Travel for all?
This picture of me reclining on a sun lounger was taken in Germany last week. I know I’m laughing in the photo but it wasn’t funny. It wasn’t really a sunbed, and there wasn’t any sun. My woodland chaise longue was a ‘zen’ lounger; a leaf shaped installation in The Eifel National Park. A park bench made to make you stop and think. But to be honest the whole trip made me stop and think.
I travelled to Germany to explore ‘barrier free travel’; a phrase that didn’t mean that much to me before I left as the only barriers to our family travel are a lack of hard cash and a child in secondary school. But for those with or who have kids with limited mobility, vision or hearing, there are many obstacles to enjoying travelling in another country. If you are able bodied, you may not even notice some of the difficulties they face, unless of course you’ve tried to get around a museum with a double buggy. Personally I will never look at flights of stairs in the same way again.
Those involved in tourism in Germany have taken notes. In fact they’ve done more than that, they’ve taken action as I began to discover at the Landesmuseum in Mainz. Detailed plans, practical solutions, extensive databases and substantial funding are part of the efforts they have put into making the country more accessible to all; regardless of age or ability. Accessible tourism is what it’s all about. The joined up thinking is impressive. But why do they care? Well, simply, because they should. Travel should include not exclude. Well, I think so. What about you?
Do you think travel destinations should be more inclusive and work harder to accommodate everybody, whether mums with double buggies, grannies in wheelchairs or any other family member with different needs and abilities to the majority of us? Are there any great accessible places you recommend?
Join the conversation
Talking Point is our series of short Photo Friday posts. Each week we pick a photo from the archive, post a talking point and invite you to join the conversation. Leave a comment with your thoughts or tell us what the photo says to you.