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April 2024 Issue

People with disabilities are redefining the concept of luxury travel

A woman with a stylish bob haircut, reading a large, open book. She is wearing a dark blouse with long sleeves and a distinctive zipper pendant necklace. The setting appears to be a room with a patterned carpet, suggesting a comfortable and elegant ambiance.

Guest Editor’s note

By Tarryn Tomlinson

Welcome to the spring edition of our Accessible Journeys Magazine. My name is Tarryn Tomlinson, a wheelchair user, writing to you from sunny South Africa. As your guest editor, it is my pleasure to guide you through the exciting landscapes of accessible luxury travel and share the remarkable stories that I hope will inspire you with new ideas as you head into spring.

Spring into luxury—however you define it

By Nancy Baye

For the Spring 2024 issue, Accessible Journeys leans into luxury travel with a happy sigh. Who doesn’t love a little luxury? And we all deserve it. Even if our mobility or budgets are limited, as long as we keep our minds flexible, we can all have a bit more luxury. And in recent years, luxury travel options for people with disabilities have exploded.

A woman in a bright pink dress sits comfortably on a modern armchair with one arm resting on the armrest and the other on her lap. She smiles slightly at the camera, her dark hair styled into a straight bob with bangs. The room has a large window revealing a bright blue sky and what appears to be an ocean view. Next to her, there’s a small wooden side table adorned with various objects including a plant, and behind her, a cozy throw blanket is draped over the arm of a second chair. The flooring is an ornate green carpet that complements the serene and elegant atmosphere of the room.

Tips for stylish travel

By Tarryn Tomlinson

Being a person with a disability does not mean that you cannot look stylish when you travel! Whether or not you are a wheelchair user like me, maintaining that chic, sophisticated look while travelling at home or abroad is possible.

A blind woman, Lois-Strachan, leaning on a wooden chair, smiling towards the camera. She has long brown hair, is wearing a black sweater and denim jeans, and has a warm, friendly expression. The background is a solid dark blue, providing a nice contrast with the subject, which gives the portrait a classic and clean appearance.

What does luxury travel mean to you? South African podcaster Lois Strachan offers her view

By Tarryn Tomlinson

From a stretch limo airport pickup in New York to being taken on a private museum tour in Greece, Lois Strachan and I unpacked what luxury travel means to us and some of the surprising benefits that come when travelling as a person with a disability. 

A woman in a bright red jumpsuit is lying on her side on a blue bridge railing with the Tower Bridge in the background. She is smiling with her head propped up by her hand, and one leg playfully kicked up in the air. Her joyful expression and the iconic London landmark suggest a carefree, tourist moment captured on camera.

Jessica Jordan Ping's vacations make her feel included

By Staff Writer

Social media influencer Jessica Jordan Ping was born and raised in Central Illinois, U.S. She entered this world with a rare disease called CHILD syndrome. Vivacious and confident, Jessica effectively uses her social media platforms as an advocacy tool, showing the world that her disability is just one part of who she is. 

A male ballet dancer with one leg practicing in a studio. He is standing on the toes of one foot, with the other knee bent and foot raised behind him. His arms are extended, one in front and one to the side, creating a dynamic pose. He wears a white sleeveless top with a textured pattern and white tights, and his ballet shoes have crisscrossed straps. To his side, there is a black object on the floor, possibly his crutch.

Musa Motha proves he's got talent as he dances to his own beat

By Staff Writer

Musa Motha, a 28-year-old South African amputee dancer, has a story that blends a moment of tragedy with triumphant achievements . . . this loss became the cornerstone of an extraordinary journey.

A woman in a wheelchair is being assisted by two men near a small helicopter in a field. The helicopter's tail number, ZS-RDC, suggests it may be registered in South Africa. The woman is wearing sunglasses, a cream-colored shirt, and black trousers. One man, wearing a camouflage shirt and black pants, is on the left, assisting her with something in her lap, possibly a bag or safety harness. The other man, dressed in a green shirt and beige shorts, is on the right, holding the wheelchair steady. The atmosphere appears calm, possibly post-flight, and they are all focused on the task at hand. The field behind them is vast and open, suggesting a rural or safari setting.

