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Holidays Guide

For disabled people, planning a holiday can sometimes be rather difficult. There are, however, a wide range of organisations that can make the process easier. Holidays are available both in the UK and abroad to suit a variety of interests and can be planned around individual needs and requirements. Factors to consider include access, transport, insurance and support needs. When organising a holiday it is important to plan well in advance and to double-check arrangements before starting your holiday. This section aims to enable you to plan ahead for holiday breaks to ensure that the holiday is as enjoyable as possible.


Holiday Advice and Information
Specialist Holiday Providers
Accessibility Standards and Schemes
Holiday Insurance
Other Sources of Information

Holiday Advice and Information

Darlington Association on Disability (DAD) provides a wide variety of information on holidays. DAD’s Information Service, which is based at the organisation’s main office can assist with finding suitable accommodation, travel arrangements, insurance companies and sources of personal support. In certain circumstances DAD can also seek funding for holiday breaks.

RADAR (The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation), has a holiday guide produced in partnership with Tourism for All. ‘The Open Britain Guide’ is for any traveller with access needs. The guide is packed with easy to use information - from where to stay, how to get there and what to see and do once you are there. The Guide is available to purchase from RADAR. A reference copy is available from the Information Service at DAD.

Tourism for All is a national charity which is supported by Visit England, the travel industry and a number of trusts and voluntary sector organisations. Tourism for All provides information about transport, accommodation, visitor attractions, activity holidays and respite care establishments, both in the UK and overseas. It publishes a range of publications and information sheets covering most of the UK and some overseas destinations. For an annual subscription members can benefit from a booking service and can sometimes receive discounts on holiday accommodation.

The Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) has a guide - ‘Accessible Travel’ - which offers information and advice designed to make travelling easier. The guide is very comprehensive and covers areas such as accessible toilets and RADAR keys, public transport, and travelling in the UK and abroad. It offers suggestions on what you may need to think about when planning or booking a journey, including where to go for more information.

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Specialist Holiday Providers

There are a number of organisations that organise holiday breaks for disabled people. This can be quite an expensive way to take a holiday so it is important to consider all available options before booking.  Many charities that support people with specific impairments, for example, the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS Society), the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Action on Hearing Loss (Formerly RNID) and others, can provide holiday information to their members and other enquirers.  There are too many specialist holiday providers to list in this Guide but details can be obtained from the Information Service at Darlington Association on Disability (DAD). The following are a sample of organisations and companies who offer specialist holiday services:

Access Travel (Lancs) Ltd specialises in holiday packages abroad for disabled people. Accommodation is always fully accessible, and the company can organise equipment, adapted vehicles and personal care for some of its destinations.

Can Be Done Ltd specialises in wheelchair accessible holidays to a wide choice of destinations including the UK, Europe, India, Fiji, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East. The company can tailor-make an itinerary to suit your requirements and can also organise self-drive holidays, offering either standard or adapted vehicles.

Chalfont Line Ltd offers a range of holidays in Britain and Europe for disabled people and their families travelling individually and on escorted tours. They specialise in coach travel, cruises, and air travel. The company's own accessible coaches are used for most of the escorted tours and personal care can be arranged.

Travel Eyes organises specialist holiday opportunities, both within the UK and abroad, for blind and visually impaired people and any sighted people who may be accompanying them. The Service can also find sighted guides for blind and visually impaired people who are travelling unaccompanied on any holidays provided through the Travel Eyes Service.

Vitalise is a national charity providing short breaks (respite care) and other services for disabled people and their carers. As well as providing breaks at five accessible UK Centres Vitalise also organises and runs holidays, both within the UK and abroad, for blind and visually impaired people and any sighted people who may be accompanying them. The charity also runs adventure breaks.

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Accessibility Standards

The implementation of both the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and the Equality Act 2010 (EA), have led to a growth in the range of holiday accommodation and services that are accessible for disabled people. Travel Agencies should be able to provide advice on travel arrangements and the accessibility of accommodation as should local tourist information centres. 
Visit England runs the National Accessible Scheme. It is used to indicate levels of accessibility for tourist accommodation, including hotels, guest houses, inns etc. Assessed properties will have facilities such as handrails, ramps, level-access showers, hearing loops and colour contrast. The ratings are split into 3 categories for mobility impaired and older people, visually impaired and blind people and hearing impaired and deaf people. Visit England produces several booklets which explain the scheme, and set out the criteria against which accommodation is judged.

