Personal Injury team has extensive experience in a wide range of personal injury cases involving full and partial loss of mobility. We have assisted disabled accident victims with planning excursions and holidays. If you are a disabled traveller, fellow-traveller or carer, we hope that you will find some of the following points helpful. " />

Accessible Holidays for Disabled People

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Types of organisations providing disabled holidays
 
There are many charities and organisations that specialise in holidays for disabled people and take care of all the necessary arrangements for you. While there is nothing to prevent you from planning your holiday yourself, specialist holiday providers may save you time and will guarantee that suitable arrangements are put in place to meet your needs.
 
In most cases charities offer group holidays to non-flight destinations. While perhaps the choice of destinations may be more limited, a clear advantage is that charities will often arrange volunteer care support for you throughout your holiday. While this may suit you if you are on a tight budget, it is unlikely to be so suitable for someone looking for an individually-tailored holiday to a far-flung destination.

Private organisations also offer accessible holiday options.  Here, the scope for having your holiday tailor-made to meet your personal needs and requirements is very wide, particularly in terms of destinations.  Private organisations will take care of all necessary arrangements, including flights, accessible hotels, transfers in adapted vehicles and mobility equipment for hire where required. 

A point to watch for is that some companies will charge you up front for checking availability and quoting you for a holiday.  Whilst this fee will be deducted from the cost of the holiday, so in effect you don’t actually pay the arrangement fee, if you don’t book that holiday, this fee will be lost.

Accessible destinations
 
There are many destinations equally accessible for disabled and non-disabled individuals alike.  Frequently, accessible holidays may be organised for destinations as far away as Australia, Canada or New Zealand.  These holidays, would however, require taking a flight.  Extra caution should be exercised before booking holidays in less developed countries, where difficulties with access and facilities may be abundant from arrival onwards.

Depending on the level of disability, most holiday providers are likely to recommend cruising to destinations such as Majorca, Ibiza, The Canary Islands, Malta, Turkey, Cyprus or other Mediterranean countries.  Such cruises can be organised without the requirement to fly to any of the destinations. 

Accessible cruise holidays further afield can also be arranged if you are able or wish to fly as part of your trip.  Holiday providers offer a wide choice of cruising destinations, including South America, The Indian Ocean, The Arctic and Antarctic.   Whilst this may not be the way you wanted to see these destinations, cruising is a way of ensuring that you don't miss out.

 

Flight arrangements to consider

 
If you are booking flights separately as part of your holiday (perhaps if you are staying with friends or family abroad), it is a good idea to bear the following points in mind:

·       It is usually necessary and always helpful to give the flight provider at least 48 hours notice if you have a disability and require assistance boarding the plane. If this is not possible, the airport and airline should do all that is reasonable to meet your request for assistance on the day.

·       If you have a folding manual wheelchair it may be possible for it to be placed in storage on board the plane, within the cabin. Otherwise, wheelchairs need to be stored in the hold.

·       Airlines do not usually have access to a hoist, and will not let you use your portable hoist on board the plane. Airport staff will usually be able to perform lifting and/or transferring if required.

·       The airline may offer reduced fares for carers and companions of the disabled traveller so it is worth enquiring about this.

·       Remember to ensure you have enough baggage allowance.  Many airlines will allow this free of charge.  You need to check.

More information on the facilities available at airports and the assistance provided by airlines will be available from their websites.

 
Insurance

Last but not least, you should always make sure that you have got the right travel insurance in place, both for yourself and to cover your disability equipment. When arranging travel insurance, it is important to declare your disability or condition since standard travel insurance does not cover any illness or health problem that existed prior to your holiday.

Most disabled holiday providers will offer to take care of travel insurance for you, but it is always worth double-checking.

I have been acting for clients for many years that have sustained serious injuries.  A person's disability no longer prevents them from being able to travel the world and visit places that have always been on their "bucket list".   Depending upon a person's disability and their care need, it may be best to do a dummy run and have a holiday in the UK first, so any hick ups or things you didn't think about can be dealt with, without any language or currency worries.  Another option is to visit family or friends around the world who can plan your arrival and are on hand to help out if anything crops up.

As a seasoned traveller who loves planning her holidays and visiting new places, I always ensure that the additional cost of holiday's and all that goes along with them are claimed on behalf of my clients because being able to spend time with family and friends and visit the places you always wanted to see shouldn't be prevented because of an unexpected injury.

 

For further information please contact Claire Howard, a Partner in Blake Lapthorn's Personal Injury Team, on 023 8085 7313 or at claire.howard@bllaw.co.uk

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If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at info@blclaims.co.uk