Tag Archives: accessible holidays

When Seable took on Thailand – Accessible Holidays for Blind and Visually Impaired

Seable has been on an incredibly exciting mission for the last 3 weeks to our new destination; Thailand.

 

The team from Seable that went on this journey was myself Emma, Holiday Tailoress and CEO Damiano La Rocca.  We set out on this trip with one mission…..TO COME BACK WITH AN EXCITING ACCESSIBLE HOLIDAY THAT WE CAN OFFER TO THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMAPIRED.  I, myself could not wait to get started and show all that we had to offer upon our return.

 

ASo here is our story of our trip to Thailand:

 

DAY 1

 

Arriving at Heathrow airport, we sat and went through the incredible itinerary that Nutty adventures had sent us.  They are the fantastic company that are going to show Seable what Thailand had to offer as an accessible destination.

 

ABOUT NUTTY’S ADVENTURE

 

nutty’s adventures

 

Nutty’s Adventures brings together a mixture of high-quality cycling tours, mountain treks and river-based adventures throughout Southeast Asia.

 

Their philosophy is to minimize the environmental and social impact of tourism activities, whilst providing opportunities for visitors to responsibly contribute to the well-being of the local communities.

 

Nutty’s Adventures is a new style of tour operator and a specialist in CBT, Community-Based Tourism. Nutty‘s Adventures offers all types of responsible travel, green eco-adventure activities and volunteer work holidays.

 

Specialize in Community-Based Travel (CBT) that allows tourists to have a closer connection to local people while directly experiencing their lifestyles and cultural traditions.

 

They are a tour operator situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, and their well-trained English-speaking guides will provide you with remarkable experiences that you’ll be talking about for the rest of your life. Nutty’s Adventures offers a wide variety of 3-day excursions and we also love the challenge of organizing unique tailor-made tours for the individual needs of families, charities, businesses and tour groups.

 

So, as you can see in the last sentence, ‘they love the challenge of organising unique tailor-made tours’ and here at Seable we love everything unique tailor-made for our clients.  We set off on our 13-hour flight with anticipation of what was to come over the next three weeks.  We flew with Malaysia air and we both thought the flight was fantastic.  Comfy seats, great food and a brilliant entertainment system including so many audio books/films, the 13 hours flew by-literally.

 

Arriving in Bangkok, it was 9pm there time and we were excited to drop our bags off and see what the city centre had to offer; and it did not disappoint.  The atmosphere was electric with many people fully enjoying what the street food had to offer.  As did we, and we probably got carried away with wanting to try something from every stall. After tasting each delicacy, finally, our bodies were feeling the effects of travelling and we set off to our hotel to get some rest.  We were staying in the Hotel De’Moc and it was lovely, big accessible rooms with a great balcony. Excited with the knowledge that the next day we started our adventure with Nutty and the team we said goodnight.

 

DAY 2

 

Waking up full of excitement we planned our day ready to meet a member of the team at 6pm.  Breakfast in the hotel was great.

 

We wanted to check out Bangkok city in the day time, to see if it is something we can include into our trip for our clients.  It did not disappoint-under the sunshine the little streets were wonderful, the smells of the food cooking in all the little street food stalls mixed with the sound of the street vendors, was something you must experience.  There were also many stalls selling fantastic clothing for super prices and as a girl I can say that I took advantage of this situation and bought some lovely things, including some amazing trousers for only 100 baht-about £2.50.

 

We set off back to the hotel and waited eagerly to meet the team. Nun was the lady who would be spending the next 2 days with us. She went through what we would be doing for the next couple of days and told us what was a must-see in our last evening in Bangkok.  We said bye and set off to Chinatown and personally it was my favourite evening in Bangkok. The atmosphere was electric with lots of people walking around the many streets of Chinatown.  As we walked along, we tried food from as many stalls as we could and it was all so yummy.  After we had eaten way too much food, we got a tuk tuk back to the hotel.  Tuk tuk’s are fantastic for getting around the city quickly, inexpensive and a great experience.

 

 

 

DAY 3

 

Meeting Nun at 8am we had breakfast and then made our way to Bangkok train station.  After a short wait, we boarded to train to Ayutthaya.  The train was a typical Thai train, with big old seats, fans in the ceiling and had many people walking up and down the aisles selling food.  We bought some mango and watched Bangkok pass up by as we travelled for 1 half hours to central Thailand.

 

 

Arriving in Ayutthaya we got in a traditional Tuk Tuk and went to visit Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. The whole place felt incredibly peaceful, with classical music being played through speakers throughout the grounds, birds singing and the sound of the water.

