Travel with a disability can be stressful, managing in unfamiliar environments often without the familiarity and adaptions available at home.  Needing to find accessible toilets, showers, hotel rooms, managing at the airport and on the plane.  Manage in a different culture, a lack of access, a lack of hoists, difficulties on organised tours.  Sadly, at times, negative or misinformed attitudes, transport issues and problems with Carer support.  These sites should help you better prepare.  While in an ideal world a specialist provider should not be needed, some of these tourism and travel provisions may be useful to ensure needed equipment, support and understanding is in place to reduce stress.  Also, there are links to different UK airports to help you arrange any assistance you may need.   

With airlines, consider when you fly to arrange special assistance to help you at the airport and getting to and on/off the plane.  Consider where on the plane you sit, in terms of the amount of walking, and also avoiding emergency exists.  Think about leg room.  Carry medication with you but with a doctor's letter, prescription and packaging, letting the airline know.  Think about your wheelchair/scooter issues, like size, type of battery types, check with the airline.  

Specialist Providers 

Tourism for All is a UK-based Charity dedicated to tourism accessibility for all, helping with disability tourism, leisure and travel for decades.  It has its own useful directory of companies and services in the industry.

Accessible Property Register:

Lists wheelchair accessible residential properties for sale and holiday accommodation In London.

Accessible Cottages offers accessible UK holiday cottages.

Matching Homesoffers accessible houses and shops throughout 34 countries to members.

Disabled Holidays.  A UK organisation offering disabled holidays.  They are the UK's largest disability holiday specialist and ensure there are adapted transfers and equipment for hire if needed. 

Makin Tracks.  Long-running small provider of tailored organised European tours for wheelchair users.

Sage Travelling specialise in European Disability travel and help for accommodation and transportation, managing all accessibility needs and also offer travel guides.

Able Thrive.  American site that has a large section on travel that may be useful for anyone in a wheelchair/anyone with spinal cord disability, interested in travel and tourism. 

Disability Snow Sports UK. Offers skiing and adapted snow sport holidays.

Ski to Freedomoffer inclusive accessible mountain sports to those with disabilities, like physical disabilities, CP, MS etc with lots of adaptations, like sit skiing and also other sports, like gravity biking.  They work with those who have:  

  • physical,sensory, learning disabilities, learning,speech and communicationlife-challenging illnessmental healthtrauma.
  • This video shows someone with CP skiing with them:

Winter Sports Travel.  Accessible winter snow resorts you can search by your impairment.

Foxes Hotel is a hotel and training centre in Somerset where people with learning disabilities can go and work and stay, to learn career skills of hotel and hospitality work.  They work in the hotel in different roles and serve guests.  Take a look at the hotels work:

Peter Marchant Trust.  Provides day trips and holidays for people with a wide range of disabilities and illnesses on accessible canal boats.

Kidney Patients UK. Charity that reviews Dialysis holiday options for those that need it.

Diana’s Supported holidays.  Offers supported holidays for those with learning disabilities for over ten years, UK and options abroad, such as Disney, Florida, cruises.

Chrysalis holidaysoffer themed supported holidays with different care packages through the UK and also abroad, like Europe and America.

Breakaway Supported holidays for those with learning disabilities.

Calvert Trust Adventure Outdoor Holidays and courses for those with a disability based in Exmoor, the Lake District and Kielder.

Nancy Oldfield Trust.  Adventure holidays for people with disabilities (physical disabilities and learning disabilities catered for) in the Norfolk Boards with motor boats, yacht’s and canoes that are accessible.

Mersea Island Festival.  Offers an accessible inclusive camping festival with accessible and adapted activities, like zip wiring, circus skills, music activities, archery, dancing, speed boats, quad bikes, disco’s, judo and much more.  The event has been running since 1981.

Bendrigg Trust.  Offers outdoor adventure learning breaks for those with a disability or special need.  They offer taster events, family events and adult courses.

JST Disabled Sailing Club offer adventure sailing holidays and days on tall ships that are accessible and where participants are expected to get fully involved in the sailing experience and challenge themselves.  They often have funding opportunities.  They work with people with a range of disabilities, such as physical disability, Autism and learning disabilities.

