Travel and Recreation for the Visually Impaired and Physically Disabled

Travel and Recreation for the Visually Impaired and Physically Disabled provides information for people with mobility and sensory disabilities who wish to travel.

Section one offers current information on several topics that may interest travelers with disabilities, including accessible lodging; apps and technologies that assist people with disabilities with transportation; and accessible sports, museums, cruise lines, and traveling with animals.

Section two features blogs about traveling with a disability. This section also includes websites that are clearinghouses for information regarding traveling with a disability.

Section three provides information on laws pertaining to international travel with guide dogs, regulations regarding accommodation of disabilities in other countries, and organizations that travelers with disabilities can call if they run into problems.

Section four lists commercial vendors, museums, and wilderness excursion companies that specialize in travel and tourism for people with disabilities.

A bibliography of travel guides for people with disabilities is included at the end.

Table of Contents

Articles on Accessible Travel

Accessible Cruises: Cruising with Disability Information External
Disabled World
Includes tips on choosing a cruise line, ADA-compliant rooms, and accommodations for individuals with visual or hearing impairments, guide dogs, and special diets.

Accessible Travel External
Provides adaptive skiing resources, travel tips for people with disabilities, and advice on navigating different cities in and outside the United States with a disability. Updated frequently.

Access Tip of the Month External
Joanne Johnson
City of Portland Oregon
Shares access and travel tips for travelers with disabilities. Covers Portland and beyond.

A Beginner’s Guide to Accessible Cruising External
Barbara and Jim Twardowski and Gwen Pratesi
Cruise Critic
Suggests tips for finding the right cruise for people with disabilities.

Best Cruises for Wheelchair Users and the Disabled External
Sylvia Longmire
Spin the Globe
Reviews seven cruise lines.

Brexit Advice for Travelers External
Provides advice for travelers to the United Kingdom before January 2020.

Brexit Travel Advice External
Answers questions for travelers about what Brexit means for traveling to EU countries from the United Kingdom before December 2020.

A Complete Guide to Bringing Animals on Flights External
Harriet Baskas
Travel and Leisure
Reviews the support animal policies for major American airlines

Disabled Veterans Say They Face Intense Struggles When Flying and Airlines Often Won’t Help External
Matthew M. Ley
ABC News
Describes the experience of travelers with mobility impairments, particularly veterans with disabilities.

Guide Books for Accessible Travel External
Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
Lists travel guides dedicated to providing resources for accessible travel.

How Disabled People Could Be Affected in the Case of a Brexit No Deal External
Disability Rights UK
Includes information on how a no deal Brexit will affect travelers with disabilities.

How to Travel with a Sight Impairment or Blindness External
Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality
Shares tips on transportation, hotels, booking travel, and flying with a guide dog.

Madeira: Sharing the Gift of Sight External
Xenia Taliotis
New Zealand Herald
Describes author’s experience acting as a tour guide for blind travelers in New Zealand.

More Complaints Filed against Airlines from Travelers with Disabilities External
Scott MacFarlane, Rick Yarborough and Jeff Piper
Discusses rise in complaints against airlines from travelers with disabilities.

New Federal Rules for Emotional Support Animals on Planes Are Coming. Here’s Why Veterans with Service Dogs Support Restrictions—and Some Disability Advocates Don’t External
Cindy Dampier
Chicago Tribune
Discusses different kinds of service animals and rules in airline policy that will change in 2020.

The New Rules of Flying with Your Pet External
Barbara Peterson
Consumer Reports
New rules on taking service animals, emotional support animals, and pets on flights starting in 2020.

9 Best Ships for Cruisers with Disabilities External
Brittany Chrusciel and Larry Bleiberg
Cruise Critic
Reviews nine different cruise lines from the perspective of travelers who have disabilities.

Paralympic Sports Events: Infographic Explanations External
Disabled World
Discusses summer and winter Paralympic sports.

Should You Bring a Manual or Power Wheelchair? External
Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
Discusses mobility device considerations for travelers who use wheelchairs.

10 Tips for Traveling with Physical Disabilities External
Meredith Rosenberg
Travel Channel
Presents ten tips for accessible travel.

Tips for Travelers with Disabilities External
Rick Steves, John Sage, and Susan Sygall
Rick Steves’ Europe
Shares tips for travelers with disabilities from: PBS travel guru, Rick Steves; Sage Traveling founder, John Sage; and Mobility International USA editor, Susan Sygall.

