Photo by mjtmail licensed under CC
Silver Travel Advisor offers suggestions for activities for those with limited mobility or disabilities.
Excitement and empowerment - the range of holiday activities now caters more and more for those with disabilities. If you dream of trying something new, we have some suggestions.
Many climbing centres are now offering holidays for those with disability or in wheelchairs, with specially adapted accommodation available too. Talk to the instructors and centre staff, in order to figure out any extra help you might need. Using a special harness can help you to achieve more than you might expect, to have a rest break easily and to be less liable to fall. Some centres have pulley systems where those using wheelchairs can pull themselves up rock faces. Great for the strong armed! Deaf climbers can learn a series of rope tugs that work when lip reading or signing is impossible.
Find out more about accessible climbing.
There are lots of options here: bicycles fitted with stabilisers, tricycles which might have a supported or recumbent seat; handcycles, where the rider is able to power the front wheel by hand, and bicycles for two, rather like a rickshaw with side by side cycling. Tandems, of course, are especially good for those with sight impairment, where the front rider, the pilot, is sighted.
This really is a wonderful holiday experience, gliding across the snow pulled by twelve dogs. Many alpine and Scandinavian resorts offer dog sledding, which because no particular physical strength or skill is needed, can be well suited for a wide range of disabilities, as you can 'mush' yourself or sit in the sled and let an expert guide be in charge.
Find out more about dog sledding.
Side-saddle is often a really successful method of building confidence and can be suitable for those who cannot comfortably sit astride a horse. There is also the option of carriage driving for those who would like someone beside them and for whom mounting a horse is a problematic. Sessions and lessons are available across the UK before a holiday, the RDA Holidays provide both.
Many regions offer lodges in the bush with fully accessible and adapted rooms, and some tented camps are suitably adapted too. Specialist viewing vehicles are also available. Do ensure you thoroughly discuss all your requirements with your travel company. If you need daily medication, it is vital to have more than enough with you, as rural outposts have limited European medicines.
Find out more about safaris.
The Royal Yachting Association's Sailability programme has the stated aim of bringing boating to people with disabilities. From over 200 clubs in the UK, you can learn to sail, using boats from access dinghies, where controls are adapted for the skipper, to tall ships. You can sail solo or with a companion on access dinghies, which are designed not to capsize. Some clubs now have concrete paths, adapted changing rooms and hoists for ease of access into boats.
Sailing tall ships is also available, these are cruises which can take between 5 and 30 days, sometimes crossing the Atlantic. Travel with the
Jubilee Sailing Trust, where a buddy system operates: a disabled sailor is partnered with an able bodied companion, so all duties are possible. Nelson and Tenacious, owned by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, are the only tall ships in the world to be designed and built to enable people to sail as equals, whatever their physical abilities.
This is seen as hugely beneficial for those recovering from injury and is possible able for people with a wide range of disabilities including wheelchair users, who can be teamed with a dive buddy. It's probably a good idea to take a trial session in the pool near home before committing to a diving holiday for the first time! Popular destinations include Tenerife and the Red Sea, where excellent facilities have been operating for some time. Look at Dive Ability, which is a charity that provides holidays and support for disabled divers.
Adaptive skiing is a broad term used to describe skiing for the disabled. Disability Snowsport UK is the charity which supports this. Skis have been creatively adapted for use by those who use wheelchairs, have limited mobility or disabilities. Three and four track skiing is an option, where outriggers are used for extra stability and support. Bi-skis and mono-skis have seats fitted and are controlled by hand held outriggers. A trained guide can be partnered up with those who have vision or hearing impairments.
Skydiving is a totally thrilling holiday activity to take part in, free falling through the sky. Tandem parachuting, where you are in a duel harness with an instructor, has made this a real option for those with a disability. The instructor is in charge of the descent, the use and opening of the parachute and the landing. If it's safe, the participant may be able to steer the parachute guided by the instructor, for a part of the descent.
This British Parachute Association factsheet (PDF 81.4 KB) covers points you might want to check if trying this abroad. A certificate of fitness must be obtained by everyone before they are allowed to make a parachute jump. You will also need to discuss your suitability for parachuting with the chief instructor who will have the final say on whether you can jump or not.
This can be a great experience for those who have limited mobility. This activity can be done sitting down, so the snowy adventures are open to all. Check with the tour operator when booking and give details of your requirements.
If you have any further queries, please get in touch with our partner, Silver Travel Advisor.
Note: The above ideas are made by way of suggestion only, and every individual will have differing requirements. Always check that your insurance covers you for any activity and that the operator has the correct licence and liability insurance in place before booking.
This article is brought to you by Silver Travel Advisor
Photo of indoor climbing wall by alainlm licensed under CC
Photo of horse riding by Almonroth licensed under CC
Photo of scuba diving by Johnny Ljunggren licensed under CC