Holidays should be enjoyable for everyone. When someone has had a stroke you may need to do more forward planning to ensure the trip goes smoothly from start to finish. Any extra planning will depend on how the stroke has affected the person. If they have to use a wheelchair for all or part of the journey, how often they will need a break, do they need to take other equipment or hire additional equipment at the destination. If it is a trip for a day, a weekend or a longer holiday here are some tips when planning and going on holiday.
Tips when planning and going on holiday
- Check facilities when you book. There are travel operators who specialise in holidays for people with disability. The more complex the person’s needs are the more carefully you need to check the facilities at the destination and on the journey.
- Take a note of the person’s medical conditions. If the person does become ill during the holiday you will have information to hand which will help the doctor in the place you are visiting.
- Ensure your vaccinations are up to date This includes the flu vaccination. Take any certificates with you.
- Check the accommodation thoroughly. Some hotel or brochure descriptions of “disabled access or facilities “may not be exactly what you are looking for. Bathrooms in particular can be very variable. Call the accommodation directly and speak to the manager or person in charge and explain what the person needs in terms of space, facilities and equipment. A travel agent or booking clerk will not know what you need.
- Bear in mind that most aircraft have poor access in toilets. Space is very restricted and no room if the person needs assistance. Consider the length of the flight and how long the person can realistically go without a bathroom break.
- Check access for electric powered scooters. Most train operators do not have access for electric powered scooters in passenger carriages.
- If you can – book assistance in advance. This will give you extra help at rail stations, airports or ferry crossings. Remember you will have to book assistance at each stage of the journey for example if you have to change trains.
- Electrical equipment check you have the correct adaptors for your destination.
- Take all your medication in your suitcases. If your luggage is delayed or goes missing you may have difficulty and expense getting replacements. Keep medications in your hand bag or carry on bag. For people who are also diabetic, it is possible to take insulin and needles on board aircraft if you have a doctor’s letter and put them in a separate bag. Some airlines will put your insulin in a cool fridge for the duration of the flight. Check in advance of travel.
- Take as many “home comforts” as you can. Take only what you need. If the person needs help to walk or use a wheelchair, who ever is assisting cannot also pull suitcases or carry bags. Clever packing also helps. Take only what you need and clothes which can be easily washed and dried without looking too creased.
- You don’t need travel or medical insurance. This could be an expensive mistake especially if you are travelling abroad. It may be wise to take out travel insurance even if you are travelling in the UK if you have to take expensive items of equipment with you, a wheelchair for example.If you have to cancel a holiday due to illness some insurance policies will refund the costs. Check with your policy