My quest to help other wheelchair users to travel
My name is Scott Green, I’m 19 and I completed the Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management last year at TAFE. I’ve travelled to many places including America, New Zealand and Melbourne.
During these experiences I’ve learnt how hard it is to find information about wheelchair access when trying to book a holiday. I’ve also heard many stories of challenges when travelling from people I know. I hope to one day to have a job in a Travel Agency specialising in disability travel. I just got a job organising tourism and events for a disability organisation called Bradannii. I work from home organising outings for people with disabilities to have fun and enjoy themselves without having to worry about accessibility.
I’ve completed both my Bronze and Silver Duke of Ed awards. I go to summer camp and young adults retreat as a mentor to run activities and to support my peers with MD. I’m on a couple of committees including the Access Advisory Committee on Parramatta Council and the MDNSW Peer Advisory Committee who has been very instrumental with the new website. I really enjoy being out and about in my community so I can raise awareness for people living with neuromuscular conditions and to help people with all disabilities to be included as much as possible. My interests are cooking, gardening, traveling and collecting anything to do with tea drinking. I also enjoy a great 70’s or 80’s song as anyone who has been to camp would know.
I recently started a hotel Video Log (VLOG) and Facebook page of hotels rooms around Sydney, in my spare time review them so I can help others with a disability find information about wheelchair access around Sydney.
The most recent challenge I faced was trying to book a trip to Perth for my Gold Duke of Edinburgh ‘Adventurous Journey’ component, leaving on the 28th of September and coming home on the 12th of October. Duke of Ed participants need to cook whilst on their journey, so I had to find a wheelchair accessible apartment with a kitchen.
Duke of Ed also prefer that more than 2 people to go on these trips, so the apartment had to cater for 3 people. I need an electric bed during my stay, so the room had to have the ability to remove one of the single beds or fit it in the room with the existing furniture.
I rang 20 hotels and asked them the questions I needed to know. Most of them couldn’t accommodate 3 people in the same apartment, couldn’t cater for the electric bed or were out of my budget. I’m going in the middle of school holidays which is more expensive. In the end, I had three hotels that met all my needs. So out of those 3 I decided which one looked like the best option, which ended up being the Quest South Perth Foreshore a short ferry ride to the city.
Next, I started organising the bed, hoist and commode. The company, Daily Living Products who supply this medical equipment have been fantastic. I’m arriving on a Saturday and leaving on a Saturday and this company is shut on weekends but between the hotel and Daily Living Products, they worked out an arrangement for me. The equipment will be delivered the day before on the Friday and will be picked up on the Monday after I leave, and neither of them are charging me any extra for this arrangement.
If anyone is looking at going to Perth, I would definitely recommend Daily Living Products and the Quest South Perth Foreshore. Their customer service was great and meant I didn’t have to change my dates.
I also had a bit of trouble finding a second carer to go, as the Occupational Therapy University students from camp have important things on at uni during that time. My first support worker was easy to find, she’s already graduated from uni and has an OT job, and her work has been very understanding and has given her the time off. Eventually I found a second support worker, but she ended up not being able to come due to health reasons, then I had no one left to ask. So, I had to ask for an exemption from Duke of Ed to allow for just two of us to be able to go. Thankfully, they agreed.
Now all I need to do is to book my airfares.
Back to my vlog:
Initially I call or email the hotels. I have a range of questions on a sheet that I fill in, including heights of switches, measurements under the bed (for hoists) and if the rooms are large enough for all different disability needs. Plus, I ask if the restaurant is accessible, and many more questions that are useful for people to know.
Then I video the rooms. I’ve only done two with my new go pro but most of the rest of the stuff I’ve done on my phone. During filming I show things that might be useful for people with disabilities.
I’ll be putting up a lot more stuff in the next couple of months. I’ve found a couple of hotels that are certainly not accessible. But I’ve also found many really good ones such as the Shangri-La and the Pullman Quay Grand which are already on my Facebook and YouTube pages.
I’m finding there are a lack of rooms that are interconnecting or that cater for 4 people in the one room although we did find one hotel that could fit everyone.
My top 5 recommended tips when traveling that I think everyone should know are:
- Ask others about accessibility where you want to go to
- Know the measurements of your wheelchair as it won’t fit into all aircraft types
- Double check all sectors of the trip to make sure all your needs will be met
- If using uni students as carers try and work around uni holidays
- Make sure you don’t forget to ask something that you cannot live without
Check out my YouTube channel and Facebook page for more information. I would like to have heaps of followers by the end of the year, so I’d like everyone to ‘like’ it. I’d appreciate constructive criticism from people, so I know how to improve.
Look out for an article on my Duke of Edinburgh adventurous journey when I return. I hope everyone finds my reviews helpful!