 

After the Palace, we took the tuk tuk to Baan Koh Kerd and had a village tour, trying out local delicacies and meeting the community.  It was amazing to get to experience their way of life.

 

Seable Thailand Blind Visually Impaired Holiday

 

That evening we stayed in a Homestay that was located on the river.  It was a very traditional house on stilts, that had basic amenities but was perfect for what we needed.  The owner of the home made us a wonderful traditional dinner and we ate it on the terrace overlooking the river.

 

To be continued…..

 

For any other travel advice or guidance, feel free to contact us and to learn more about our active accessible holidays, click here.

Discover Accessible Munich

Make Way For Munich: The Most Accessible City in Europe?

Now is the perfect time of year to take a European city break: the lull between Christmas and spring tends to be one of the quietest times for tourists to travel overseas, and the chilly weather is perfect for wrapping up warm, exploring those famous sites, and drinking hot chocolate on bustling promenades. Thinking of taking a last-minute city break this winter but unsure of where you want to go? You may be lured by the romance of Paris, but its old and dated metro system is an accessibility nightmare (the same can sadly be said for London’s underground) and the cobbled streets of Rome are a nightmare if you are travelling in a heavy electric wheelchair. That doesn’t mean that these cities aren’t accessible with a little planning, but they might not be the ideal first choice for a last minute break. For an easy and hassle free accessible break, why not discover accessible Munich? Its old world charm is coupled with the kind of German efficiency that makes accessible travel here a breeze:

 

Accessible Public Transport

Discover Accessible Munich

Discover Munich’s accessible bus

 

Unlike most other European cities, most than 90% of the underground system in Munich is completely accessible, with access to the stations being entirely barrier free. Whilst the system isn’t extensive (comprising of two lines: the U Bahn (urban line) or S Bahn (suburban line) it goes to all of the major sites you would wish to visit and is a perfectly adequate and affordable way of getting around for a long weekend. If you wish to travel somewhere that is not accessible via the underground trains then the Munich public transport system also features buses and trams. All of the buses in the city are accessible via ramps to the rear doors. The tram system is currently undergoing a modernisation process, so not all of the trams are accessible, but approximately 50% of them are (so far) so if you need to get somewhere on a tram route then it is possible, if slightly inconvenient, to just wait until an accessible tram arrives. Getting around in Munich is perfectly possible then, but where should you be getting around to?

 

Interesting and Enjoyable Attractions

Augustiner – Keller. Discover Accessible Munich

 

Munich is an ancient city at the heart of Germany, and one with a rich history, meaning that there are plenty of tourist attractions worth visiting. The famous BMW museum and factory makes for a fascinating visit, and is proud to be fully accessible, as is the Olympic Park: host of the 1972 Olympic games which were sadly largely overshadowed by what is now known as the Munich Massacre.  If you are interested in exploring the darker period of German history, under Nazi rule, then you can reach the Dachau concentration camp (the first camp the Nazi’s built) via accessible transportation, and the historic site is also largely accessible when you arrive. Less interested in history and more interested in fun? Munich is infamous for being home to over 400 different beerhalls, and the vast majority of these are proud to be fully accessible. For ease and convenience, why not try the Augustinekeller, which is situated right next door to the central station, and is fully accessible.

 

Perfectly Practical Considerations

Discover Accessible Munich

E111 Card

 

Of course, disabled travellers also need to consider the practical aspects of their breaks, including the availability of decent healthcare, should something go wrong, and the accessibility of the airport. The healthcare in Germany is highly regarded as being amongst the best in the world, and whilst it is always recommended that you travel with your own health insurance (particularly when you have pre-existing conditions) our membership of the European Union (for as long as that lasts) means that with a valid E111 card, your treatment here is free.  And as for the airport? Well it’s time to think of that clichéd German efficiency again, because Munich airport is fully accessible and boasts a wide array of excellent transport links into the city, making it easy for travellers with accessibility concerns  to take a last minute trip without having to spend hours worrying about how they will get from A to B. So, Discover Accessible Munich!
“This is an article sent in by Sally Dacre”

Trip to Iceland for Visually Impaired

Holidays for partially sighted and blind travellers.

We have just returned from one of the best trip of the year and possibly in the history of Seable.

Let’s hear it from the participants:

Stacey: I had such an amazing time in Iceland. Did amazing things, saw amazing sights and met amazing people! Thanks for making a great time lovelies ❤️.

