Going on a trip or holiday, either to a local destination or abroad, requires planning. If you or the person you are travelling with lives with a disability, then there may be a few extra things to think about before leaving.
People with disability represent a huge group of travellers globally
Planning your trip is essential to make sure you are well prepared
If you require additional support or care while travelling some things may be covered under NDIS
Planning a holiday
The first stage of planning is to figure out where you are going and how you plan on getting there. You’ll want to decide whether you’re going to travel via plane, cruise, bus or drive yourself and understand if these options are accessible to you or if you need to make special arrangements.
You then need to decide on the length of your trip. Things that can help you determine this are how much you’re willing to spend, how much leave entitlement you have, where you want to go and what you want to see and how long you think you can travel without access to your usual supports.
You will also want to look at the locations or landmarks you want to visit and whether they will be accessible to your needs. For example, if you use a mobility aid, there may not be ramps or accommodations in place for some destinations.
Depending on your situation, if you need a support worker to travel with you, you may want to discuss any budgets, payments and expectations with a support worker before you leave to make sure you are both on the same page about what you're expecting while travelling.
View our tips for travelling with disability, for more information.
Travel and the NDIS
Some additional support or care while travelling may be covered under your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan. This does not include things like flights, accommodation, food, or entertainment.
For example, the NDIS may be able to fund additional hours for a support worker, so that they can still support you with your day-to-day needs on your travels. However, this only covers the extra hours needed and doesn't include the cost for travel and accommodation.
Have a chat with your plan manager or Local Area Coordinator to find out if your plan can cover the support you need while travelling.
Bringing your medication
If you are bringing medication with you when travelling, then you will need to consider:
Making sure you have enough for your stay, and any extras if there are any emergencies, delays or cancellations.
Getting a letter from your GP to say you need the medication in case you need to get more or provide evidence or proof that it is yours.
Listing the proper names of your medication, not just the brand or trade names.
Keeping it in its original packaging, with any prescription labels.
Checking any requirements for bringing in medications as each country will be different. For example, if you are returning to Australia, some drugs, like high strength painkillers, are restricted, and you are required to declare them at the border to bring them into the country. You can check these requirements with the Embassy or High Commission of the country you are travelling to.
Keeping your medication with you in your carry-on baggage not in your checked luggage so that it is easily accessible.
Accessible holiday ideas for Australia
Many of Australia’s attractions, including some national parks and beaches are accessible, with others working towards accessibility so don’t have to let your disability hold you back from visiting some of Australia’s most popular travel destinations. Below we’ve listed some of the highlights:
Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory has wheelchair-accessible tracks and accessible washrooms.
Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park has wheelchair friendly walks and trails including to the base of Uluru.
The Great Barrier Reef can now be accessed by modified services. For example, there are tour operators who have adapted their vessels to be accessible for people with limited mobility including wheelchairs. Wharf Facilities at Port Douglas are also accessible and include boarding ramps.
Attractions along the Great Ocean Road are accessible for people with disability. For example, the 12 Apostles can be viewed and experienced following the fully wheelchair accessible walking track.
The Sydney Opera House schedules Auslan-interpreted, captioned, sensory- and Autism-friendly talks, events and performances throughout the year.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge walkway is accessible to wheelchair users with elevators installed at each end.
Bondi Beach in NSW, Harvey Bay and Port Douglas in Queensland are some of the stunning coastal locations that are now wheelchair accessible.
These are only a few of the locations in Australia that you can visit that are accessible. For more information about finding accessible locations, check out our resources section below.
Resources for planning your holiday
To help you start planning your accessible holiday in Australia here are a few resources to get you started. There is also the option of using a tour provider or travel agent that specialises in accessible and inclusive tours.
What tips do you have for planning a holiday? Tell us in the comments below.