Oliver’s Travels carried out a survey to find out what the main issues people with various disabilities face when travelling and looked into the resources available to make accessible travel, well… more accessible!
Here are the main findings from the survey:
- 50% say their additional needs make travel considerably more difficult/rarely travel due to their additional needs.
- 40% of respondents state accessible travel is always more expensive.
- 1 in 3 respondents don’t feel comfortable around other holidaymakers.
- 50% have however seen small positive changes in the last 5 years.
We found that there were an array of online tools and apps available which make travel easier and more enjoyable for people with disabilities, however 30% of the respondents said they were not aware of such tools.
These apps aid with every aspect of travelling: from planning to travelling and finding their ways around new places.
So without further ado here is the infographic (and the accessible transcription of it) below:
23 of the best online tools for travellers with disabilities
A helping Hand
1. Be my eyes – App available on iOS and Android for people with low vision/blindness.
This app provides those with low vision with an assisted sight volunteer via a direct video link. The assistant will be able to provide commentary on the notable sights along the way, describing the environment to you to paint a picture of the scene.
2. KNFB reader – App available on iOS, Android and Windows for people with low vision/blindness.
KNFB Reader takes a photo of text and reads the text aloud in clear synthetic speech. This app is particularly handy for reading annotations at museums and attractions and also for reading menus and bills while eating out on your travels.
3. Light Detector – App available on iOS and Android for people with low vision/blindness.
This nifty app transforms any light source into sound. Emitting a sound as you navigate your phone toward a natural or artificial light source which will help you to find light fixtures and windows in your holiday accommodation.
4. Looktel Money Reader – App available on iOS for people with low vision/blindness.
The Money Reader recognises currency and will speak aloud the nomination allowing you to easily check how much money you have, particularly important when you are exchanging money. The app is available for numerous currencies including US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, British Pound, Euros and more.
5. Medisafe – App available on iOS and Android
Medisafe is an app that provides reminders on when to take your regular medication. This is particularly handy while travelling when you may get caught up in activities and forget a dose or get confused by the time difference.
6. Tap Tap – App available on iOS for people who are hard of hearing/deaf.
This app alers those who are hard of hearing to sounds happening nearby that may be important to them such as smoke alarm, a doorbell or someone shouting. This app is perfect to have when away from home to keep you alert of any safety signals to be aware of.
7. Seeing AI – App available for Microsoft and on iOS for people with low vision/blindness.
This app utilises AI to narrate the world around you, describing nearby people and objects and narrating any text. This is another great tool for painting a picture of a new city or resort as well as reading guides, signs, menus and other information.
Planning and Preparing
8. Lonely Planet accessible guides – Resource.
Lonely Planet is one of the very top travel resources in the world and they have a fantastic selection of free accessible travel guides for cities around the world available to download on their site. shop.lonelyplanet.com/categories/accessible-travel
9. Jaccede – Resource and app available on iOS and Android.
Jaccede is an open access interactive platform where members of the public can add details of establishments with accessible facilities. Users can search for attractions, restaurants, shops and more to meet their specific needs – whether that’s ground floor access, quiet spaces, audio guides or a variety of other facilities – in the location they are visiting.
10. Autism Speaks Social Story – Resource for people with cognitive conditions.
For children with autism, new experiences can be uncomfortable and visiting an airport for the first time can be a difficult experience. This social story helps children to understand in advance what to expect from the airport experience and is specifically tailored to children with autism to prepare them for their trip.
11. Euan’s Guide – Resource and App available on iOS.
Euan’s Guide is a comprehensive user-generated review website of attractions, events and accommodation around the world providing details of their accessible functions and reviews from other disabled travellers.
12. Magnuscards – App available on iOS and Android for people with cognitive conditions.
MagnusCards is a fun app based on a proven technique that helps travellers with cognitive conditions prepare for the new holiday experiences they may find daunting. MagnusCards includes sets of cards which act out what you can expect from a variety of situations including ordering at a restaurant and travelling on public transport. Toronto Pearson Airport have also recently released their own card decks app demonstrating what you can expect at their airport.
13. ISenseVR – App coming soon on Android for people with cognitive conditions.
Still in its production phase, this app will utilise virtual reality to transport you to the airport ahead of your visit so you can get to grips with the environment and what you can expect from the airport experience before you travel.
14. Autism Travel – Resource for people with cognitive conditions.
This useful website is packed full of information for parents of autistic children, providing details of some of the best family destinations for autistic children and information about the specific provisions available to help your child enjoy their holiday to the fullest.
Transport and Directions
15. Nownav – App available on Android for people with low vision/blindness.
NowNav was developed by blind people for the blinds. It is a navigation and orientation aid for the blind and those with low vision to help you to safely navigate your way around a new place, using audio directions and guidance.
16. Transreport – app available on iOS and Android.
Transreport is an app that allows you to share your train journey experience live and to address any issues immediately by communicating these to train staff.
17. Station Alert UK – App available on iOS for people with low vision/blindness.
It’s not easy to know when to get off your train if you have a visual impairment, as many trains don’t announce the stops. This app allows you to select your chosen station and set an alert for when you are almost arriving at your selected stop.
18. Passenger Assist – App coming soon to iOS and Android.
Passenger Assist is a UK wide app which can be used to easily and personally arrange assistance from railway staff upon arrival and departure at UK train stations. You can request the specific assistance you require whether it is a wheelchair ramp or support with purchasing a ticket and you can also private message railway staff.
19. Flightview – App available on iOS and Android for people who are hard of hearing/deaf.
For deaf and hard of hearing travellers one of the greatest concerns when travelling is missing important flight changes and boarding announcements at the airport. Flightview is an app which allows you to track your flight and monitor for any updates in real time, so you don’t miss important announcements.
20. Navability – App coming soon to iOS and Android for people with physical conditions.
Essentially a Google Maps specifically for people in wheelchairs. This clever app takes into account factors such as the gradient, surface and potential obstacles along a route to provide the best directions for people in wheelchairs.
21. Fuelservice – App available on iOS, Android and Windows for people with physical conditions.
This app is a handy way of finding accessible petrol stations on your route to ensure you don’t run out of fuel while travelling – a useful tool if you are planning a long road trip!
22. Wheelmate – App available on iOS and Android for people with physical conditions.
With Wheelmate you’ll never be left struggling to find a wheelchair-accessible public toilet or parking space. The app will locate accessible toilets and wheelchair-friendly parking spaces near you, which is perfect when travelling on long journeys.
23. ATM Finder – App available on iOS and Android.
This app helps travellers with disabilities to locate ATM machines near them. Better yet, you can filter the search to look specifically for ATMs which are free, provide audio assistance, wheelchair access and belong to a specific bank.