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Saturday, July 8, 2023

Disability and Travel

July is Disability Pride Month and that had me thinking about places I've been that are just not conducive to any sort of physical disability. The last time we were in London, I realized that over half of the Tube stations didn't have elevators or escalators or any way for someone who is elderly or disabled to make use of that station.

July is Disability Pride Month and that had me thinking about places I've been that are just not conducive to any sort of physical disability.
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In America, 1 in 4 people have some sort of disability. 11% of people have a physical disability and just about that same number have either a hearing or vision impairment that affects their life. I know a lot of people who are limited by unseen disabilities, like chronic pain,  where navigating a million stairs or endless station tunnels would be nearly impossible quite quickly after arrival. If there were more accessible options, this would alleviate extra strain for them and others.

I know that most other countries have better heathcare and resources than in the US, but that is only for those living there. Disabled tourists don't have those same resources, so they just have no easy way to get around town. Buses are a bit more user-friendly for everyone, but they aren't as convenient for getting places quickly like the Metro or subway, and then there's the issue of getting to your destination in the first place. Disabled people aren't always treated with respect or kindness by the airlines. So, if travel is for everybody and a lot of cities rely on tourism dollars to thrive, why don't we make it easier for everyone to visit? It's just a thing to think about, and which may get a bit more attention now after we saw accessibility change so rapidly during Covid, but we are, unfortunately, seeing those same things being abandoned and going back to the way things were pre-Covid.

We shouldn't expect people who have a disability that prevents them from using mass transit and public buildings to have to spend more (money and time) to be able to travel like the rest of us. Next time you travel, look around and see if you could navigate your surroundings if you had more limited mobility or were wheelchair-bound. 

Do you or someone you travel with have a disability? If so, where has been the most disabled-friendly destination you've been to?

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