25+ Things That Can Go Wrong When Traveling With a Disability in Europe

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Europe Disabled Travel Advice, Accessible Tours Hotels, Accessible Holidays, Disabled Guided Tours By www.sagetraveling.com. Any number of things can go wrong when traveling in Europe with a disability. The 25 Things That Can Go Wrong When Traveling With a Disability described in this presentation are based on my wheelchair travels to 70+ European cities as well as planning countless trips for other disabled travelers. Have a look.

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25+ Things That Can Go Wrong When Traveling With a Disability in Europe

  1. 1. 25+ Things That Can Go Wrong When Traveling With a Disability in Europewww.sagetraveling.com/25-things-that-can-go-wrong-traveling-with-a-disability
  2. 2. Any number of things can go wrong when traveling in Europe with adisability. The 25 Things That Can Go Wrong When Traveling With aDisability described below are based on my wheelchair travels to70+ European cities as well as planning countless trips for otherdisabled travelers. www.sagetraveling.com
  3. 3. Sage Travel Tip: Be prepared for Sage Travel Tip: Be prepared for things to go wrong or your one things to go wrong or your one week vacation can turn into a week vacation can turn into a week-long nightmare! week-long nightmare!1 Blowing an electric charger on a motorized wheelchair or scooterI heard this story after the fact from a client who only booked part of theirBelgium trip with us. The hotel staff gave him some bad advice, and theyruined the only electric wheelchair charger they had brought on their trip!They had to delay their travels to the next city and wait for asuper-expensive part to be shipped from the US…all the while using amanual wheelchair. www.sagetraveling.com
  4. 4. Sage Travel Tip: If you have an Sage Travel Tip: If you have an essential ingredient to your trip, essential ingredient to your trip, bring an extra or be sure you can bring an extra or be sure you can easily replace it! easily replace it!2 Entering ancient ruins with no easy exitThis happened to me at Ephesus. The driver dropped us off at the top gateand I had to roll over ancient ruins all the way to the lower gate. That wasa tough trip! Be sure you know the accessibility of every site that you visit. www.sagetraveling.com
  5. 5. 3 Relying on outdated internet informationThe internet contains a great deal of accessible travel advice, butunfortunately no one is there to keep it up to date! You might skip theRoman Forum if you read an old article written before the elevator wasinstalled (shown in the photo on the right).It’s very easy to arrive in Venice expecting to use the wheelchair bridge lifts youread about on the internet, only to find out that they were taken out of serviceyears ago. And you might show up excited about the accessible portion of thePompeii ruins only to find out it has been closed for renovations. www.sagetraveling.com
  6. 6. Sage Travel Tip: Double check that Sage Travel Tip: Double check that all accessibility information that all accessibility information that you read is up to date. you read is up to date.4 Hotel staff gives away your accessible room to another guestUnfortunately, this happens far too often to people traveling with adisability. Someone working at the front desk doesn’t see the computerremark that you’ve requested an accessible room, and they put you in thewrong room! Be sure that you have a list of nearby accessible hotels sothat your vacation can continue uninterrupted! www.sagetraveling.com
  7. 7. 5 Hotel staff providing incorrect accessibility informationA few years ago, I had a woman call me who had booked a hotel in Parismonths before her trip and, just before she was about to leave, she spokewith a different person at the hotel and found out there were 2 steps toreach the elevator! Many people working at hotels aren’t fully aware ofthe accessibility needs of disabled travelers. You should double-check allaccessibility features far in advance or rely on someone who has seenthem first-hand. www.sagetraveling.com
  8. 8. 6 Staying in a dirty or non-wheelchair accessible neighborhoodUnfortunately, even the best of hotel search engines or hotel websitesdoesn’t give an accurate description of the neighborhood surrounding thehotel. You might pick a 5 star hotel that is located in a terribleneighborhood! www.sagetraveling.com
  9. 9. Do you want to stay in this dirty Venice neighborhood (on the left)or this Athens neighborhood with sidewalk steps (on the right)?? www.sagetraveling.com
  10. 10. 7 Needing a replacement wheelchair partWhen I was traveling in a wheelchair alone in Normandy, I managed to geta flat tire on my wheelchair. Like a good Boy Scout, I had brought a spareinner tube…but I managed to puncture that one too! Bike shops wereclosed on Sunday, and I learned a can’t-miss way to fix a flat (listed in my101 Disabled Travel Tips). www.sagetraveling.com
