May 11, 2022
Taking a holiday is one of life’s little pleasures; taking time away from the stresses of work and modern life to take in a new environment – whether the relaxing solitude of a rural staycation or the bustle of a city break. Pre-pandemic, Brits enjoyed well over 100 million domestic holidays in 2019 alone, representing billions in domestic tourism revenue and a nation in love with its cities, beaches and countryside.
But for a significant portion of the UK population, holidaying does not purely represent an opportunity to relax; indeed, it can be a new font of stress and anxiety, especially when their needs are not properly met. This portion of the UK population is the disabled community, who in certain cases require the correct provisions in order to travel freely and safely – and in many cases, are underserved.
Accessible travel is not a dim possibility, and indeed many disabled people enjoy holidays unfettered by difficulties relating to accommodations for their condition. This is especially true for those members of the disabled community who have ownership of a static caravan or holiday home. Private transport is typically catered to the needs of the individual, and the home can likewise be catered to individual needs via renovation and conversion.
Barriers to Travel for the Disabled
Of course, not everyone has a holiday home or converted private vehicle. Many of the issues faced by disabled people are found in the form of transport, where, despite provisions made by train and bus operators to provide wheelchair access, wheelchair users are frequently turned away due to mismanagement or staffing issues.
Of course, wheelchair users represent a percentage of a wider disabled community – and not all disabilities are visible. There are many ways in which even wheelchair-accessible modes of transport and accommodation options fail to adequately cater to disabled people. Certain autistic people may require access to a sensory-friendly environment, to prevent the overloading of the senses; the closest to such an area in public transport is the quiet carriage of a train, while destination accommodation will often have no such provision.
Removing Barriers to Travel
The onus should be on the various public transport and accommodation providers to make holiday travel a less stressful experience for disabled people. However, there are ways in which disabled people can make their own holiday arrangements, and ensure their comfort throughout.
In the event of caravanning or travelling to a private holiday home, conversion is a simple process. Step-free access can be created with the installation of ramps, while soundproofing and black-out curtains can be used to create low-arousal environments in the caravan.