Planning a holiday? We answer your top questions about holidays for people with a disability.
If you’re living with a disability, you need extra support while you’re on holiday. So naturally, you have plenty of questions to ask about how to go about planning, booking and enjoying your travel. As specialists in disability holidays, we’re sharing the top 13 questions we most frequently get asked.
(By the way, a great way to find the ideal travel agent for your needs is to test them out with these questions. A travel agent specialising in assisted holidays will easily be able to answer them, giving you the confidence and peace of mind that they can take care of your travel plans.)
So, if you are thinking about a holiday and you want that specialist support, these questions are a great starting point.
Let’s jump in.
1) Can I use NDIS funding for my holiday?
Officially, disability holidays are not covered. But the NDIS may agree to cover the support person during your travel. The NDIS needs you to prove your funding request is reasonable and necessary.
So for example, you might plan a trip to the Gold Coast to see your family. The NDIS can cover the support person you need during your trip. You can use the NDIS funding to pay for their time.
However additional costs are not covered, like accommodation, meals or entertainment.
2) What kind of holiday can I book?
Of course, there is a huge range of disability holidays you can choose from: beach adventures, relaxing getaways, city escapes, countryside excursions or more extreme adventures along with many more ideas. People living with disabilities may feel anxious about the kind of holiday options available. Especially about getting the support they need when they are away from the creature comforts of home and their familiar local area and haunts.
But with so many fantastic facilities available to you, and the right support team in place, you can explore the world in a way that feels fun, exciting and comfortable to you.
We’ve seen first-hand the confidence people get from realising they can travel the way they want and the world opens up to them.
3) Where can I go?
In short, anywhere you want! But of course, you want to feel sure that the travel facilities can accommodate your needs and situation. We know the inside-out of transport, accommodation and activities and can help you choose an assisted holiday that suits your needs and budget.
Our director, Peter Negri says:
“I had a client with cerebral palsy who wanted a trip to Hawaii, and I flew to Sydney to be his support person. On the journey, I encouraged him to do more things for himself and he had a great time. Then, we did a second trip to Disneyland and San Francisco, and again, I said to him, ‘mate, you can do this stuff for yourself.’ His confidence blossomed. He now travels alone- because he’s gained that valuable self-belief. What a great way to lose a customer!’
4) Can I contact you for help during the holiday?
Of course, you will have your support person travelling with you, who is a representative of Club Mates, so you can contact them, or you can reach out to us if there are any problems with any part of your travel.
5) Have you got experience booking disability holidays for people like me?
This is where the specialists stand out from the standard travel agents. If you are booking with a volume travel agent, do ask them about their experience. IT makes all the difference.
In our case, we are specialists in disability holidays, so we offer you a wide range of travel packages and support – from luxury holidays to camping trips, to city adventures and regional escapes, to local getaways to international journeys – we can make it happen.
6) Can I get help arranging a support person for my travel?
This is our specialty. We will arrange the right support person to accompany you on your travels. They will anticipate your needs and make the entire journey smooth and hassle-free. From arranging transport, activities, entertainment and dining, they can call ahead to make plans and ensure you’ll have the access, facilities and amenities you need to enjoy your travel.
7) How do you choose your support people?
You want a support person who understands your abilities and makes you feel comfortable. Trust is important – you need to feel confident they can take care of your needs. And of course, you are going to be travelling with this person, so you need to get along. Finding the right support person is a bit like matchmaking -you need to have that connection. We have a crew of support people available and take them through a rigorous recruitment process to find the best fit for our passengers.
8) Does my support person stay with me the whole time?
You might be feeling uneasy at having a support person tagging along all day and night, but that is not necessary. When you are ready for some alone time or family time, just let your support person know, and they’ll make themselves scarce. When you want them back, they’ll be back. This is one of those concerns that people experience, and then when they get on the holiday they realise this was nothing to worry about. Your support person will give you the space and time you need!
On the other hand, if you feel more comfortable with your support person sticking around, they can and will.
9) Can I bring my family along?
Yes, you can travel with family and friends, we can make arrangements for a group holiday that includes the entire crew.
10) Can I take my own support person?
Yes, you can bring your own support person if you prefer.
11) Do I need specific travel insurance?
We strongly advise you to arrange travel insurance for peace of mind in case something goes wrong on holiday. We can organise this for you and include it in our travel quote and invoice.
12) Can I bring an assistance dog?
Airlines allow assistance dogs, provided they are accredited, trained and wearing an identifying coat. When booking your travel, we will make the necessary arrangements with the airline on your behalf to ensure both the airline and yourself are prepared for travelling with your assistance dog.
When it comes to accommodation, we can recommend a variety of hotels and venues that allow assistance dogs so you can enjoy your travel with the peace of mind that comes with having them by your side.
13) Can you recommend wheelchair-friendly facilities?
Yes, we have an excellent network of wheel-chair friendly accommodation on our books, and we’d love to recommend some favourites for you to try. We know that many venues call themselves wheelchair friendly, but when you arrive there’s a, ‘oops, we forgot about that step’. Rest assured, this won’t be the case when you book with us. Each property is reviewed to ensure it meets the highest standards of accessibility.