Holidays should be accessible, supportive, and suitable to meet everyone’s needs. At Free Spirit, we believe that living with a disability shouldn’t stop you from travelling. Everyone has the right to travel with confidence – no matter their disability.
We also believe that travel frees our spirit. It can transport us away to share new experiences with friends and family.
From bespoke holiday packages to accessible holidays, designed by credible service providers, we’ve uncovered a range of holidays fit for people living with different disabilities. Choose from our top accessible holidays below…
Accessible Holidays for people living with dementia
If you, a friend or a relative are living with dementia, find an accessible holiday – with care at its core. Dementia-friendly holidays organised by qualified, experienced, and friendly teams (from dementia adventure) can give everyone peace of mind.
There are different dementia-supported holiday packages to choose from, such as staycations or holidays abroad. Each includes transport, accommodation, activities, and personalised care throughout. After you’ve made a booking, a care manager will give you a call and together you’ll create a bespoke holiday care plan. This should ensure that everyones’ requirements are in place throughout your holiday.
What’s included with an accessible holiday for people living with dementia?
- Support from a care team, from booking and planning to when you are on your holiday.
- Mobility equipment if/when required.
- Specialist equipment such as hoists, profiling beds, mattresses, bed rails, commodes, and wheelchairs.
- Transport from different coach pick-up points across the UK. Each includes a space for wheelchairs.
- Room requirements and thoughtfully planned itineraries with excursions.
For more travel advice read our travelling with dementia blog.
Group holidays for adults with learning difficulties
A range of supported holidays for adults with learning disabilities are available in the UK and across Europe to help people travel independently – alongside good company! Throughout each group holiday everyone can build long-lasting friendships.
Holidays for adults with learning difficulties include stays in cosy cottages within the Cotswolds and beach holidays in Europe. International destinations are also available but should be booked in advance – suxh as the Caribbean, Canada, or Los Angeles.
Accessible Cruise Holidays
Cruise holidays provide unique experiences for all. We can visit and learn about different countries, while a competent team looks after us. Yet, if you or your traveling companion/s need more help, some cruise lines are going above and beyond to ensure everyone has a pleasant voyage.
Autism Friendly Cruises
Travelling with someone living with autism? There are many things you can arrange before setting sail to help everyone ease into an autism friendly cruise holiday. For instance, you can ask to board the ship before sailing. This will allow everyone to familiarise themselves with their surroundings. A cruise ship can be seen as a floating city. So, this service may be invaluable.
When choosing your cruise liner, source one that works alongside Autism on the Seas. This is the leading Developmental Disability Service Supplier within the Cruise Industry.
Autism on the Seas ensures a cruise liner provides cruise vacation services to accommodate people living with: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. Plus, any Cognitive, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
For example, the cruise liner needs to provide a trained team, offer priority check-in, and include provisions for dietary needs.
Accessible Cruise Holidays for the Hard of Hearing
Love wildlife watching? Catch a glimpse of dolphins from the comfort of your own cabin during a cruise holiday. Then if you enjoy dressing up, head to the black-tie ball in the evening.
Is a cruise a suitable holiday if you’re deaf?
Yes. Just inform your travel provider of your hearing impairment when booking your cruise. This will allow you to receive all the services you need.
Many ships have facilities if you live with a hearing impairment such as:
- Portable room kits, which are available on request. These include a visual-tactile alert system that will alert you to a knock at the door or if the telephone rings.
- A TTY (teletypewriter) is also available for your room on request. This device interfaces with the TTY at the Guest Relations Desk, to ensure your in-room needs are met.
- For further help, amplified telephones are located in staterooms and public areas across the ship.
- On selected voyages, use the sign language interpreting services.
- When booking an excursion, it should come with a written commentary or interpreter.
However, if you’d rather holiday closer to home visit Scotland. Known for its bold character, it also meets the needs of visitors living with disabilities.
Accessible Activity Holidays
Accessible Activity Holidays in Scotland
Scotland is very welcoming when it comes to providing accessible holidays for people who live with mobility issues. If you need to, plan ahead and hire an accessible or adapted vehicle for day trips to enjoy Scotland’s famous activities and attractions with ease.
Which accessible activities and attractions can I visit in Scotland?
- Landmark Forest Adventure Park, Inverness-shire. On arrival, disabled bays lay a few yards from the park entrance. Also, all trails and bathrooms are wheelchair accessible throughout. You could choose a day trip for active children, who’ll enjoy the park’s numerous activities and rides. Many of these are accessible. Or for a quieter activity, settle down in the Wildlife Feeding Area. You’ll spot Scotland’s red squirrels and butterflies, while listening out for varied birdlife.
- The Nevis Range Mountain Experience (Aonach Mor Gondola) Inverness-shire. This is Britain’s only mountain gondola! Book your adaptive ski instructor in advance.
