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Which holiday types are most suitable for those with mobility difficulties?

15th May 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

As summer approaches, as does the holiday season, and booking that all important annual break is often something that many of us look forward to. However, for those with mobility difficulties, the choice may not be so varied, although there are some fantastic options for accessible holidays available. Here, we take a look at the variety of holiday types and the pros and cons of each.

Coach holidays

For those looking to enjoy a staycation in the UK, coach holidays can provide the perfect solution. With numerous companies offering a whole host of fantastic itineraries, you can explore your location with pre-scheduled tours and get to know new people that you are travelling with.

Pros

Coach holidays mean that there will be no need to fly and they are also likely to depart from a location relatively close to home. For this reason, they also provide a great opportunity for single travellers, with guests easily able to get talking to fellow travellers. While long coach journeys may not be suitable, you are never too far from a beautiful destination in the UK, meaning shorter distances are more than possible.

Cons

There may be limited spaces for disabled passengers, so spaces are likely to get booked up quickly, and coach companies may not include dismantling and re-assembling of wheelchairs as part of the package. As with all holidays, it’s important to check with the provider that your specific needs will be catered for, but as many coach companies specialise in travelling for seniors, this should be fairly straightforward to organise.

Holiday cottage stays

Similarly, for people who like exploring on their home turf, holiday cottages can provide the ideal accommodation, especially for people who like to come and go as they please. Many cottage providers have specially adapted cottages available, with options such as downstairs bedrooms and bathrooms, and accessible entrances or stair lifts to make holidays that little bit easier.

Pros

Often described as a home away from home, holiday cottages mean that you can take your break away at a pace that is suitable for you, while staying in a comfortable luxury property. When taking advantage of the adapted facilities that can be provided, you will be able to truly relax and be as active or as lazy as you wish.

Cons

This holiday option would probably not be suitable for people with mobility issues looking to travel alone, in case of an emergency, or if help is needed with certain everyday tasks. You will also need to cook your own meals, or find your own way to the nearby restaurants and supermarkets, which may be difficult for those who do not drive.

River cruise holidays

If you’d like to head further afield to destinations such as Europe, then river cruises can be a superb answer. Combining multiple countries into one trip, it’s a sightseer’s dream, with accommodation and facilities at an incredibly high standard also.

Pros

You’ll be able to visit a whole host of locations while only having to unpack your suitcase just the once, which can be a huge draw for those who do not enjoy travelling. You can also take much more baggage when heading on a cruise, so items such as crutches or a special pillow that you may need for necessity or comfort should be less of a hassle to bring.

Cons

It is unlikely that all of the excursions will be suited to those with mobility difficulties, so it may mean that some may need to be missed. This could be due to narrow, cobbled streets in certain towns and villages, or that access to a particular port of call is limited. The size of the cabins may also be a disadvantage, although it is likely that there will be larger rooms available, but these could be pricier.

Ocean cruise holidays

Ocean cruise holidays can offer even more fantastic locations across the globe, and usually provide more entertainment options and facilities to those on board. This could be a better option for those looking to spend the majority of time on the ship, with further choice of restaurants, activities and more.

Pros

As you will be on a large cruise liner, access is often much easier than on a smaller river cruise ship. Lifts provide access to the many decks, meaning that the majority of areas should be easily reached, and each floor will be on one level, meaning that getting from one room to another should be fairly simple.

Cons

Not all excursions offered during the cruise may be accessible for those using wheelchairs or with mobility impairments. However, with so much to do on board, there will still be plenty to keep everyone occupied during a cruise holiday, whether spending time ashore or on the boat.

Package holidays abroad

This is often one of the most popular choices for those seeking a sun holiday. There are a select few companies who specialise in providing package holidays abroad for the disabled, such as Enable Holidays, while many standard booking agencies also offer options which cater for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.

Pros

Many choose sun holidays for ultimate relaxation, so those with mobility restrictions will not need to worry about the holiday being too active for their capabilities. Many hotels are able to provide rooms on the ground floor, with all-inclusive bars and restaurants situated on the same level.

Cons

If you have fully discussed your specific needs with a holiday provider and they are happy to ensure that you will be fully catered for, then it may be that you experience no difficulty on a package holiday. However, these types of holiday can often provide more obstacles than the other options previously mentioned, as there is usually more travelling involved and less organisation with regards to day trips. It’s also worth bearing in mind that many countries have a hotter climate than the UK, so it’s important to remain hydrated and not spend too much time in the sun.

Image Credit: Highways England, Simon Harrod, Henry Burrows, Christine McIntosh, Simon_sees, Mathias Apitz (Munchen) (Flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.