Luxury travel for those with disabilities

If you are filled with wanderlust but have a disability, planning a trip abroad can be a time consuming and frustrating task. For those who prefer luxury travel, specifically, the market still lags in resources that cater to the disabled traveller. Things are slowly starting to move in the right direction however, with more and more travel companies creating itineraries with enhanced accessibility in mind. While the prospect of putting together an independent trip can feel daunting, there are now operators who are looking forward to make sure anyone can take their dream trip, regardless of ability. Whether you want to escape to the bush lands of Africa for a safari or go snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, a luxurious trip of a lifetime is waiting for you to take the chance.

Here are three of the most exciting trips around the world that have both the luxury seeker and disabled traveller in mind.

Safari trip to see the Big 5

Most people don’t think of Africa as the most disabled friendly of travel destinations. But before you give up on that dream of seeing the Big 5 (lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalo) in their natural habitat you should know that a luxury safari company is out to change the realm of possibilities.

Extraordinary Journeys

Extraordinary Journeys offers safaris to those who have limited mobility, from wheelchair friendly lodging to specially equipped safari vehicles with electric lifts and locking features. As a leader of inclusive tourism in Africa, Extraordinary Journeys works to ensure that travellers can experience luxury camping and safaris regardless of their mobility, visual or hearing impairment, or dialysis needs. Their limited mobility tours will take you through the grasslands of Botswana to some of Africa’s most enticing national parks, while you dine on exquisite food and rest in tents and lodgings fit for a king.

Snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef

Most travellers have Australia’s world famous Great Barrier Reef at the top of their bucket list. Floating above this unique ecosystem, you can see some of the most interesting marine life in the world and explore the gorgeous blue waters in a way most people only dream about. Twenty years ago travellers with disabilities would have been confined to the yacht, experiencing this majestic wonder only through the tales of other passengers or from a screen.

Thankfully the dark ages of travel are all but vanished, and these days there are several companies who specialize in getting anyone and everyone’s feet wet. Quicksilver Cruises, for example, offers luxurious cruises to the Great Barrier Reef on their state of the art, disabled friendly, vessels. The company has an innovative water powered lift that enables wheelchair users to gain access to the water, where they can then snorkel at their own pace. In addition to snorkelling you have access to an underwater observatory and tropical dining, providing you with the ultimate trip on a sleek and modern catamaran.

Egyptian Nile cruise

Always dreamt of seeing the Pyramids of Giza but didn’t take Egypt as an especially disabled friendly hotspot? How wrong you were. There are a plethora of incredible luxury travel operators who cater to those who have mobility issues, or who have a visual or hearing impairment.

The Egyptian Nile cruise is especially popular, as there are several wheelchair accessible tours lead throughout the year. These tours take disabled travellers on a once in a lifetime journey into the incredible past of Egyptian history.

Every segment of the tour is planned with the passengers in mind, ensuring that everyone has full-access to Egypt’s most famous sites. Your Egypt Tours picks up passengers from the airport by private van, whisking them away to their five star wheelchair room in Cairo. After you go on a whirlwind tour of the pyramids, you are flown out to the five star luxury cruise ship specifically for disabled travellers, where you will continue on exploring Egypt in style. An Egyptian Nile cruise is one of the most luxurious trips on the planet, and possibly one of the most disabled friendly as well.

Round-up

There has never been a better time to experience luxury travel for those with disabilities. As the world gets smaller, travel companies and destinations are learning that they need to provide access for all and that is exactly what they are doing.

For the best experience, be sure to thoroughly research your destination and clearly explain your needs to the operator, hotel, and airport where you will arrive. Most luxury travel companies will be willing to take care of these details for you. While there is lots of room for improvement, even in the most disabled friendly destinations, the world is now opening up to anyone who is willing to take the plunge.

Comments (14)

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  1. Anastasia says:

    Get out to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as soon as possible as one of world’s biggest coal exportiing coal shipping ports is to be built, with huge dredging dumping into the reef zones.

  2. Janice Schacter Lintz says:

    Disability does not mean mobility impaired. Disabilities include hearing, visual and cognitive disabilities in addition to mobility disabilities. This article focuses solely on wheelchair access and should be retitled as such. The mention about hearing impairments which is also a politically incorrect term provides no details on the access provided. http://www.nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/community-and-culture-faq

    Safaris and tours should offer FM systems with neck loops or induction loops in their safari vehicles or tour buses similar to London and soon NYC taxis. Mandates in the US for passenger vessels for people with disabilities will soon be issued. All passenger vessels around the world should follow these guidelines with the understanding these guideline only include items that are affixed to the ship. The US Access Board only had authority over items affixed to the passenger vessel.

