I’m planning my holiday, and over the next two weeks I need to firm things up. During the past few weeks, I’ve come to understand that Covid-19 set me back in the travel department. I had not realized this until I started this process of booking flights, making sure I could get to where I was going, getting the proper testing done, and making sure that I can get to the airport. When you’re disabled, can’t drive, and depend on third parties to make things happen, it puts a kink in things.
There is a part of me that doesn’t want to deal with any of this; I just want to stay home and not deal with the hassle of it all. I know I can’t do that. So, I better face up to the hassle and get it all done.
Meanwhile, I’ll tell you about why being disabled and traveling when you’re single is such a major pain-in-the-everywhere.
When the average person plans a trip, they plan the trip, get themselves to the airport easily, check in, find the gate, and get on the plane. When the average disabled person plans a trip, there are added complications: HOW am I going to get to the airport? Is my needed assistance set up and confirmed? Is the airline I’m flying on friendly to people with my particular disability? Are the airports friendly to people with disabilities? If I’m on public transit, is it reliable? If I’m in a taxi, is it reliable? If friends are helping, are they dependable?
Now, add to all the above that I’ve got to meet travel requirements for airlines and countries before I board a flight! Can I get to a testing center? Do I need to ask someone to take me to the center? When do I need to make the appointment? Are the sites for the information accessible?
By this time, I want to curl up, call it off, and stay home. That won’t do.
This leads me to people I know who use travel services that support the disabled, at a slightly higher rate. They pair people with companions. For some people, this works well. For me, I’m not really interested in this type of thing. So, I have to deal with the annoyance of creating and doing it myself. Visiting friends for this holiday is the best option.
Don’t take this the wrong way: travel is skewed to favor those who can easily do it. It brings back memories of family activities where my siblings would be able to get to the accessible places; my mother felt like she needed to stay with me, and I felt guilty over depriving her of being with the rest of the family. “Mom, I can watch,” were words often spoken. The memory hurts. Now, I don’t just watch—I join in on my own terms as best I can.
I use the “wheelchair” service, I get assistance, I have cards in large type for safety instructions, and I meet some very nice people who are there to help me get to where I need to go.
This time around I’ll connect with friends that I love. I’ll explore beaches and other places, knowing that those I’m with will understand that I don’t see the world as they do. This time I’m staying in a cute but quirky cottage by the sea—some wonderful locations that will afford me more beach time than I’ve had in almost a decade—and I’m going to eat my way through all destinations. Eating is one thing that I can do without issues! So, let the feasting begin the moment the wheels are down and I’m on terra firma!
This week I prep so that next week I can relax about it. This week, I’ll embrace the insanity and make sure it is all ready for the safe, fun, event-filled days I’m hoping for. Next week I’ll reward myself for a planning job well done. Well, that’s the plan right now.