January 23, 2018

Universal Design Travel


Travel time is upon us and there is much about travel that is not very universally designed. These are a few things to consider prior to travel that should make your trip easier whether you are traveling alone, with kids, a pet, an elderly parent, or having to consider the needs of someone with a disability.

Planning Ahead

If you are not one of the able-bodied that our world designs for, you’ll want to plan ahead and think through all the steps to get from your front door to the door of your destination. Cars, taxis, trains, planes and buses, how will you get in and out with strollers, crutches, heavy bags, little children, etc. Are any phases of travel too long? Will you have ample time to connect? Will what you need be there when you arrive? What if you are traveling at odd hours? Will you need extra time or other special considerations such as diet or medications? Vaccinations? And hey, how’s the water? Are laws different in the country of destination? What about health care? Maybe bring a translation card with the major words you’ll need in the other languages. What will the weather be and what to bring. Crazy things come up for example you can bring your scooter but not the battery, or, no spare parts where you are going. Do your research too, some services are better than others.

Be Assertive

Start by letting the carriers and hosts know of your needs. In many cases there are laws in place to guarantee your rights (although these are not often obvious). Know as much as you can about your trip and needs, knowledge is power. You can request copies of the travel policies to help you get what you need. Finally, more destinations are possible than ever before; don’t let a few discouraging words stop you.

Extra Lead Time

Book your trip way in advance so as to get the best that is available so as to make your trip as pleasant as possible. You can get better deals too. Try to have your travel be as direct as possible.

Ask Around

Word of mouth is probably your best source of information about a destination and getting there. Don’t let this be your only source, but you are likely to hear about issues not mentioned in the promotional literature.

Some Helpful Links:

The Independent Traveler

Survival Strategies for Going Abroad:A Guide for People with Disabilities


Konrad Kaletsch

www.Universal Design Resource.com