by Mary Graham
What are your travel
dreams? If you are ready for excitement, something new, exotic places, we can
help. Twenty percent (20%) of travelers
today have special needs. Many more want
to travel but are not sure if they can or how to make it happen.
Special needs are not only those with a disability. You may need a little extra help walking long distances (ships and airports can be very long walks). You may have a temporary disability from pre/post surgery, falls, etc. Sometimes traveling alone with small children can require extra help.
Special Needs also includes persons with
disabilities. The majority of these have
mobility issues. There are many
different needs, including needing oxygen. Again, don’t let that stop you from fulfilling your bucket list.
MGA has several travel advisors trained to help you meet these needs.
They can help advise you on meeting your needs whether transporting you and your mobility equipment, to finding accessible hotels, resorts and which cruise ship will best meet your needs.
They will help you decide if you want to use your own equipment or rent . Planning is important for any traveler. But especially so if you need an accessible room, rental equipment and planning excursions. Because you want your trip to be perfect and stress free , it is very important to make plans as early as possible.
Always, Always, Always get insurance. This is important for any traveler but more so for those with special needs. Your advisor will help you find which will be your best choice. MGA are there for YOU. They want your trip to be one made just for you.
With their help you can have the courage, imagination, and trust to go see what the world has to offer, and know all your special needs are taken care of.
What type of
equipment is available to rent?
Wheelchairs, Scooters, lift chairs, toilet/shower chairs, bedside lifts, oxygen, rollators, special vehicles. Ask for what you need.
I use oxygen. What is available ?
Sometimes you can take your own. This depends on the airlines or ships.Oxygen can be delivered to your destination. There are many types. You will need to know the type and have your prescription.
I am a slow walker and get breathless easily? Will the ships be too much walking for me?
You do not have to be disabled to have need of help. A wheelchair, scooter, or walker will alleviate this issue, and greatly improve your trip. Your agent will happily take care of this.
Are river cruises very accessible?
Some River cruises, especially those in US, are more accessible than others. Generally, if you are using a walker you should be able to get around. They are not made to accommodate scooters or wheelchairs. Most have a small lift that will take you to different floors, but tendering and going to port can be difficult getting on and off. There are a few River Cruises that have accessible rooms. Check with your advisor.
Are all of the larger cruise ships accessible?
Cruise ships vary considerably. The newer ones or renovated ones are generally made with greater accessibility. Your advisor can help guide you in finding the right one.
Can I go on excursions?
Some places the ship is able to port. Other places require a tender, or smaller boat, that will take you from ship to port. Some tenders have ramps and you can take a wheelchair or sometimes a scooter. But not all. The ramps from ship to port can be very steep, depending on tide, weather etc. And many places once off ship or not always accessible.
Excursions take research and , again, planning. Your MGA advisor can help find which places are ports and which require a tender.
Is most of Europe accessible?
In 2011 the ADA law made it possible for most places in the states to offer accessibility, including many of our National and State parks. Europe is making efforts in this area.
Keeping in mind, many places are old ruins or older places where making it accessible is either very expensive or not available. You won’t be kissing the Blarney Stone! But you might take your chair and take in the beauty of the surrounding area. Be flexible.
Most of the airports offer wheelchairs. Many of the trains and buses offer ramps and lifts for mobility equipment. But many streets are cobblestoned or narrow with lots of tourists. Some of my favorite stops are where I am waiting in a wheelchair and got to meet many new people and observe those around me. Many times shops have steps to enter. Restaurants may have the bathrooms down winding steps. Venice is challenging. There is almost almost a way.
With the help of your MGA travel advisor you
can find the courage, imagination, and trust to go see what the world has to
offer and know all your special needs are taken care of.
As a special needs person, I have some first
hand experience with several trips I have made with MGA .
I want to share some photos. Would love to have anyone else who travels with MGA and have used their special needs experts to posts photos as well.
Many pathways in Europe. I like to take a thick pillow for my wheelchair or scooter….
Getting down to water via a “lift” .
Lift to tenders on the new Celebrity Edge. A very accessible ship. Loved it.
Lift to cable cars in Santorini. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t accessible. There is an elevator to take you to these steps.
Even with great tenders like the Edge has, many ports want to use their own tenders. This one worked quite well.
This was a trip in Venice aboard the Uniworld River Cruise. The captain, a lovely person, is attempting to push the wheelchair. I had to tell him that though he was a wonderful ship captain, he did not get passing grades on steering wheelchairs. The chair is foldable and was used off ship for excursions.
I travel mainly with the Outlander’s Society, a travel group with MGA. We were waiting on the gondole boats. The weather was not with us. Traveling with a group makes travel so much more fun.
Transports are available at many places. They can take you and your equipment where you need to go.
A special needs boat was renting in Venice to get to different ports. This was definitely exciting.
A special guide was hired in Venice at Doges Palace. We were able to get into palace and he knew where the ‘hidden’ elevator was.
This is over and beyond the call of duty. And a great show of effort and making it work. There are many canals in Venice and bridges are basically steps. Not a lot of accessibility. But with teamwork, they made it happen. (not really rentable).
Do not let anything stand in your way. Get out and Go. Don’t miss the adventure, the camaraderie, food, and exciting challenges that comes with travel. Especially in a group. Enjoy life !!!
Meeting up with friends Malta. Elevators…
10764 Hwy 707, #1 Salem Shoppes, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
*Please note that in some cases we charge a planning fee for completely custom designed itineraries that are not otherwise part of a cruise or tour. In such cases, we would advise you that you would incur a fee if you still wish to proceed. Agency Cancellation Fees of $100 per person for 1st and 2nd passenger, and $50 per person for each additional passenger on the same reservation applies to cancellations. Please note: Agency Cancelation Fees may not be covered by some insurance premiums. Additionally, credit card chargebacks will incur a $150 fee, per occurrence, for chargebacks relating to correctly planned and client authorized application of funds for travel which has been deposited, or those after deposit whereby interim payments have been applied after deposit, and those paid in full.
When booking separate airfare that is not provided by a tour operator or cruise line, we charge a ticketing fee for international air of $100 per person and domestic air fee of $30 per person and $50 per person for Hawaii & Alaska. The fee will be waived if booked as part of a supplier package. Please note that travel suppliers may have ticketing, deviation, custom air, or stopover fees.
Before booking any international air we require copies of your passports. Cancelling a scheduled appointment is fine but no shows will incur a $50 fee.
MGA Travel only recommends select properties at all-inclusive resorts, please check with an advisor.