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Disability travel tips with Layla and Scope’s CP network

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Tori_Scope
Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,499 Disability Gamechanger
edited April 2022 in Coffee lounge
Layla, who's an intern in our Social team as well as a member of our cerebral palsy (CP) network, has put together some disability travel tips. Continue reading to learn five helpful tips to help you make the most of your travel experience as a disabled person :)

Disability travel tips with Layla and Scope’s CP network

Like many other people, I love to travel! the world! So far at 25, I've had the pleasure and privilege of visiting seven countries (some of which I've visited more than once!). Having the opportunity to immerse myself in cultures and traditions unlike those found in good old England is very important to me; it helps me feel better connected to the space around me. 

Travelling as a disabled person, though, can be very challenging. From the inconvenience of having to navigate new terrains in unfamiliar locations, to the mammoth task of managing airports - there are many pitfalls on the path to reaching the pure relaxation often associated with holidays. 

Here’s a list of five tips to help you maximise your travel experience as a disabled person. In this list, you'll find some helpful suggestions and stories of great (and not so great!) travel experiences. 

Let’s get planning! 

Whilst spontaneous trips can be fun, they lack the structure that enables a disabled traveller to feel prepared for the thrills and pitfalls of their upcoming adventure.  
By considering multiple destinations, places to stay, and transport options, you’ll be able to create a plan that is catered to your specific needs and preferences - hopefully leaving out inconvenient surprises such as access issues. 

Knowing exactly when and where you need to be, as well as the walking distances when travelling by train or plane, are good examples of little pre-planned steps that can take some of the stress out of your journey. 

People’s choice? 

Reviews are a brilliant resource! Many popular review sites have an option to search for keywords. Using this tool could help you find reviews from other disabled people with similar needs to your own, making your search for ideal hotels, restaurants, and other places to go even easier!  

It was reviews that assured me Disneyland Paris was suited to my disability. Using reviews, I learned about services tailored to people with disabilities, and I got a good sense of what the trip would be like for me. 

Layla stood with a Buzz Lightyear statue at Disneyland

Lists, lists, lists 

Once you’ve chosen a great place to take a break, it’s time to make a note of some important info!

Will you need to take proof of your disability to access helpful services? How far is your accommodation from that brilliant theme park? Will it be shorts or sweater weather where you’re staying?

Having organised lists for things like packing, places to go, and necessary documents will not only help you get ready for your trip, but you will also have fun ticking off each task as you count down the days before your getaway! 

Respect your limits 

We’d all prefer to really let loose when we go to a new place. We want to explore, enjoy as many activities as possible, and really take in our surroundings. Amongst this excitement, it’s easy to forget to care for yourself.  

Whether your disability affects your ability to move around, to interact with other people, or in another way, it’s a good idea to think about your limits when discovering somewhere new. Perhaps you can only walk a certain number of steps before you feel tired? Maybe you need to allow time for your social battery to recharge? 

Whatever you need, taking the time to include these examples of self-care on your holiday can help to maximise your time away. For me, having regular rest breaks (or days with a more relaxed itinerary) gives me time to rest my body and save my energy for fun-packed days and nights! 

Enjoy yourself! 

I know how stressful it can be to travel with a disability, and that the enjoyment of getting away can sometimes be dampened by all the extra steps required to make your trip as comfortable and practical as possible. So, my last tip is to relax!  

Sure, some things might not go to plan, perhaps arranging your airport assistance takes longer than expected, or your energy levels are running lower than usual, but you still made it! You planned and embarked on this holiday - now it’s time to reap the rewards of your efforts. If you can, try to lean into any little bumps in the road, and allow yourself this time to take a break from your everyday reality! 
 Layla stood with a Mike Wazowski statue at Disneyland

I love exchanging travel stories with my fellow members of Scope’s CP Network.  
As part of the network, I have a chance to meet monthly with others who have CP, as well as allies to the community. There, we share our experiences, offer ways to support each other, and brainstorm the best ways to contribute to Scope’s efforts towards achieving equality for disabled people. 

The CP Network is always looking for new members, so why not join us? Email networkcp@scope.org.uk to get involved.

If we don’t get a chance to meet at our next meeting, then I wish you all good luck with your travel plans, and bon voyage!  

National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

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