If it isn’t obvious enough, traveling is definitely having a MOMENT right now…to say the least. I mean, after being stuck inside for over a year (felt like decades, TBH), people are getting. after. vacation. szn.
Still, despite the vax, some of us face more challenges knocking out those travel to-do lists than others. That’s because a lot of the world (and even parts of this country) isn’t accessible to people who use wheelchairs or have other accessibility needs. Obvi, that makes searching for places to go and things to do way more tedious, stressful, and all-around sh*tty.
Enter, Wheel the World, an inclusive online travel booking platform for people with disabilities, which just launched the first-ever site designed to make that whole situation way easier.
Here’s how it works: Wheel the World has an “accessibility mapping system” that uses crowd-sourced data to pinpoint hotels and destinations that are easier for people with physical challenges to navigate. That might include museums with staff training on how to assist, wheelchair-accessible hotels and transportation, attractions with Braille signage, and more. How freaking amazing is technology, y’all?!
You can use the site to narrow down where to go and what to do with their search tool, or you can get even more specific by creating a ~custom profile~, which enables the site to put together a whole-ass list of personal recs for ya. *Bows to lord and savior, technology.*
FWIW, building your profile is a b-r-e-e-z-e. All you gotta do is sign up and answer questions like: How hard it is for you to deal with steps? What are your accessibility needs in a bedroom (ie. smooth floor versus thick carpet, Braille in the room, and/or auditory guidance) What is your bed height preference? What are your bathroom and shower needs? What type of transportation do you feel most comfortable in?
You can also share more about your mobility situation (do you use a walker or a wheelchair, for example) so the site can get a better understanding of how far you can travel. From there, they’ll look through all the destinations and accommodations—like hotels, activities (which could be a helicopter or boat tour of Maui), and multi-day trip (this would be a fully planned excursion)—that fit for YOU, and then book your trip! It’s almost too easy. Annnnnd, unlike other trip-planning sites, you won’t have to pay an extra service fee for their help!
What’s even cooler is that if you need more insight about something they have a team of experts you can chat with live about your plans. A good thing to know is that this chat feature *isn’t* 24/7, but someone will reach you as soon as they’re able if you don’t get a response right away.
Without founders Alvaro Silberstein (who was left paralyzed after a car accident during a trip to Patagonia) and Camilo Navarro, this incredible platform wouldn’t even exist. “Accessible does not mean inclusive,” Navarro told CNN Travel. “There are one billion people [in the world] with disabilities. But there’s not one main travel company dedicated to these users.” …And, well, now there is.
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