Traveling the World Blind: An Interview with Dan External
Matt Kepnes
Nomadic Matt
Interviews a blind traveler about his worldwide experiences.

Blogs and Websites

ABLEize External
Provides a directory of information for individuals with disabilities traveling in the United Kingdom and Europe. Offers access guides by city, disabled accessible holidays, disability arts, travel and transportation, and recreation and sports, among others.

Accessible Japan External
Josh Grisdale
Offers information on accessible hotels, attractions, and tours in Japan for people with disabilities. Includes a blog and a question and answer section.

AccessiblEurope External
Works with travel agencies and tour guides to plan accessible trips for travelers who are visually impaired or physically disabled.

The Bimblers: Living Life in the Slow Lane External
Offers information on chronic illness, disability, and accessible travel.

CurbFree with Cory Lee External
Cory Lee
Provides travel tips for wheelchair users.

Disabled World Travel: Accessible Disability Travel Information External
Disabled World
Provides articles on accessible tourism, including accessible cruises, air travel, and tips and tricks for traveling in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States.

Have Wheelchair Will Travel External
Describes traveling as a family with a son who uses a wheelchair and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age. Provides information on family dynamics and how relationship with travel changes with age.

The Insight Ful Wanderer External
Kerry Kijewski
Shares personal insights from Kerry Kijewski, a traveler who is blind.

Martyn Sibley External
Provides information about the most accessible destinations for wheelchair users. Written by a blogger with spinal muscular atrophy.

Pantou: The Accessible Tourism Directory External
European Network for Accessible Tourism
Offers the ability to search by country, visitor type, service type, and accessibility information schemes to find accessible tourism around the world. Includes user guides, a list of vendors catering to tourists with disabilities, a blog, and media information.

RexyEdventures External
Ed Rex
Discusses deaf travel, luxury budget travel, destination reviews, travel tips and tricks, and traveling while handsome.

SeatPlan External
Provides information on the accessible seats in various London theaters, how to get to the theaters, and what the view is like from each seat.

Spin the Globe External
Sylvia Longmire
Shares resources for travelers with mobility challenges.

Tony Giles–Blind Independent Traveler External
Tony Giles
Includes blogs, advice, guidance, radio and television interviews, and articles on how to travel the world with a visual impairment.

Travel Patterns of American Adults with Disabilities External
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Shares key findings about the travel patterns of American adults with disabilities.

Government and Nonprofit Resources

Accessible Tourism External
World Tourism Organization
Links to resolutions, declarations, and recommendations on accessibility and tourism. Provides manuals on accessibility and world heritage, cultural heritage, and natural heritage sites.

Accessibility External
European Lift Association
Represents elevators, escalators, and other lifts in the European Union. Provides PDF, video, and PowerPoint presentations on accessibility of the built environment legislation in Europe, Disabled Experts Report, “Build for All” universal design reference manual, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Accommodation and Disability External
Paris Visitors Bureau
Lists hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, hostels, campsites, rentals, and more accessible accommodations in and around the City of Lights.

Airport Council International (ACI) Europe External
Describes policy for more than five hundred airports in forty-five European countries, including the Memorandum of Understanding between ACI Europe and the European Disability Forum, which lays out the rights of travelers in Europe with disabilities to seamless travel across the European Union.

Disability External
US Department of Transportation
Compiles rules, guidance, enforcement orders, and publications on disability issues in aviation. Includes proposed changes to rules on traveling with service animals (2018).

Disabilities and Medical Conditions External
Transportation Security Administration
Provides information on air travel medications and various disabilities.

Disabled Veterans Can Fly Space Available Flights for Free External
US Department of Veterans Affairs
Explains how veterans with disabilities can use Space-A flights to travel around the United States.

EU Parking Card for People with Disabilities External
Your Europe
Shares information on getting an EU disabled parking card, which can be used in most countries in the European Union without having to file new papers.

Eurail External
Describes travel in Europe by train. Allows users to buy tickets or passes, plan their trip, and book reservations.

European Disability Forum External
Advocates for Europeans with disabilities. Works with the European Parliament’s Transportation and Tourism (TRAN) Committee to make air, boat, rail, and other transportation and travel options accessible for people with disabilities.

European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) External
Provides news, resources, a message board, and a detailed list of Europe’s most accessible cities. Includes articles and guides on adventure tourism, sports, and outdoor pursuits; children’s, family, and youth tourism; equipment, technical aids, and information and communication technologies for accessible tourism; senior tourism; and special services for disabled tourists.