Warren: Last week I had an absolutely fantastic time in Iceland, a really beautiful, unique and strange country, on a Victa Milton Keynes trip with a group of people who gelled fantastically well, it was a pleasure spending the week with them. I have had so many unforgettable experience is, being absolutely drenched and freezing cold on Europe’s largest glacier, on a day when most other ttreks were cancelled, visiting some spectacular scenery and landscapes such as going behind a waterfall, visiting what must be the worlds largest warm, outdoor bath, the blue lagoon, smelling lots of smelly sulphur pits, seeing some active geysers, going to The worlds largest penis museum that did not disappoint me and much more. I was lucky enough to try some unique food, the fermented shark tasted like blue cheese but 100 times more intense, puffin, reindeer burger and much more. It is definitely a country I want to go back to and I went with a group of people I want to keep in touch with

Lucy: My Icelandic adventure with the most amazing people! Can’t thank Victa Milton Keynes and Seable Disabled Holidays enough for this amazing trip! Will never forget some of the beautiful things i’ve seen!

Rachel: Iceland was amazing with the best people <3

Alex: I’m jotting this down in the car on the way back at the airport. It’s been an amazing week in Iceland and seems a shame be over. We’ve seen some of the most amazing sights, and experienced unbelievable adventures. But the thing that’s made this trip is the group we were with. I was asked the other day is it hard to volunteer and when your out with people like this never!
Thank you for having me and letting me join in the fun!

Some shots of the trip:
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tactile map of iceland

tactile map of iceland

Disabled holidays in Big Issue Magazine.

Read about disabled holidays with Seable through The GoDo See Buy part of  Big Issue Magazine.

You can read the full article here about our wide range of accessible sport and leisure activity for disabled holidays: scuba diving in the Mediterranean; quad biking; 4×4 driving on Mount Etna; gastronomic delights, wine tasting, olive harvesting and so much more.

We are so glad and honoured to be included in the magazine that has inspired other street papers in more than 120 countries, leading a global self-help revolution.

The Big Issue is a magazine sold by homeless and long-term unemployed people. Vendors buy copies for £1.25 and sell for £2.50. They are working, not begging.

disabled-holidays-big-issue-london

Since The Big Issue was launched in 1991, they have helped thousands of vulnerable people take control of their lives. The Big Issue currently work with around 2000 individuals across the UK offering them the opportunity to earn a legitimate income; to ‘help them to help themselves’.

Over the past two decades the magazine has become synonymous with challenging, independent journalism, and renowned for securing exclusive interviews with the most elusive of superstars. It currently circulates around 100,000 copies every week.

disabled-holidays-big-issue-magazine

Last year alone The Big Issue put more than £5million in the pockets of the vendors, releasing them from a dependence on handout and providing an alternative to begging.

Earning an income is the first step on the journey away from poverty and The Big Issue Foundation, a registered charity, exists to link vendors with vital support and services.

Visit www.bigissue.com for more information.

disabled-holidays-big-issue-foundation

Reviews of the latest Seable Sicily Experience

Have a taste of your disabled holidays with Seable, discover how could it be through some of our client’s reviews.

We don’t sell products: our aim is to provide the most valuable experience supported by passion and enthusiasm, believing that our disabled holidays can offer a wide range of exciting activities in order to make your trip unforgettable.

Olga, 22, a partially sighted lady from Milton Keynes, England said: “Thank you for such a wonderful experience and everything that you have done for all of us while we were in Sicily. It is because of you that I tried so many new things. Your support, encouragement and humour in various activities has helped to make this one of the best weeks in my entire life. You have worked SO hard to ensure that everyone had not only a good time and learned about Sicily, its culture and history, but also tried something new. What you do is amazing. Keep it up. You are spreading so much joy and encouragement and I hope that your company will continue to grow. Hopefully see you again soon!”

disabled-holidays

Moreover, thank’s to our team, primary composed by local guides, you can deeply connect with the essence of your destination: “Amazing experience in Sicily. Some unique activities you wouldn’t find on a generic holiday package. As well as really friendly staff who have grown up in Sicily, which allows them to give great info on the best hidden places to eat and some knowledge on local history / sights you may want to see.” Daniel, 25, a partially sighted young boy from London said.

