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Holiday inspiration for travellers with limited mobility

| Health and Lifestyle

Whether you suffer with mobility issues yourself, or you are planning a holiday with someone whose mobility requirements you need to consider, there are plenty of options to ensure the whole family has a perfect holiday.

Whilst there are several fantastic organisations which specialise in arranging holidays for mature, or disabled travellers, these may not be ideal for the rest of the party especially if it’s a multi-generational family holiday with young children.

We’ve put together a summary of some of the best holidays that allow you to maximise your experience without requiring a great deal of walking, especially on difficult terrain.

Specialist Holidays

Worrying about mobility or accessibility should be the last thing on your mind when you’re going away on a relaxing break, so several companies have put together holidays specifically designed for people with various access requirements or even care needs.

These make great holidays for couples or friends, where everyone travelling has similar needs, and could also make a great gift for older relatives who are well deserving of a break.

Here are some of our top picks:

DisabledHolidays.com

DisabledHolidays.com is an online travel agent that specialises in accessible holidays. All accommodation is guaranteed to be accessible and much of it has been checked personally by DisabledHolidays staff.

The holidays range from quiet UK breaks to African safaris, so there’s really something for everyone!

Enable Holidays

Enable Holidays are a similar online travel agent who specialise in accessible city breaks. Their accommodation options are also guaranteed to be accessible and the listings give detailed information on wheel-in showers, grab rails, pool hoists and other adaptations.

Richmond Retreats

Richmond Retreats offer luxury UK breaks with the added benefit of having their own onsite domiciliary care team which is registered with the Care Quality Commission. Their packages can be tailored to your needs whether you need assistance with washing and dressing, evening support getting to bed, or with medications.

Age UK Approved partners

You can browse a huge selection of Age UK Approved Holiday partners, with plenty of categories to draw inspiration from. All the companies featured specialise in tailoring breaks to people with different levels of mobility or care needs.

Adult only Holidays

Perhaps you only suffer minor mobility limitations, which do not warrant the holiday being completely specialised, but still want the peace of mind of knowing that mobility won’t be an issue during your holiday. Here are some of the most popular holiday ideas for adult only holidays, with a particular focus on sightseeing and exploring new places. If you’ve got a bucket list of places to visit, this is where to start!

City Breaks

city tour bus

City breaks make great holidays. They’re often cheap to travel to and offer lots to do and see all in one place. However, they can involve a lot of walking around rather than relaxing on the beach.

A great solution to this is the hop-on hop-off bus services that operate in most major cities. Normally, you pay once for a 24 or 48 hour ticket and are free to use the (very) frequent buses as much as you like in that time. The buses usually stop at all the main tourist attractions and have an on-board guide who can tell you about the attractions and advise on which to go and explore further.

However, even where this service is available, it may be worth doing a quick Google search for information about the terrain and condition of the roads before you book your holiday. Older cities such as Prague or Krakow have a lot of cobbled streets which can be difficult to navigate for those using a walking stick, frame, or cane. Similarly, some cities are built on hills and can be tiring to walk around. Sage Traveling is a great resource for checking the topography of European cities.

Coach Trips

Coach driving along mountain road

If you’ve watched the Channel 4 game show of the same name you’ll have some idea of how coach trips work, with the exception being that travellers are not voted off the trip in reality! When booking a coach trip everything will be planned out for you, all you need to do is get yourself to the coach pick up point.

Usually the trip organisers will arrange comfortable rooms to stay in along the way, so the coach itself is only used to travel during the day, but this may vary with providers. You’ll be able to see before booking which destinations you will be visiting on your guided excursion, and what activities you will be doing. As there will be a group of people on the coach with you it is a great opportunity to make friends and have fun whilst getting to experience a lot of great places.

Luxury Train Trips

Luxury glass topped train carriage

Luxury train holidays fall on the more expensive side of holiday options but can truly offer an experience of a lifetime. One of the most famous luxury train holiday providers is Maharajas’ Express which operates in India. Guests each have a private suite on the train where they stay overnight while the train travels to its next destination, and access to a luxury restaurant on board. Each day the train arrives at a different place of interest where an activity is planned for the whole group, and then you might have some free time to explore.

A similarly well-regarded option is the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada. This glass topped train offers a journey through the Rocky Mountains that isn’t possible any other way. The train also provides luxury dining, hosting and entertainment, but each night is spent at a hotel rather than on board – perfect if you struggle to sleep well whilst on the move.

Family Holidays

If you're planning a family holiday for 3 different generations within the family, you might find it difficult to find something which will please everyone. Children can become bored quickly with culture and sightseeing, and even more so in an enclosed space like a coach. Luckily there is plenty of common ground between holidays suitable for those with lower mobility and for young children who are bouncing off the walls. Here are some ideas for holidays which can really bring the whole family together.

Ocean or River Cruise

Couple taking a selfie in front of cruise ship

Cruise ships are a great choice for family holidays because they offer so much variety in what you do. There’s entertainment, swimming pools, play areas, restaurants, quiet areas to relax with a book, and plenty of other holiday-makers to meet. There are many cruises to choose from, but most of them also offer stop-off days on land where you have the chance to visit a beach and explore the local area.

If seasickness is a worry for anyone in your party, a river cruise might be a better option as these aren’t so prone to the motion caused by waves. Sometimes river cruise ships are smaller than ocean cruise ships, and you should be careful to check their policies on wheelchairs or mobility scooters if you require these.

Villas

Luxury villa with swimming pool

A surprisingly cost-effective option for a family holiday is hiring a villa in your chosen country. With more people able to rent out their own holiday homes online, prices have become much more reasonable as the competition grows. Having kitchen facilities available to you also helps to keep the cost down as you don’t need to eat out for every meal.

A good villa will have all the facilities you need for a relaxing stay, often including a private swimming pool, terrace, and even various games. This means everyone can keep themselves entertained, but in a much closer proximity than at a large hotel or cruise ship. It also means there’s no need to venture anywhere if you don’t feel like it.

Airbnb offer a wide range of villas globally and also the option to filter them by very specific accessibility needs such as step free access to the bedroom, or hand-held showerheads. Once you’ve entered your destination and dates into the search, select “more filters” under the search bar to see the full list of options.

Tips for trouble free travels

Wherever you decide to travel, here are some tips to help prevent mobility issues from coming in between you and a great holiday.

  • Plan ahead! Call hotels to double check requirements if you need them, and pre-book easy access taxis for airport transfers.
  • Carry a lightweight foldable stool when on excursions. They can make an incredible difference when waiting in a long queue or looking at exhibits in a museum or gallery.
  • Note that all UK and many European museums have wheelchairs which you can borrow free of charge, just ask a member of staff if you’d like to use one.
  • Don’t limit yourself! If you have a dream holiday but feel like your mobility or care requirements would prevent it from being possible, get in touch with a specialist holiday provider (such as those listed above) to see if there’s a solution that would make it work for you.
  • Consider your medical needs. Would you be more comfortable staying near a medical facility? Take the time to research the nearest facilities to where you will be staying for peace of mind.
  • For ideas for great days out or transport options, check Age UK’s travel guides.

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