It’s your first day in a lovely city and you’re holding a leaflet you received from your travel agent. The paper brochure in your hands lured you with a promise of wonder, excitement, relax and the adventure of the lifetime. When asked about the accessibility, everybody in the travel agency claimed the city was truly modern and friendly for everybody, so you took your chance.
On the plane, you started to think it’s a beautiful dream, but once you landed it turned into a nightmare. The pavements were bumpy, the hotel’s elevators seemed to be older than your grandparents, and it’s not what you were expecting. Surprised in the worst possible way and with crushed hopes, you’re not off to the good start. Had you known more about the accessibility… That’s when The Great Accessibility Rating comes handy! With 20+ travel destinations all over the world, it gives you an honest, firsthand account of how wheelchair friendly your next holiday stop is. I’ve been traveling for years and I know the definition of “wheelchair friendly” varies in every travel agency, so I decided to share my knowledge and hopefully help you in the process. After all, words “vacation” and “care-free” should always go together.
Before every mission there’s a story, and here is mine. 18 years ago I had a spinal cord injury, and since then I’ve been a wheelchair user. In everyday life, I use a manual chair, but when I go outside my Blumil electric wheelchair’s always with me. It’s fast, portable and light, so exploring the city in the Blumil style is incredibly easy. It turned out that Blumil has allowed me to travel with ease, too. I’ve always been a great fan of traveling, and I am always up for a new adventure, so my electric wheelchair has seen quite many airports. To limit luggage, I take Blumil electric wheelchair with me, and it has proven to be essential for a lovely stroll down the beach in Barcelona, for example. I hope the accessibility rating will help you and guide you in your future trips – after all, knowledge’s power!
I’ve rated all the travel destinations I’ve visited according to my own needs, preferences, and expectations. Therefore, the rating is definitely not impartial. As much as I try to portray the general accessibility of the place, I am well aware that there are always as many opinions as people. Another important note: since I use my Blumil electric wheelchair, accessing the inaccessible has become easier than ever. Because of that, my recent travel experiences (Lisbon, Portugal) may be less critical of accessibility itself. It’s worth to mention that I visited some places years ago, and their current state may be different to what I remember. You can use my words as guidelines, but don’t take them for granted and prepare yourself for anything. To prepare means to avoid despair, remember!
Milo’s accessibility rating
Milo’s accessibility rating is the series of posts appearing on the blog since January 2017, and it rates travel destinations all over the world. I’ve visited each and every place mentioned in the posts, so you are getting a firsthand account on the accessibility of some of the most popular places on the Earth.
How does it work? Each place is rated according to a fixed scale: 1-10. 1 is the lowest possible score, 10 the highest. They are four categories: hotels, pavements, attractions and shops & restaurants. These are 4 aspects of accessible traveling I find the most important, as they can make or break any vacation. Below I am listing all things I take into consideration when I rate places I’ve visited.
- The price range: is it possible to find something both wheelchair and wallet friendly?
- The general accessibility of the hotel: does the hotel have ramps and good elevators? Can you access the hotel restaurant in a wheelchair? Are thresholds high? Are light switches in the rooms lowered?
- The state and accessibility of bathrooms: are bathrooms’ door wide enough for a wheelchair? Are there accessible showers?
- The state of pavements: are the pavements bumpy? How even is the surface in general?
- The number of curbs
- The presence of ramps: are ramps available? If so, are their mild or sharp in their gradient?
- General accessibility: is it possible to access the attraction on a wheelchair? Are ramps/elevators present?
- The information about accessibility: how easy is it to find out whether the attraction is wheelchair friendly and can be easily accessed?
Shops & restaurants
- Entrances: are thresholds low/ are there ramps available?
- Toilets: are toilets on the same floor, and if not: can they be easily accessed by the elevator?
In each category, the maximum score is 10. The final accessibility rating is an arithmetic average of ratings from all categories. For example, I rated London for 8 points in the following categories: hotels, pavements, shops & restaurants. For a change, I decided to give London’s attractions 10 points, as they were incredibly wheelchair friendly. The arithmetic average of all numbers together is 8,5, therefore, the final rating of London is 8,5.
The Great Accessibility Rating
Below you can find names of all places I’ve visited and their accessibility rating. Clicking on the name of the travel destination will redirect you to its corresponding blog post. We start from the most accessible and end with the least accessible places. This time we’re not leaving the best for last!
- Florida, USA
- Barcelona, Spain
- London, The United Kingdom
- Malaga, Spain
- Berlin, Germany
- The Herbarium Hotel, Poland
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Hong Kong, Hong Kong
- Puerto Plata, The Dominican Republic
- The Republic of South Africa
- Florence, Italy
- Amsterdam, Holland
- Dublin, Ireland
- Keukenhof, Holland
- Shanghai, China
- Brussels, Belgium
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Tri-City, Poland
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Macau, China
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Budapest, Hungary
- Hurghada, Egypt
- Mombasa, Kenya
The list will gradually grow with my future adventures, and I can’t wait to share my travel experience with you. Since I believe in possibilities and discovering all the shades of the world, traveling has become one of my favorite past times. Because I believe in possibilities and freedom, I travel. I believe in possibilities and freedom because I travel. It’s a beautiful correlation, and I would love more people to dive into the unknown and experience freedom.
Our Blumil electric wheelchair is a great step on the road to freedom – the greatest one out of all physical things – but the mind open to possibilities is the essential ingredient. Maybe you’ve heard it thousand times before, but I’m going to say it again because these two words hold a great power: explore and discover! You will never know what’s on the other side of the rainbow until you decide to take your chance and check it out yourself.
The blog full of tips
On the blog, I often share my tips on how to squeeze the most out of life, and I hope it will help you to go beyond any limits. If you are wondering how to try extreme sports, plan an accessible trip or what rights you have as a wheelchair user when you travel and how you can fly with your Blumil electric wheelchair, you will find all the answers and more on the blog. Blumil always has your back!
If you’d like to share your knowledge about accessibility all over the world, feel free to write it in comments! Knowledge’s power and armor against inaccessibility and fake promises. Together we could create a powerful community, which travels without limits and experiences freedom every day. Especially on the insanely portable Blumil electric wheelchair!