Rachel, 23, a partially sighted lady from Birmingham, England said: “The Seable team are amazing and very understanding, they knew the best places to take us in Sicily. A few activities we did such as; scuba diving, walking up Mount Etna, honey tasting, olive oil making and visiting an organic farm, were only some of the brilliant experiences but it didn’t stop there, there was always something we would be doing so there was never a dull moment. The team really do go the extra mile to help you in whatever way you need and are always there for a friendly chat if you need to. Can’t wait for the next trip!!”

disabled-holidays-favignana

Mohammed, 21, a blind man from Blackburn, Lancashire said: “I cannot put into words how good the service is provided by Seable Disabled Holidays. I went to Sicily with them in October and I was extremely satisfied with the five star service that was provided. Damiano and his staff ensured I was completely comfortable at all times. Damiano went out of his way on many occasions to help me and meet my requirements. Seable Disabled Holidays are always prepared to Taylor your holiday to suit you and your needs. All the staff are very friendly and understanding. You do not feel as if you’re disabled because they make sure you are treated as normal and that you get to do what you want. They will fulfil any dietary or religious requirements you have and do everything in their power to make sure you have the best time with no stress. I recommend Seable Disabled Holidays highly. Every excursion that is offered is worth every penny and provides the most authentic experience possible. Don’t take my word for it though, book today and find out for yourself!!”

Tanya, a lovely young daughter of a visually and hearing impaired elderly father from London, said: “Seable and Damiano made it possible to take my visually and hearing impaired elderly father on holiday this year. I could not have done this on my own. They made every effort to make sure we were comfortable and happy. The tour guide Francesco was so helpful with dad and with everything from finding a spa for dad to translating menus. I can’t recommend them highly enough!! Loved Sicily and we will definitely be traveling with Seable again next year.”

We are so proud and happy to hear such lovely feedback, and we want to thank you all for such delicious reviews.

disabled-holidays-ortigia

Disabled Holiday Accommodation: What We Offer

Our Disabled Holiday Accommodation

For today’s blogpost, we thought we would focus on some of the disabled holiday accommodation we offer to our guests. We have a great range of luxurious disabled holiday accommodation, from villas to apartments to hotels, all of which are surrounded by magnificent Italian scenery, and have either a pool or beach access. All of our accommodation has been inspected, and assessed fully compatible for the visually impaired and wheelchair users. Read on for more details about some of the disabled holiday accommodation we offer.

Villa del Palme, Acitrezza

Accessible Accommodation 15

Nestled amongst pine trees and citrus groves, Villa delle Palme offers the best of location with all of Sicily’s beauty at your doorstep. Acitrezza is one of Sicily’s most sought after addresses, being home to the Islands of Ciclopi legends and all the village’s natural’surrounding beauty.  It is a short drive from Catania City, and only 40 minutes drive from Taormina and Etna. There is a swimming pool and BBQ facilities in the expansive garden, and it is only 110 yards from the beach.

disabled holiday accommodation

In terms of accessibility, Villa delle Palme has been fitted especially with wider doorways and accessible wet rooms. It also has hoists, electric beds and scooters for hire.

disabled holiday Accommodation

You can find its website here. You can also see more photos, and read reviews, on Tripadvisor and Airbnb.

Grand Hotel Faraglioni

disabled holiday accommodation

This 4 star hotel, situated on the seafront of Acitrezza, offers guests comfort and hospitality that only a top rated hotel can give. A Lobby-bar where guests can relax and have a cocktail at any time of the day. Guests have exclusive, private access to the “solarium” and to the sea in front of the hotel. Facilities include sun loungers, deck chairs and beach umbrellas.

disabled holiday accommodation

Accessibility wise, rooms come equipped with wider doorways and accessible wetrooms, and a range of electric beds, hoists and scooters. Highly qualified staff also be at your disposal to ensure your stay is flawless. There is excellent service at all times and assistance with the choice of sightseeing, special events, guided tours, travel itineraries, and transfer to and from the airport etc.

disabled holiday accommodation

You can find its website here. Find more photos and read reviews on Tripadvisor here, and Expedia here.

La Terrazza

disabled holiday accommodation

A delightful B&B set right on the sea promenade, La Terrazza is less than 5 minutes’ walk from Aci Castello town centre. It boasts air-conditioned rooms, an outdoor pool and free Wi-fi. Every morning, you are served an Italian breakfast of local pastries, fresh juice and coffee, whilst enjoying the sea views from the terrace.

Rooms at La Terrazza are clean, comfortable and modern, and come with a TV, fridge and tiled floors. Some overlook the sea, while the others have garden views.

disabled holiday accommodation

In summer, guests can enjoy relaxing moments at the partner beach nearby, while the Acireale thermal spa is 5 km away. There is also a poolside bar, and the owner provides live music at least once a week at the pool.

disabled holiday accommodation

The staff are friendly and accommodating, and will be happy to help with whatever you might need. A shuttle service to/from Catania-Fontanarossa Airport is available on request.

Find more photos and read reviews on Tripadvisor here, and Booking.com here.

 

Hopefully this post has given you a greater insight into some of the disabled holiday accommodation we offer, and the various accessible features of the locations we have selected.  If you have any questions about our disabled holiday accommodation, please contact us by email or call us at +44(0) 207 749 4866.

