This month, we are talking about the many accessible travel adventures that await you in 2024. Adventure, to us, means those activities that require a certain level of risk.
Recently, I’ve helped a number of clients that say, “well I used to love these adventure activities but I’m too scared to do them anymore.” Regardless of what your limitations are, this is a pretty common theme in our community. Fear of the unknown, fear of what could happen, fear of how emotional it will make you: these are all legitimate fears.
Sometimes it is the fear of what others will think. Sometimes it is the fear that accomodations are burdensome. These are the types of fears we need to learn to overcome, so we don’t hold ourselves back from living the life we dream of!
Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In
Have you seen the movie Zootopia? If not, I’ll recap: in a land where Animal is King, a country bunny named Judy Hopps travels to the big city, against her parent’s wishes, to fulfill her dream of becoming a police officer. All the other police officers are burly, quick, muscular animals, like elephants, bears, and buffalo. She gets ridiculed because how could Judy, a common bunny, take on the work that a buffalo would normally do?
The song says it right there! If we want to have these adventures again in our lives, we have to push through our fears because guess what? You CAN still do the activities you want to do. The process may not look the same, but the feeling you’ll get when you do it? Freedom.
A Variety of Accessible Travel Adventures Exist
Scuba diving is one of the most desired accessible travel adventures out there! Underwater is a sensory drain, so you can enjoy the experience in relative silence. As you get into another world, you encounter fish, eels, turtles, reef sharks, and breathtaking coral formations. It is also a sport that is easily accessible to most people regardless of abilities, aided in part by organizations like Lifewaters, who helps wheelchair users and people with mobility impairments become certified scuba divers. The Handicapped Scuba Association is also dedicated to making scuba accessible. TravelAble can help you find accessible scuba diving experiences at some of the most spectacular diving locations around the world, including Cozumel, Oahu, Costa Rica, South Africa, and even Egypt.
Sky diving is physically exhilarating, emotionally Zen, and spiritually magical. If this is on your bucket list of accessible travel adventures, what is stopping you? There are many skydiving companies that have adaptive programs and a skydiving business in Ohio event accommodates quadriplegic skydivers on tandem jumps.
If skydiving outside seems too daunting, check out your local indoor skydiving school. iFly, popular in the Chicago suburbs, often does accessible needs nights to allow children and adults of different abilities a quiet and safe space to attempt skydiving!
When planning your vacation, it is TravelAble’s job to verify the skydiving operator can accomodate your specific needs. Top skydiving destinations around the world include Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Hawaii, and the Swiss Alps, but you can find sky diving operators all over the country.
Getting into a steel cage with Great White Sharks swimming all around you is an exhilarating experience, and some companies have worked to make this experience accessible to wheelchair users. It is recommended that you reach out to each shark swim operator before your trip.
On the African continent, there are many providers of fully accessible travel adventures, including the every popular safari! One of my favorite partners, Access to Africa, offers tours in both South Africa and Tanzania, with other providers featuring Botswana, Zimbabwe, and so much more. Imagine getting up close to elephants, zebra, giraffes, lions, and monkeys without going to the zoo! Access to Africa also offers full face mask scuba and snorkeling for those with oxygen needs.
There are a variety of accessible travel adventures for people who love to ski. This is made possible by a number of technologies, from the Dualski Pilot, which is a sit-down ski that is controlled by another skier similar to a wheelchair, to the Dualski, which is a sit-down ski that you can control on your own. Although you can purchase these items and ski at most ski areas, new and veteran skiers can join Adaptive Ski and Snowboard programs offered in places like Stowe, Vermont or Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Both kayaking and paddle boarding offer a peaceful way for outdoor lovers of all abilities to spend a day on the water. If the Pacific Northwest is on your bucket list, Oregon Adaptive Sports is a great place to get started. All the way across the country, check out Selkie Adaptive Paddle in Florida, where you might just end up paddling with dolphins and manatees in their natural habitat. There are also sellers of adaptive kayaks in many communities across the country.
Thanks to the creation of the off-road hand cycle, mountain biking is a very accessible travel adventure, reaching more people than ever before. There are plenty of places to try this sport to decide if you want to purchase your own hand cycle, with a lengthy list of options at Disabled Sports USA. If you live near me here in Illinois, check out Adaptive Adventures in Franklin Park. We can also build a great vacation to beautiful destinations like Franconia Notch, New Hampshire where you can try mountain biking with Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country or head to the Southwest with Arizona Disabled Sports.
The Beach Boys described it as “sitting on top of the world” and the good news is that surfing is accessible to more people than you might think. Adaptive surfing is a real thing, and you can take lessons at places like Adaptive Expeditions in Charleston, South Carolina, Access Surf in Honolulu, Hawaii, or Operation Surf in San Luis Obispo, California.