Now that the new year is upon us, it is the perfect time to start planning your next holiday. From elegant villas to stylish cruises, there are so many options available to us. A lot of planning needs to go into a holiday, however, for a truly memorable getaway. And for those who want to make their holiday a luxurious but accessible one, there are plenty of things to think about. If you are someone who really wants to splash out this year but who perhaps also want to be mindful of a destination’s accessibility, this article is for you. Read on to discover our top tips for a luxurious but accessible holiday.
Research your destination thoroughly
As with most things in life, planning and preparation are key so when it comes to your next holiday, it’s important that you research your destination as thoroughly as possible. This is especially true for those who use residential home lifts or have accessibility on the mind. Think about the destinations that appeal to you and then do some research about how accommodating they are for people of limited mobility and disabilities.
Glen, a visually impaired lifestyle blogger from Well Eye Never, told us that planning is a top priority for an accessible holiday: “Only you know what your specific needs are, so planning and research are key, especially when it comes to accessibility. It’s time-consuming but can make a huge difference. Check out a variety of places to stay to see how accessible they are, using their own website and online reviews, and contact them by phone or email if you have specific queries.
“A good venue will be knowledgeable and happy to help when you contact them directly and may be prepared to make adjustments if you explain what you require. Also, look up details about the area in general – how easy is it to get around, and the accessibility of the places you want to visit, again contacting venues if necessary. And, of course, check how you will travel to and from your destination in the first place. There is no guarantee that the most luxurious locations will have sufficient accessibility, so a balance may need to be reached when deciding where to visit.”
Discuss your needs with a travel agent
Speaking to a professional travel agent is a smart move, both for those who are mindful of accessibility and those wanting a true luxury experience. Speaking to an expert about your needs and desires will make sure that your next holiday encompasses all that you desire it to. Tell them about your access needs so that they can help you find a suitable destination and also explain that you would like this holiday to be the epitome of luxury. This way they will be able to help organise all sorts of stylish flourishes to your time away, from arranging special private tours of attractions to personalised service at hotels.
Book a cruise
One of the very best ways to ensure both a luxurious and accessible holiday is by opting for a cruise. After all, what is more convenient and stylish than being ferried around the world on a beautiful cruise ship, complete with all the very best amenities? By booking a cruise, you don’t have to worry about finding access-friendly hotels and you can also travel around in pure style. There are so many incredible cruise line experiences out there, allowing you to dine at the very best restaurants, swim in luxurious pools, and be waited on hand and foot by attentive staff. Further still, you can wake up at a new, exotic destination every day!
Kerry Spencer, the editor of Cruise Critic, spoke to us about her cruise recommendations and why this mode of transport is a truly luxurious option: “If you truly want to travel in style, then the only way to do is effectively is via a cruise. Cruising has always been associated with luxury, ever since the Victorian era, which heralded in the start of Britain’s strong heritage in cruising.
“When it comes to luxury cruising, there are a few cruise lines whose very raison d’etre is to provide the most superlative experiences possible.” Cruise Critic has identified two luxury picks for their that go the extra mile. “Silversea Cruises won the accolade for ‘Best Luxury Cruise Line’, for its fleet of stunning ships and constant innovation and investment in updating ships with modern touches, as well as its consistently exceptional cuisine.
“Also in the Luxury category, Azamara Cruises secured the Best Itineraries award for its true destination-immersion focus, where several itineraries are spent exploring one country.”
Emrys Thakkar, the founder of the cruise travel resource Cruise Hive, shared his thoughts on what makes this way of travelling so luxurious: “When you step aboard a cruise ship you get all the attention, you feel a lot more important than on land. You get the bed made for you daily and those who need extra help sure will get it! The décor is grand and modern, and you’ll feel like you’re in a floating city.”
When it comes to accessibility, Kerry from Cruise Critic also notes what a great option cruises are: “A cruise is often a great holiday option for those with accessibility issues or limited mobility, since many ships tend to offer specialised amenities, and travellers have more control of their situation in a structured environment.
