Your summer adventure awaits!
Losing your sight doesn't mean vacations have to be a thing of the past. But booking hotels, finding your baggage or travelling to new destinations can be a challenge at the best of times. That's why we've put together some tips to help make your next trip a little smoother…
Booking your accommodations
When booking a hotel be sure to request a room with easy access. The majority of large hotel chains offer accessible rooms that are close to braille elevators and offer a wheelchair accessible lobby and washrooms. Book an accessible room in advance – especially if you're travelling during peak seasons like summer. If you need alternative-format materials (like a braille or large-print menu), let the hotel know at least two months in advance so they have lots of time to make sure they accommodate you properly. Lastly, make sure you take advantage of your hotel's concierge service! They're usually a wealth of local information and can help with recommendations on everything from nearby restaurants to navigating public transit.
Packing your bag
Seasoned travellers with sight loss recommend you pack light and use carry-on luggage. Fold outfits you plan to wear together and store in large Ziploc bags or use safety pins to group outfits. If you do check a bag, make finding it on the baggage carrousel a little easier with an audible luggage locator (available from US$14.95 at amazon.com). When you press the button, it will activate a beeping sound for you to follow and locate your luggage. A cheaper option is to stick brightly coloured tape on your suitcase or tie a large ribbon to the handle. For travellers with low vision, you may want to consider packing some of these items:
- A small flashlight
- Elastic bands, which are useful to keep items together or to place on your hotel room door and help you find your room easier
- A shelf liner in a bright, solid colour (you can also pack a scarf or tea towel) to line a draw or shelf and help provide colour contrast when finding smaller items
Taking a cruise
Why not plan to spend the summer touring the Bahamas or Cuba? Royal Caribbean International offer cruises with onboard accessibility. Their cruise ships have braille incorporated in public areas and elevators, offer large-print menus and orientation tours, and can customize your cruise accommodations to meet your needs. Royal Caribbean International is also guide dog friendly and ships are equipped with a relief area.
Joining a tour
Since 2004, Traveleyes International have designed tours especially for travellers who are blind or have sight loss to destinations around-the-world, including Australia, Texas, and China. Sighted travellers can also join a tour and help guide and describe sights to blind travellers. In return, sighted travellers receive a discounted rate. Traveleyes say their itineraries are carefully chosen to stimulate all the senses, whether it's smelling spices in an Indian spice garden, dancing to live Salsa music in Cuba, or taking an Italian cooking class.