May 6, 2020
Trains can be a low-cost method of traveling both far and near. Ted Tahquechi, a blind travel blogger from Blind Travels, has written extensively on his Amtrak experiences with his guide dog. He shared his experiences and offered practical tips for successful train travel.
Group tours can be a great way to travel. Sue Bramhall of Mind's Eye Travel Agency joined us to share tips on using travel agencies that specialize in group tours for the visually impaired. We explored the pros and cons of using such agencies, and things to consider when joining a group tour.
March 4, 2020
Is this seat taken? Riding the bus is still one of the most popular, low-cost, and convenient ways to get around town. We talked ticketing, shared about shuttles, and compared commutes.
- Blindways (iOS)
- Be My Eyes (Android and iOS) Connects sighted volunteers with blind users
- Lazarillo (iOS) Accessible GPS app
- Microsoft Soundscape (iOS) A map delivered in 3D sound
- Moovit app (Android and iOS) Worldwide train and bus times
- Aira (Android and iOS) Connecting trained sighted agents with visually impaired users
Websites and Other Resources:
- iOS Access for All by Shelly Brisbin
- Tech It Out discussion: Where Am I? GPS to the Rescue!
- Transportation Services Directory by Prevent Blindness - Search by city of zip code for services
- Helping Blind and Visually Impaired Travellers and DDA Solutions
- Travel Tips For People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired from Enhanced Vision
- Steps for Riding a Bus from Perkins
February 5, 2020
Cruises have become an increasingly popular and accessible vacation choice. This month we shared resources for taking a cruise. We explored picking the right cruise, accommodations to ask for, and tips for bringing a dog guide.
- TravelEyes travel agency for the visually impaired.
- U.S. State Department Contact Information for Foreign Embassies
- See Sea Trips accessible cruise adventures.
- Creative Travel, Inc. is the organizer for All Paws On Deck Cruises
- Mind's Eye Travel Agency offers river cruises for the visually impaired
- Requirements for animals traveling abroad from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Cruising As a Senior with a Visual Impairment by AFB
- Find a Bargain on Accessible Ships for the Visually Impaired
- Getting Around on a Cruise Ship
- 10 Steps for Bringing your Service Animal or Guide Dog to another Country
December 10, 2019
Reliable transportation is an important part of staying active. Understanding your options helps pave the way to continued independence after vision loss. We asked questions and shared our experiences on how to use one of these options, paratransit services.
- The 3 Biggest Challenges Facing Paratransit Today, article from National Express Transit
- Challenges in Transportation and Logistics Facing Paratransit, post from Ecolane blog
- 4 Instruments to Manage Paratransit Costs, blog series from Trapeze Group
- ADA and Paratransit, article from the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center
- ADA Paratransit Eligibilty, article from Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
- What is Paratransit Service and How Can I Get It?, article from Disability Rights Texas
November 12, 2019
This month we strolled down the Champs-Élysées with Hadley's honorary Parisian, Deborah Good, who just returned from her tenth trip to Paris. Our virtual tour included the Arc de Triomphe, the Louis Braille Museum, the Tactile Gallery in the Louvre, and more.
This month we took a virtual tour of Paris with Hadley's Debbie Good! Check out the resources and information that was shared during the call.
- The official website of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau gives information on visiting all the famous sites of Paris, as well as shopping, restaurants, hotels, and transportation from the airports and within Paris. It includes useful information on accessing Paris with a disability.
- FACIL'iti makes the web content of parisinfo.com more accessible to suit visual, motor, or cognitive needs. Create a FACIL'iti profile to set your preferences. You can adjust text size, contrast, colors, animations, and more.
- Visiting Paris with a Disability
- Accessible Paris Guide for Visitors with Disabilities
- Traveleyes International is a tour company based in England that pairs sighted and blind travelers. They offer tours to Paris and other places around the world.
- French braille symbols [PDF]
Paris Sites and Culture:
- Information on the Birthplace and Museum of Louis Braille
- Article: A description of a tour of the Eiffel Tower with Traveleyes tour group
- Article: The 10 Unforgettable Graves to See in Pere Lachaise Cemetery
- Tips on how to order food in French
- Dans Le Noir restaurant offers dining in total darkness with meals served by visually impaired servers
- Article: A description of the Tactile Gallery at the Louvre
- Edith Piaf is one of France's most beloved singers. Here she is singing her famous song, "La Vie en Rose" [YouTube video]
October 8, 2019
We picked up where we left off last time and shared tips on boarding and seating, international travel and customs, and bringing aboard a guide dog or cane. We also reviewed passengers' rights when traveling.
Resources for traveling through U.S. airports:
- "Traveling with a Disability" from the U.S. Department of Transportation describes passengers' rights. The U.S. Department of Transportation is responsible for enforcing the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), a law that makes it illegal for airlines to discriminate against passengers because of their disability.
- What Can I Bring?, an A-Z list of what you can and cannot bring through TSA.
