Safe Return to Accessible Travel

Source: Carole Zoom,

As the global pandemic grinds on, many people with disabilities dream of traveling near or far as a break from the monotony of isolation. But whether it’s a trip to the river or across the Atlantic Ocean, a vacation week away or a day excursion, everyone has big questions — logistical, physical, emotional and ethical. When will it be OK to travel? Is it safe to hop on a plane? Safer to board a train? Is a cruise something to consider or to be avoided? With so much uncertainty, is travel even worth the risk?

Add on top of these concerns the many considerations disabled travelers have been contending with for years, and planning quickly becomes even more complicated. A great deal of advance groundwork and layers of logistics are necessary. These may include researching and securing lodging that is barrier-free, scheduling and paying a team of assistants who will be in close proximity, and arranging transportation that provides access for a wheelchair, ventilator or service animal.

What are the specific travel issues that will face travelers with disabilities during and after the pandemic? Some regular travelers have barely left their homes, others have resumed adventuring while adapting their methods, and many more are still trying to make sense of the new realities and obstacles COVID-19 presents.

Carole Zoom from spoke with a number of accessible travel experts, industry insiders and regular travelers to better understand where we are and what the future of accessible travel holds. One thing became clear: What constitutes travel and where and how we travel may never be the same again.

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