Visiting United Kingdom With Disabilities or Limited Mobility

April 10, 2017 | By More
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Travel Advice for people with disabilities and mobility concerns as they visit the UK

Planning a UK holiday can be quite a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you have a disability. You have to ensure that the place you are visiting have the wheelchair access, ensuring there are lifts, the accommodation is accessible, and car parking is also close by.  But, whether you have plans to explore the rugged Yorkshire countryside or want to enjoy the gorgeous coastline of Cornwall, rest assured there are good options for the disabled people. So, allow me to give advice for all the people planning a UK holiday who have mobility concerns.

Applying For Disabled Railcard

In the UK you have the convenience of applying for a railcard that is specially designed for the disabled travellers which grants users a 30% discount off train tickets.  For non-UK residents, the rail card can be purchased in-person at staffed rail stations while producing a passport. It is not mandatory to have a physical health issue as other conditions are recognized as well.  For instance, if you have learning disabilities then you can also apply.

If you need any assistance with the application, then someone can apply on your behalf.  Yes, you will need to pay for the railcard, but if you travel often by train then it is worth it. You can also seek assistance with the application process from your nearest Citizens Advice.

You can have your railcard from the official website of National Railway and you will get 30% off on your travel by train. There are certain things you need to know while you are applying for the railcard. First off comes your eligibility, you will qualify if you –

  • Have epilepsy.
  • Have a visual impairment.
  • Receive PIP (Personal Independence Payments).
  • Buy or lease a vehicle via the Motability Scheme.
  • Have a hearing impairment.
  • Receive (DLA) Disability Living Allowance.
  • Receive War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement

Applying For Disabled Bus Pass

You can have a bus pass in the following conditions –

  • You have a learning disability.
  • You don’t have arms or you are unable to use your arms.
  • You are blind or partially sighted, deaf or you are unable to speak.
  • You are unable to walk very far due to your disability, injury, or illness.

In order to have your bus pass, there are certain evidence you need to show. If you live in London, then you need to apply for a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass. You don’t need to worry as the eligibility criteria are the same.  For buses, kids under 11 can travel free and the disabled bus passes are free.

If you don’t qualify for the Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass, you can also reach out to your council for a discretionary bus pass. Some London Councils can help you out with this, you can have the details of your council’s contact details through GOV.UK.

Other Things To Know

In addition to these, if you are disabled there are several other common things you should know while you are travelling.

Finding An Accessible Toilet

Today, using the internet, you can have all the details of a particular place, attractions, and the facilities there. Make sure you have taken some time out to do some research work in finding accessible toilets. You can also make a call at various Tourist Information Centres to have up to date information. All those places where you can find an accessible toilet are – fast food restaurants, museums, modern train stations, and art galleries.

Book Your Hotel In Advance

It is both convenient and cheaper if you have opted to book your hotel in advance. It is also important to inform the hotel authorities about your disability, so they are well-aware of your disability and can arrange for the services accordingly.

If you have plans to rent a wheelchair, a handicap van or may be any other vehicle, then make sure you have made advance bookings for those as well. It is advisable you should do all the bookings and arrangements before leaving for the trip. In case, you require any medical equipment, both the airlines and the hotel authorities should be informed in advance.  Car rental agencies that offer accessible vehicles include Budget, Rent-A-Car, Hertz and ToomeyLease.com.

Hiring A Travel Agency

You can also take the services of specialised travel agents & tour operators for the disabled people. These people are given the right training and knowledge of how to deal with the disabled people and other various concerns that these people may face.

They will assist you in arranging accessible transportation and will be in a better position to guide you about the best routes you should, ideally, follow. If you want any assistant to accompany you while travelling, then there are various companies that offer travel assistants or nurses.

Gain Maximum Information By Reading

Make sure you read about travelling with a disability. You can choose travel books, access guides, online blogs and travel articles. You can read personal travel experiences with wheelchair users and all those travellers who have travelled across the globe with disabilities. Be informed.  Other good resources include 20 Most Accessible Tourist Attractions, Visiting UK Places with Disabilities, and of course the national and local tourism agencies like VisitBritain.com.

Ideal Airlines For The Disabled

Today, as far as flights are concerned, you have a great variety to choose from. Every company will try to lure you with their exciting offers, but the question here is which company offers the best services for the disabled travellers. So, here I am discussing some of the best airlines extending some of the premium services for the disabled travellers.

EasyJet – Undoubtedly one of the best budget airlines, EasyJet will offer you assistance to get you to your plane and they also have apt facilities to lift you up in a carry chair. The airlines also provide safety instructions for the visually and hearing impaired travellers.

Virgin Atlantic – This airline extends their professional support for visually and hearing impaired travellers, passengers with mental disabilities who are travelling alone are also provided thorough support.

Upon booking, make sure you have informed the airlines about your disability so that they help you accordingly. If you are planning to take pets along with you, then the pet needs to be certificated and will travel under PETS scheme.

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About The Author:   Sophia Jones tries to live her life like the sun – setting her sights high and vowing to always rise up again. Always game for an adventure, Sophia loves widening readers and her own expectations of our vast, beautiful world. As a journalist, Sophia writes to inform. As a creative writer, Sophia strives to inspire. Overall, she hopes to captivate. She currently writes for sites like Qwikfix, Escapeartist, and Simplyholidaydeals etc.
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Image Source:  Pixabay

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Category: England/UK Travel Tips, Featured, London Travel Tips, Scotland, Wales

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