The last time I was discussing with myself (unless you read it) going out for a day trip and the sort of planning you need to do to have a worry free day out.
Today we’re going one step further and look at going away for a longer stay in the UK. Obviously, the length of time you stay away depends on your own personal circumstances, level of disability and also your level of. Much of the last blog is useful as supplemental to this next phase of freedom. This next entry includes you thinking about journey length, type and duration etc but there are more things to consider when staying away from home.
OK, let’s start in the planning phase.
When you have decided which area in the UK you wish to visit for a ‘break’ or holiday, the next thing will be WHERE in that area you wish to stay, which brings up a few points to consider. Firstly, is your choice out in the wilds or a city break or a town/village? The most difficult destination is going to be in the wilds. Midlanders call it ‘out in the sticks’. If you are a full-time wheelchair user this will be the most difficult type of break which is not for the faint-hearted. I would suggest doing your homework on the internet to find its suitability for you. Does it have disabled access? Is it easy to get around? Is it dependant on weather conditions or season? Often the most inaccessible looking places have great disabled facilities and also vice versa (more on that later).
OK, so you have found your dream area. Now, where are you going to stay? Under normal circumstances, hotels are a good way to start getting out. BEWARE! Contact the hotel you wish to stay in and find out if they are suitably set up for your needs.
A quick story
We were going to Brighton for a weeks break. Roads, slopes accessibility all checked for the place A1! I went on the internet and checked out that the B&B had a ground floor bedroom. It did because it said so on their web site. I even managed to book the bedroom to make sure I had somewhere to lay my head. Job done! NOT! We arrived, unpacked and loved the quaint place I’d found. By not phoning and talking to a sentient being I had missed the fact that the dining – breakfast room was in what used to be called a basement down a curved flight of stairs. OOH, how embarrassing! It took the rest of the first morning finding somewhere at twice the cost where eating and sleeping were both on the ground floor. Hmmmmm. I’m sure that my first choice in Brighton still has the word plonker echoing down that flight of stairs in the exact timbre, pitch and volume as my lovely wife's voice!! Moral of the story? Talk to someone who can answer questions and don’t rely on your own genius to find out the important little details.
Also, watch out for tripwires in public transport.
For example, the London underground station at St Pancras has the most accessible, lovely five star luxury lift down to the underground train platforms. 80% of the destination stations have either stairs or escalators to exit them. There is a technique for ascending escalators in a wheelchair which is safe and effective, but I am not going to pass it on in case I am flooded with solicitors letters from injured wheelchair users or damaged carers. Suffice to say, I’ve done it, it works and I’ve also been shouted at by a security person in a shopping centre for doing it! He/she didn’t know what to say when I replied quite loudly ‘WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, AM I GOING TO END UP IN A WHEELCHAIR!!’ OH how much fun it is watching someone trying to decide if it is a good or bad thing to throw a wheelie out of a shopping centre. Eventually, I laughed, he laughed and peace and love broke out all over Festival Place Basingstoke.
The last thing is. DON’T forget to take as much medication with you for the duration of the trip plus a couple of extra days worth in case of emergencies. On the same type of subject, see what equipment can be supplied by wherever you are staying to save taking a four tonner lorry with you. Some places even supply hoists etc.
Oh boy! That’s enough until next time – When we will be GOING ABROAD!! TTFN