Accessible Adventure in India


India, admittedly, is not the most hospitable of places for people that have some form of disability. But things are changing, albeit slowly. A fair number of resorts and hotels, big and small, now put in a lot of effort to make the stay of differently-abled people as comfortable as possible. As with everything, check whether the destination you're headed to does have facilities that are accessible to the disabled. There are, in India, adventure-activity operators that keep the needs of the differently abled in mind – again, do a background check on whether these travel providers have the wherewithal, and also the necessary training, to make the experience for the differently abled as pain- and hassle-free as possible. The country does not have a great record when it comes to looking after the safety and comfort of the differently abled, but a few set-ups have, admirably, gone the extra mile to make themselves disabled-friendly.

What is Accessible Adventures

Accessible adventure is adventure travel made easy for the differently abled, or anyone suffering from a medical or physical disability. Accessible adventure is a part of 'accessible tourism', a growing sector of the tourism industry that strives to make travel more convenient for those with some form of disability.

Besides cultural and historical tours, 'accessible tourism' also includes activities related to adventure travel – like whitewater rafting and bungee jumping. 'Accessible tourism' aims to present mobility-challenged travellers as complete an experience as that offered to able-bodied folks. Indeed, more and more operators in the tourism industry now offer packages that cater especially for the differently abled.

Medical concerns

Travel can be tiring, particularly for those who suffer from a physical or medical disability. Before travelling, consult your doctor and get a clean bill of health. Share with your doctor the destination you're headed to, and ask what (if any) precautions need to be taken. But whether you feel you're likely to encounter problems and hardships on the road or not, it is advised that you carry prescribed medication along with you – take your prescription in case you need to stock up on medicines midway.

History of Accessible Adventure

The development of creating travel services for the differently abled is a recent one – but a welcome one. More and more operators are entering the 'accessible tourism' space, providing holidays based around activities like wildlife safaris and whitewater rafting. Indeed, in addition to out-and-out adventure activities, wildlife safaris make up a popular component of accessible adventure, and many outfits around the world offer safari holidays tailored specifically for the differently abled.

Tips

There's a lot of planning involved when differently-abled persons chalk out their vacation schedules. It is, therefore, best to plan well in advance. Find out about the place, or places, you are travelling to, and how disabled-friendly the facilities are there. Check on whether hotels and resorts (as well as restaurants and sites of historical interest) provide access to wheelchairs or other vehicles designed to make movement easier, and whether they allow service animals on their premises (for the latter, read up on the country's quarantine laws). Don't miss out on even the smallest detail – if you do your planning thoroughly, there's every chance you'll have a more enjoyable trip.

Even better, get hold of a good travel agent or a tour operator, one who has experience in organizing trips for the differently abled, to help plan your holiday. Remember to share your special needs and considerations with the travel agent or tour operator – the more he or she is aware of what you require, the more bother-free your adventure experience is likely to be. But while you can seek as much advice as possible, it's ultimately you who is the best judge of what you are and are not able to cope with on your travels – don't exert or over-stretch yourself. Remember, your comfort is paramount. Carry your enthusiasm and a healthy dose of optimism, and you'll be fine! 'Mobility International USA' is an outfit that empowers "people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development." Their website, www.miusa.org, includes detailed information and tips useful to travellers. The website also has info on accommodation, transport, and agents and operators in different countries. For useful information for travellers with disabilities (and links to other websites dedicated to the differently-abled traveller), visit www.able-travel.com.