Living with Age-Related Macular Degeneration: 7 Tips

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a common eye condition and the leading cause of vision impairment in the UK, affecting up to 500,000 people. The condition is most common in people over 50, and it is estimated that one in every 10 people over 65 have some degree of AMD.

AMD causes damage to the macula, the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision. As a result, a blurred area at the centre of vision is a common symptom. Over time, this blurred area may grow larger, and objects may not appear as bright as they used to be. This can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to recognise faces, drive, read, write, cook and do chores around the house.

Image courtesy of University of Washington

Image courtesy of University of Washington

Currently, no medical or surgical cure exists for age-related macular degeneration. Coping with the vision loss can be a painful process, as everyday tasks become difficult to do. However, although you may not be able to restore your vision, plenty of services, tools and techniques are available to empower you to make the most of what you have. AMD does not mean you will no longer be able to enjoy the company of friends and family, or carry out projects, or indulge in your hobbies: plenty of sufferers continue to lead active, independent, and fulfilling lives. Here are 7 tips and recommended adjustments for making the most out of your vision.

1. Draw support from groups and professionals around you.

Research has shown that people with age-related macular degeneration who participate in support groups or self-help programmes do much better than those who simply go it alone. Visit a specialist in low vision, who can give you devices and learning skills to help you with everyday tasks. Your GP or optometrist should be able to refer you to one. Here are some good questions to ask your eye specialist:

  • – How can I continue my normal, daily routine?
  • – Are there any resources or special devices to help me with everyday tasks?
  • – What training and services are available to help me around and outside the house?

You could also ask them to refer you to a professional counselor, or support group. Alternatively, if you live in England, you can also use this online search from the NHS to find visual impairment services near you. You may find it encouraging to find others with the same situation, to voice your feelings, share useful information, and gain emotional support. Finally, stay engaged with family and friends: not only do they form a support network, they are also important for your general wellbeing. A common frustration of AMD sufferers is the inability to recognise other people: if so, tell people you know to say hi and tell you their name when they meet you, so that you can recognise them.

2. Make use of the range of low vision aids available.

There are plenty of aids and electronic systems available for the visually impaired. Some of these include:

  • • Reading glasses with high-powered lenses
  • • Handheld magnifiers
  • • Computers with large-print and speech-output systems
  • • Large-print reading materials
  • • Talking watches, clocks, and calculators
  • • Computer aids and other technologies, such as CCTV magnifier, which uses a camera and television to enlarge printed text

Not every aid works for everyone, so ask your eye specialist and use your own experience to figure out which ones best suit you.

You may also wish to develop a technique known as “eccentric viewing”: this involves identifying an are of your retina that retains reasonable functionality, and is as close to the central part of the macula as possible in order to maximise detail, and learning to use this effectively. Click here to find out more about eccentric viewing.

3. Adjust your environment at home accordingly.

It’s a good idea to change up your environment at home to make things comfortable and safe for yourself from day to day. Here are some suggestions for improvements:

  • • Use brighter lighting, including task lamps for reading and up-close activities, and additional lighting in dark hallways and stairways.
  • • Eliminate glare from windows and on your computer wherever possible.
  • • Learn how to be organised, so that everything has its place.
  • • Use contrasting colors to help you navigate your surroundings.
  • • Try to eliminate tripping hazards, such as rugs.

With time, you will create an environment which is organically suited to your needs.

4. Take good care of your general health and wellbeing, through diet and exercise.

Foods rich in antioxidants - Image courtesy of Maja's Diary

Foods rich in antioxidants – Image courtesy of Maja’s Diary

You may not be able to cure your AMD, but you can take steps to prevent it from getting worse.

Make sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are protective for AMD. They can be found in abundance in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and spring greens, and in fruits and vegetables with a bright colour like peppers, oranges and red grapes. Also eat plenty of fish, 2-3 times a week – fish such as salmon and sardines contain copious amounts of omega 3, a critical nutrient for the heart and eyes. Cut out saturated fats – research has shown that saturated fats contribute to AMD. You can find some healthy recipes at Eyefoods (click here), or order their book.

Depending on how developed your AMD is, and whether you are at high risk for developing advanced AMD, your doctor may also choose to prescribe you a supplement. In particular, a formulation created by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) of concentrated antioxidants and zinc has been shown to help people at high risk of developing advanced AMD keep their remaining vision.

Exercise regularly: aim for three days a week. This pumps up your cardiovascular system, and can also lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels – both factors which have been linked to AMD.

