People with disability take a vacation just like everyone else. However, they encounter extra challenges that make travel a bit more difficult and sometimes disappointing.
Good news is that more and more airlines, airports and land transport facilities provide services for people with a disability. In part this is due to the Disability Discrimination Act (1992). Another reason for the services is that catering to the disabled makes economic sense. These people have the means to travel and explore the best parts of Australia and Sydney.
Travelling with a disability: the preparation
There are still challenges and struggles though. After all, most facilities are still designed for the “average” person. In addition, the facilities may not be enough or good enough for people with disability to make use of. As a result, travel requires extra forward planning especially when it comes to accessibility and ease of transport.
For instance, here at Australia in Style we have wheelchair accessible vehicles that make travel and transport a lot smoother for people with a physical handicap. They can now enjoy cultural, community and private events. Whether the client wants to attend a wedding or see a spectacular show, we make it happen and ensure treasured memories will be the result. In fact, aged care facilities hire our wheelchair accessible minibuses to support their lifestyle programs for residents.
We’re actually in a fortunate time because airports and airlines are bound by the Disability Discrimination Act. There are trained staff who can assist people with disability when it comes to getting around the airport, handling the baggage, getting on and off the plane and more. This makes life a bit easier not just for the disabled but also for the carer and companions. There will always be challenges such as in the use of toilets (space is too small) and the varying policies of different airlines when assisting people with disability. Good thing is we’ve come a long way because there’s now the possibility of exploring more of Australia.
It’s estimated that 88% of the Australian population with disability take a holiday every year. This translates to billions of dollars of revenue to the travel and tourism sector. In addition, physical disability is caused not just by disease and injury, but also of ageing. Australia’s ageing population can also result to a greater need for better facilities and services for the disabled who want to travel. It just makes business sense because once the market is there, opportunities and investors are likely to flock in one by one or all at the same time.
Awesome and treasured experiences
Right now though we have to focus on what’s already here. For example, the Australia in Style team has already helped people with disability discover the Sydney sights with minimal physical activity. Whether it’s the beach or Blue Mountains, we make it happen through our wheelchair accessible vehicles and personalised itineraries.
Travel planning is time-consuming and complex because you have to make sure that facilities indeed can make your travel and tour a smooth experience. After all, we can buy stuff today, throw it away the next day and forget all about it. But the experiences are likely to stay with us, whether they’re good or bad. Our goal here is to make each experience positive and introduce people to various possibilities.
For example, going to the Blue Mountains seems like a remote possibility. But we have already helped people enjoy the spectacular valley views, Echo Point, Blaxland Heritage Walk, cable car over the Jamieson Valley and Wildlife Park (get up close and personal with koalas and kangaroos).
Extra preparation is still a must because clients still have to prepare their medications and consider their present physical and mental health. It’s important to visit the doctor for a basic health check-up and talk about your travel plans and potential effects to your health. Consider also the long journeys and lack of medical facilities during travel and at the destination. After all, it’s hard to enjoy the sights if you’re not feeling too well.
Once you’ve covered the basics, it gets easier to focus on travel. The purpose of a vacation is to leave behind the worries and pressures and let our minds focus on something else. This is only possible if you’ve done extra planning and preparation. This sounds extra work but each second of the vacation could be worth it. You’ll gain an unforgettable experience and perhaps give you confidence on exploring more of Australia’s finest.