Breaking Barriers: Ximuwu the epitome of luxury and accessibility in Kruger National Park

By Tarryn Tomlinson

As the golden sun begins to set over the vast plains of Kruger National Park, a sense of tranquility envelops Ximuwu Safari Lodge, the first universally accessible luxury safari lodge in the region. 

A young woman and her brown dog are enjoying a sunny day outdoors, sitting on a white blanket spread over lush green grass. The woman, sporting blonde, shoulder-length hair with glasses, is dressed in a summery, white cropped top and blue striped skirt. She's smiling gently at the camera. The dog is looking content with its tongue out has a golden-rust color. They both seem to be relishing a perfect day in the park.

Cienna Ditri: Embracing life, travel and fashion with grace and confidence despite her disability

By Staff Writer

Cienna radiates a deep passion for life despite living with multiple chronic illnesses. Her exuberant personality allows her to look beyond her illness and embrace adventure, advocate for disability rights and indulge in her passion for travel and fashion.

A woman in an elegant, white lace dress with wide sleeves sits on a stone wall. She holds a delicate, lace-trimmed parasol that shades her from the bright sunlight. The backdrop is the serene desert landscape with scattered shrubbery, undulating hills, and a clear blue sky at Aquila Luxury Safari Lodge, Capt Town south Africa. Her poised demeanor suggests a formal or celebratory occasion, contrasting with the rustic, natural surroundings.

A luxury vacation is all about the abundance and richness of the travel experience

By Staff Writer

Growing up in the lively city of Cape Town, South Africa, Tarryn Tomlinson’s passion for travel was sparked by her father, an avid reader and explorer. 

A man stands on the left side of the image, gazing off into the distance. He is stylishly dressed in a blue button-up shirt and olive green pants. The majestic Table Mountain looms in the background, beneath a vast, cloud-streaked sky. The foliage of the Cape Floristic Region is prominent, giving a sense of wild beauty. Overlaid on the image are the words "Limitless Cape Town" in a playful, white script, accentuating the theme of boundless adventure and natural grandeur in this South African city.

Unveiling Cape Town's Limitless Horizons: A commitment to universal access in tourism

By Tarryn Tomlinson

Cape Town, the jewel of South Africa, has long been celebrated for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. As a local deeply connected to this city, I’ve witnessed the remarkable transformation unfolding within the realm of tourism. 

Family Fun, No Limits

A group of five people posing happily for a photograph with a scenic backdrop of majestic mountains and a serene river. Two adults are crouched down with three children, each person is smiling broadly and some of the children have their arms raised in excitement. They're enjoying a sunny day outdoors in a picturesque valley, likely a national park, surrounded by the natural beauty of towering cliffs and lush greenery reflected on the calm water surface.

Chasing the luxury of travel

By Jennifer Allen

I’ve been dreaming of planning a family trip with Wheel the World, where other families just like mine can explore together through completely accessible destinations, staying in easy to navigate locations . . .

An aerial view of a luxury tropical resort during early evening. The resort is composed of a large, multi-story building with a terracotta roof and balconies, suggesting a design inspired by the local architecture. In the foreground, a meticulously designed pool area mimics a lazy river, winding through an artificial landscape of rocks and palm trees. The pool area is dotted with lounge chairs and umbrellas for relaxation. Beyond the resort, the calm ocean extends to the horizon under a soft, pastel sky, indicating the resort's beachfront location. The tranquil setting is designed for leisure and suggests an atmosphere of an exclusive getaway.

Luxurious, accessible stays for families with disabilities

By Jennifer Allen

The best experiences are discovered by word of mouth, so we asked the people who know! Here were the top family luxury travel recommendations from people used to travelling with a wheelchair.

Better Together - Disability Parent Q&A

with Jennifer Allen

Q: There is a general concern over the carelessness with which wheelchairs are treated by airlines and others transporting the chairs. How can we protect our wheelchairs and travel by plane?