Guidelines to Ensure Accessibility to Museums and Exhibitions for the Blind and Partially Sighted External
Landesverband Museen Berlin, European Network for Accessible Tourism
Provides accessibility guidelines for museum patrons who are blind or visually impaired.

Immunocompromised Travelers External
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Discusses pre-travel preparation for travelers with immune suppression due to medical conditions, drugs, or treatments.

International Transport Forum External
Provides information on how travelers with disabilities can get a European Union parking pass, travel and tourism for senior citizens and people with disabilities, and reports and policy documents on accessible travel and tourism around the globe.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) External
Offers people with a disability the opportunity to study, volunteer, or intern in another country. Hosts resources including the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and Access International Exchange, which provide answers to disability-related questions for Americans going abroad and people with disabilities who want to come to the United States.

Movement of Pets External
European Commission
Lays out the documentation needed to travel with an animal in Europe.

Passenger Rights External
European Commission—Mobility and Transport
Includes links to European Union legislation on transportation and disability, inquiry and complaint forms, and a list of National Enforcement Bodies.

Passengers with Disabilities External
US Department of Transportation
Provides information on the Air Carrier Access Act.

Promoting Accessible Tourism for All External
United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development: Disability
Describes how the United Nations promotes accessible tourism as a basic human right.

Reduced Mobility Rights External
Advocates access to aviation for people with disabilities. Contains a wealth of information on aviation and disability, including daily articles on traveling with a disability, links to European Union accessibility and aviation enforcement bodies by country, access to air travel resources, and information on how people with disabilities can complain if they encounter problems when traveling by air in the European Union.

Rights for Travelers with Reduced Mobility External
Your Europe
Provides guidelines on train, ship, air, bus, and coach travel for people with reduced mobility traveling in the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH) External
Raises awareness of the needs of all travelers with disabilities and works to remove physical and attitudinal barriers to access to travel in the United States and abroad. Offers memberships to travel agents, corporations, and individuals. Features travel tips and access information, member’s blogs, news and updates, destinations, and information for travel agents.

Travelers with Chronic Illnesses External
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Discusses practical considerations for travelers with chronic illnesses.

Travelers with Disabilities External
US Department of State
Provides information for mobility-impaired travelers by country.

Traveling with a Disability External
Aviation Consumer Protection
US Department of Transportation
Provides a one-stop guide to air travel for people with disabilities. Includes articles, videos, and interactive guides on service animals, wheelchairs, assistive devices, assistance moving through the airport, and seating accommodations, as well as what to do if problems are encountered during travel.

Traveling with a Disability External
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Shares resources, tips, and tricks for travelers with disabilities.

Travel Operators and Agents

Able Trek Tours
510 K St. #1824
Reedsburg, WI 53959
800-205-6713 toll-free
[email protected]
Provides charter bus, “special needs tours,” and other trips for people with disabilities in the Midwest and southern United States.

Accessibility External
Louvre Museum
Paris, France
Guided Tours and Tactile Visits
+33 0 1 40 20 59 90
Offers both descriptive guided tours and tactile visits where visitors touch certain works of art. There are also tactile workshops. Workshops are limited to eight participants and address various themes. Reservations for tours and workshops must be made at least three months in advance. Tours and workshops last between ninety minutes and three hours.

Accessibility Assistance External
Norwegian Cruise Line
866-584-9756 toll-free
[email protected]
Provides information on making special accommodation requests for Norwegian Cruise Line passengers with disabilities.

Accessibility for All External
Royal Caribbean International
866-562-7625 toll-free
Outlines features, equipment, and services available from Royal Caribbean Cruises for travelers with disabilities.

America InSight: Verbal Description Tours External
Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
Washington, DC
[email protected]
[email protected]
Describes docent-led tours of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery for visitors who are blind or have low vision. The tours include verbal description, touch tours, and musical performances.

Big Apple Greeter External
1 Centre St.
New York, NY 10007
[email protected]
Lists volunteers who live in New York City and offer one-on-one tours for people with disabilities.

Disabled Holidays External
Discover Holidays Ltd.
Albion House
163-167 King St.
SK16 4LF
United Kingdom
+44 161 804 9898
Provides guaranteed accessible accommodation, disabled travel insurance, and help with flights, adapted transfers, and luggage delivery service. Offers holidays in the UK, Europe, the United States, and South America, as well as accessible cruises, accessible African safaris, sports holidays, and theme park holidays.

