Our blog is now on our main site, here is an excerpt from our latest post. Please go to tripility to read the rest!
Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.
Recently, I made the (not so) long and arduous journey to London. As we were pootling down on the train, sipping a leisurely glass of wine, it got me to thinking about the times I have traveled by train. As a wheelchair user, I find this mode of transport a bit stressful, especially when I am traveling alone. If possible, I avoid taking my wheelchair on the train, but this is only possible if someone can pick me up from a station where there isn’t far to walk, and if I am not going to need my wheelchair after that. The reasons I am not a major fan of rail travel with a wheelchair is; firstly, there is often very limited space for the wheelchair to be placed folded down, even if you find somewhere, passengers tend to pile their stuff on it/around it making it very difficult to get to it when you want to depart. Two, I am not a huge fan of the booking assistance 24 hours before, often, I don’t book my train travel till the last minute, spontaneity anyone?! Thirdly, getting the wheelchair on and off the train, when passengers are impatiently trying to board, is a mite stressful. Often, a friend/family member puts me on the train with the wheelchair and then someone helps me off the train at the other end to try and make things easier. Read more on our main site…
Next year, we are becoming a bit brave here at Tripility, as two of us are off on our travels. To all you nomadic people out there, our trip is pretty tame, but someone has wafted the word hostel about, so I am classing this as travelling! The reason we have decided to do this (apart from the obvious), is that, apart from the odd holiday here and there, we have both never really explored anywhere before. The thought of a full backpacking adventure has Debs quaking in her flip flops, so we are going to do our own version of travelling (one that mainly involves hot showers and proper beds…for the most part). We are both quite nervous about the trip, mainly as we have the added factor of our access needs. However, this is the reason we started Tripility, so people can find out access information about destinations that may have been written off before. So, (luckily for you), we plan on reviewing and blogging our way around our chosen destinations!
The first part of our trip has us landing in Brazil and staying with our extended family in Porto Alegre, after a few days there, our accessible adventure (as it will now be known as) begins! Our first leg has us heading down the coast into Uruguay, so far we don’t know much about access here, a few guides have listed it as being non existent so this could be a challenge! Lucky for us, we will be traveling with family around these parts, so if we find ourselves in inaccessible places, there is someone else to do the piggybacking…! We’ll be passing through into Argentina and heading to Buenos Aires, which again is said to be difficult with a wheelchair, but doable! After starting to plan this trip at the start of the year we decided to visit Iguassu Falls, which borders both Argentina and Brazil. Now, visiting a waterfall in two countries that aren’t world renowned for access may seem a bit of a push, but here a lot of money has been ploughed into making the area as accessible as possible, so much so that this part of the trip should be relatively pain free (compared to the rest of our South American trip). We finish this part of the journey in Rio de Janeiro, where we’ll spend a few days, before flying into the West Coast of America.
Our plans for North America as of yet, havent been fully decided, but we know we would like to visit; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite’s and Las Vegas. We will most likely hire a car for this part of the trip and stay in hotels, hostels and even airbnb. Debs has requested a stop in Nashville, so the plan is to either hire a camper-van or fly into Nashville and spend a few days there. After this we are heading towards New York with a few other destinations in mind, such as; Chicago, Toronto, Niagra Falls, Maine and a few more in between. We plan on being away for 11 weeks, arriving home just in time to de-sand in time for my sister’s wedding. We are just at the start of organising this trip and the helpful folks at Flight Centre are putting an itinerary together for us. Before we can go, I have to finish my PhD (no pressure) and we both have a bit more saving to do. We’ll keep you posted about the trip, from the organising of it through to when we are actually there. If any of you have done something similar or even have useful information, please share!
Santa Eulalia is the third largest resort in Ibiza, there is plenty to do with lots of bars, restaurants, museums and shops and is perfect for families as well as those looking for good access. There are two beaches, one of these has a disabled platform with a beach boardwalk and the other has a boardwalk without extra facilities. Santa Eulalia is in a great location just down the coast from Ibiza Town and it is only 21 km from the airport.
We visited Santa Eulalia whilst on holiday in Cala Llonga, Ibiza. A lot of effort had been made to make the seafront promenade and beach area incredibly accessible for wheelchairs. Much thought had been put into the access, especially for getting down to and using the beach. There was a special platform just for wheelchair users; this platform included a wheelchair accessible toilet, covered shelter and a beach wheelchair. The whole of the promenade was flat with plenty of cafe’s and restaurants with easy access.
We arrived by bus into Santa Eulalia, not sure what to expect. The bus from in Cala Llonga had a wheelchair lift, although we didn’t need to use it. The bus stop was on a narrow stretch of pavement, ideally this area could be a little bit larger so we could easily move the wheelchair around other visitors.
We waited until the other passengers had dispersed and then ventured onto the beach front in Santa Eulalia. What we found was wide promenades, step free access and fantastic wheelchair provisions right down to the beach, with the beach boardwalk and other accessible facilities. There was a slope down to this area but the gradient was never more than 5 degrees, measured on my handy angle metre app on my phone (what more could one want?).
The resort of Santa Eulalia was fantastically equipped for disabled travelers in terms of wheelchair access. It was very notable when a place is well equipped for disabled travelers when you see numerous other wheelchair users in the same resort.
Our stay in Santa Eulalia was rather short, only a couple of hours to see what it had to offer. We certainly would consider staying here in the future, compared to Cala Llonga there were a lot more restaurants and bars, which may entice people looking for a slightly more lively holiday compared to the quieter resort down the road.
Our visit ended with a return journey back to Cala Llonga on the ferry. Access to the ferry was in the port, this area was flat and had a good selection of restaurants, all which seemed accessible from the pavement.
The only part of the journey not suited to wheelchair users was getting onto the ferry itself, unless you are able to walk short distances and fold up the chair. The access onto the boat was up a narrow walkway and then down a couple of steps once on the boat, help was provided by the staff which made things a little easier.
I hope you enjoyed our rather brief guide to Santa Eulalia.
Do you know of any other resorts that are equally as accessible?
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!→
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.
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!
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 was 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!
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!
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.
The idea for tripility arose around five years ago when looking at holidays abroad, the issue being that my girlfriend has to use a wheelchair for most journeys other than for short walks of 50 metres or less. We wanted to book accommodation via the normal online routes and travel agents but there was limited information on what was suitable for my girlfriend’s needs. There are always speciality lodgings available but why should we be restricted to those? That’s when the idea of tripility came about; we decided that there should be a user focused site that offers reviews of holiday accommodation and destinations in the UK and abroad. Whilst the site originally centred solely on access for those with disabilities, we decided it could also benefit people who have specific dietary requirements or families with young children who require access information too. The site has been in development for the last year and will soon be launching so we thought it was about time to generate some interest and start building a community with people who have the same interests as us. We also want feedback on the site when it is launched as we know it will not be perfect from the start, so please get in touch via our site or on this blog and other social media sites if you have any helpful suggestions to give us a push in the right direction. We will be looking for bloggers who would like to a guest post on the site, so if you have useful insights into holidaying in the UK or abroad then please get in touch!