1-Choosing Your Destination
People choose vacation destinations for a variety of reasons, including wheelchair-access. Although it pays to choose an accessible destination, sometimes that just isn’t possible. Not every country is as accessible as the United States, and even within U.S. borders some cities are just more accessible than others. On the other hand, you should be aware that the level of access at your destination can raise or lower your vacation expenses. For example, let’s say you choose to go to a relatively inaccessible third-world country. Let’s also assume no accessible public transportation is available in this country, but one tour company has an adapted van. In short, that’s the only way you will be able to tour that country—in the adapted van. You will also need the services of a tour escort because many of the attractions and hotels have steps, and you’ll need to be lifted up and down them in your wheelchair.
Is this a budget trip? No, and quite frankly the only thing you can do to change that is to find a more accessible destination. Remember this rule: The relative accessibility of any destination, along with the availability of local accessible transportation and tour services, is a major factor in determining the cost of any trip. In the above case, the cost will be higher because of the high level of personal assistance required and because of the lack of competition among accessible tour operators. This is usually true in any country that does not have a high level of accessible facilities and services. If, however, you can make do without accessible transportation and a minimum of personal assistance, you may be able to do it on a budget. Generally speaking, labor is very cheap in third-world countries. In other words, it might not cost very much to hire an attendant to help carry you up the stairs and get you in and out of taxis. The key here is to deal locally and not through a U.S. tour operator. This option is not for everyone, but I do know people who have gone this route. Choosing a more accessible destination usually helps to lower your travel costs. This doesn’t mean that you have to stick with U.S. destinations, but you may have to compromise to find something that fits your budget. Truly, if your dream vacation is to go to the furthest reaches of Nepal, then go for it; however, realize that this is not the budget option. The more flexibility you have destination wise, the more money you’ll save. It’s often a good idea to pick several destinations and then go with the one that offers the best travel deal.
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