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Here are eight empowering travel tips for people with abilities who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and/or DeafBlind, especially when travelling in a hearing world or in locations with minimal accessibility.
1. Empower yourself
Take charge of your travel experience by learning about your rights, accessible resources and assistive technology that can enhance your journey. Self-advocacy and knowledge are powerful tools for ensuring a more inclusive and enjoyable trip.
2. Pre-travel research
Thoroughly research your destinations and accommodations. Look for reviews or resources specifically focused on accessibility for Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind travellers. This helps you identify places that are more likely to meet your needs.
3. Plan ahead and be prepared
Thoroughly plan your trip, including accessible transportation options, accommodations and accessible attractions. Prepare a travel checklist to ensure you have all necessary medications, assistive devices and communication aids.
4. Utilize visual and written aids
Carry visual and written communication aids like a notepad and pen, communication cards or smartphone apps with large text and visual aids. These tools can help convey your needs and facilitate interactions in a world where sign language may not be widely understood.
5. Enhance your stay with personalized assistance
When booking accommodations or checking in, engage with the staff to customize your experience for maximum comfort and enjoyment. Share your preferences and request specific accommodations, such as visual alarms, captioned TV or vibrating wake-up devices, to make your stay more pleasant.
6. Travel with a communication partner (for those who may require additional assistance)
Consider travelling with a companion
who is proficient in sign language or familiar with your preferred communication method. They can provide valuable assistance with communication and navigation, enhancing the smoothness of your journey.
7. Know your rights
Familiarize yourself with disability rights and laws at your destination, both domestically and internationally. Knowing your rights can help you advocate for necessary accommodations and accessibility.
Understanding your rights, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is pivotal in securing equal access and accommodations during your travels. It empowers you to advocate for necessary adjustments and fosters a more inclusive travel environment, benefiting both you and future travellers with diverse abilities.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a significant international agreement that protects the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities, including Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind people, in various aspects of life, including travel and accessibility.
8. Share our experience
Share your travel experiences on platforms like blogs or social media to inspire and inform others with similar abilities. Your insights and recommendations can be invaluable to fellow travellers seeking accessible options.
For me personally, I find that number #8 holds a special place. Sharing your experiences is like an open book on inclusivity. It’s been my guiding star when I travel because I always want to have the inside scoop on what awaits me, be it in a local, national, or international setting. While there are more travel tips out there this one stands tall as a universal key to becoming a savvy and effective traveller, just like me.