- Get up close and personal with barn animals and alpacas at The Alpaca Trekking Centre. This is located near Thornhill Stirling in central Scotland. Here, easily roam across to Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve with your alpaca friends while learning some fun facts about them.
Want more information about how The Alpaca Trekking Centre is wheelchair accessible? Visit the Simply Emma travel blog. Simply Emma is a leading UK-based, travel and disabled blogger. Her travel and disability blog focuses on accessible travel. Plus, her life experiences from a wheelchair user’s perspective. She shares all the possibilities of accessible travel across the UK. Plus, tips about how you can plan an accessible day out.
Long-Haul Accessible Activity Holidays
If you fancy an adventure on the other side of the world and enjoy water sports head to Vietnam or Australia.
- In Vietnam experience sailing around Halong Bay across two days. An adapted but traditional boat is suitable for those who can take a few steps.
- Down under in Australia, Queensland is another accessible destination. For example, visit the dive-training centre within the Great Barrier Reef, which has an Adaptive Service Facility. The centre helps people with mobility issues dive in to admire mantra rays, turtles, tropical fish and more species at ease.
Accessible activity holidays in Florida
Planning to fly to Florida? Check out the Visit Florida website for advice, travel inspiration and accommodation. Florida’s resorts, hotels and villa management companies have become more inclusive. Today, they welcome more people back each year who live with a disability.
Which accessible activities are available in Florida?
- Most big theme parks provide accessible passes from guest services. These give you more space or allow you to reduce the time spent in queues. Some attractions have a range of sensory features. Plus, the ability to reduce the lighting/sounds to help guests living with autism feel more relaxed. There are wheelchair-friendly rollercoasters available too.
- Visit the Kennedy Space Centre where many features are in place to ensure anyone with a disability (mobility, hearing, vision, or developmental) can experience the thrill of space. For example, if you or your travelling companion is autistic the customer services team can send out a video before your arrival. This will help everyone prepare for what they’ll experience.
- Love history? Follow The Braille Trail in St Augustine along a picturesque coastline. Along the route, deaf and blind people can learn about this Spanish city’s past while exploring the pedestrian-only district and old fort.
- Shake-A-Leg-Miami gives wheelchair users and their companions the freedom to ride within an accessible sailboat. Plus, there are kayaks which have been modified to fit all disabilities – at no extra cost.
Florida also has many beaches where you’ll feel safe and welcome.
Beach holidays in Florida
A holiday in Florida has something for everyone to enjoy or discover! Choose from Clearwater Beach, Daytona Beach, Miami Beach, and Pensacola Beach which are some of the best wheelchair accessible beaches in Florida.
Clearwater beach provides wheelchairs at no charge. If you arrive with a chair, Daytona Beach has hard-packed sand so you can whizz along the shoreline.
At Miami Beach, wheelchair rentals are free and Mobi-mats are available. These innovative non-slip mats connect to create a path down to the water’s edge. So, you can all dip your toes in the sea. Plus, a Mobi-mat gives those with other mobility impairments the confidence to enjoy a trip to the beach too.
Beach holidays in Curacao
If you’re looking for laid-back charm, choose the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao. Discover magical Mambo Beach with its clear blue sea and pretty palms. It’s an accessible beach where you can rent special wheelchairs to navigate the sands. Plus, there’s a wheelchair-accessible beach path too.
Also, you’ll find that accessible accommodation, transfers and flights are provided when booking a Caribbean Paradise tour with Limitless Travel.
Beach holidays in Jamaica
Known as the garden of Jamaica book a seven-night all-inclusive family holiday with Beaches® All-Inclusive Resorts (Sandals’ sister company) in Ocho Rios. Starting from October 2023 Ocho Rios, Beaches® offers autism all-inclusive weeks – after recently completing a rigorous International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) and Autism Certificate.
Before arrival, you can pre-plan meals, as well as book a fast-track arrival and departure service to help you walk through immigration, customs, and security quicker and easier. Throughout your stay, you’ll be allocated with an accredited team member who’ll provide you with more assistance – should you need it. Also, sensory guides are available to help those with cognitive disabilities explore the resort at their leisure. Enjoy eating out at wheelchair-accessible restaurants too.
From day one there’s a daily plan of activities from fun activities, arts, and crafts to scavenger hunts. Parents are not forgotten either! Activities for them include mixer events with respite care provided.
Free Spirit Travel Insurance for Accessible Holidays
We hope we’ve provided enough inspiration and information to spark some ideas for a suitable accessible holiday.
However, before you book, always check the website of your chosen destination for more detailed information. Make your needs known – you might be able to hire mobility aids ahead of time. Together with special seating requirements, mobility ramps, hearing impaired support, a wheelchair and more.