“Accessibility features vary from one cruise line to another, and even ships in the same class can be different – so it’s imperative to carry out thorough research and planning before you book. Passengers who have disabilities should consult with the cruise line before booking a trip to understand what options and rules apply to their situation. Just like with hotels, cruise ships offer a small number of accessible staterooms, so book early if you need one.”
Kerry also suggests renting a wheelchair or scooter if you have difficulties walking long distances: “The cruise ship carries a limited number of wheelchairs, which are reserved for passengers who have a medical emergency. You can rent mobility aids, as well as oxygen and respiratory aids, from a provider like Special Needs at Sea.
“Most lines also have dedicated departments to assist passengers with disabilities. They can advise the size of a ship’s stateroom doorway and whether or not you will need a collapsible wheelchair or scooter. This department can also notify passengers which areas, if any, will not be accessible by wheelchair or scooter and if it’s possible to travel with a seeing-eye or hearing-assistance dog.”
Emrys from Cruise Critic offers the following tip for those with limited mobility who would like to book a cruise: “When booking a cruise, always make sure you know where your cabin is. It’s best to be located near the lifts so there is easy access and travel distance to where you need to go. On the larger ships there are sometimes three sets of lifts, try to be near the middle ones. Many cruise lines will have ways to provide further accessibility help starting at the terminal so do check with your travel agent or cruise line first.”
Plan accessible shore excursions
Part of any great cruise is the exciting shore excursions available. These are an incredibly convenient way to explore and enjoy each destination you visit, with all the hard work and organisation done on your behalf. From seeing the world’s most famous historical sites to private wine tastings in the French Riviera, there are some attractive and luxurious options available. Some cruise lines can even arrange for you to be driven around beautiful old cities like Florence in your own car. When looking at shore excursions, however, also make sure to keep in mind their accessibility. Kerry from Cruise Critic concurs: “Make sure your physical abilities are up to the tour’s requirements. In general, passengers who use wheelchairs or cannot walk up steps should discuss their needs with the cruise line’s special needs department and/or the excursions department.”
Sometimes there is something to be said for exploring on your own and trying a new local restaurant for lunch and dinner. However, nothing brings that feel of luxury like knowing all your food and drink desires are already taken care of. The peace of mind that comes with an all-inclusive holiday allows you to truly relax and enjoy the experience. Need a drink? The waiter can bring one right to your spot by the pool. Another bowl of ice cream? Not a problem. It’s all taken care of. Forget the bill and the hassle of adding things to a tab. Go all out and pamper yourself with an all-inclusive experience.
Travel by private car
If you have your heart set on visiting one of the world’s most iconic cities for your holiday, there can be a lot of walking around, hopping in taxis, and following maps – which can sometimes detract from your enjoyment. However, by opting to travel by private car, you can explore the likes of New York, Paris, and Rome with the utmost convivence and style. Your driver, who will be well familiar with the city, can take you wherever you need to go, meaning you don’t have to worry about annoying travel details and schedules. This is truly a luxurious and accessible way to experience the best of your chosen destination.
Rent a luxury villa
There is nothing more relaxing or stylish then booking your own private accommodation. For those seeking privacy during their next holiday getaway, consider renting your very own luxury villa. Many of us find it hard to relax at busy hotels but picture waking up in a beautiful home in your dream holiday destination, no staff, no other guests, just you and your loved ones. You can take the day at your own pace, swim in your private pool to your heart’s content, and enjoy the luxuries of a fully furnished home. Combining this with the above advice to travel by private car would make for the most luxurious of getaways. For those with access needs, make sure to find out the specifications of the villa, if there are ramps available, and any other access needs you might require.
How to have a luxurious but accessible holiday
- Research your destination thoroughly
- Discuss your needs with a travel agent
- Book a cruise
- Plan accessible shore excursions
- Go all-inclusive
- Travel by private car
- Rent a luxury villa
We hope the above advice proves useful when planning your upcoming holiday. There’s no question that attaining both a luxurious but accessible getaway is a very real possibility. With a bit of planning and research, your next holiday can be the most special yet!
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