Planning your holiday

Everyone needs a to have a break from their daily routine.

For those who are caring for others or who have a disability themselves, arranging a holiday involves additional planning to ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

There is a huge range of holidays available to suit people with different types of disablement. There are organizations and charities who arrange and provide holidays for people with different disabilities and have experience in catering for people with disabilities.

If you choose one that covers your particular disability, or you are a carer planning for someone with a particular disability, you will know that your particular needs will have been provided for, eg. if mobility is a problem for you, that there will be guaranteed access and assistance if you need it.

This can save you a great deal of time and trouble but could also limit your choice of venue and type of activity. If this is the case, provided you ensure you cover the areas that are essential to your needs, you can always plan your holiday yourself. There is plenty of information available and, provided you make your needs known, people will do their best to help.

Getting out and about

There are so many choices of destinations designed with the disabled tourist in mind.

UK many accommodation providers can participate in the National Accessible Scheme (NAS).

The NAS is a voluntary scheme in which accommodation providers within the tourism industry can participate to accurately promote the facilities they offer to disabled guests or older visitors. The NAS aims to make their services more disabled and elderly friendly by identifying how accessible the accommodation is to those who have mobility difficulties or sensory impairment. If an accommodation provider displays a NAS symbol in their literature on signage, this means that the business meets the scheme’s criteria for providing accessible facilities and services for disabled people.


If you take medication, even if it is occasionally, do ensure that you take it with you and a list of your current medication can also be very useful should you need medical help whilst you are away.

In addition to the amount you will need for your holiday, you should also pack up to another week’s worth to have sufficient to cover any delays such as strikes, ash clouds etc.

If you find yourself without medication or need a check-up, you could do any of the following:


Are you are planning to go to Europe?

If you are planning to go to Europe, make sure that you have a European Health Insurance Card as, although it is not a substitute for travel insurance, it guarantees free or reduced medical costs in all the European Union countries plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. You obtain a card by contacting the health insurance institution where you are insured and which is therefore responsible for assuming your healthcare costs.

You can only use hospitals and doctors signed up to the EHIC scheme. If you are in any doubt, check with EHIC before starting treatment. The card should not be used instead of insurance. This is because travel insurance covers far more, including the costs incurred if treatment isn't free, cancellations, delays, repatriation and baggage loss or theft. So, don't forget your travel insurance

For more info, including a country-by-country rundown, read the Free EHIC Card guide or get one direct from the EHIC website or by calling 0300 330 1350. There is also a very good site ‘Your Europe’ on the DWP site which gives practical information about travelling in the EU.


When making your travel arrangements ensure that the accommodation is suited to your disability.

Ensure that the accommodation owners are able to support your particular needs. For instance, if you have mobility problems, that doors and lifts are wide enough or, if it is needed, do they offer assistance for wheelchair users? Do they offer ground floor rooms? If you are blind, will they provide information and menus in Braille for you?

Some hotels have specially adapted accommodation for people who have disabilities and may offer the following facilities:

Remember, you may have a disability that is not obvious to other people so, to ensure your holiday matches your expectations, be prepared to explain your particular requirements when booking accommodation or dealing with a travel company.

Free holiday

When the stress of trying to make ends meet takes its toll.

you may consider a holiday but this brings another worry... how to afford it? Many people have solved this problem by swopping their homes with friends who live abroad so both families can get their accommodation for free.

If you aren't in the favourable position of having friends abroad able to offer you free accommodation, you can still consider this idea by using websites such as HomeBase Holidays.

You will need to register with the sites. Some will do this for free but, be prepared to pay a membership fee with others. Once you have settled on your destination, don't forget your travel insurance.


Planning a trip overseas?

You will be able to access specific advice on the country you plan to visit by accessing the travel section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 aims to end the discrimination that many disabled persons face and part 3 of the DDA relates to businesses that provide accommodation and other leisure services.

It sets out to ensure that disabled customers of these service providers are not unjustifiably treated in a less favourable manner than other customers for a reason related to their particular disability.

The DDA doesn’t cover travelling by air but does apply in the UK to services such as booking systems and airport services and facilities. To ensure things don’t go wrong, if you will need assistance at the airport or on the plane, make this clear when you book your flight.