Organizing a vacation with a disabled person can seem complicated: how to travel in a wheelchair without stress? How to choose an appropriate structure for a wheelchair? What means of transportation to prefer? Better the sea or the mountains for a disabled person? How to know if a museum is accessible? In this article we will give you all the information you need to best organize a vacation for a disabled person and not find nasty surprises during your travels!
The warm weather is finally here and with it, the desire to take time off for a weekend at the beach or in the mountains, or to plan summer vacations. It is so for everyone, including people with disabilities. However, one vacation for a disabled person can represent a very different reality, having to deal with a range of problems that are not always easy to solve or predict. This is because, let's face it, organizing a trip for people with mobility impairments and really getting to know theaccessibility of different destinations is not easy, as tourist information is often insufficiently clear, if not non-existent. There are more than six million disabled people in Italy who, when it comes time to go on vacation, have difficulty finding accommodation and adequate orthopedic aids.
The concept of accessibility from the point of view of legality is developed on the basis of regulations that are not always complied with, and it is also common for tourist information to indicate symbols of the degree of accessibility, but disability associations describe this information as confusing. The fact that a hotel has a wheelchair symbol means that it is accessible to people with mobility problems, but it does not mean that this tourist facility is adapted, because there are many types of functional disabilities. When we talk about people with disabilities, it is essential to plan your vacation as best as possible so that you do not run into unpleasant and unexpected inconveniences once you arrive at your destination.
Hotels equipped for the disabled
If you want to stay in a hotel, In case of reduced mobility, the advice is. ask for some photographs of the adapted room, which must include those of the bathroom and also of the recreation areas, common areas, swimming pools, and activity areas, which must be barrier-free. It is important to take these precautions before arriving because very often a hotel may have rooms [email protected] for the disabled, forgetting everything else. Before booking, therefore, you need to make sure that the rest of the services are also guaranteed.
The most important features for a hotel to call itself accessible are:
- Stepless access
- Automatic doors
- Tables suitable for wheelchairs
- Wide corridors
- Spacious rooms
- Bathrooms accessible to people with disabilities
- Parking near the front door.
These accouterments are in addition to the indispensable features for some rooms without architectural barriers, which generally must be on the ground floor or upper floors but near the elevator and are among the largest and most spacious available in the hotel; the door to the room Must be sliding or opening outward and the switches must be placed below 140 centimeters in height. Bathrooms, with a sliding door or one that opens outward, must have sanitary fixtures that are easy to approach from the front or the side by a person in a wheelchair, there must be safety grab bars, and the shower stall must necessarily have an opening greater than 70 centimeters. Finally, it is advisable to ensure the presence of an alarm bell.
Finally, in the process of selecting a disability-friendly hotel facility, it is important that it be located in a zona accessible and close to public transportation adequate, to avoid surprises when leaving the front door and to ensure that we can move outside the hotel easily and economically. What good is an accessible hotel if it is located in an area with slopes, stairs, or cobblestones?
Museums and attractions accessible to people with disabilities
An accessible museum is not only about the absence of architectural barriers, but also about access to information and communication. Sensory disabled people are often the most affected, forced to be unable to see or touch works of art, or unable to hear or read the accompanying guides. In this regard, it is advisable to inquire in advance about the museums or tourist attractions you wish to visit during your trip.
What aspects should be considered before visiting a museum with a disabled person?
- Instead of steps, there should be some ramps With a maximum slope of 12%
- Ramps must be equipped with handrail, as well as well-marked and well-lit
- Elevators They must be spacious enough for a wheelchair to pass through and equipped with a tattle button panel
- Also bathrooms are important: the sink should be footless to facilitate use by a person in a wheelchair, and the toilet should be 40-50 cm high.
During a trip, it is always advisable to use non-cluttering aidsti, so as not to run into problems with the surrounding space. Mia Medical Italia offers different types of solutions, such as the Slim wheelchair for narrow passages, which can be rented for 1.25 euros per day.
Means of transportation
If the person with a disability or his or her family prefers to arrange their own vacation, it is important to Find out about different means of transportation to figure out which is the most [email protected] to each traveler's needs based on different disabilities. Train, airplane, bus, or ship does not matter if the seat is booked an9cipiently and assistance is required to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Disabled people and train travel
Traveling by train with a disabled person is a comfortable and safe option. Trenitalia guarantees all passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility a targeted service throughout the train journey, including upon boarding the carriage. A request for assistance can be made to the Italian Railway Network (RFI). This service includes. reception upon arrival at the station and subsequent accompaniment to the train, Including a suitcase and wheelchair forklift or a dedicated luggage carrier service.
Disabled people and air travel
In case of air travel with a disabled person, it is important to know that the assistance service is always free of charge, and airlines cannot refuse a reservation by a person with motor or cognitive difficulties.
It is the duty of the traveler himself to inform of his disability. In this case, a request for assistance must be made directly to the airline or travel agency. This request must necessarily be made at the time of booking the flight or a maximum of 2 days before the actual departure. The transportation of a wheelchair or baby carriage, depending on the airline, may also be totally free. Usually, however, boarding is not allowed for electric wheelchairs since they have lithium batteries, so you need to inquire about this as well.