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Holiday Insurance

It is essential to have adequate insurance cover that meets individual requirements.  It is important to check before taking out insurance cover that the insurance does not exclude people with “any pre-existing medical condition” and that, if required, it includes loss or damage to equipment required because of an individual's impairment. A list of holiday insurance companies can also be obtained from the Information Service at Darlington Association on Disability (DAD).

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Other Sources of Information

Other Sections of the Darlington Association on Disability Information Guide may contain further information for disabled people, in relation to Holidays.

The Money Matters Section gives details of assistance towards financial contributions for holidays.

The Mobility Section provides more detailed information on transport and Shopmobility Schemes, both locally and throughout the UK.

The Equipment Section gives information on the purchase or hire of items of equipment which disabled people may need for taking holidays.

There are a number of local and national organisations providing broad information and advice resources. Please refer to this Guide's Introduction for contact details.

Contact Darlington Association on Disability's Information Service for assistance with searching for information about any subject in this Guide or for support in dealing with your information requests.

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Access Travel (Lancs) Ltd
6 The Hillock
M29 7GW
Telephone : 01942 888844
Fax : 01942 891811
Minicom :
Email : info@access-travel.co.uk or contact through website
Website : www.access-travel.co.uk
Action on Hearing Loss
19-23 Featherstone Street
Telephone : 0808 808 0123 (freephone)
Fax : 0207 296 8199
Minicom : 0808 808 9000 (freephone)
Email : informationline@rnid.org.uk
Website : www.actiononhearingloss.co.uk

Can Be Done Ltd
Congress House
14 Lyon Road
Telephone : 0208 907 2400
Fax :
Minicom :
Email : holidays@canbedone.co.uk
Website : www.canbedone.co.uk

Chalfont Line Ltd
4 Providence Road
West Drayton
Telephone : 01895 459540
Fax : 01895 459549
Minicom :
Email : info@chalfont-line.co.uk
Website : www.chalfont-line.co.uk

Darlington Association on Disability (DAD)
Information Service
20-22 Horsemarket
Telephone : 01325 489999
Fax : 01325 488188
Minicom : 01325 245061
Email : mail@darlingtondisability.org
Website : www.darlingtondisability.org

Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC)
2-23 Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
Telephone : 0207 944 8011
Fax : 0207 944 6998
Minicom : 0207 944 3277
Email : dptac@dft.gsi.gov.uk
Website : http://dptac.independent.gov.uk/door-to-door/index.htm

Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS Society)
Head Office
MS National Centre
372 Edgware Road
Telephone : 0208 438 0700
Fax : 0208 438 0701
Minicom :
Email : Contact through Website
Website : www.mssociety.org.uk

12 City Forum
250 City Road
Telephone : 0207 250 3222
Fax : 0207 250 0212
Minicom : 0207 250 4119
Email : radar@radar.org.uk
Website : www.radar.org.uk

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Head Office
105 Judd Street
Telephone : 0303 123 9999
Telephone (Main Switchboard) : 0207 388 1266
Fax : 0207 388 2034
Minicom :
Email : helpline@rnib.org.uk
Website : www.rnib.org.uk

Tourism for All
C/O Vitalise
Shap Road Industrial Estate
Shap Road
Telephone: 0303 3030146
Fax : 01539 735567
Minicom :
Email : info@tourismforall.org.uk or contact through Website
Website : www.tourismforall.org.uk

Travel Eyes
PO Box 511
Telephone : 0844 804 0221
Fax : 0113 335 0372
Minicom :
Email : contact through Website
Website : www.traveleyes-international.com

Visit England
1 Palace Street
Telephone : 0207 578 1400
Fax :
Minicom :
Email : contact through Website
Website : www.visitengland.org

Shap Road Industrial Estate
Shap Road
Telephone : 0303 3030145
Fax : 01539 735567
Minicom :
Email : bookings@vitalise.org.uk
Website : www.vitalise.org.uk

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