New York City…what more do I need to say?

Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.

If you are looking for an accessible city destination, New York is definitely the place. Having experienced this city as a wheelchair user, I found it to be incredibly easy to get around. The people I came into contact with were very friendly and helpful, if anyone saw you struggling to navigate a non-automatic door (although this was quite a rare find), they would stop what they were doing in order to help you. Buildings had lifts and automatic doors, even old buildings were made accessible, often by connecting through to the building next to it and using their lifts. Attractions were made easy by staff being on hand to navigate any small steps, or provide access on and off boat tours and there is no need to think about queuing. Every attraction I approached, I was encouraged to the front of the queue to avoid any hanging around, or having to navigate through any difficult barriers. Below is a mini guide to the attractions I visited and an outline of services that can be accessed as a disabled person in New York City. More information about the services can be gained through NYC Go website: http://www.nycgo.com/accessibility
Continue reading New York City…what more do I need to say?

A little guide to London…plus a mini festival no less!

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 Written by Debs and Mark; most of the Tripility team!

As the sun is shinning (hoorah), I have been thinking back to the things Mark and I got up to last summer (enough to cheer me right up), so I thought I would share our experiences of our first music festival. Now, let me just put you on the right track straight away, this was a one day music festival; no tent, no lack of showering and no over-flowing portaloos, I am not that brave!  This was a very civilised one day affair at the Olympic Park, to see Mumford and Sons. We decided to turn this into a mini holiday to London and (because we are so kind), we have jotted down our access views from our trip, hope you enjoy… Continue reading A little guide to London…plus a mini festival no less!

Tripility.com has launched! We need your help.

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All of us here are excited to announce that www.tripility.com has gone live! The website is aimed at providing disabled, dietary and family travel reviews. We would love it if you could check it out and provide us with some reviews from your previous holidays (along with some feedback, good and bad).

All you need to do is sign up, add any companions and travel concerns and off you go! It is just the start, we will be adding destination and restaurant reviews soon. The more reviews, the better the site will get, so if you know of anyone who can share their latest holiday experience, then please share the information with them too.

Thanks!

Mark

Yorkshire Grand Depart!

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Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.

So, last weekend I donned my official Tour de France t-shirt, painted my nails yellow (I’m a VERY supportive person) and headed on down to support the Lycra clad cyclists speeding through Yorkshire at ludicrous speeds. It was absolutely brilliant! I have never really paid much attention to this great race before and cycling hasn’t really come onto my radar. However, with the introduction of the electric bike, this has all changed (although gutted to find out electric bikes aren’t part of the Tour de France?!). Last week we informed our lovely social media followers about all of the accessible routes that had been outlined for people wanting to watch the Tour. Mark and I decided to forgo our own advice and off road it (although we actually stayed on a road). We set off relatively bright and early on Sunday to grab a great view, we were staying with family just outside of Knaresborough, so it was a 2 minute stroll to the cycling action. We had heard on the village grapevine, that people were going to be camping out from first light in order to get the best view of the cyclists whizzing by. Thankfully, our little group decided we didn’t have enough Tour fever to do this and that 2 hours before would be sufficient enough to get a good spot and hopefully grab some goodies (sadly I was disappointed on the goodies front). The cyclists would be passing by the main road at the end of the street near us and when we got there, we were extra pleased we had not camped; there was loads of space. I was using my wheelchair for this task and Mark’s nephew was all snug in his pram, so we wanted to find a good spot to park up both vehicles and ensure that people who were standing did not block our view. This was when we realised just how pleased we were that we didn’t get up early; no matter how brilliant a spot you have, someone will always come and stand in front of you!

Le Tour...2 hours waiting paid off.
Le Tour…2 hours waiting paid off.

Since having to use a wheelchair, I have found events a very different experience; going to watch a band, going to fayres (which I of course do often) or local events is just that bit different. I often find that once I have battled to get a good view, or even just to get near the event, depending on the terrain, I am just a bit over the whole affair. Watching other people dance around and throw themselves into joining in, can often make me feel a bit left out and envious. Don’t get me wrong, just because I am in the wheelchair does not mean that I can’t join in and life is what you make of it, but it is different. Having said that, after making loud disgruntled comments to the man that blocked my view of all the Lycra at the weekend, it was utterly brilliant to see the Tour de France going through Yorkshire. The atmosphere was amazing and the cyclists (although I only glimpsed them as they whizzed through at a great speed) were bloomin fantastic; I have know idea what drives them to cycle every day for 3 weeks, but they looked like they breezed through it!

If, unlike us, you used some of the accessible routes, how did they work out? Did anyone attempt the steep climb of Buttertubs? More importantly, did anyone manage to get their hands on some free Le Tour Yorkshire Tea?! I for one, did not: I was devastated.

Spot the major supporters by their t-shirts!
Spot the major supporters by their t-shirts!

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What’s it like to have assistance to use the toilet?

The world of accessible toilets

Guest Blogger Carl Tilson talks about toilet access and assistance.

carl tilsonCarl can be found on the web on his  Facebook page

This article is available for use by DMD Pathfinders  [http://www.dmdpathfinders.org.uk] – an organisation which promotes choice and control and quality of life for teenagers and adults with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in the UK.

