Travelling Tips for the Disabled

Unlike in the past, today people with disabilities have been recognized, and are less discriminated against. In many countries there are legislations that protect them and make their life a little easier. Also many public buildings have been designed or renovated in order to accommodate people with disabilities.

With all these improvements, people with disabilities are now able to travel for vacation or a business trip to places far away from their home. However, with all these improvements we have made, travelling for people with disabilities is still a challenge for them, especially when they are travelling alone or, they are travelling to an unknown destination. Below is a guide to help people with all forms of disabilities to travel safely.

1. Plan well in advance
Planning is key to any form of success. This is very important because it reduces chances of getting stranded and being inconvenienced. Booking flights and hotel rooms are the top priorities, however if you are going to stay at a friend’s or a relative’s house; notifying them in advance is very important. Then they can be prepared and even pick you up from the airport.

2. Book hotels that are disabled friendly
Hotels with disabled friendly structures are very convenient as they allow disabled individuals to move freely with minimal effort. Most of these hotels also have special emergency protocols that ensure disabled individuals are not left behind in case of an emergency, unlike some hotels where these issues are over looked.

3. Use a travel agent that offers travel packages for disabled travelers
Booking flights and hotel rooms with travel agents that offer travel solutions to disabled people is advantageous in a number of ways. They ensure they book for their disabled clients airlines and hotels that are disabled friendly. They strive to offer services and suggestions that will ensure their clients travel comfortably.

4. Understand and know your rights when at the airport
Travelling, for people with disabilities, is very hectic, especially when they arrive at the airport. They face the challenge of getting proper information and directions. This is further aggravated by the huge number of people traveling and long queues. In airports, there are attendants that are supposed to attend to the needs of those travelling with disabilities.

Disabled travelers should not, and are not, treated differently when they go through security measures. They are also protected from any form of discrimination from any airline. Disabled travelers are advised to be very conversant with their rights to avoid and report any form of discrimination when travelling.

5. Bring extra medication
There is no harm in carrying an extra dose of medication when travelling. People do lose their luggage as they travel so, having an extra dose will act as a backup when one dose gets lost. This also ensures that when travelling, a disabled person does not run out of their medicine forcing them to start looking for a drug store when travelling. These medications should be stored properly to ensure their safety.

6. Take a doctor’s note and contact information when travelling
A doctor’s note contains important information about a condition that a disabled person is facing and this will help doctors save a lot of time on tests in case of an emergency. Contact information for your doctor allows other doctors to get important information from your doctor should the need arise. This small, but vital, information can save lives.

7. Use direct flights
It is very hectic and tiresome for a disabled traveler to use connecting flights. Using connecting flights exposes them to loss of their luggage and even injury as they get in and out of a plane. Using a direct flight cuts all these risks down and saves a lot time and energy when travelling. Direct flights also ensure that those travelling with disabilities are not stranded in an airport as they wait for a connecting flight.

8. Disabled travelers are advised to have some knowledge about where they are travelling to
There is nothing more difficult than looking for directions to a place you do not know about. This is even harder for disabled travelers so, it is advisable to have at least some knowledge and understanding about their destination. This will give them an upper hand when moving around and the knowledge to know where to go and where not to go. This will be very helpful when they are stranded or experience an emergency situation and need urgent assistance.

9. Carry the appropriate luggage
Disabled travelers are advised to carry luggage that they can manage when they are travelling. Unless they have company, travelling with a huge amount of luggage is not easy. Traveling lightly enables disabled travelers to be more flexible to situations that arise besides, a large amount of luggage can also easily get lost.

10. Enjoy travelling
Many disabled people do not travel often because of a lot of limitations which discourages them. However modern technology ensures safe travel for all regardless of their condition. Travelling should be enjoyed by all since it is a chance to experience new things that are different than what they are used to.

Beware Dear Solo Travelers

There’s a gazillion tour companies now floating through the world wide web. Most travelers want the lowest price possible to escape and go straight to “cheaperosity.com” before they even narrow down their dreamy bucket list destination! This can lead to disaster or in the least, a waste of time and money on a place that will underwhelm you. Let’s say a friend encourages you to visit Nepal. You’re clueless, but you Google local tour operators. Over 1200 show up. You pick “Yak on a Budget Travel”, ‘cuz they are dirt cheap and you send them a deposit by PayPal. Five months later, no one greets you at the airport upon arrival. Outside, Kathmandu assaults your senses, but you manage to hail a taxi to your 2-star hotel bordering on a youth hostel. No breakfast, bad bed. Your guides are subpar with thick accents. You get half-day tours daily instead of full days as promised in vans with no AC. At each famous site, the guide says, “Need money now for entrance fees.” And the story goes on and on for 8 long days of disappointment as you watch other tour groups gleefully exiting deluxe motor coaches and heading to the front of the lines for the best vantage points.

