Equal among equals: My experience traveling with disability

11 April 2023

By Zahava Robb

Hi everyone my name is Zahava. If it makes it easier, you can call me Goldie.

A little about me – I’ve was diagnosed with junior rheumatoid arthritis at age 8, since then I’ve had multiple hip and knee replacements. I’m also deaf in one ear.

Apart from that, I’m still good fun at parties.

Like many of you, I enjoy travelling, especially around our beautiful country.

Today, I’d like to share some of my experiences. You may have had similar experiences, and may find some useful information to use.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I decided to take a driving holiday around central Queensland. It was a great chance to explore the country, and also catch up with family.

One of the locations we visited was Emerald in Central Queensland. Prior to the trip, I did quite a lot of research.

For me it is important to know that the places we stay (generally hotels) are accessible. Do they have many stairs, walk in shower and staff to assist as required.

My husband had located a property which looked suitable it was advertised as a self-contained apartment. They specifically advised that they were accessible. To be 100% sure I also called the hotel who again ensure me that this was the case.

When we arrived, there was a sign at the front door advising that the property was unstaffed. To get access to your room you were given a code and a phone number to call if you needed any assistance.

Imagine you’re in a wheelchair and can’t reach the key pad? What do you do?

Assuming you get inside, you are now faced with a staircase, and no one to talk to for assistance.

Sounds pretty frustrating, right?

Upon entering the property I was faced with a flight of stairs and the whole area was not well illuminated.

Inside the room the shower and toilet was fairly easy to access, the kitchen was set at a height that made it slightly challenging to access.

I know that accommodation providers do need to consider a range of guest needs, and making changes can be costly and not always practical.

Here’s one thing they may be able to offer – a specific contact number for people to call for those with disabilities (which can be varied). Again – maybe not possible, but it is a start.

I would like to provide my advice, so you can get the most out of your travel experience.

  1. Prepare yourself with ALL the questions regarding your accessibility NEEDS, and make as many phone calls as you need to get the right information.
  2. When you are searching for reviews about places to stay, read an average of 15-20 reviews, and also look at the positive and negative. This should give you a good idea overall.
  3. Try to focus on the accessibility rather than the property itself. Go back to point a – if you’ve got any questions, ASK.
  4. Remember – there is always a chance that things may be worse than you expected, but in many cases you may get a pleasant surprise!

Safe travels and look forward to talking to you again.


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