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Tips for travelling abroad when you’re visually impaired

We all love going on holiday, but unexpected issues can arise that can test your patience and you’ll soon feel like you wish you had never left your house! Here are 5 tips that can help you have a smooth and trouble-free holiday when travelling abroad:

Tip 1. Go on holiday with a reliable travel provider

Do your research about travel providers catering to visually impaired people. Seable organises accessible holidays for solos, couples, families, group of friends and charities. There is also TravelEyes who offer the opportunity to travel with other VI people and sighted guides.

Tip 2. Book special assistance in advance

Always inform your hotel and transport provider if you require special assistance in advance as this removes the hassle of having to request on the spot. If you’re travelling with a guide dog, specific guidelines can be found here. You’ll also need to check your hotel’s policy on guide dogs to ensure you and your guide dog are not denied entry.

Tip 3. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from locals

If you’re in a country where you can’t speak the language fluently, don’t feel worried to ask someone for assistance. It’s more likely they will offer you help than refuse. If you find yourself lost, there’s even more reason to ask others for help.

Tip 4. Use tactile labels on your luggage

Using raised stick-on labels will make life so much easier when you’re trying to identify your luggage. If you have some sight, tie a coloured ribbon around your luggage. If you’re a braille reader, invest in some braille labels with your name and hotel address on it.

Tip 5. Research attractions and venues that are accessible to people with visual impairments

Lots of attractions around the world offer free entry for visually impaired people like the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Also, the TripAdvisor website is a great resource for reviews about travel providers, destinations and places of interests. You can check if your dream destination has VI-friendly attractions before booking your holiday.

Lastly, if you’re worried about travelling abroad solo, here are some extra travel bits you should know:

  • Use a backpack instead of a suitcase. This will allow you to travel hands-free, and, if needed, use a cane or your guide dog.
  • Carry spare change – not all places accept card payment.
  • Label your medication so it can be identified easily.
  • If you don’t use a cane or a guide dog, then carry a medical letter from your GP or doctor containing details of your visual impairment and the type of assistance you’ll need.
  • If you’re a white cane user, make sure to pack a spare cane just in case your first cane breaks or goes missing.

Written by Raymond Calamaan

Want more tips for living with sight loss? Visit the Managing Sight Loss resource page!

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