  11. 11. 8 Over paying #1We get requests all the time from brick and mortar travel agents whoneed our assistance. A disabled traveler asks for their help and, instead ofreferring them elsewhere, the travel agent will book the trip through usand put their own 10% mark-up on it…without adding any value to thetrip! www.sagetraveling.com
  12. 12. 9 Over paying #2As mentioned in my Top 10 Europe Handicapped Travel Tips, the bestaccessible hotels sell out many months in advance. Many people travelingwith a disability will wait to book their hotel 2 or 3 months before theyarrive and will pay far too much for accessible accommodation! www.sagetraveling.com
  13. 13. 10 Losing your walletThis happened to me in London in 2012, and I learned how to get moneyeven when you’ve cancelled all of your credit and debit cards and nobanks will take a foreign check. You will need somebody back home whocan go to Western Union and you’ll need your passport. www.sagetraveling.com
  14. 14. 11 Riots in AthensIf you were in Athens in June 2012 when the riots broke out (shown in thephoto on the right), what would you have done? If your travel agent hasan extensive network of a local contacts, they could have gotten you outof there! www.sagetraveling.com
  15. 15. 12 Natural disaster delays your arrival in EuropeWe had a client traveling with a disability whose trip got delayed becauseall of the New York airports were shut down for “Super Storm Sandy” in2012. Fortunately, the client had booked with us and, because we sendtour guides, hotels, and drivers so much business, we were able toreschedule the trip for free! One of the many benefits of booking througha travel agent! www.sagetraveling.com
  16. 16. 13 Natural disaster delays your departure from EuropeTravel agents really prove their worth when your plans get completelyinterrupted. In 2010, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Icelandshut down all transatlantic flights for 6 days! Numerous stories emergedhow people who had booked through travel agents were provided withlast-minute suitable hotel accommodation and train travel to otherdestinations during this unexpected trip interruption. www.sagetraveling.com
  17. 17. Sage Travel Tip: A good travel agent Sage Travel Tip: A good travel agent can solve problems during your trip can solve problems during your trip and offer you peace of mind. and offer you peace of mind.14 Choosing the wrong travel datesI spent Bastille Day in Paris and all of the tourist attractions were shutdown. And the military parades had blocked many of the accessible busroutes. Be sure to check the local holidays before selecting your trip dates. www.sagetraveling.com
  18. 18. 15 HospitalizationMost insurance plans do not cover hospital costs in foreign countries. Youmay be forbidden to leave until you’ve settled your bill (the example Iheard of was that her family had to pay $50,000 before her passport wasgiven back to her.) www.sagetraveling.com
  19. 19. Sage Travel Tip: Trip Insurance Sage Travel Tip: Trip Insurance doesn’t cost very much and can be doesn’t cost very much and can be hugely beneficial. hugely beneficial.16 Train or airport strikeIn 2010, Tiffany and I were in Greece performing accessibility research andheard there was a pending airport strike. We were able to fly to Santorini,and the two days we were there all flights were shut down. We werefortunate that the strike ended by our scheduled departure, but an expertin accessible ferry travel sure would have been handy!. www.sagetraveling.com
  20. 20. 17 Battery on an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter won’t hold a chargeWe had a client traveling with a disability in Paris whose rental electricwheelchair (shown in the photo on the right) would not hold a charge. Itwas late on a Friday and the rental wheelchair provider was gone for theweekend. We were able to find a different wheelchair provider so hecould continue his trip. You should always have back-up plans for everyaspect of your trip! www.sagetraveling.com
  21. 21. 18 Lost in translationA car rental employee in Nice told me I couldn’t return the car tomorrowbecause it was a “work day”. Eventually I figured out that next day wasMay 1….Labor Day! Arrange all your reservations in advance using Englishand you won’t run into these problems. www.sagetraveling.com
  22. 22. 19 Hiring a poor tour guide who just walks with you and recites the Rick Steve’s guide bookThis actually happened to me in Istanbul. I started asking a lot of questionsand she pulled out a Rick Steve’s guide book to check the facts…not agood tour! A similar thing happened in Barcelona when the tour guide Ibooked with was out of town and sent a friend to guide us who couldn’teven explain the history of the Roman wall we were looking at. Be surethat your tour guides are good ones! www.sagetraveling.com
  23. 23. 20 Trusting a GPS system that has the one-way streets labeled the wrong wayWe rented a GPS system with our car rental in Tuscany. In Pisa, it kept onsteering us the wrong way down one-way streets! Be sure to bring mapsfor every city and every neighborhood you are going to visit. www.sagetraveling.com
