After plenty of stressful trips out, I have quickly learnt that my version of spontaneity has to be carefully constructed. This is a list of advice that I wish I had known when my mobility first started declining, and it’s something I would have sent friends to help them understand my needs better. I hope it helps you. A few reminders for people like me before we get into it:
It is ALWAYS okay to ask for help
You are not a burden, you just have needs. Name a human who doesn’t!
Life can still be fun, even if you are disabled/chronically ill
A note to friends/family/partners/colleagues of disabled people:
Holidays or day outs can be infinitely more complicated when one member of your party is ill or has a disability. But this is no reason to exclude them! You should research their condition if they’ve shared it with you, and invite them even if you think they’ll say no. It is so important to make sure you don’t make anyone feel left out! Having fun with a disabled person just means you need to put a little bit more effort into planning, and you will develop skills that will help you be a better human being because of this.
10 Tips for planning a trip with a Disabled Person
- Phone a venue ahead to check accessibility
- Book accessible tickets for a movie, play, concert, or event
- Check how near parking is to where you want to visit, see if there’s disabled parking if you have a blue badge
- Research the area you’re visiting to see how flat it is, what the weather is like, how many allergen friendly restaurants there are, etc.
- Before you leave, make sure you have a bag packed for everything you might need in case of an emergency. This varies depending on the disability but could include portable ice or heat packs, an epipen, a tens machine a salty or sugary snack, and maybe keep a first aid kit with you!
- Ask what plan your disabled friend is most comfortable with (for example, a picnic might be less stress than going out to eat because you have more control over the food)
- Show your disabled friend the menu of where you’re going to eat so they can check for allergens or safe food, or make sure you’ve eaten before hand so that food can be avoided
- Check for accessibile places using a helpful websites like these MeIncluded, Euan’s Guide, AccessAble or the Sociability App!
- If you really have your heart set on an activity but know that your friend can’t manage it, why not invite them over afterwards, or plan a more accessible activity on a different day!
- Get travel insurance
There are plenty of perks to going out with a disabled person- Many places offer a concession, allowing one free admission with each disabled person’s ticket, a disabled parking badge gives you free parking, and depending on the situation you can even skip queues!
Access in a lot of places suck, and ableism is everywhere, so even if you’re alone, please advocate for access so that it will be easier for the next person who is disabled!
Don’t forget to send this list to a friend!