Accessible Travel: 10 Ways in Which YOU Can Make a Difference

If you’re reading this then there’s a solid chance that you know, firsthand, just how important good accessibility is. You’ll also know how wonderfully freeing it can be to enjoy some accessible travel, and how difficult it can be at times to find the right resources, places to visit, and businesses that have taken the time to ensure their premises are accessible for all. But what if you want to do more to make a change? Perhaps you are a business owner yourself, looking for advice on what you need to do to make sure you’re heading in the right direction when it comes to accessibility. Maybe you’re a disabled person, like me, and just want to brush up on how to be a better advocate. Whatever your reason for stumbling across this blog post, I’m glad you did.

Exploring the world should be a possibility for everyone, regardless of physical abilities. Unfortunately, many destinations still lack adequate accessibility infrastructure. To try and combat this and to better equip you moving forward, I’ve put together ten steps to help improve accessibility in the future.

1. Spread Awareness: Start conversations about accessibility issues in travel. Share articles, personal experiences, or social media posts to raise awareness among your friends, family, and community. There are many interesting bloggers, vloggers, and disability advocates out there with a plethora of information and resources. The continued sharing of such content is a great way to reach as many people as possible and slowly shift attitudes and opinions.

2. Support Accessible Businesses: If you know of businesses that are doing accessibility ‘right’, then make sure to visit them. Whether it’s hotels, restaurants, or tour operators, supporting these establishments sends a clear message about the importance of inclusivity. Pretty soon other establishments will start to realize that there’s additional money to be made when ensuring their businesses are accessible to all.

3. Provide Feedback: If you encounter accessibility barriers during your travels, don’t hesitate to provide feedback to the businesses and destinations involved. Constructive criticism can encourage positive change. It could be that you’re the first disabled person to visit their premises and they may be completely unaware of how inaccessible their place is. By letting them know, you’re at the very least planting the seed that they may need to make some changes in the future.

4. Volunteer: Get involved with organizations dedicated to accessible travel. Offer your time and skills to help improve infrastructure, advocate for change, or assist travelers with disabilities. I thought twice when adding this point, as I am a big believer in the fact that we as disabled people should not just work for free – so of course, where possible, seek compensation for your work. Nevertheless, if you have some spare time and you want to try and make a difference then offering to volunteer can always be a starting point and a ‘wheel in the door’ as it were. Just remember your value.

5. Educate Yourself: Learn about the challenges faced by people within the disabled community. Understanding these issues can help you become a better advocate for accessibility. This goes for those of us who are disabled, too. I speak from experience when I say that for the longest time, I was completely uneducated about the needs of other disabled folks. I’m fortunate in the fact that I can get out of my wheelchair by myself, I can self-transfer, and I don’t need any specialized equipment apart from my manual wheelchair – but that’s not the case for everyone. So too did I have to learn about the challenges faced by blind travelers, or travelers with a hearing impairment – it’s a wide spectrum of needs out there and it doesn’t hurt to brush up and learn a thing or two – even if you’re a self-proclaimed ‘expert’ in accessible travel.

6. Advocate for Change: Contact local authorities, businesses, and tourism boards to advocate for better accessibility standards. Your voice can make a difference in shaping policies and practices. If you think you’re being a pest – keep going! That’s when you know they will have to listen to you.

7. Be Inclusive in Planning: When organizing group trips or events, ensure that accessibility considerations are taken into account from the beginning. This includes choosing accessible venues and transportation options. This is also where point 5 comes into play. Educate yourself on the needs of everyone – not just your own personal accessibility needs. If organizing a group trip you have to think outside the box and imagine other people with other needs coming to join you on your trip!

8. Promote Universal Design: When in doubt about your country’s regulations for accessibility simply encourage the adoption of universal design principles in all aspects of travel, from accommodations to public spaces. Designing with accessibility in mind benefits everyone.

9. Share Resources: Spread the word about accessible travel resources, such as websites, apps, and guides. These tools can help travelers with disabilities navigate unfamiliar destinations more easily. Just make sure Tabifolk is top of the resources list! 😉

10. Celebrate Successes: Acknowledge and celebrate destinations and businesses that excel in accessibility. Positive reinforcement can inspire others to follow suit.

Hopefully, by reading this you may have either learned something new or been reminded of something you’d previously forgotten. Together we can promote the need for change and the need for better inclusion within the travel industry. 

Published in Travel


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