Planning a Trip to Europe
Planning an Accessible Trip to Europe – How should you go about planning your trip to Europe? Below is the step by step process that I use to plan an accessible trip to Europe. The amount of time it takes will vary depending on your destination and the length of your trip, but planning an accessible trip to Europe typically takes between 20 and 40 hours. If you try to take shortcuts, you will almost certainly encounter some frustration and disappointment on your trip. If you do it right, you’ll have a great, hassle-free vacation and it will be well worth it!
Steps for planning an accessible trip to Europe
1. Decide which destination you are interested in. I use the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die and Rick Steve’s guidebooks to get some ideas on which cities to visit. Your best resource though is my European Accessibility Ratings page. On this page, you can find an accessibility comparison of European Cities. In particular, pay attention to the “Worth the Effort” column which takes into account the quality of the city, the quantity of tourist sites, and the accessibility of the city.
2. Check price of flights at various dates. You will find that flights in the shoulder months (April, first half of May, September, and October) can be much less than flights during the summer months. Most places in Europe still have good weather during these months. I prefer to search for flights using kayak.com.
3. Research the accessibility of the tourist sites. This can take numerous hours to browse the internet and send emails. However this is an essential step in planning an accessible trip to Europe so that you don’t treck half way across town only to find the museum doesn’t have a ramp at the entrance. SageTraveling.com has already done this for several of the most popular destinations which you can find on the Accessibility Reviews of European Cities page.
4. Check the accessibility of transportation within the city. Accessible busses are available in many cities, and some cities have wheelchair accessible taxis. You can find a general discussion about public transportation on my Accessible Transportation pages or find detailed local transportation in my Accessibility Reviews of European Cities page.
5. Find accessible, affordable hotels. Whereas many hotels across the globe are in modern buildings, many hotels in Europe (particularly in the older tourist parts of town) are in 100+ year old buildings. The result is that accessible hotels can be difficult to find and are generally more expensive than other places. See our page finding accessible hotels in Europe for some important things to consider.
6. Check the hotel location. Figure out how far away the tourist attractions are from each hotel and whether or not there is accessible transportation from them to the tourist sites.
7. Make a daily itinerary to figure out how many days it will take to see the sights, which days they are closed, how to group them, and in what order. This step in planning an accessible trip to Europe can take a good bit of time but is essential so that you don’t waste any energy back-tracking. If you have plenty of time and energy, you can wander aimlessly 😉
8. Book flights. I use kayak.com.
9. Book hotels. You can call or email the hotel directly or use a hotel search engine website. Either way you will need to make sure that the disabled room is reserved for you.