If you smoke, quit! There is a very strong link between smoking and AMD: smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to develop AMD. If you already have AMD, smoking can worsen it. Smoking decreases the level of antioxidants and increases the level of oxidants in your body, whilst reducing the amount of oxygen reaching your macula.

5. Take extra precautions when travelling, and do not be afraid to seek help.

Avoid driving in certain conditions: at night, in heavy traffic, or in bad weather. In fact, you may wish to suspend driving until you consult a specialist. You may find the book “Driving with Confidence: A Practical Guide to Driving With Low Vision” by Eli and Doron Peli helpful: click here to view it on Amazon.

If you are uncomfortable travelling alone, then seek help – ask family members or friends, or contact your local council for a list of vans, shuttles and volunteer care networks. You may also wish to use public transportation, where there will be attendants who can provide help if needed.

If you’re on holiday, it’s a good idea to put a brightly coloured strap around your luggage for easy identification, and to ask hotel staff for a tour of your surroundings. If you’re travelling alone, try and arrange for someone to help you around: it can be difficult navigating a foreign destination with a visual impairment. Here at Seable we can provide a chaperone to accompany you for the entire length of your holiday, from airport pickup to the final dropoff.

6. Protect your eyes from the sun.

Make sure to protect your eyes from the ultraviolet (UV) light in sunshine. UV light is known to contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration. UV light can pass through clouds, making overcast days just as dangerous as sunny ones.

To protect your eyes, invest in some UV-blocking sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that screen 99-100% of ultraviolet A and B rays. There are sunglasses designed specifically for macular degeneration, which include side panels and a ridge at the top of the glasses so that all light is filtered. You could also have your regular glasses treated with a UV coating – a clear coating which will not interfere with your normal sight. If you aren’t sure about the quality of your UV protection, you can ask your optician to check.

7. Stay positive.

Last but not least, stay positive! Vision loss may cause feelings of loneliness, anxiety, helplessness and depression. Learn how to cope with these by visiting a counsellor or support group. Asking others for help does not mean you are not independent: rather, think of it as taking charge and making use of the resources and networks out there which are available to you. Do not define yourself by your eyes or your vision, and empower yourself to overcome your impairment. AMD does not mean you cannot continue to lead a fulfilling and enjoyable life. With some help from the team here at Seable, you can even go on holiday! Below you can watch our interview with Peter, an 81-year old veteran with AMD who travelled alone with us to Sicily and had the “best holiday of his life”.

Sources:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Macular-degeneration/Pages/Introduction.aspx

https://nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts

http://www.mvrf.org/coping-with-macular-degeneration/tips-and-tricks-from-people-with-macular-degeneration/

http://www.eylea.us/index.php?id=40

Accessible Holidays: Driving activity – Top 5 Destinations in Europe

Accessible Holidays

Accessible Driving Holidays

Accessible Holidays

The modern mobility car has reshaped the world of travel and tourism for the disabled and for wheelchair users. The use of the mobility car has transformed the lives of thousands of disabled people across Great Britain, and Europe is now home to a large number of cities which all encourage a wide use of wheelchair friendly access points in hotels, bars and restaurants.

Across the UK and Europe, there are now some truly spectacular places to visit where wheelchair users needn’t spend their time worrying over the lack of facilities in place to accommodate physically impaired or disabled families or travel groups.

For families or travel groups looking to plan their own driving holiday, specialist companies such Allied Vehicles offer mobility cars / self-drive cars for purchase or lease. For European excursions or sports for the physically impaired, don’t forget the check the main Seable website for more info.

Before you start planning, here are 5 of Europe’s most wheelchair friendly cities:

  1. London

We start off our list right here in the UK. Our capital is not only one of the most diverse and exciting cities in Europe but it’s also one of the most wheelchair friendly. Public transport in London sets the bar high for the rest of the continent with every single bus route in the city offering wheelchair access. For a more private travel options, taxis in London also offer the same accessibility. The majority of hotels can also provide a safe and easy access point.

  1. Berlin

Berlin is becoming more and more accessible by the day. Just like London, buses and taxis offer convenient access and most public transport options are designed with the ‘Accessible Berlin’ motto in mind. Find out more info about ‘Accessible Berlin from the Visit Berlin travel website.

  1. Paris

It’s one of the most romantic cities in the world but it was once almost impossible to get around. Slowly but surely, the city is changing. Now, over 50 metro stations have been made barrier-free for wheelchairs and most buses have deployed the use of ramps to help people get around the city with ease. Popular tourist hot spots such as Le Tour Eiffel, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and Arc de Triomphe are now completely accessible by public transport because of these recent improvements.