Revitalise Respite Holidays have three hotels (Essex, Southport and Southampton), catering for many disabilities and illness and offering 24-hour care.  The breaks offer excursions, daytime activities and evening entertainment.  There is also often financial help. 

Disway Holidays.  They organise group holidays for people with physical disabilities and provide helpers to assist with tasks, like personal care or other daily living tasks as needed.  Set up in 1980, they offer holidays for 18-80 year olds. 

Traveleyes offer group international holidays for those who are blind or have sight issues where you have a sighted buddy to assist. 

Seable offer holidays for those that are blind, have sight loss or are wheelchair users offering adventure active holidays.

The Touch Trust is a Christian Charity offering holidays and retreats, as well as mobility training for those who are blind or have sight issues.

Sense Holidays for adults and children who are both deaf and blind.  They have activity weeks.  They also offer short breaks for young people who are deaf and blind.

Spectrum Breaks, Heartlands, offers holidays for families and adults with Autism, offering self catering accommodation on the Isle of Wight.

Altogether Travelorganise disability holidays, short breaks and day trips.  These tour operators have care registration and can arrange care for the holidays or day trips looking after care and support needs, offers holidays in the UK and abroad.

Can be Done Disability Tour Operator offering UK and Worldwide holidays.

Limitless TravelDisability.  Tour operators offering UK and holidays abroad in Europe for people with disabilities, run by people with disabilities.

Enable Holidays.  Worldwide disability tour operator offering fully tailor-made holidays accommodating disability needs.

Access at Last lists accommodation accessible throughout the world for holidays.  It includes the UK, much of Europe and destinations, like America and Thailand.  Site is very accessible and works well with software used if you have a sight impairment.

Lonely Planet Accessible Travel Online Resources offers a comprehensive list of online accessible disability tourism companies, guides, information, accommodation, attractions worldwide options listed country by country.

Care Holidaysoffer supported holidays for people with mild to moderate learning disabilities.

Inside Japanis a UK tour operator that offers tailored holidays to Japan and experienced with meeting the needs of people with disabilities on holidays.

Jolly Days offer supported holidays for people with mild to moderate learning disabilities.

The Back Up Trustsupports those with Spinal Cord Injury.  They also run a range of different residential courses.  These include multi-activity sports break courses, also Sweden adventure snow sports, sit karting courses and also courses to help with independence for 18-25 year olds, as well as other options for other ages and needs.

Charity Funding for holidays if you have a disability

3H.  They provide funding for UK-based accommodation if you have a disability, want to go on holiday and are on a low income.

Disability Aid Trustwill give funding to pay for support workers to help people on holidays who have a disability.

MS Research and Relief Fund.  They provide grants to people with MS to pay for anything from equipment to aids, to services which includes holidays.

Margaret Champney Rest and Holiday Fund.  Pays for short breaks in the UK for carers when the person with the disability is in respite care.

Blitz Holiday Fund pays towards holidays to a hotel in Blackpool that is accessible, making holidays more affordable and accessible. 

The Sand Castle Trust.  This Charity provide grants for holidays to families affected by rare genetic conditions.  

Cystic Fibrosis Holiday Grant Fund can pay for holidays if you have CF and are over 18.

Youth Cancer Trust.  Provides activity holidays in Bournemouth to young people 14-30 years of age who have Cancer and want a holiday.  You can go alone and join a small group, or go with a sibling or a friend who also goes for free.

Travel Advice with a Disability

Government Advice on foreign travel with a disability.  

Parking for Less offer a Travel Guide with lots of information about travel with a disability.

Epilepsy Action.  Travelling abroad advice.

Travel advice and insurance for when you have a health condition or disability

Travel With is a comprehensive detailed website guide to travel with a health condition or disability, gives advice and tips for travel, advice for planning, day-to-day activities, emergency help, accommodation.  Covers disability and also conditions, like Cancer, heart conditions.  It also provides travel insurance when you have a disability/health condition, covering over 5,000 conditions/disabilities.

Just Travel Cover.  Offers travel insurance, covering medical conditions and disabilities.

Our Travel Insurance offers travel insurance and covers pre-existing medical conditions and disabilities.