    The article should not be entitled for “those with disabilities” but should be people/travelers with disabilities. People with disabilities should not be defined by their disabilities but are people first. NYS has person first legislation for their government agencies and this is really best practice. http://colfax.cortland.edu/nysirrc/articles-handouts/NY%20Person-%20Language%20Law.pdf

    We hope the site will use this as an opportunity to provide information for travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing and I would be happy to assist.

    Janice Schacter Lintz, chair, Hearing Access Program

  3. Jennifer says:

    Oh dear…. just discussing this here with friends (a few of us have different disabilities) and we all agree that we just simply cannot keep up with this whole ‘politic correctness’ rubbish.

    I mean, seriously, since when was it politically incorrect to use the term ‘hearing impairment’?? Is it somehow disrespectful to refer to hearing as being impaired? Are we now supposed to say ‘hearing disabled’?

    Seriously? It’s hard enough getting by in this world without this kind of distraction, which simply results in people being frightened to have contact with anyone who looks in some way different in case they use the wrong terminology.

    Some people just need to get on with their own lives.

    It’s sad that they think they’re trying to improve things for people with disabilities when they’re actually making it harder.

    Josh Hansen has written his excellent article in all good faith, but by being put to task by Janice Schacter Lintz about him covering holiday destinations for people with mobility disabilities and not any of the other myriad of other disabilities, it will just serve to deter him from writing another article of this kind for fear of being accused again of being “politically incorrect”. Good move Janice Schacter Lintz!

  4. Janice Schacter Lintz says:

    What a bitter angry person. Sorry but as President Obama said when he signed Rosa’s Law to eliminate the term, “retarded”, people are what you call them. No one would consider using antiquated terms for race, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation nor should they for people with disabilities.

    The NAD has published this piece which may be helpful for people unfamiliar with current terms. http://www.nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/community-and-culture-faq Just as we upgrade our hotels, ships and airplanes so must we upgrade our language.

    Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

  5. Morgan says:

    I agree with Jennifer. The way Janice piped in to tell the author what he “should” be doing and what the industry “should” be doing, instead of praising the author for promoting his topic, is very sad and typical of the “PC” world today.

    Seems Janice just cares about the bureaucracy than the actual humanity of the situation. Why bring up what the luxury travel industry should do here? if she has a platform with her Hearing Access Program, why doesn’t she do something about it instead?

    And she doesn’t mention any praise for the author’s good-hearted attempt? I follow tons of travel and luxury travel blogs and this is the first mention of topic like this I’ve seen. And sorry if the words offend anyone (I’m sure it’s only bureaucrats and no actual disabled/impaired/etc people, as they have real problems, have better things to do with their time and surely are glad to see any article like this) but his purpose was clearly not to offend or exclude anyone.

    And it’s totally true that all the confusion and fear of political correctness/cultural insensitivity over semantics is only resulting in people avoiding those topics like that all together. We should be encouraging any positive discussion on disabilities, regardless if the term ‘disabilities’ is on someone’s offensive list or whatever/

    Would Janice rather have this article be erased then have a couple word choices that didn’t come from her list? sounds like she would and that’s a sad state of affairs.

  6. Janice Schacter Lintz says:

    Good hearted attempts are not acceptable in this day and age. If the wrong words were used about race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, I am confident the responses would be different. But it seems to be socially acceptable to use whatever words an author selects including antiquated verbiage about people with disabilities.

    There is also the perception that people with disabilities should have to solve the issues for no salary. That they are doing nothing with their lives and should just correct these issues for no pay. If you fully, read my comment, you would have seen despite this perception, I did offer to assist but instead you chose to attack me personally. It is also disappointing that the post which was not correct and could have easily been corrected since its online, was not corrected. This was a conscious decision which is telling.

    People with disabilities do not want crumbs but want equal rights and respect. Something that everyone around the world wants but that neither of which either Morgan or Jennifer appear to be offering. Very disappointing…

  7. Jules says:

    Janice I think everyone agrees with the spirit of the equality issues you raise, and that we continue to work through globally. It’s unfortunate that in choosing such a didactic and frankly quite aggressive tone, you have lost the sympathies of at least the people involved in this conversation, for your cause. As Chair of such an important programme, it may be worthwhile considering whether your approach to these topics helps or harms your cause. In this conversation it has certainly harmed it. If anything in this conversation is disappointing, it’s this.

  8. Paul Johnson says:

    For what it’s worth, this is how I see it.

    Disability doesn’t indeed mean mobility impaired. However, a mobility impairment is a form of disability so the title is still accurate, just not specific. I guess a more specific title such as “Luxury travel for those with mobility disabilities” might have been more pertinent and, as Editor here, I should perhaps have spotted that. I could change it now, but that would be ‘after the horse has bolted’ given the comments that have now followed. So anyway, if you’d like to blame someone for the lapse in the title, please blame me rather than Josh.

