Paralympian and Avid Traveler Andrew Kurka Embraces Adventure and Accessibility

By Casandra Marketos, accessibleGO

It's remarkable how far (no pun intended!) travel has come in the last few decades. Today, it is theoretically plausible to see the entire globe in just a few days' time by whisking from continent to continent on trans-Atlantic flights, something genuinely unimaginable to a person at the start of just the last century.

In fact, we can take the trip that award-winning Paralympic athlete Andrew Kurka did recently: Barcelona to New York to Boston and then to Alaska, all in a single week. Travel, Andrew states, has gone from extraordinary to downright ordinary, and yet—it still isn't so easy for everyone. That's why we made accessibleGO.

Skis in hand, Paralympic skier Andrew Kurk smiles in the foreground while a snow-covered mountain looms in the distance.

Inaccessibility Jeopardizes the Travel Experience for Disability Community

That's also why we partnered with Andrew, who has a disability after experiencing an injury in his teens.

"From planes without accessible stalls to airports that don't properly mark their restroom stalls, trips can be a hindrance for people with accessibility needs," Andrew writes. "It starts to make your mind weigh the value of the experience."

"We travel for experiences when it comes down to it. But when you have a disability and not everything is accessible, is it still a good experience?"

It's a fair question, right? And it's exactly the reason accessibleGO was founded. accessibleGO is the first-ever hotel-booking site built exclusively for people with accessibility needs.

We strive to make the hotel booking experience as quick and easy as any major travel-booking platform, but we also bring the human touch and accessibility expertise to the table that is necessary to help people with disabilities book rooms that meet their specific needs.

 Andrew Kurka smiles from his handcycle in a grassy field surrounded by woods.

accessibleGO Ensures Hotel is ACTUALLY Accessible

As an Alaskan and US Paralympic Ski Team athlete, Andrew is no stranger to exploration and adaptability. And once he realized that there were no limits to what he could accomplish—as long as he was creative in coming up with a unique approach—he connected with others to support those ventures.

Andrew and accessibleGO joined forces to help raise awareness about inequalities people with disabilities face when it comes to travel. As part of the partnership, Andrew was invited to use accessibleGO to book his own trip. He loved the experience, writing:

"I'm an avid traveler, I have seen the world inside and out. Experienced things most wouldn't—some good, some bad. I've adapted to the way the world isn't built for me. I move around the obstacles that are in my path, oftentimes with such efficiency that they hardly seemed like they were there. But when those obstacles were made simple or taken away by the customer service representatives at accessibleGO, it made my travel so much smoother, so much easier. I now can't imagine a trip without it."

"The weight of arrival, and all the little things is simply taken away. That is the value of accessibleGO… They knew exactly what it took to make my life just a little bit easier. I had a lovely roll-in shower, a low bed and even check-in assistance. They called ahead to speak to the hotel, double-checked with me, and then double-checked with the hotel to make sure I was taken care of. I felt like a VIP rolling in, only thing missing was the doves and the red carpet."

Read more about Andrew's experience here. Or, if you're ready for a summer vacation, you can get started booking your next adventure today.

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