Travelling with Medication 

If travelling with medication, always check with your airline and the airport for the latest advice.  You should always have the complete package, the information leaflet and you should get a letter from your doctor to explain.  Check if there are instructions to follow carrying the medication in your hand luggage.

Airports and Disability

Assistance at Heathrow Airport for Disability includes advice for unseen disabilities, such as a lanyard system.

Assistance at Gatwick Airport for Disability includes advice for unseen disabilities such as a lanyard system.

Assistance at Luton Airport for a Disability.

Assistance at Birmingham Airport for a Disability.

Assistance for Disability at Stansted Airport.

Assistance for Disability at Manchester Airport. 

Mainstream tourism providers and disability:

Ability of mainstream providers to accommodate disability sadly varies considerably.  There are some of the efforts being made by some tourism providers.  Of the airlines, some with the best reputation for disability are reported as Quantas, Air Canada, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic.  Of the budget options - Easy Jet:

Thompson Holidays and Disability.  Planning a disability or Autism-friendly holiday.

Thompson Customer Welfare, for those with a disability.

First Choice Holidays and Disability.   

Trip Advisor.  Travelling with a disability online forum.

Airlines and Disability: Some of the Best Options

Easy Jet and Disability.  You are allowed to bring two types of mobility equipment free of charge, such as a wheelchair, frame, shower seat etc.  You can have special assistance, such as help through the airport, Customs and the boarding gate.  You can get assistance boarding the plane and you can get help to stow your bag and to collect luggage or equipment.  You can bring an assistance dog free of charge.  On the plane, they have airoplane wheelchairs (but you need to self-transfer).  You can also ask for comfort items, like cushions.

British Airways and Disability.

Virgin Atlantic Holidays and Disability.

Virgin Atlantic Airlines and Disability.

Air Canada and Disability.

Qantas Airways and Disability.

Holiday Camps

Pitch Up is a camping accommodation site listing options in the UK and Europe. It has a disability facilities page, listing options for those who need disability facilities and the campsite accommodation options available.

Caravan and Motorhome Clubs has over 200 sites in the UK and prides itself on accessibility with accessible bathrooms, level access, good lighting, and more.

Butlins and Disability.

Haven holidays and Disability.

Cruisesallowing you to visit lots of locations without much physical effort on your part and highly structured and organised. 

Cruise Critic offer advice on the best options and considerations when cruising with a disability.  Cruises often offer a good holiday option.  The Cruise Critic explores all aspects of the industry, including disability.

Disabled Cruise Club look at accessibility of different cruise lines, different ships, looks at disability cabins, accessibility of ports all in one place, also looks at special offers and you can book through them. 

UK Tourism Accessibility information

Visit Britain Tourism Accessibility/Access Guides, making travel round the UK easier.

The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain from Motability evaluates attractions throughout the UK for Accessibility for ease of access and needs.

Disability Equipment on Holiday in the UK and Abroad

Oxygen Worldwide.  For those that need oxygen on holiday.  They can also help if travelling and visiting different countries.

Mobility Equipment Hire Direct.  From here, you can hire equipment for your holiday in a wide range of global locations, including the UK, Europe and elsewhere in the world.  Includes wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, hoist aids, bed aids and bathroom aids to make travel less stressful, by providing equipment needed to feel at home without the stress or impracticability of travelling out with the equipment or feeling you cannot travel to the destination.  They have a London office. 

Wheelchair Hire provide wheelchair hire abroad in a range of popular holiday destinations, such as, but not limited to, Spain, France, Cyprus and the USA.

Wheelchair Freedom Limited 

Offers scooters, wheelchair hire across the UK.

Celling Hoist User Club.  Shows UK and Republic of Ireland accommodation offering hoists and the ability to read reviews from users.

Disabled Living Foundation.  Database of disability equipment for sale or hire.

Beyond Boundaries Wheelchairs.  Offers all terrain wheelchairs to hire for holidays that work well on the beach, gravel, woodland and other different surfaces.

Algarve Mobility provide Mobility scooters to your accommodation when holidaying in the Algarve, Portugal.

Car Hire:

Adapted Vehicle Hire.  Offers wheelchair accessible and adapted vehicles.