A gentle reminder dear travel lover – Do your research on tour operators credentials first! Choose one with a proven track record of reliability. How? Carefully read their company profile. Is the company Owner-run or is it presented through a travel agent who doesn’t want the expense nor responsibility of being the Principal? Is it a cheesy website with template blocks to cut and paste in your contact details, looking like something designed by a teenager? Be extra cautious if stock photos are inserted instead of real people who actually traveled with this company.

Ask how long the tour operator has been in business. A year or less, I’d run. Are they fully licensed and bonded? Do they have IATA license and other credentials? Any reports to the Better Business Bureau is a huge red flag. Find reviews on Google. If an emergency happens, does the company have insurance to protect you? Understand that countless tour operators go out of business each year. What protection do you have if you paid for a trip in full and they close shop a week before you depart?

Consider companies that have successfully sent groups around the world for a long time. Look for repeat travelers. Check out their website to feel the passion and integrity that comes from their information. See that they use Non-Stock Photos showing real people on their trips. Glance over hundreds of happy testimonials, each honest and trustworthy. Invest the time in researching who you’ll book with. Find a company that will deliver what they promised. After all, it is your investment in a thrilling adventure to provide you forever memories.

What Flips Most About a Pinoy Expat’s Life

It has been over twenty years. A stretch of time, long enough to own a journal of thoughts that tickle the funny bones. A weave of episodes for a Pinoy expat who continuously adapts to the nuances of a language. Surprisingly, he does navigate with an American driver’s license. Living with American work skills but in the mould of a culture left behind. There is no stopping the recall of the humor there is in being an expat for a decade or two.

Am I dyslexic?

I grew up using the Pinoy vernacular to point to directions. Most of the time, the sun is my compass. But what about when the sun is out? The house has West by the patio. I’ve fixed my position quite straight here. It’s the driving that gets the laughter most of the time. Scared of driving on the highways, I skirt the back roads where driving passes my speed limit. Driving the main streets with lights that direct my time drives to work is easy huh? When the going is straight, and it’s the back roads, I would see a procession of cars trailing behind me. When they finally pass my lane, I overhear horns blowing, and voices follow. I don’t understand; they sound like a rowdy lingo! And, I don’t yell back. Americans do not make eye contacts. They are not confrontational. So I keep still, minding my driving, pray that soon, I will get to where am going in time. Yes, I need to be an aggressive driver!

Where’s my GPS?

I finally got the road hustlers out of my way. My written directions work better than a GPS. When it drops silent, am afraid am totally lost on the roads I less take!. I knew I skimmed through it on my Google maps (the boss says mapping is outdated), but for me, it works, am a bookworm you see!. With my index finger, I keep tapping until I know which McDo or Walmart I pass by on my standard drive. Then the drive goes smooth. I realized I needed an upgrade for my apple mini iPad (the boss is jealous!). The new version got a built-in GPS (did they say Samsung did an intellectual piracy, who was first then?). Both mapping and the GPS needs updating; they can’t seem to serve my needs on the road!

To each his own

I have never been buddy-buddy with my dishwasher not until recently. It had given the most laughs as far as I can remember. From soap suds oozing out (wrong TIDE soap used) to weird noise (silverware got into the spinner and its fighting for itself to function). Sometimes its use is a confirmation that I will never get to own it. The wash turns cloudy. So many times I would see the same silverware I just washed back in the sink (4-6 of them). The house boss could not have used that much in so short a time! Then when the discourse is light (see he is not confrontational (again), he knows when to get to the tiger when it’s tame!), he’d say by way of a comment what I did with the dishwasher. Again I’d be silent. Deep inside I cringed. After all these years, I have never mastered washing silver wares the right way. No big deal, I wash them by hand, less when am in a hurry. My most giggles come when my cousins are around. Polite, they take over the dishwashing but would always complain there’s too much in there, they can’t wash! Hey whether I leave it full or empty is none of your business, it’s my dishwasher and dryer!

The Gourmet goes a cooking

Am a Food Channel addict. I could pan my X-Men radar when Rachael Ray is on that big tube doing her 30-minute meals. Andrew Zimmerman picks up a scorpion from some outskirts in Malaysia. Then it’s ready for soaking in a vinaigrette dumped with a thousand load of spices; he doesn’t tweak! Yes, I know being with him in most of the BIZARRE FOOD FINDS. I never took notes on the food I seem to like making. You see I want original recipes. If I like what I see, I would twitch it and still bows as my own. Everybody does that. My friend tweaked my recipe and published it as her own after including me in her contacts on FB. Can I fight a newly found family member?. But again when the writing needs to level up, I hate data scaling. Without fail, the topic speaks of my victories; I can go on and on and be pleasing with my keyboards. The treatment of a recipe book is a no, no to me. I would buy one and let it rest in my kitchen to display. The house boss teases about how I can cook without one. If I do the same dish over and over, would I not have memorized making it after the 2nd, 3rd tries? I don’t need a kitchen Bible to perfect one. Repetition is the master of perfection!