There are holiday companies that specialise in providing breaks for people with specific disabilities or access requirements and mainstream travel agents are getting better at providing information on facilities for disabled people.
Be clear what’s on offer
If you’re planning to book a holiday, double check your child’s needs will be catered for and consider asking the company to confirm arrangements in writing. It’s remarkable how many people still think that an entrance up half a dozen steps is accessible for a wheelchair user!
Are you properly covered? Make sure holiday insurance is appropriate; in the small print you’ll probably find, for example, that ‘pre-existing conditions or illnesses’ aren’t covered. If this affects you, look for a policy that suits you better.
Help with holiday costs
If you’re really struggling to afford a break, there are subsidised holidays around, or grants that may help you pay for them. Locally, Brighton & Hove Council’s Children’s Services has a specially adapted caravan in the New Forest for families who have children with additional needs and the cost is subsidised. Call 01273 295530 for details.
The 3H fund runs subsidised group holidays for physically disabled children and provides grants for holidays in the UK when funds are available. The Family Fund can provide grants towards family holidays and the charity Happy Days funds and organises holidays and days out for families with children with additional needs aged 3-17. The Family Holiday Association is another charitable organisation that can help to fund breaks for disadvantaged families.
The national charity Tourism for All (TFA) is a good place to begin when you’re starting to think about taking a break. TFA’s web site has travel advice, transport information, a useful directory that lists places to visit and accommodation to stay in – and much, much more. You’ll also find some really useful web links to other organisations that can help. Visit the Tourism for All website for more information.
The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is a huge online publication that’s packed with ideas and practical advice for planning days out and holidays. All the locations mentioned have been reviewed by disabled people. You can view it for free at www.accessibleguide.co.uk. Disability Now Magazine has a travel section with lots of holiday information. Visit www.disabilitynow.org.uk or you can call to subscribe.
Contact a Family publishes a booklet, ‘Holidays, play and leisure’. It lists organisations that provide holidays and holiday accommodation for families with disabled children. Download it from our ‘downloads’ box on the right.
If you want to travel abroad and you have a child who is dependent on oxygen, you can download this really useful factsheet written by a local parent, Sonya Pettigrew in 2008.