Disabled External
Executive Class Travel
866-950-2200 toll-free
Offers a comprehensive list of accessible travel agents, tour operators, adventure travel companies, accessible cruise specialist, travel companions, home exchanges, and access guides.

Guests with Disabilities External
Carnival Cruises
[email protected]
Provides information on mobility limitations, hearing and sight impairment, medical care, service dogs, and children with disabilities for all Carnival Cruise lines.

Guided Tours for Visitors with Visual Impairments External
Birmingham Museum of Art
Birmingham, AL
Offers tours for visitors with visual impairments. Tours must be scheduled in advance and include tactile and audio elements. Tours are given by the museum’s art educators. Braille maps are available at the information desk in the lobby.

Mind’s Eye Program External
Guggenheim Museum
New York, NY
[email protected]
Provides workshops for Guggenheim visitors who are blind or have low vision. Conducted by arts and education professionals. Mind’s Eye tours include sensory and tactile experiences, verbal description, conversation, and creative practice.

Mind’s Eye Travel External
4 Bonnie Brae
Camden, ΜΕ 04843
[email protected]
Creates tours for people who are blind or visually impaired. Past tours included the United States, Europe and Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.

Princess Access Makes Cruise Vacations Accessible for Passengers with Disabilities External
Princess Cruises
Shares information for passengers with disabilities.

Sage Traveling: The European Disabled Travel Experts External
3319 Stoney Brook Dr.
Houston, TX 77063
888-645-7920 toll-free
Helps individuals find accessible travel in Europe. Search by destination, accessible hotels, tours, cruises, and accessible travel packages. Advice and Sage Accessibility Guides round out the website.

Special Needs at Sea External
302 NW First St.
Dania Beach, FL 33004
800-513-4515 toll-free
Offers mobility aids for people with disabilities who want to travel. Certified Accessible Travel Advocate program trains travel agents in meeting the needs of travelers with disabilities.

Traveleyes International External
PO Box 511
646-867-3937 (from the United States and Canada)
Provides independent travel for people who are blind or partially sighted. Destinations include Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia, and the Americas.

Wilderness Inquiry External
808 Fourteenth Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
[email protected]
Provides outdoor adventures using the Universal Program Participation Model, which promotes inclusion of all people. Programs available for youth, families, and adults.


Brittain, Ian, and Aaron Beacom. The Palgrave Handbook of Paralympic Studies. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Cohen, Terry Scott, and Barry M. Cohen. Travel Near & Travel Far: Step out of Your Disabled World! Clearwater, FL: WishingUWell Publishing, 2015.

David, Wendy. Sites Unseen: Traveling the World without Sight. Boston, MA: National Braille Press, 2010.

Disabled Diva. The Disabled Diva’s Unofficial Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016.

Duchesne, Bob. Maine Birding Trail: The Official Guide to More Than 260 Accessible Sites. Camden, ME: East Town Books, 2009.

Giles, Tony. Seeing the Americas My Way: An Emotional Journey. Devon, UK: Tony Giles, 2016.

Giles, Tony. Seeing the World My Way. Bristol, UK: Silverwood Books, 2010.

Grisdale, Josh. Accessible Japan’s Tokyo: All You Need to Know about Traveling to Tokyo with a Disability. Accessible Japan, 2017.

Harrington, Candy B., and Charles Pannell. Barrier-Free Travel: Favorite Florida State Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. Ripon, CA: Candy & Charles Creative Concepts, 2016.

Harrington, Candy B., and Charles Pannell. Barrier-Free Travel: Utah National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. Ripon, CA: Candy & Charles Creative Concepts, 2016.

Harrington, Candy B., and Charles Pannell. Resting Easy in the US: Unique Lodging Options for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. Ripon, CA: Candy & Charles Creative Concepts, 2015.

Ingram, Tracey. Accessibility Disabled World Travels. Chicago, IL: Sovereign Education Media, 2018.

Krieger, Susan. Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vison with a Guide Dog by My Side. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2010.

Martin, Jeffrey J. Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Roberts, Jason. A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2017.

Venter, Christopher. How I Became the Blind Scooter Guy: My Soul Searching Safari by Scooter from the Southern Tip of Africa to the Shamrock Fields of Ireland. Grove City, OH: Gatekeeper Press, 2018.

Wills, Kenneth M., and Dr. L.J. Davenport. Exploring Wild Alabama: A Guide to the State’s Publicly Accessible Natural Areas. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2016.

Yates, Emily Rose. Lonely Planet Accessible Rio. Melbourne, Australia: Lonely Planet Publishing, 2016.

Last updated June 2023

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