Travel Advice for Disabled, Seriously Ill and Elderly People

People with physical or mental disabilities, the seriously ill and the elderly can find travel challenging.

Our disabled travel advice guide contains all the information that you’ll need when booking, preparing for and undertaking your accessible holidays. We’ve created this guide to make things a bit easier for travellers with physical or mental disabilities, the seriously ill and the elderly; the VIPs that travel on our Jumbulance coaches and their companions who provide assistance.

We hope you find it useful and that you have a great break!

Planning your trip

Recommended books and websites
When planning your accessible break, books and websites can be great sources of inspiration, and information. Our favourites include ‘The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain’, which is available free to blue badge holders and The National Trust website, which is another place to find accessible attractions around the UK to help you decide on a location. You can also use the Visit England website for the same purpose.

Planning to travel further afield? This article provides information on Europe’s most accessible cities, and this Lonely Planet article lists the world’s most accessible locations.

Financial Assistance
Research the various grants that are available for less abled holidaymakers through local charities, medical practitioners and social services. For example, respite care budgets.

Call ahead
Once you’ve decided on your accommodation and travel providers, call ahead and provide details of travellers; their disabilities and their specific requirements. This will give them time to make any extra arrangements that could make your stay or journey even more enjoyable, for example, a wheelchair accessible room on the ground floor.

Before you go

Medical/Doctor’s information
It’s a good idea to carry medical information about yourself, any medications you take and your doctor’s details at all times, just in case. You could also get this information translated into the language that is spoken in your destination country.

Stock up on medication
Consult your doctor and pharmacist before you leave for your holiday to ensure that you have packed the right amount of medication for the time that you will be away, including extra supplies if necessary.

If you are flying as part of your holiday, carry your medication in your hand luggage as you could be separated from your larger suitcase. It’s also a good idea to have a doctor’s letter to hand showing your diagnosis, drugs and treatment.

If you suffer from extreme motion sickness, you may wish to contact your doctor’s surgery before you travel so that they can provide you with a remedy to help ease your travel sickness.

Finally, vaccinations are required in some parts of the world, so ask your doctor about this in good time before you go on holiday to ensure that you are fully prepared to travel to your chosen country.

Be sure to check that your passport is within its expiry date before travelling to the airport to avoid any surprises. If you still need to apply for a passport, there are free services to help with passport applications for the disabled.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
An EHIC card allows you to access state provided healthcare in Europe either for free or at a reduced cost. It is not a replacement to travel insurance as it does not cover medical expenses or repatriation, but insurance companies strongly recommend you have one. The card is free to obtain and can be applied for here.

Travel Insurance
You’ll still need travel insurance, even if you have an EHIC card. It’s a good idea to take out your travel insurance immediately after you have booked your flights and accommodation so that you can take advantage of cancellation cover in case an unforeseen event, such as a health-related issue, should cause you to cancel your trip unexpectedly.

Furthermore, the cover will include loss of personal possessions and medical expenses while on holiday, including emergency assistance and repatriation. The terms of any policy should be read very carefully and understood thoroughly before taking out the insurance.

Sun Protection
Sunburn isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s dangerous. Stock up on sunscreen with an appropriate SPF factor and also pack a sunhat to avoid burning your head.

If you will be spending a great deal of time in a wheelchair during your break, bring a cushion to add to your comfort. Before you travel, be sure to check sure the tyres are pumped up sufficiently and bring a safety belt if undertaking outdoor excursions.

If you use an electric or motorised wheelchair, be aware of its dimensions (width, depth and height) as well as weight, to ensure your mode of travel or destinations are fully accessible. It may be necessary to enquire beforehand to avoid disappointment on your holiday.

Label all of your luggage, including mobility aids, so that in the event that it goes missing someone can contact you if they find your luggage.

If we can answer any more questions on travelling with disabled, seriously ill and elderly people, please get in touch.