by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
With warm weather approaching, many people get the urge to be outside and travel. Here are some tips that can make excursions more accessible and enjoyable for travelers who are blind or visually impaired:
In choosing a destination, consider your experience, independence, and the accessibility of the locale: When planning, it can be helpful to put your research skills to good use. Check out articles online about adventure travel and urban tourism. Ask friends with low vision for ideas regarding where to go and what to do. For example, large cities are generally organized on grids, making them easier to navigate. A small city, town, or village may not have accessible layouts or features, so research personal assistance options, like sighted guides or guided tours, or go with a friend or family member. Check into any differences in culture as well as currency used in preparing for your destination.
When making reservations, for plane, bus, ship, or even hotel rooms, contact them ahead of time to become acquainted with their policies and layouts, and to request assistance if needed. If you are traveling with a canine companion, inform your travel provider and hotel.
Make sure you have necessary identification. Traveling often requires that you have state-issued identification and sometimes vaccinations. Make sure that you have your identification, passport, tickets, and any other important forms or documents with you. When packing, travel light. That way you may be able to bypass the baggage claim area. If you must check bags, you can attach a large brightly colored ribbon or bumper sticker to them to make identification easier or purchase an electronic bag tracker. Be sure to pack any medications you take.
For more travel tips, read the Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired article, “Useful Travel Tips for the Blind and Visually Impaired.” and the All About Vision article, “Yes, You Can Travel If You’re Blind or Have Low Vision.”