  1. Venice

The thought of Venice on a wheelchair seems almost infeasible. The never-ending canals and constant need to travel by water may be off-putting but you might be surprised to discover how easy it could be. Water taxis and water buses both offer wheelchair access and discounts are also available for wheelchair users and one of the passengers travelling with them.

Not all Vaparetto stops are accessible so you need to do your research. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, try using water taxis to get around. Once you know the system and understand all the tips and tricks, Venice can be a breeze.

  1. Rome

Rome is one of the busiest cities in Europe. This is without a doubt one of the most desirable tourist cities and getting around can be stressful. But a wheelchair user can get from A to B with ease as long as they have assistance and a little patience. The truth is, barriers are still an issue for many tourist attractions in this famous Italian city but the trick is to find out where the entrance is before you set off.

This is a great article (Rolling in Rome) by By Howard L. Chabner and Michele E. DeSha, which helps you discover the accessibility or Rome from a wheelchair user themselves.

Accessible City Breaks In Europe You Can Drive To

We’ve written before about the difficulties disabled people can face when flying and how it is possible to negotiate those difficulties with good planning. However sometimes you do have to ask yourself, is it worth the hassle? Obviously if you’re going to Sydney, Tokyo or Chicago then it’s your only option, but if you live in Europe then you do have to consider whether or not you need to fly. Because of free travel between EU countries and comparatively short distances it is possible to take accessible city breaks and drive there from the UK, so it is something to consider.

With that in mind here’s our guide to accessible city breaks in Europe, including renting a mobility car, what to look for in an accessible city and a few of our suggestions for destinations.

 

Mobility Cars

The modern mobility car has reshaped the world of travel and tourism for the disabled and for wheelchair users. For families or travel groups looking to plan their own driving holiday, specialist companies such Allied Vehicles offer mobility cars / self-drive cars for purchase or lease.

a man in a wheelchair is being helped into a mobility car. mobility cars make it easier for disabled people to drive to accessible city breaks

Obviously this won’t necessarily be as quick as flying or taking a high speed train, but the clear benefit is being in complete control of the traveling experience. You can pick a car that has the features you need and you can travel in an environment that you are comfortable in and know, rather than depending on an airline and public transport connections. Plus, quicker doesn’t necessarily mean better! By driving you can take in all the sights, relax with friends, enjoy your music and entertainment, take breaks whenever you want and avoid screaming babies.

 

Accessible Cities

When planning your accessible city breaks there are things you’ll want to consider. How good is the public transport system and what features do they have in place for disabled people? Paris for example has a great feature on its underground that tells you very clearly which routes and stations you can use as a wheelchair user. If the tube is limited, does the city have a bus service with low floors, frequent wheelchair accessible parking or a wheelchair accessible taxi service (all London taxis are accessible for example)?

You won’t want to be in a car the whole time either, so it’s worth checking how accessible the streets are. Old alleys with high curbs and cobbles look great on a postcard but aren’t the best for a wheelchair! The best way to check is to jump on Google maps and just look at the street view feature around some of the places you want to visit and look for things like drop curbs.

A lot of cities also now produce documents outlining their commitments to accessibility and highlighting what features are in place, here are some good examples by Gothenburg and Cardiff. As with most disability travel, accessible city breaks are all about the planning. So the more you know before you go the better.

 

What To Do

A great thing about most European Cities is how modern they are. Europe is now home to a large number of cities which all encourage a wide use of wheelchair friendly access points in hotels, bars and restaurants. The EU also has numerous accessibility laws that cities and attractions should abide by. This all makes Europe the perfect place for accessible city breaks.

However, and I’m sure most of you are already very aware of this, what should be on offer and what is promised in terms of accessibility is often not delivered in real life. Most hotel, bar, website and museum websites will outline their accessibility, but the best way to find out how accessible they are is from the point of view of disabled people who have used them. This is where great sites like Access Now, Wheel Map and Euan’s Guide come in. They use crowdsourcing to create databases and interactive maps of accessible locations around the world, so you can find out how accessible a place really is from people who’ve already been there.

An access now map of Dublin, showing locations that are wheelchair accessible. apps like access now make accessible city breaks easier to plan

A screen shot of an access now map of Dublin showing accessible locations

Five Wheelchair Friendly Cities

London

We start off our list right here in the UK. Our capital is not only one of the most diverse and exciting cities in Europe, but it’s also one of the most wheelchair friendly. Public transport in London sets the bar high for the rest of the continent with every single bus route in the city offering wheelchair access. For a more private travel options, taxis in London also offer the same accessibility. The majority of hotels can also provide a safe and easy access point.