    That said, I do find this political correctness rather absurd. Janice uses the term “mobility impaired” but then goes on to say the term “hearing impairment” is politically incorrect. That seems totally inconsistent to me. And I don’t really understand why “hearing impairment” is politically incorrect in any case… would you care to elaborate on the reasoning and apparent inconsistency, Janice?

  9. Janice Schacter Lintz says:

    Actually, I used the term mobility impaired as a reference from the article. Different disabilities use different terms. People who are deaf and hard of hearing do not use hearing impairment but people with visual impairments do use impairment. The generally accepted practice varies by disability. It is not for us to decide but for those with the disability to decide.

    People without disabilities may view all disabilities as the same but people with the specific disabilities do not view themselves as one giant group. A person with a hearing loss does not connect themselves with a person who has a physical disability.

    Yes, the title should be changed and all the comments should be deleted since many of them are personal attacks. No one should be attacked personally in a comments section. So, please correct it and by deleting all the comments, the issue is resolved. I would like all my comments deleted and any comment with my name deleted. I will not engage in personal attacks like this nor should the site condone it. I am happy to discuss this further off-line. You have my contact information.

  10. Paul Johnson says:

    “It is not for us to decide but for those with the disability to decide.”

    …yet you appear to have decided and are telling us the ‘correct’ terminology. Do you speak on behalf of all those people? (I would doubt they all agree anyway…)

    If I search for “hearing impairment” and “political correctness”, I get multiple pages where the term “hearing impairment” is used as though it is politically correct rather than politically incorrect, and I can see many people with a hearing condition seemingly arguing that that (“hearing impairment”) in indeed the politically correct term. They appear to be in the majority, rather than the minority.

    The first result I get, for instance, is this page:

    http://www.cpdusu.org/about/committee/awareness/

    …which appears to be all about disability awareness and political correctness, and yet they use the term “a hearing impaired person” within that page.

    There are similar references in other pages in Google’s search results.

    I’m curious – if “hearing impaired” is not the correct term as you say, how should we be referring to someone who is hard of hearing?

    As for personal attacks, I’m sorry but I don’t see any here (and please everyone let’s keep it that way), other than a little name-calling on your part (“What a bitter angry person.”). I see disagreements and discussion, but not personal attacks. If there were any serious personal attacks, I would be on to them and attend to them specifically, but I’m not going to censor everyone’s comments just because they may disagree with your own or because one person doesn’t like how the discussion has unfolded.

  11. Janice Schacter Lintz says:

    This conversation actually started with a polite discussion on the actual definition on access and various terminology. Having sat on the US Access Board’s Passenger Vessel Committee, we worked very hard to ensure that person first terminology was used. Your own cites refer to this language. The NAD cite provides a very clear explanation on the appropriate language.

    But, everyone here would rather argue. Paul, your research should have occurred prior to writing the article. The other writers appear to have no knowledge on the topic and just like ranting. I affect change…

  12. Paul Johnson says:

    I don’t know any circles in which name calling is considered polite, but hey ho…

    Anyway, just to clarify a couple of points.

    1. I didn’t write the article.

    2. In my last comment (two up from this one), I asked two very specific questions:

    i) Do you speak on behalf of all those people?

    ii) I’m curious – if “hearing impaired” is not the correct term as you say, how should we be referring to someone who is hard of hearing?

    You haven’t really answered either. If you really want to improve people’s understanding of this issue, and ensure they follow the correct etiquette, surely these are questions you would answer.

    It would be interesting to know the thoughts of people with “hearing impairments” (forgive me if that’s incorrect or offensive terminology as I don’t know what else I should be using) to see if they are consistent with your own.

  13. Janice Schacter Lintz says:

    I did not call anyone names. The commenter’s tone was bitter and angry and attacked me by name. Comments should be removed when people begin attacking people using their name.

    Did you read the article for the link that I attached from NAD? The article is from one of the leading organizations in the US for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The article explains clearly why the term hard of hearing is preferred. It is used by the US Access Board which oversees the ADA in all new legislation since it is the generally accepted practice. Older legislation will of course, use older terms.

    I spoke as the Chair of the Hearing Access Program which is how I identified myself. No one speaks for anyone or all people.

    I think what is rather confusing is the hard attitude toward this issue for a blog not related to disabilities but luxury travel.

    As I stated previously, if you wish to continue the dialogue, I will be happy to off-line when I emailed you privately. This issue has deviated dramatically from the blog topic.

  14. Janice Schacter Lintz says:

    I wanted to add this link which I thought might be helpful in understanding the issues.

    http://www.legislativegazette.com/Articles-Top-Stories-c-2014-05-21-88026.113122-Legislation-moves-state-forward-on-handicap-signs.html

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