- Information about the Trusted Traveler Program through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection for information on passport control and bringing food into the U.S.
- How to Go Through U.S. Customs from WikiHow
- Beginning October 1, 2020, TSA requires a REAL ID. Check out the REAL ID identification requirements.
Helpful articles, books and blogs:
- "Air Travel After Vision Loss" from VisionAware.
- "How to Travel with a Sight Impairment or Blindness" from the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality.
- Wendy David's book Sites Unseen: Traveling the World Without Sight has a chapter about air travel. Available on Bookshare and on BARD.
- "Tips for Traveling with Disabilities" from Cheapflights.org, shares tips from 23 major airlines.
- "Air Travelers with Disabilities: Here are your rights" from Friendship Circle.
- "Mastering Air Travel as a Blind Person: Boarding" from Club VIBES blog.
- "A Guide to Air Travel for Blind and Visually Impaired Travelers" from Flydealfare.com.
- "Resources for Travelers with a Vision Impairment" from Upgraded Points.
- "Preparing Blind Students for Airport Success" from the Blog on Blindness.
September 25, 2019
Airports are infamous for their hustle and bustle, but that doesn't have to stop you from flying. This month we walked through the first steps of how to start and end your air travel with less stress.
- TSA Website
- TSA Cares: (855) 787-2227
- TSA Passenger Support Specialist (PSS): Specially trained TSA staff who can help you through the security checkpoint. To schedule, call TSA Cares 72 hours prior to your flight. You can also ask for a PSS when you get to the security area.
- The Disability and Medical Conditions section of the TSA website has a lot of information about screening, packing, and more.
- You can print your own TSA Notification Card (accessible PDF) to tell the officers about any equipment or items during screening.
- Aviation Consumer Disability Hotline: call (800) 778-4838 for complaints
- Each airline has a Complaint Resolution Officer (CRO) available around the clock if only by phone to discuss complaints as they are happening. Ask to speak to the CRO. You can also write a letter to the airline after the fact. Make complaints within 45 days of the incident.
- Flying with Disability website
- iFly.com for descriptions and overviews of airports.
Apps and Gadgets:
- Download the Aira app here.
- A list of free Aira Access locations.
- Tiles work in conjunction with your smartphone and attach to luggage and other items to help you locate them. They can be purchased from online retailers and some department stores.
August 28, 2019
Thorough planning increases the joy of travel. This month we explored travel and booking websites and we shared tips for planning your next travel adventure.
- "Behind the Map: Starting over in a new city" from the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. This article details how to obtain a tactile map.
- Traveleyes, based in the UK, offers travel groups for blind and sighted travelers.
- Mind's Eye Travel, based in the US, creates tours for people who are blind or visually impaired.
- Dimensions in Travel is the official travel agency for Guide Dogs for the Blind. They specialize in guide dog cruises.
- Henshaws, based in the UK, offers helpful tips for people traveling with vision loss.
- The Blind Guide offers tips and resources for traveling while blind or visually impaired.
- "Traveling with Blindness" is part of a blog series of ideas for traveling with a disability.
- Information about Culinary Cruise, which offers the experience of sampling local dishes and tasting local wines. Celebrity chefs will often demonstrate their techniques, share their menus and let you participate in the process.
- Airbnb is an online marketplace for arranging (or offering) lodging, primarily homestays or tourism experiences. Airbnb does not own any of the real estate listings, nor does it host events.
- AARP Travel Center or call (800) 675-4318. By paying the AARP membership fee of $16 per year, you can receive discounts of 10% or more at many hotel chains, in addition to many other resources. You can also book flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises through their travel services without paying extra fees. They book through Expedia. Call for AARP Membership at (800) 566-0242.
- TripAdvisor provides booking information for flights, hotels and cruises. The site also offers helpful reviews of restaurants, tours and attractions.
- Couchsurfing is a way to find a place to stay when traveling. Create a profile and connect with other couchsurfers.
- HomeAway is a site to book vacation rentals, including beach houses, cabins, condos and more.
- Homestay.com is another online marketplace for home sharing.
July 31, 2019
Let's plan a summer staycation! Join us to discover fun ways to enjoy attractions close to home. Learn tips and tricks for accessing museums, parks, beaches, fairs, festivals, farmer's markets, and other local attractions. You don't have to pack a bag for this one!
Simple Guidelines for Accessing Local Activities
- Decide on destination.
- Research location on the web or talk with others who have been there or call the place.
- Look into their accessibility tools. Either locate the Special Services section on their website or call and ask for their Special Services or Educaton Department
- Ask for what you need/want: auditory enhancement, tactile enhancement, person guide, free or reduced admission for your person guide.
- Remember you don't need to see everything. You can come again.
Content shared during discussions is for general information purposes only. We encourage you to thoroughly consider if any resource or suggestion is a good fit for you. The inclusion of links does not imply a recommendation or endorsement. The opinions expressed by the participants are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hadley.