The image shows a smiling woman with medium-length dark hair. She's wearing a navy blue dress with white cuffs and a white collar, which gives her a professional and put-together appearance. The woman is resting her face on her hand, her elbow bent and fingers pointed upward. Her pose exudes confidence and friendliness, and she appears to be in a professional setting, suggesting she might be in a role that involves engagement with people, such as a consultant, educator, or business leader. The lighting is soft and flattering, highlighting her features without creating harsh shadows.

Lost and found: protecting your special needs child during travel

By Christine Staple-Ebanks

As a parent of four children, one of whom has cerebral palsy, I quickly realized the immense value of becoming actively involved in support groups and connecting with other parents who share similar experiences.

Adaptive Adventures

A woman with a joyful expression is seated on a unique three-wheeled bike on a pebbly shore beside a lake. She is dressed in black athletic attire, complete with a helmet, and gloves, ready for an active day out. The serene lake is partially frozen, indicating a cool climate, with a backdrop of majestic mountains under a partly cloudy sky. The natural scenery suggests a tranquil setting ideal for outdoor activities.

Tanelle Bolt thrives in the Great Outdoors

By Staff Writer

Growing up, Tanelle was the quintessential “outdoors” kid. Her love for nature and adventure knew no bounds. 

This image shows a wheelchair cricket player on the field. The player is donned in a blue and orange cricket jersey with the name "RAHUL" printed on the back, indicating either the player's name or a sponsored athlete. The player is wearing protective gear, including a helmet and pads, which suggests they are batting. The cricket bat is captured mid-swing, implying that the player has just hit the ball. Three stumps with bails are present, which represent the wicket in cricket. Another bat lies on the ground, suggesting that the player might have changed bats or there was another player present earlier. The background is an open field with trees and a hazy sky, typical of an outdoor cricket field.

Rahul Ramugade: breaking boundaries and advocating for inclusivity through sport

By Staff Writer

In the bustling streets of Mumbai, India, amidst the cacophony of daily life, there exists a group of individuals who inspire spectators with their skill and passion for the country’s national sport.

Journeys with Autism

A woman posing confidently, wearing a vibrant blue and yellow patterned outfit with golden accents. She has voluminous black curly hair, large hoop earrings, and multiple necklaces. Her attire includes a gold arm cuff on her left arm and she's adorned with a matching gold waist belt. The background is a plain purple, which complements her attire.

Ayanna Davis is phenomenally autistic

By Staff Writer

“I’m hoping readers will gain a better understanding of autism and dispense with the typical stereotypes society feds them. Like everything in life, it has a good and bad side.”

Travelling with Invisible disabilities

A woman stands smiling at a crossroads signpost in a sunny, tropical location. The signpost includes directions to various destinations like Miami, Cuba, New Orleans, Bahamas, Cartagena, Belize, Roatan, and Panama. In the background, the clear blue sky complements the bright blue sea where a cruise ship is docked, hinting at a popular tourist port, possibly Costa Maya in Mexico, as suggested by another sign. The woman is dressed in a summer outfit suitable for vacationing, with sunglasses and a hat that suggests a relaxed holiday vibe.

Lauren travels fearlessly despite her rare disease

By Staff Writer

When I was born, I didn’t cry and couldn’t move my limbs.  I spent my first two months of life in intensive care, at one point went into cardiac arrest and doctors didn’t think I was going to live. 

A woman sitting on a grey sofa with colorful decor. She has curly auburn hair, wears a mustard yellow long-sleeve shirt and vibrant multicolored overalls. She is holding a digital tablet with a stylus, looking away from the camera with a joyful smile. Around her are rainbow-themed items—a rainbow wall hanging, a rainbow-striped notebook, and a rainbow-colored cup. Her socks are black with colorful accents, complementing the overall cheerful and bright theme of the setting.

Abby's health challenges can't ground her wanderlust spirit

By Staff Writer

I’m Abby, a self-taught digital artist, graphic designer, bookworm and cat mum to two fluffy babies.  I love being creative. I am autistic and have multiple chronic illnesses including postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis. 

