A return to travel for wheelchair users – It’s been a long year and most of us haven’t been able to travel internationally for quite some time now. Exactly how and when travel is going to open up again is still largely unknown and we strongly suspect it won’t all happen at once, instead easing gradually for a limited amount of destinations first and then more slowly becoming more accessible. So, whether you have already made travel plans and just hoping they go ahead or whether you are taking a more cautious approach, we have put together a list of top tips of things to think about ahead of time.
1. Keep scouting for updates on the UK GOV website, particularly in relation to the traffic light system and what’s required:
The traffic light system looks like this:
Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into the UK – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday
Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early
Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8
You can see a list of the current red countries here:
And some government tips here: https://www.gov.uk/travel-abroad
Check you have European health insurance cover too, your passport is up to date , check your phone provider has coverage and the roaming charges, and importantly check if you have an appropriate permit. This is particularly important for those travelling with their mobility cars and all their equipment if you’re unable to travel by air.
2. A staycation perhaps?
For anyone who is concerned about travelling abroad, there are plenty of opportunities too take a wonderful staycation in the UK. Last year, I had a wonderful time down in Fowey, Cornwall. A secluded fully accessible lodge, with great access to what Cornwall has to offer.
There are some fantastic holiday operators that can help arrange staycations with accessibility requirements, particularly for those who are not so confident or perhaps don’t have a lot of spare time to research such as:
If you’re looking to do research yourself, you can always take a look at some key wheelchair travel bloggers in the UK such as:
Carrie Ann Lightly
For trips abroad take a look at (just to name a few):
Cory Lee – Curb Free with Cory Lee
Sylvia Curbelo Longmire – Spin the Globe
John Morris – Wheelchairtravel.org
Manon van den Heuvel – Manonvandenheuvel.com
Frank Heemskerk – https://doe-reizen.nl/?fbclid=IwAR3BwEqryDLW3cia33mlqqhmEyxdtztkamUYpizB0CeFqw3Fbx2cdL8JuxU
Asmae – Roll on Adventures : https://www.rollonadventures.com/?fbclid=IwAR1xoU622RKFntUW1pAjnkiXLHa92H-4-LAi3JKWQohTlaChv3SGrdSD5BA
3. Research well on accessible things to do at your destination
Always, always, always make sure you do your own initial research on where you’re planning to visit, even if you plan to book through a tour operator. Being able to figure out if the surrounding area and venues/attractions are going to be accessible and of course interesting for you is paramount to the success of your trip. Often only you can be the best judge on if something is going to work for you.
4. Plan well on how your going to get to your stay (transport, accessible routes, such as changing place locations)
If you are planning a staycation and you’re travelling by car, always be sure to check your route and plan where changing places toilets are going to be. This is a great way to figure how you may break down a long car journey. You can use these links or apps:
If you’re travelling by rail or air, normally you can find information on the train or airport website about changing places or accessible toilets.
Be sure to checkout accessible taxis, buses, trams and trains from airports; these can be a cheaper alternative to private pick ups. But often it’s more convenient to go for private pick up. It also provides greater reassurance.
5. Pack for all eventualities (you never know what might happen) – including extra equipment and back up alternatives
How many times have you gone somewhere and thought, I wish I had packed that, or I wish I had brought some more medication? Due to the amount of uncertainty out there now, no matter where you travel, be sure to pack a little bit extra just in case you get held up somewhere.