A guide to booking disability friendly accommodation for your family – 2023

Planning a family holiday involves meticulous considerations, especially when one or more member has complex needs and/or disabilities. Booking disability friendly accommodation while you’re away from home can help to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable holiday for everyone. Here are some invaluable tips to navigate the world of travel bookings with inclusivity in mind.

Know your needs and define accessibility requirements

Before searching for disability friendly accommodation, identify the specific needs of your family member. Consider factors such as wheelchair accessibility, bathroom modifications, or proximity to essential facilities. Knowing your requirements helps streamline the booking process. It’s often worth putting together a list of requirements so you can easily ask over the phone or email if somewhere will meet these specific requirements.

Start early to access accessible rooms

When booking accommodation for a family member with disabilities, early planning is your best friend. Accessible rooms are often limited, and booking in advance ensures you have a range of suitable options. We generally find accessibility measures not being listed as a red flag, but if you can’t find the information you need, give the accommodation a ring (or email them) to find out if your needs will be met.

Research thoroughly and look beyond the basics

Go beyond the standard accessibility information provided by hotels. Utilise resources like DisabledGo for detailed insights into a property’s accessibility features. Look for detailed room descriptions and customer reviews from fellow travellers with similar needs. After you’ve completed your stay, consider writing your own review to help future travellers.

Contact Directly

Don’t hesitate to contact the hotel directly to discuss your family’s specific requirements. Confirm the availability of necessary facilities and inquire about any potential challenges. Direct communication helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures a seamless experience.

We’ve encountered enough accessibility issues in the past that we now make sure contacting accommodation ahead of time is standard practice for us. We have had many instances where doorways of hotel rooms simply aren’t wide enough for our mobility aids. Now, we can usually get a firm grasp of how accessibility friendly somewhere is over the phone by their responses to our questions. We’ve had hotels who have directed us to (unhelpful) website pages, and others that have gone out of their way to measure exact doorway measurements for us!

Verify Accessibility Certifications: Trust Reputable Standards

Look for hotels that adhere to recognised accessibility standards. Certifications like the Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP) or Green Key Eco-Rating Program indicate a commitment to inclusive and sustainable practices.

Consider accessibility beyond the room

Evaluate the accessibility of the hotel’s surroundings. Check for wheelchair-friendly pathways, accessible transportation options, and the proximity of medical facilities. A well-connected location contributes significantly to a stress-free stay.

Flexible booking policies for disability friendly accommodation

Opt for accommodation with flexible booking policies. Unexpected changes or emergencies can arise, and having the flexibility to modify or cancel reservations without heavy penalties ensures peace of mind.

Pack essential supplies

While many hotels provide certain accessibility aids, consider bringing essential supplies like shower chairs, portable ramps, or any specialised equipment your family member may need. Familiar items can enhance comfort and independence.

Seek local insights

Engage with local disability communities or forums for firsthand experiences and recommendations. Real-life anecdotes provide valuable insights into the everyday challenges and triumphs of accessible travel.

Review emergency protocols

Inquire about the hotel’s emergency protocols concerning guests with disabilities. Ensure that staff members are trained to assist in case of evacuations or any unexpected situations.

Embarking on a family trip with a disabled member requires thoughtful planning. By considering these tips, you pave the way for a memorable and inclusive travel experience for every member of your family. Happy travels!