Group Travel…Is It for You?
By Debra Kerper, Easy Access Travel
In all honesty, it took me a long time until I was ready to invite clients to join a group trip whether cruise or land. As a traveler with disabilities, I wasn't sure that others with mobility issues would enjoy traveling with a large group of people using wheelchairs or scooters. Boy, was I wrong! It was the encouragement of my clients and peers who convinced me to undertake this task.
Overwhelming Interest in Group Travel from the Disability Community
It all started at an Amputee Coalition Conference a few years ago when I was approached by one member to put together a cruise for amputees. This was quickly followed by a request to do a cruise for young adults with spina bifida. BINGO! Both cruises were huge successes and were followed by repeat events. We are now doing our groups for anyone with mobility disabilities, their families and friends regardless of type of disability.
I believe our success is a result of the instant bond that is formed among those of us who travel a little differently and perhaps a little slower. Young or old, we understand and relate to each other and have enormous compassion for each person's individual situation. We are accepting and kind.
Maximize Travel Enjoyment with People as Unique as You
Participants often express the joy they feel by not being the only one with a disability. One traveler said, "Thank you immensely! It's a vacation like no other meeting old friends and making new ones that you can be yourself around enjoying all our quirks and uniqueness. And, for one week, we may have changed the perception and stereotypes of people with disabilities because we were out there living and enjoying ourselves. We forgot our disabilities because we were surrounded by friends just like us... In such inaccessible countries where I may just never have even considered venturing out, the folks in Labadee, Jamaica and Cozumel all did their hardest to let us enjoy their countries."
Another globetrotter said, "Life lesson from last week's cruise vacation: No matter your age or size, your disability/illness, or any other labels and past experiences, life is full of adventure and new friends. Grab hold and have fun. There may be falls and bumps along the way, but keep looking for adventure and friends along the way."
Accessible Travel Destinations Abound
Acceptance and being treated just like everyone else is what we all want and traveling in one of our groups provides this experience and more. We have amazing activities including swimming with dolphins and stingrays, whale watching adventures, train rides and more. We have been to the Caribbean (east and west), Alaska and Ireland.
The future holds a land trip to the interior of Alaska (cruise tour), cruises to Canada and New England, the Southern Caribbean and the Western Mediterranean. How about a fully accessible land trip to Israel or a cruise up the Mississippi on a Paddle Wheel Steamboat?
If you didn't think all of this was possible, think again. Not only is this possible but you will make wonderful friendships as you learn to explore the world with a group of like-minded people.
About the author:Debra Kerper, owner of a Cruise Planners American Express Franchise and Easy Access Travel, has traveled the world using a manual wheelchair and mobility scooter. She has been helping people learn to travel "a little differently" for more than 23 years. She plans vacations on both individual and group basis and looks forward to making your travel dreams come true. Pre-Register for Abilities Expo Today...It's Free!