It should be known that not all companies follow the same policy, so it is necessary to inquire properly in the company's website or by phone. It is advisable to report all the necessary information that may come in handy for the company to offer the most complete service possible, for example, it is useful to state whether the disabled person may need medical equipment, whether he/she carries medications, or whether he/she needs a guide dog for example.
Disabled people and ship travel
People with reduced mobility can have all the information they need for the conditions of access to ships by consulting the website of the shipping company with which they intend to travel, or they can request information directly at the counter or travel agency where tickets are purchased. All people with disabilities have right to free assistance also at ports, both during embarkation and disembarkation and during the ship's voyage. Again, it is important to request assistance at least 48 hours in advance from the shipping company when purchasing the ticket. This will notify them of the rendezvous point at the port and the meeting time. If the company requires an accompanying person, it is important to know that the latter will be able to travel free of charge.
Disabled people and bus travel
The disabled person has the right to travel under the same conditions as other people at no additional cost. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to this aspect as well in order to avoid possible scams. In the case of long trips, the person with reduced mobility can make use of a personal assistance service. Again, it will be necessary to notify the company or travel agency of one's disability in order to have certainty about the possibility of using elevator platforms, reserved seats, and wheelchair blocks.
Disabled people and car travel
If you choose to travel by car, be sure to choose the Category that best suits your needs And those of the passenger. If you have to rent a car, make sure it is comfortable and has a large enough trunk to hold the wheelchair or possible walker. Before leaving, you should do all the necessary tests to avoid any problems during the trip. Make sure the car has everything you need by asking the company all the necessary questions! In addition to a wheelchair that fits in the car, a Ramp to facilitate entry into the vehicle, or an electric hoist To facilitate the person's transfer.
Disabled accessible beaches: which one to choose?
In recent years, more and more Italian municipalities have been trying to bring down the Architectural barriers at seaside resorts, making them increasingly accessible to people with disabilities.
An accessible beach presents:
- Organized lidos with wider cabins
- Walkways to the sea that facilitate the passage of wheelchairs
- ami and suitable toilets
- The presence of trained personnel.
Before going to the beach, therefore, it is always best to [email protected] the lido to get all the necessary information for the facilitation of a disabled person. If you choose a beach resort, it is good to make sure that beach and your accommodation are well communicican9ed and that both can offer safe and comfortable mobility.
What about in the mountains? Where to go with a disabled person?
The mountains might seem like the least suitable location for a person with a disability, but that is not the case at all. With some small steps, even a person with a disability can push himself to visit wonderful destinations and enjoy nature.
If you want to plan a mountain vacation with a person with a disability, you should choose a location in the vicinity of an association which focuses on social inclusion and breaking down architectural barriers.
In this way, it will be easy to organize walks and tours with the use of appropriate transportation and with the assistance needed to move around safely. For more information, you can contact a travel agency directly so that you can learn about all the handicapped services offered in the various mountain resorts.
A word of advice? If you want to stay in Italy, the Dolomites are the perfect place for a relaxing vacation surrounded by greenery. In fact, many trails over the years have been cleared of obstacles and made accessible to all.
What aids are needed for a disabled person on vacation?
Depending on the need, there are various technological aids for the disabled that can make both a disabled person's daily life and their vacation better. For those with a disease that impairs motor control, technology can come to the rescue and significantly improve travel experiences.
New technologies have made great strides in favor of mobility. One of the technological aids for disabled people with motor impairments is the walker, which adapts to people's strength and can sense obstacles, all the way to models that interface with other devices and gradually adapt to the patient's needs.
Electric wheelchair or scooter
The electric wheelchair or scooter are aids that give greater mobility and independence to the handicapped. There are electric travel wheelchairs or electric systems that can be adapted to manual wheelchairs. The scooter can be an alternative to the electric wheelchair for greater autonomy and is, in addition, a tool of independence for the disabled.
Electric sick lift
Here, this is the indispensable aid for the daily life of all non-ambulatory handicapped people! It is necessary for all movements from inside from outside the vehicle, but especially in accommodations.
Let's avoid bad surprises
Let's face it, no vacation is perfect, but that's what makes them interesting and memorable! However, it is important to avoid unpleasant surprises by trying to organize as best you can.
Here is a summary of everything to remember to leave with peace of mind:
- A good way to start is to inquire about a possible contribution made available by an institution, the municipality or the region. Depending on the proposal, you can apply for support or a subsidized rate for your vacation.
- Choose carefully the destination to visit. Make sure it is accessible and without excessive architectural barriers, otherwise more than a vacation it could become a nightmare, both for the disabled person and the person accompanying him or her.
- Look for as much information as possible On the activities to be performed offered by the place of destination.
- Be sure to contact all facilities you will go to before you leave, such as hotels, museums, restaurants, swimming pools, etc.
- Don't forget that instead of arranging everything on your own, you can turn to some associations involved in organizing trips for people with disabilities. Tourism for dependent persons is widespread and offers multiple possibilities: from group vacations run by caregivers and social workers, to vacations for disabled persons accompanied by family members.
- Don't be afraid to be demanding And to ask all the necessary questions. You are choosing a location to relax, aren't you?
Remember that a vacation must be a vacation, which is precisely why you need to leave well prepared and with all the necessary information. Whatever solution you end up choosing, in the end the important thing is that your stay turns out to be pleasant, fun and above all affordable.
Happy travels to all!
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