Carl tells us…

As if being in a wheelchair is not dignified enough not being able to find a suitable accessible toilet or shall we say bathroom when you feel desperate to go is most unpleasant and embarrassing not to say the least. A lot of places are not wheelchair accessible however the places that are and have been made accessible by having a ramp to enter the building don’t tend to consider making toilets accessible.  Do they think that being in a wheelchair means we don’t need to use the toilet? Funny how people consider one…

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Cala Llonga Access Guide

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Written by Mark; part of the Tripility team.

Nestled between Ibiza Town and Santa Eulalia, Cala Llonga is a small and beautiful resort perfect for those wanting to escape the busier parts of Ibiza. Great for families and couples, Cala Llonga is dominated by a large sandy beach enclosed in a pretty bay. Here we will give you an in depth guide to the town in terms of accessibility. Please click on the map for videos of each location – recorded on our wheelchair cam!

Continue reading Cala Llonga Access Guide

Cala Llonga; the verdict…

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Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.

So, the holiday is over (why does time only whip by when you are on holiday?!) and it was brilliant. I would highly recommend anyone to visit Cala Llonga if they are after a relaxing beach holiday, it is a beautiful place. Anyway, enough of that general holiday review stuff, what you clearly want to know about (don’t deny it), is how accessible is this place? Luckily for you, over the next few weeks, you not only get to read my generalised waffle about the holiday but, here at Tripility, we are going to be bringing you a completely in depth guide to Cala Llonga (and a little bit about Santa Eulalia too), including a cheeky bit of wheelchair cam footage…contain yourselves!

From a wheelchair access point of view, my verdict on our accommodation was not good, however, I must point out that the apartments where we stayed do specifically say that they are not suitable for wheelchair users. As I previously mentioned, this holiday was booked by my Mum, by the time she had been taken in by the beautiful views and the reasonable priced apartments, disabled access had pretty much gone out of the window…However, the whole point of Tripility is to be able to bring you the information on access, regardless of what the brochures say. I, like many other people, am not a permanent wheelchair user, so sometimes what is written in the official blurb, is not applicable to me. Where there’s  a will, there’s a way! Having said that, after reaching the resort at 11am, having only had three hours sleep and arriving in a torrential downpour (which I am happy to report was only momentary), I SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESwas not feeling too positive about how we would find a way around this lack of easy access!

The hotel itself was up a relatively steep hill, even though the hotel was right on the beach, there was around 10 steps (or the steep hill) to access this.  Our apartments were based across a small road from the main hotel, so to access the pool, it was down a ramp, across the road, down around 15 steps or alternatively; through the hotel, down two floors in the lift and then another small walk through to the pool area. It is also worth mentioning that the ramp to the entrance of the apartments was steep; short, but very steep! Depending on who was pushing me, the majority of the times I had to get out of the wheelchair and climb up the ramp. As for going down the ramp in the chair, we attempted this once (stupidly when the ramp was wet) and never again. I nearly ended up at the bottom of the ramp in a heap…not a great start!

walk
The board walk to the water taxi.

Once down at the pool however, everything was relatively easy. There was an easy ramp from the hotel, an accessible (and very clean) WC and drinks could be bought from the bar near the toilets; meaning we didn’t have to navigate back to the room for the essentials. Another great thing about the area was that there was a boardwalk onto the beach, at the entrance to this was an accessible WC and disabled parking (although there were issues with this…). The boardwalk enabled you to get most of the way to the sea, although not quite there and had a handy sheltered area near the sunbeds. So, you could either transfer to a bed and leave you wheelchair in the shade, or stay in your wheelchair in a reasonably sheltered area. Most of the restaurants had ramps, or alternative step free access into them and the staff were always very helpful and offered to move tables and chairs so the wheelchair could get though and I could transfer to a chair.

The inaccessible parts of the holiday were a little overwhelming when we first arrived, however, we soon got into our stride and found a way around things. Luckily Mark is exceptionally strong (might be a slight exaggeration…) and never once had a problem pushing me up the steep hill to the apartments, which was a relief! We spent our week measuring the steepness of hills (because who doesn’t have an angle-o-meter on their phone?!) and filming the area, so that we can bring you all the information (instead of just my banter) about the Cala Llonga. We will be posting this in the next week, so if you are looking at visiting this beautiful part of the world, this should bring you all the access information that you need!

The water taxi, not the best option if you are unable to walk at all, but manageable if you can.
The water taxi, not the best option if you are unable to walk at all, but manageable if you can.

One thing that I would avoid, is using Ibiza Tours for any transfers you book. Initially they tried to charge us extra just for having a wheelchair with us, then, they forgot to pick us up on our return journey to the airport. Luckily my sister speaks fluent Spanish, so she was able to ring up and sort this, but by the time we got to the airport, we were rushed through security so we could board the plane. Not an ideal end to the holiday. Anyone that has ever boarded a plane using an ambilift will know that the usual protocol is to board people needing assistance first, thus giving them the time to get to their seat without a plane full of passengers; this was not the case at Ibiza airport. Having been rushed through security (and told I didn’t even have time to go to the toilet), we then sat in the ambilift on the tarmac for an hour (not great when you are busting for a wee…!) whilst they took the bags off the plane from the previous flight. We then watched them load all 250 passengers, before we were taken up to the plane, meaning we had to struggle down a busy plane to get to our seats. This was a bit of a letdown at the end of the holiday, especially as the assistance at Leeds airport on the way out had been excellent. So, if you are heading to Ibiza airport and you use assistance, be prepared that things run far from smoothly.

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