Choosing Accommodation for Disabled Travel

Where to stay is a big part of planning a great holiday. It’s not just about the travel and seeing new things – you want to enjoy a relaxing, comfortable stay in some good quality accommodation. When navigating a mobility impairment, travel groups need to think about some criteria when building a shortlist of options. In this guide we’ll provide you with some handy tips to selecting accessible accommodation.
Roll-InBuddy XL SB6c-22 in front of shower

Things to think about before you pick where to stay

Check with each hotel on their disabled facilities and accessibility

Good hotels, motels and even private short term stay options are only too happy to oblige when asked about accessibility features. Better yet, some may include this information on their website. If you’re still in the research process and have many accommodation options as a possibility, you can even google ‘disabled hotels [LOCATION]’ – here you may find a dedicated disabled accommodation website who have done some of the heavy lifting for you.

If you’ve found a good option for the family including the individual with mobility impairment, you can ask questions before confirming the booking to make sure the facilities are appropriate for your needs.

Access to the accommodation

Any accommodation needs to make it easy to get inside the building and to the room. While it’d be rare for a hotel not to have good access for someone in a wheelchair, it’s certainly a non-negotiable for any other type of lodgings such as a short term rental.

Access to bathroom

Where hotels can differ is in their design of the room and its bathroom. If you’ve got a member of your travel group with reduced mobility requiring assistive equipment, you’ll want to make sure the bathroom allows barrier-free access, with no edge between the rest of the room and the bathroom, as well as no barrier in the shower.

You should also find out the floor space of the hotel room’s bathroom, as a larger open space makes it easier for a carer to help a disabled person conduct their bathroom routine comfortably.

Finally, the flooring of the bathroom should present no risks for equipment to get stuck – a simple, smooth tiled floor is perfectly acceptable.

The good news – there’s rarely an issue with bathroom access in most well-rated hotels. But the hotel will appreciate you advising of mobility needs so they can ensure the room you’re allocated is fit for purpose.

Distance between room and exit

In large hotels rooms can be located far away from the elevator – some hallways are seemingly endless. This can present a safety risk for a group with a disabled person, and at the very least can create fatigue for the carer or if self-propelled, the disabled person. You will want to ensure that the room booked is reasonably near the elevators and emergency fire exit.

Size of the room

While budget is a consideration, a hotel room that’s too small creates more problems that they’re worth. In fact, it may be better to go for a slightly less modern room but one that offers size to move around.

Fitting equipment

A hotel room needs to fit all the luggage and assistive equipment that someone with a disability has. If they are sharing a room with a family member, that family member’s belongings need to fit, too.

Comfortable movement for a carer and individual

And when moving from bed to bathroom or out of the room altogether, a hotel room needs to accommodate both carer and the disabled person they’re assisting. Cramped spaces make life much more difficult for mobility impairments, so open floor space is preferable.

Location, location, location…

Disability-friendly transport between airport and hotel

You can talk to your travel agent or the hotelier directly about their options for transporting between airport and hotel. While this connection may add to your costs slightly – the convenience after a long, tiring flight can make this add-on more than worth it.

Some things to check when arranging transport:

  • Ensure the vehicle used is designed to cater for disabilities – such as a larger van with ramp access and room for equipment as well as luggage.
  • The exact cost of having this option in place.
  • Whether the transport has the correct details of your flight arrival at the start and departure at the end of your stay.
  • Does the transport adequately fit your whole travel group?
Having less of the transport to think about during the holiday is something everyone appreciates, but especially so for a family or group who needs to consider a mobility impaired person.

Benefits of staying close to activities

Booking a hotel nearby to some of the main activities you plan to do is another smart booking move. When getting around takes longer on average with a disability, being in close quarters with the beach, cafes, bars, restaurants, shops or activities will allow you to fit more into each day. And on holiday, we want to make the most of each day!

Less wasted time travelling

Travel creates time where we’re unable to enjoy sites, activities or the surroundings. The time it takes to load in everyone and all equipment to an accessible vehicle, drive and disembark at the other end mounts up quickly. For a group who want to see and do as much as possible, this can reduce the itinerary quite a bit. Getting around walking or via wheelchair to nearby attractions is a much more time efficient way of doing things. While some days simply require travel, getting in at least a few days to stay nearby to the accommodation can enrich the holiday for everyone.

More spontaneous day planning

And of course the benefit of having everything nearby is some days don’t need to be planned, but rather offer some free time. Not all of us like holidays to be so scheduled, so having a hotel near to the action makes this much easier to relax and keep an open mind as to the day’s activities. Time for an adventure!

On the move

Does the accommodation have mobility equipment to use?

Ask the hotel about not only their facilities, but the equipment they provide guests – this may include good quality wheelchairs or walking frames which could remove the need to bring one with you. If you or your loved one has specific requirements from equipment you may wish to find out more as to the features of this equipment. However if you are concerned with this, it’s probably less of a headache to simply bring things with you.

What about folding chairs?

Why bringing your own travel bathroom equipment could make your stay easier

And one piece of mobility equipment that’s certainly worth bringing along with you is a bathroom mobility chair. Rather than rely upon a hotel’s own accessibility within bathrooms, or be limited to a particular room due to disability, a bathroom mobility chair designed for travel brings all the support in a lightweight, compact package.

Even the nicest accommodation across the world doesn’t offer equipment that’s yours to use alone. By bringing your own bathroom mobility solution you’ll get the following benefits:
  • The system comes with you into the hotel, but also to any day activity as well.
  • It’s more hygienic as you are not sharing any surfaces with strangers
  • A bathroom shower chair provides body support and comfort beyond a basic disabled bathroom configuration.
  • These systems also offer swap out commode buckets for moments between bathrooms.
  • They remove the need to be lifted from the toilet into shower as the user stays seated the whole time.
  • Hotels don’t need to provide a shower stool which may or may not be adequate support.
If bathroom mobility is a challenge for anyone in your group, a travel option to bring with you on holiday might be a good choice.

Learn more

The information in this guide is intended as general information only and is not a replacement for official health guidance by your local medical providers. Please always consult an occupational therapist and/or local healthcare for more specific guidance.

Learn more about Showerbuddy’s range for disabled travellers

Showerbuddy provides solutions for mobility-impaired travellers. Head over to our travel range page to explore our purpose-built travel shower chairs. A good bathroom mobility chair that can come on the road with you makes travel much easier.

Helpful Guides

Learn more in these related guides: 

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Flying with a Wheelchair

Travelling by air isn’t most people’s favourite part of a holiday – especially if it’s a long haul flight to get wherever you need to be. In this guid we’ll talk about flying with a wheelchair and offer some tips to help make a hassle-free journey.


Disabled Bathroom Tips while Travelling Abroad

Ask anyone living with a disability, or their family, and near the top of their lists of ‘things to think about’ when planning a holiday is the logistics around using the bathroom. In this guide we’ll provide some advice for navigating bathroom use with a disability.