The 13th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that 1. Everyone has the freedom to move around and reside within the borders of a state, and 2. Everyone has the right to leave a country, including their country of origin, and also be able to return to it.
Traveling, regardless of age, race, culture, or disability, among others, is a basic human right. The pandemic may have temporarily halted any plans for traveling, especially with the health risks involved, but as the world is slowly adjusting to a new normal, more people may soon go back to traveling and this may once again be a regular activity.
Most people may think traveling can only be enjoyed while you’re young and able-bodied when with the right planning and preparation, this activity can be enjoyed by anyone. Here are some ways you can enjoy traveling with disability and age.
Do your research
Behind a successful trip is a well-planned and well-researched itinerary, especially when you can’t leave anything up to chance. Plan ahead and do your research–from how you’ll get to your destination, what modes of transport will be available to you, where you’ll be staying, and the activities you’ll be doing at your destination.
Do an online search of your accommodation to check out the facility and what services would be available to you there. Check whether your medication, if any, is legal in the city or country you’ll be visiting since some locations may have different drug-related policies. If you have a service animal, check your destination’s restrictions, accessibility issues, or norms that may affect traveling with one.
Look into your destination’s requirements for traveling with one, as well as the policies layover countries may have for this. In planning for your trip, you can also look into your insurance policy and their coverage overseas, and if they don’t, you can make sure to get supplemental medical insurance.
Your research can also include unique activities you can do at your destination, like winter activities for seniors, guided museum tours, or even assisted scuba diving. Cover not only important details with your planning but also things that would make you enjoy your travel even more.
Look at accessibility options
Most services and amenities nowadays are inclusive and cater to different needs. While planning for your trip, you can already check what accessibility options will be available to you. For instance, if you’re traveling via airline, you can check considerations different carriers will have if you’re traveling with any special equipment, if they offer inflight assistance, and if they have policies for special devices like portable machines, batteries, wheelchairs, oxygen, and respirators.
This can also include policies if your equipment gets damaged during the trip. You can also make sure your accommodation caters to your accessibility needs if lifts are available or there are ramps and hand grips around.
If you’re looking to go on a cruise, the cruise industry has worked with the International Maritime Organization to make sure their ship designs can accommodate persons with disabilities.
Check with your doctor before your trip
Before setting off on a trip, make sure to consult with your doctor to review your medical history and travel itinerary before your trip. Your doctor can make recommendations for things to do to keep healthy during your trip, can advise on what to do if something comes up during a long flight, or if there is limited medical access where you’re going. They can provide you with the prescription you will need if you’re taking medication, additional vitamins or supplements to take, and most importantly, you will also need your doctor’s clearance for travel.
Communicate everything clearly
Letting others know of your needs beforehand can make for a more comfortable and enjoyable travel experience. Be transparent, give information about your condition, if you’ll need assistance with anything, or if additional arrangements need to be made to suit you better. Not everyone may be familiar with your condition so it’s better to give as many details as you can about your needs.
The more information a service provider has, the better the service they can provide to accommodate you. You can contact your travel provider or your accommodation ahead to do so and go back to check with them a day or two before your trip. While on a trip, don’t be afraid to ask for help or assistance as well.
Assess and adapt
It’s also important to assess yourself, especially when traveling alone since assistance may not be available 24/7. Some companies offer accessible travel packages that cater especially to seniors, while some also offer group tours that include both disabled and non-disabled persons, but being able to travel will also depend on the extent of your physical or to some extent, your mental ability. Each person’s needs are different, what works for some may not necessarily work for others. Find out what works for you and adjust your activity level to match your condition.
Lastly, enjoy your trip. Planning could involve more time and effort, but this is all to ensure your safety during the trip. Don’t let the stress of traveling with age or disability stop you from having a good time.