 

Berlin

Berlin is becoming more and more accessible by the day. Just like London, buses and taxis offer convenient access and most public transport options are designed with the ‘Accessible Berlin’ motto in mind. Find out more info about ‘Accessible Berlin from the Visit Berlin travel website.

a screenshot of the accessible berlin website showing a visually impaired man navigating berlin. berlin is a good city for accessible city breaks

a screenshot of the accessible berlin website

 

Paris

It’s one of the most romantic cities in the world but it was once almost impossible to get around. Slowly but surely, the city is changing. Now, over 50 metro stations have been made barrier-free for wheelchairs and most buses have deployed the use of ramps to help people get around the city with ease. Popular tourist hotspots such as Le Tour Eiffel, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and Arc de Triomphe are now completely accessible by public transport because of these recent improvements.

 

Venice

The thought of Venice on a wheelchair seems almost impossible. The never-ending canals and constant need to travel by water may be off-putting but you might be surprised to discover how easy it could be. Water taxis and water buses both offer wheelchair access and discounts are also available for wheelchair users and one of the passengers travelling with them. Recent developments have even made the classic Venitian gondolas wheelchair accessible through Gondolas4All.

Not all Vaparetto stops are accessible so you need to do your research. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, try using water taxis to get around. Once you know the system and understand all the tips and tricks, Venice can be a breeze.

 

Rome

Rome is one of the busiest cities in Europe. This is without a doubt one of the most desirable tourist cities and getting around can be stressful. But a wheelchair user can get from A to B with ease as long as they have assistance and a little patience. Barriers can still be an issue for many tourist attractions in this famous Italian city, but the trick is to find out where the entrance is before you set off.

This is a great article (Rolling in Rome) by By Howard L. Chabner and Michele E. DeSha, which helps you discover the accessibility or Rome from a wheelchair user’s perspective.

 

Across the UK and Europe, there are now some truly spectacular places to visit where wheelchair users needn’t spend their time worrying over the lack of facilities in place to accommodate physically impaired or disabled families or travel groups. As long as you do your research and plan ahead you’ll be on your way to numerous great accessible city breaks in no time at all.

So that’s our guide to accessible city breaks in Europe that you can drive to. We hope you found it interesting and do tell us about your favourite accessible city breaks. Don’t forget to share with the accessible travel addicts in your life!

For any other travel advice or guidance, feel free to contact us and to learn more about our active accessible holidays, click here.

Accessible holidays in Czech Republic

Accessible holidays

Czech Republic

Accessible holidays in Czech Republic

Come to see the friendly Accessible Czech Republic! Discover the beauty of the Moravian-Silesian Region… 

You might be surprised but the idea to travel to the Czech Republic on holiday is more and more popular with the british people every year! In 2013 the Brits even made it to the fourth place among foreigners coming to the Czech Republic for several days. Were you not among them?! It is a pity but understandable… as the statistics say that mostly these are visits of people who had already been to Bohemia or Moravia and had learned about the range and quality of services they can get … and came back again. Would you like to try it out, too? There is nothing simpler. But Bohemia is not just Prague! Leave Prague out this time and come to explore the beauty of the upper part of Silesia and the charming Northern Moravia, places that lie in the arms of mountain ranges of Jesnìky and Moravskoslezské Baskydy. You will find a region that will surprise you with a rich and complicated history. It has Gothic (medieval fortresses around Bruntal), Renaissance and Baroque sights, with over 80% of accessible sites.

 We visited Štramberk (Štramberská Trúbaa little town nestled between the hills Kotouč, Bílá hora and Zámecký kopec is often called the “Moravian Nativity Scene”. Its crooked cobblestone streets will lead you around old timbered homes and townhouses to the small square on the side of a hill with the Baroque Church of St. John of Nepomuk. In the square’s left corner you’ll see the stairway to the Tube, a tall cylindrical tower once belonging to castle Strallenberg. The view from up here of things both far wide is exhilarating. The log cabin roofs will surely lure you to enjoy a stroll to the Upper and Lower Bastion – the most precious streets in the monument reserve.

 Discover the accessible facilities ready for hiking trips through the lovely mountainous countryside. Follow the trails of remarkable personalities of European culture from its Christian beginnings (the missionaries Cyril and Method) to the original geniuses of the modern music (Leoš Janáček). Relish the amazing architecture of the Archbishop’s Chateau in Kroměříž with its Květná and Podzamecka Gardens, the visit of which will provide you with great pleasure in any season of the year. These places are among the most visited sights in th Czech Republic as they are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage.

For more information please visit www.czechtourism.com

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