From cruises to hotels – travelling alone with a disability can be possible – Disability Horizons

If you have a disability, travelling can seem daunting, especially abroad. But it doesn’t have to be. Simon Stevens, who has a range of impairments, is a disability activist, consultant, trainer, researcher and writer. Although he uses personal assistants in his day-to-day life, he regularly travels alone. Read about Simon’s experiences, including a recent Carribean cruise, to see what’s possible for you…

As someone with cerebral palsy, I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to travel in the UK and internationally.

My impartments are significant and affect all aspects of my life. I used to walk until a few years ago, due to balance issues, so now use a wheelchair. I have very good weight-bearing skills and can transfer from a bed to a chair and to a toilet. Weight-bearing is a key skill in being able to travel alone.

You might wonder why I travel alone when I employ personal assistants. The answer is – employing PAs is a job in itself and we all need a break from our work.

I am also ‘hyper-intelligent’ and often emotional, so like having private space to process stuff in an enjoyable environment.

This article will explain how someone with significant needs can consider travelling alone, whether it’s a day trip or a full-blown cruise.

Compromise on some aspects

Determining whether you can travel without a personal assistant means you may need to forgo certain things and compromise. For me, this is usually wearing socks and having a shower.

It’s not safe for me to shower on my own, so on the cruise I had body washes in my wheelchair. Not wearing socks on a Carribean cruise was no big deal!

But there are a number of things you won’t have to compromise on as a cruise provides a lot of ‘care’ naturally. The case is the same for most hotels and bed and breakfasts.

My bed was changed and made, my room was cleaned, food was cooked and provided and so on. I just needed to dress myself in my own time in casual clothing.

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