We look at what accessible travel options are available and tips for new or experienced travellers
Summer is right around the corner and with restrictions easing throughout much of Australia, local travel may be possible. But often the logistics aren’t as easy as we would like, especially when it comes to accessibility. The good news is accessible travel options are growing.
Are you missing out?
It’s not unreasonable to request funding for support with holidays, travel or respite in your plan as these experiences build up independence, life skills and access to the community for social and recreational activities. We often hear participants say they didn’t realise accessible accommodation, travel support staff and assistance equipment for holidays were able to be requested in their plan. As a first step, it’s important to ensure the goals in your plan are aligned with what you want to achieve through supported travel when setting up or reviewing your plan.
Who does it cater for?
Accessible travel can cater for people with physical disabilities to intellectual disabilities and acquired brain injuries. Many providers will work with you to determine what level of accessibility you require and how they can best meet your needs. Kerry Williams from Accessible Accommodation says she works with her clients to find the best place to stay for them, “perhaps you use a walking frame, and can manage a few steps, or you require a carer to assist in movements and a hoist is on your list of ‘must haves’.” Accessible Accommodation offers properties across Australia for NDIS participants and have three accommodation categories to make it easier for people to find a place to meet their needs.
I’ve never done this before
Now could be a good time to start thinking about it! Start by considering where you might want to go. Then have a chat to an accessible travel provider about the logistics of getting there and what you will need for your stay. Gary Elliott from Leisure Options suggests speaking with a travel provider first as they can provide expert advice and customise the itinerary to meet each person’s specific needs. Leisure Options is an accredited travel agent specialising in the disability sector and offers barrier-free holidays and travel experiences for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
What activities are possible?
Accessible travel companies are making holiday experiences more inclusive than ever. Gary from Leisure Options says tours are a great way to develop new skills and capabilities in a safe and fun environment.
“Travellers have many opportunities whilst on tour to develop skills and outcomes that meet the objectives of their NDIS plan. These skills and experiences provide travellers with independence and confidence to live the life they want,” Gary says.
Another popular group tour option is animal tours, allowing clients to get up close and interact with nature and wildlife in a safe and secure environment. Lisa Thompson, Director of respite care and adventure tour holiday provider Koala Adventure Tours, says they offer supported holidays tailored to the needs of the participant and aimed at achieving goals.
“Tours that offer the whole package solution allow participants and their carers a valuable break while providing the opportunity to meet new friends, develop new skills and build capacity and independence,” Lisa says.
Want to know more?
There are plenty of options available to tourists with disabilities and talking to a travel provider about what you will need will help them find the best options for you. Have a look at your plan and decide if your goals support what you want to achieve in life. If you need help we have a break down of what can be claimed for holidays expenses and you can always contact us via phone or email if you need help in understanding what’s possible through your NDIS plan.
My Plan Manager does not specifically recommend the providers mentioned in this article and we encourage all NDIS participants to research and choose their own providers. Read our article on finding and choosing providers.