A woman smiling broadly and standing to the left with her body angled slightly towards the camera. She has long brown hair, is wearing a dark blue t-shirt with a logo on the left side, and appears to be enjoying a moment with a horse. The horse, positioned on her right, has a sandy blonde coat and is wearing a blue halter. The background suggests an equestrian setting, possibly an arena, with trees and a fence visible in the distance.

Ashley Harrell adeptly navigates travel and wellness with rheumatoid arthritis

By Staff Writer

Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at just twelve years old, Ashley Harrell’s health condition led her to discover new pathways to stay connected with her love of horses.

Feature Stories

A cheerful couple posing for a photo in a cold, overcast climate. The woman, on the left, has a big smile and is wearing a dark jacket and a colorful headband, her hair styled in a braid. The man is grinning broadly, sporting a beanie and a dark coat with bright, multi-colored wristbands. Behind them, an icy landscape unfolds with multiple blue-white icebergs floating in a calm body of water. To the right, a few people can be seen walking near the shore and an inflatable boat, hinting at a tourist setting likely in a glacial lagoon.

My accessible travel experiences with Wheel the World

By Bert Burns

I’ve required accessible travel for 42 years, living as a C6 quadriplegic. Initially, I travelled the world for wheelchair racing. Now, I travel leisurely with my wife, Joy, of 26 years. As my disability changes, my need for specific accessible accommodations and transportation increases.

A man in a light grey suit and glasses is smiling and posing with his arms crossed. He stands inside a high-rise building with a panoramic view of a city with prominent river bends and bridges through large windows behind him, suggesting an urban skyline. It's a sunny day, and the room is filled with natural light.

Experience conscious, inclusive, luxury vacations with IncluCare

By Staff Writer

Accessibility and inclusivity should transcend the physical environment, prioritizing the guest experience above all else. “That’s the reason we created Inclu . . .” Richard Thompson, CEO

A panoramic view of a luxurious water villa resort located in the Maldives. The villas are arranged in a curving line, extending into the azure sea. Each unit has direct access to the water, with some featuring private pools. A lush, green island forms the backdrop, with additional resort facilities and possibly a beach. The clear blue skies and calm seas suggest an idyllic, serene vacation spot.

Accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability meet luxury at Amilla Maldives

By Staff Writer

Within the world of luxury travel, many guests seek more than just opulence—they seek an inclusive experience. 

A person with a prosthetic lower leg is seated on a wooden box, looking down at their prosthetic limb as the pull the zipper down on heir pants to cover the prosthetic leg. They are dressed casually in khaki pants and a white sweatshirt with a graphic design featuring cartoon frogs and the text "More than Limbs". The individual is wearing one brown shoe, and the background is plain and light-colored, providing a neutral setting that highlights the subject.

No Limbits' Erica Cole is passionate about travel

By Staff Writer

In 2019, amidst the proud graduates of the University of Iowa, one individual with a degree in chemistry did not yet know that her career would take an unexpected turn, leading her from the laboratories of science to the artistry of fashion. 

Two people riding a tandem bicycle along a park-side road. The person in the front, smiling at the camera, is wearing a blue jacket with green sleeves, a helmet, and has a water bottle attached to the bike frame. The rider at the back, facing away from the camera, is in black attire with a green helmet and green backpack. The setting is urban, with trees in autumn colors, a black fence, and buildings in the background. There's a sense of motion and recreational activity in an urban environment.

Empowering the visually impaired through tandem cycling in New York

By Staff Writer

In the heart of New York City amidst the skyscrapers and bustling streets, lies a unique organization that is changing lives through the power of tandem cycling. 

Four men stand in front of a safari vehicle in a natural, outdoor setting. They are wearing matching polo shirts with a logo on the left chest, possibly indicating they are part of a team or organization. The safari vehicle is equipped with a foldable ramp, suggesting that it may be used for accessible tourism or transport of equipment. The vehicle is painted a light tan color, a common choice for safari tours to blend with the environment and for better viewing of wildlife. The men seem to be in a relaxed pose, likely signifying a moment of rest or preparation before or after an activity.

