Going on holiday

Booking a holiday when a member of your party requires more care than average can be difficult.

Before booking your holiday for you and your family have a look at the below two links to ensure you are fully prepared and have all the information you need.

Disabled Travel Advice

Whether you’re off on holiday, on a day trip, or looking for an everyday means of travel or transport, you’ll find lots of advice here on how you can get about easily as a disabled user.

Tourism for All

An independent charity supporting leisure and tourism opportunities for all, operating an information service to disabled and older people.

Pre-planning can make your trip, whether it’s for a day out or two weeks abroad, less stressful.

Some local authorities contribute towards the cost of a holiday; others might suggest specific holidays at venues of their choice. Both might be means tested. Check with your local council’s disability team.

Pre-planning can make your trip, whether it’s for a day out or two weeks abroad, less stressful – we can’t promise stress free.

Some local authorities contribute towards the cost of a holiday, others might suggest specific holidays at venues of their choice. Both might be means tested. Check with your local council’s disability team.


The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) recommends warning airlines, coach and tour operators at least 48 hours before travel.

Inform them of mobility issues, whether you are taking a wheelchair, whether that is manual or electric, where a carer needs to sit.

If you need to take medication, if you need a special diet, if you need a ground floor apartment or air conditioning, inform your agent.

Although you are protected by British and European law and most decent airlines will try to meet your needs, they can’t guarantee to do so. Planes, coaches etc might need to be substituted at the last minute.

An airline can refuse to let you fly if: a) you fail to warn them of your journey within 48 hours. b) There are safety issues or c) the aircraft doors are too small.

The airline should try to find another way to get you to your destination or give you a full refund.

If your child is in a wheelchair be prepared to lift him or her out to get through security as staff make their checks.

Safety and security restricts what can be taken on board a plane with you – check with your airline. Try to read the ABTA and Foreign & Commonwealth Office information at before you travel: www.abta.com/consumer-services/accessible_travel.

It’s worth checking out the layout of airports on-line before you travel through them.
If possible have a one-page crib sheet explaining your child’s condition in the language of the country you are visiting.


If you need assistance when travelling by National Rail companies are only obliged to help if you give 24 hours notice, particularly if you need help getting on and off a train at an unstaffed station.

Train staff have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled passengers. For example, allowing you to travel in first class on a standard class ticket if the accessible toilet in standard class is out of order.

All trains will have to be wheelchair accessible by 2020.

To book assistance call 0800 022 3720

The dedicated National Rail page providing information for disabled passengers is http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/disabled_passengers.aspx


Any buses brought into service after 2000 that cater for more than 22 passengers should have room for a wheelchair and a ramp of lift to allow that wheelchair on.

You should be able to access these unless road conditions make it hazardous.

Wheelchairs take priority over pushchairs if the bus is crowded.

The law says bus and coach drivers must give reasonable assistance to disabled people, eg helping them get on and off the bus or coach. This doesn’t mean physically lifting passengers or heavy mobility equipment

You can also get a bass pass for free travel is you have a disability. These passes can be obtained from your local council.


You can get London travel information for disabled and older people at the Transport for All website. (http://www.transportforall.org.uk/)

Helpline 020 7737 2339


To complain about a train journey:

  • Outside London contact Passenger Focus www.passengerfocus.org.uk (tel: 0300 123 2350).
  • In London contact London TravelWatch at www.londontravelwatch.org.uk (tel: 020 7505 9000).

If you have contacted the company responsible for the complaint and had no joy the next step is telling the Equalities And Human Rights Commission your experience: www.equalityhumanrights.com


For day trips The Rough Guide To Accessible Britain book and website does exactly what it says on the tin: www.accessibleguide.co.uk/home.php?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=rough%2520guide%2520to%2520accessible%2520britain%2520&utm_campaign=Yucca

Many British amusement parks and tourist destinations have fast passes for disabled visitors and carers. It’s worth looking at the company’s policy before visiting, though as their may be qualifying smallprint.


We have put together a list of companies that specifically cater for those who have a member of their party who has a greater need requirement.

You can view this list here


It is important that before you travel with a child with a genetic discorder that you have adequate travel insurance.

Fill in the medical form in detail so that there is no risk of the company not reimbursing a potential claim. Check your policy includes pre-existing illness.

Everyone needs a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in order to receive free emergency care in EU countries. Information is available by clicking this link   http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx

The following companies offer holiday insurance for people with pre-existing conditions

Towergate Insurance  0330 123 2249 https://www.towergateinsurance.co.uk/travel-insurance-for-pre-existing-medical-conditions

All Clear Travel  www.allcleartravel.co.uk

Free Spirit 0845 230 5000 01708 339 026  www.free-spirit.com

The Insurance Surgery 080 083 2829 www.the-insurance-surgery.co.uk

Citybond Suretravel 0870 444 6431 http://www.suretravel.co.uk/

Atlas Direct 0870 811 1700 www.atlasdirect.net

Staysure  0800 652 6931 https://www.staysure.co.uk/travel-insurance/medical/

Some handy hints on getting insurance

  • You must telephone the medical pre screening line to ensure that you are covered – failure to do this might result in your insurance being invalid when trying to make a claim.
  • Ring the medical screening line again before you travel if circumstances have changed since the time you first got cover
  • If you end up in hospital because of an accident such as your child breaking their arm you may not be covered by the insurance if you haven’t told them about your genetic disorder.
  • Make sure your insurance covers any expensive medical or mobililty equipment you need to take.