As a wheelchair user, disabled travel can present some unique challenges, but it shouldn’t stop you from exploring the world. Australia and overseas destinations offer a wealth of opportunities for disabled travellers, from accessible transportation options to hotels with adapted rooms. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key considerations for disabled travel in Australia and overseas, including the accessibility of transportation, hotels, and resources for planning your trip.
Accessible Public Transport in Australia
In 2002, the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport were implemented, setting out the minimum requirements that public transport providers and operators must adhere to. Despite these standards, some accessibility barriers still exist, such as difficult-to-read timetables and inadequate signage.
If you have accessibility concerns, you can contact the below state-based public transport operators to confirm accessibility.
Travel Passes in Australia
Many public transport operators now offer passes and cards that provide free or discounted travel for people with disability, which is a positive development.
Click here to have a look here for travel pass options by state.
Using Taxis in Australia with a Disability
Taxis can be a convenient option for disabled travellers in Australia, but it’s important to ensure that the taxi you’re using is accessible. Many taxi companies now have accessible vehicles, but it’s a good idea to call ahead of time to confirm availability. Additionally, some taxi companies may offer discounted rates for disabled travellers, so it’s worth asking about this when booking your ride.
For more information regarding taxis and ride-share services, click here.
Travel Agents in Australia
Since the start of the NDIS scheme in 2013, more and more NDIS-approved disabled-focused travel type agents are popping up to help people with disabilities navigate the sometimes-complicated logistics of accessible travel and some even organise trips specifically for groups of people with disabilities.
If you have an NDIS plan you should be able to use your core support funding to pay for a trip or retreat as respite. Contact your support coordinator to see if your plan allows for this.
To apply for NDIS, click here.
Some NDIS approved disabled-focused travel agents, include;
**Always be sure to communicate your specific needs and concerns to them.
Australians on DSP Travelling Overseas
If you’re an Australian on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and are planning to travel overseas, it’s important to be aware of the rules around overseas travel while receiving DSP. Generally, you can continue to receive DSP while travelling overseas for up to six weeks. However, there are some restrictions and requirements, so it’s a good idea to check with Centrelink ahead of time to ensure you’re meeting all the necessary criteria.
For more information, click here.
Flying with a Disability
Flying can be a particularly daunting experience for wheelchair users, but many airlines now offer accessible services and accommodations. Be sure to contact the airline ahead of time to discuss your specific needs, such as wheelchair assistance or seating accommodations. It’s also a good idea to arrive at the airport early to ensure a smooth boarding process.
For more information, click here.
Australian Hotels and Disabilities
Many Australian hotels now offer accessible rooms and accommodations for disabled travellers. Look for hotels that advertise accessibility features, such as roll-in showers, grab bars, and wide doorways. Be sure to call ahead to confirm availability and discuss any specific needs you may have.
Overseas Hotels and Disabilities
Overseas hotels may have different accessibility standards than those in Australia, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time. Look for hotels that advertise accessibility features, and be sure to contact the hotel directly to confirm availability and discuss any specific needs you may have. It’s also a good idea to read reviews from other disabled travellers to get an idea of the hotel’s accessibility and any potential challenges.
Where You Can Source Information on Disabled Travel Overseas
There are many resources available to disabled travellers planning a trip overseas. The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) offers a directory of accessibility professionals and consultants around the world who can provide advice on accessible travel. The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH) is another great resource, offering information and resources for disabled travellers, including a directory of accessible travel agents and tour operators.
Websites such as Mobility International USA and the European Network for Accessible Tourism provide information on overseas medical equipment providers.
You can also find valuable information and feedback from other people with disabilities, on Google and YouTube.
Where You Can Source Information on Disabled Travel in Australia
In Australia, there are many organisations and resources available to help disabled travellers plan their trips. Disability Discrimination Legal Service (DDLS) is a legal service that offers information and advice on disability discrimination, including discrimination in travel and accommodation. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is another great resource for disabled travellers, providing information on travel supports and accommodations available under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Additionally, the Australian Federation of Disability Organizations (AFDO) offers information and resources for disabled travellers, including a directory of accessible tourism operators.
Some other resources include;
While disabled travel can present some unique challenges, it’s important to remember that it’s still possible to explore the world and have amazing experiences as a wheelchair user. From accessible transportation options to hotels with adapted rooms, there are many resources available to help disabled travellers plan their trips. By doing your research ahead of time and communicating your needs to service providers, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.