Dahlia Africa wheelchair accessible tours

By Staff Writer

Tanzania is well known for its incredible wildlife and safari experiences, with many national parks, reserves and the white sand beach at Zanzibar Islands that offers opportunities to see a wide variety of animals in their natural habitat. The able-bodied experience these things on a regular basis, so Dahlia Africa is now helping to break down these barriers and create inclusive travel opportunities for individuals with mobility impairments.

This image shows a peaceful scene of a dirt road leading through a lush, grassy savannah with yellow wildflowers. To the right of the path stands a large elephant, a majestic presence in this natural landscape. The sky above is partly cloudy, suggesting a bright yet cool day. The perspective is from the front seat of a vehicle, indicated by the tip of what appears to be a radio antenna in the lower right corner, adding a sense of adventure and exploration to the scene.

8-day luxury Tanzania wildlife safari holiday

By Staff Writer

Experience the sights and sounds of a fascinating safari with Dahlia Africa. 
Day 1: 
You’ll be met by their ground handling team at Kilimanjaro International Airport then transferred your delightful accommodation.  Overnight: Gran Melia Arusha.

Cruising Corner

A woman sitting on the floor next to a wheelchair, smiling at the camera. She has long, wavy brown hair and is wearing a black dress, black flats, and red lipstick. She has a necklace on, and her left hand is resting on the floor while her right hand is on the wheel of the wheelchair. The background is a plain, light-colored wall, giving a clean and simple aesthetic to the photo.

Aspen shares her favourite accessible cruising stories

I’ve been travelling my whole life, so it is the only consistent thing I’ve had since becoming disabled.  I lost just about everything else—friends, jobs and all of the things that are normal in people’s lives. Travel is that one thing that remained.

A woman in a wheelchair on the deck of a ship, bundled up in a lilac puffer jacket and wearing sunglasses. Behind her, the vast, tranquil sea stretches out to the horizon, meeting a sky partially veiled with soft clouds. To her right, the deck railing provides a clear view of a rugged, snow-covered mountain peak in the distance, evoking a sense of adventure and the serene beauty of a cold, maritime landscape.

Cruising expert Kristin Secor shares helpful tips

Kristin Secor, who lives in upstate New York, was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy which affects her strength, balance, endurance and breathing. She is a full-time ventilator user.  Travelling is a huge part of Kristin’s life. “It’s a way for me to keep life in perspective because I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own circumstances . . .”

Beyond sight

A blind lady stands smiling in the foreground, wearing sunglasses, a light purple top with a darker purple zip-up jacket, and dark pants. They hold a walking stick in one hand and give a thumbs-up with the other. Behind them, a majestic waterfall cascades down a rocky cliff amidst lush green vegetation. Sunlight filters through the tree leaves above, adding a bright, natural glow to the serene landscape.

Jessie the blind, fearless, solo traveller

Travelling as a blind individual may seem like a daunting task to many, but for Jessie Wang, it is an adventurous journey filled with unique experiences and valuable lessons. 

Silent Adventures

A woman sitting outdoors with a casual pose. She's wearing a blue tank top, light-wash denim jeans, and a white and blue baseball cap with the text "caption your content" on it. Her blonde hair is styled in loose waves, and she looks contemplative or relaxed. In the background, there's a tree and some shrubbery, indicating a park or a similar green space.

Authenticity, nature and silence. A redefinition of luxury travel

The concept of luxury in travel is a deeply personal and subjective one, shaped by individual preferences and values. While some may find luxury in the trappings of wealth and extravagance, others derive fulfillment from the freedom to explore, connect and experience the world on their own terms.

Blogger Spotlight

A portrait of a smiling woman with shoulder-length blonde hair. She's wearing a white cardigan over a blouse adorned with a colorful floral pattern, predominantly in shades of blue, with hints of red and yellow. A maroon bag strap crosses over her left shoulder. The background is blurred but appears to be a sunny, verdant outdoor setting.

Sharon Krischer.

My husband and I went on a cruise to Antarctica two years ago. That was the most amazing experience.

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