Traveling can be stressful, period. But it can be particularly hard when you have to manage a chronic illness as well -- tasks on your list include packing carefully, getting from point A to point B, and remembering to take your medications on time. Choosing the right locale can make all the difference between a revitalizing experience and a depleting one.
These destinations are particularly suited for those with chronic illnesses or special needs.
If you have limited mobility or use a wheelchair…
San Diego has accessible beaches with free beach wheelchairs and many wheelchair-friendly highlights, including the San Diego Zoo (admission is free for your attendant!), sightseeing tours, and the Balboa Theatre and Civic Theatre.
Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio is a family amusement park designed to be fully accessible, with over 30 traditional or adaptive swings including wheelchair swings and a Sensory Village™, where, among other attractions, you can experience simulations of driving a car and riding a horse.
If you want to travel internationally, check out Barcelona, with its very accessible public transit, and Sicily, which offers many activities with mobility accommodations, from scuba diving to olive-oil making.
If you have children with special needs…
All Beaches Caribbean All-Inclusive Resorts offer a selection of kids’ camps where kids are immersed in age-appropriate activities like face-painting, scavenger hunts, pizza-making, or a karaoke club. One-on-one care is available for your child with special needs. Beaches Kids Camps are Certified Autism Centers that offer autism-friendly activities and environments with specially trained staff.
The staff of the Smugglers’ Notch Adaptive Program (SNAP) at Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Cambridge, Vt., accommodates severe medical needs. They provide a trained counselor for support and assistance and have adaptive sports including horseback riding, kayaking, sailing, and swimming.
If you want an all-inclusive experience…
If chronic fatigue or low energy is part of your condition, a vacation that involves a lot of activity may not be your idea of paradise. At Franklyn D. Resort and Spa in St. Ann, Jamaica, families can request a personal vacation nanny. Nannies tend to your children, help with family activities, stock your fridge, and tidy your suite.
If you want to keep your vacation as low-stress as possible, consider taking a cruise. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum, Freedom, Oasis, Radiance, and Vision Class ships get rave reviews from travelers with disabilities for their attention to detail in accommodating special needs and their overall physical accessibility for people with mobility challenges. Royal’s fleet includes some of the roomiest ships, with many accessible staterooms and even wheelchair lifts for the pool and whirlpool.
If you crave adventure…
Perhaps being pampered isn’t your thing. Maybe you want to explore and see the world. There are travel companies that cater to travelers with disabilities. Flying Wheels Travel was one of the first (formed nearly 50 years ago). They make individual, customized travel arrangements, set up escorted tours, and help plan group adventures anything from visiting Machu Picchu to cruising around Alaska.