  24. 24. 21 Inability to communicate your accessibility needs in the local languageIf a local knows only a little bit of English, they almost certainly do notknow English accessibility terminology like “grab bar”, “flat tire”, and“battery not charging”. When traveling with a disability in Europe, be sureto bring a list accessibility phrases with you on your trip. www.sagetraveling.com
  25. 25. Sage Travel Tip: Be sure you know Sage Travel Tip: Be sure you know how to communicate your how to communicate your accessibility needs in the local accessibility needs in the local language language22 Book a private transfer who won’t wait for your delayed flightThis happened in Venice for a client who had their flight delayed. Shearrived late with no accessible transportation waiting for her! Whentraveling with a disability, be sure that your accessible van drivers knowyour flight information. www.sagetraveling.com
  26. 26. 23 Total loss of internet accessWhen were in Santorini, Greece in 2010, construction was going on andthe entire town lost internet access for two days. If I had needed tochange a reservation for our next stop in Turkey, I would have been in bigtrouble. You should always have someone not traveling with you who canmake reservations changes for you if needed. www.sagetraveling.com
  27. 27. 24 Visiting a city that is far less accessible than you expectThis happened to me in Les Baux, France. The medieval hill town hadcobblestones in town and gravel in the fortress ruins (shown in the photoon the right). Fortunately on that trip I had some strong friends with me!Be sure to research accessibility of all sites before you visit. www.sagetraveling.com
  28. 28. 25 Trapped by the Venice floodingThis happened to a client traveling with a disability who unknowinglybooked his trip during “high water” season. If he had spoken to us beforebooking his cruise, we could have warned him! www.sagetraveling.com
  29. 29. 26 Have a tender boat break down on the way to the shipWhat an adventure this was! Our cruise tender broke down half-waybetween the Mykonos port and our cruise ship. Those tenders will reallystart rocking when they’re not moving forward! Another cruise tendertowed us to the ship and we didn’t get left behind! www.sagetraveling.com
  30. 30. 27 Book through a travel agent who is not familiar with European accessibilityWe often get requests from travel agents who don’t know how to plan anaccessible trip to Europe. This travel agent had actually met the travelersbut had never told us about his breathing problems! We got this feedbackfrom a tour guide. www.sagetraveling.com
  31. 31. We just wanted to let you know that we had the Smith party on tour with usfor the Original Florence Walk public tour this morning.As you would have seen in Florence, the city is not well equipped forwheelchair users. I don’t know if you personally met Mr. Smith to know that heis quite a large, elderly man who has only 10% lung capacity, travels with anoxygen tank, and is not very agile. He and his wife had difficulty with thesidewalks, and several times the guide had to leave the group to get Mr. Smithback to the footpath ramps. Ms. Smith also had to stop to change the batterieson his breathing apparatus in the middle of the tour.Our guide went exceptionally out of her way to accommodate Mr. Smith andluckily we had a full group of clients on the tour that were very understanding.Nonetheless, it was quite straining on the Smith party to actually do the tour,and also disruptive for the guide and other clients to have to provide such careto Mr. Smith. www.sagetraveling.com
  32. 32. Sage Travel Tip: Be sure your travel Sage Travel Tip: Be sure your travel agent has extensive experience agent has extensive experience planning accessible trips in Europe! planning accessible trips in Europe!28 Hotel staff providing incorrect accessibility informationA few years ago, I had a woman call me who had booked a hotel in Parismonths before her trip and, just before she was about to leave, she spokewith a different person at the hotel and found out there were 2 steps toreach the elevator! Many people working at hotels aren’t fully aware ofthe accessibility needs of disabled travelers. You should double-check allaccessibility features far in advance or rely on someone who has seenthem first-hand. www.sagetraveling.com
  33. 33. Rely on a local expert to tell you which sidewalks to avoid www.sagetraveling.com
  34. 34. 29 Transportation company shows up with a van without a wheelchair rampThis happened when I booked an “accessible” tour of Tuscany. Theaccessible van would have been the same price and so much easier! If youbook through a company that only deals in accessible travel, there won’tbe any confusion. www.sagetraveling.com
  35. 35.  We look forward to making your accessible dream vacation a reality!  Call Us: 1-888-645-7920 Contact us at info@sagetraveling.comwww.sagetraveling.com/25-things-that-can-go-wrong-traveling-with-a-disability

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