop by Visit Berlin, which provides a lot of context on the city’s many integration and barrier-free design efforts. AngloInfo’s coverage of Berlin includes more on disabled transportation. Luckily, there seems to be a lot of good public transit, and the overview on AI is thorough enough to help with planning from the comfort of home.

As for hotels, there are plenty to choose from. Sage Traveling also offers a page on accessible hotels. Disability World has a description of a Berlin hotel run by disabled people, and Accessible Accommodations has more info on places to stay. Many upscale hotels, and even some hostels, throughout Berlin have accessible features: for a budget-conscious hostel option with an accessible room, try Baxpax, which offers three locations in the city. And don’t forget the new accessibility search functionality at Hotels.com!

Though no longer updated, Berlin Eating, a section of Gablinger Berlin Tours, discusses many dining spots and includes information on accessibility. Try “The Wheels Come Off” from the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper for a perspective from disabled rights’ lawyer John Horan, who went on a quest to see how well wheelchair travelers can really get around in this historic city. The answer? Mixed results, but several useful links!

Finally, a few of our favorite tour operators have service to Berlin. Visit World on Wheelz and Accessible Journeys, both of which have organized outstanding trips throughout Germany in the past and can always help to meet your special needs. I’ll be “going it alone” this trip, but these two companies come with high recommendations.

In our next post we’ll be moving on to the next leg of my trip: Stockholm. This is one place I’ve wanted to visit for many years, and I’m very excited! Stay tuned for access guides across Europe, and some insights and pics from me once my odyssey begins! Cheers, and adventure on!


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Jeremy and Jodi Have a Baby Girl! /1/blog/2008/01/16/jeremy-and-jodi-have-a-baby-girl/ /1/blog/2008/01/16/jeremy-and-jodi-have-a-baby-girl/#comments Wed, 16 Jan 2008 17:21:06 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/2008/01/16/jeremy-and-jodi-have-a-baby-girl/ I wanted to let everyone know that my wife and I had a baby girl – Sophie Marie on January 10, 2008. She was 8lbs 3oz and healthy as can be so we are enjoying her immensely at home right now. Jodi is also doing very well.

sophies-1st-few-days-56.JPG sophie.jpg

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