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European Travel Tips for an Enjoyable, Accessible Vacation

Europe, Ah Europe…a country steeped in history, culture, cuisine…as well as cobblestones, stairs, and narrow passages.  This can be daunting for individuals who have mobility concerns, whether in a wheelchair, use an assisting device or just prefer to walk a little slower. Don’t let this deter you from experiencing a great trip!  Here are some tips for the relaxed pace traveler:

Plan Ahead – Edinburgh, Cologne, Versailles - many European sites are more accessible than you may think.  Advance planning and research shed insight on many accessible attractions.  Maybe you’re planning a family vacation and want to be sure everyone’s wants are covered – it’s always a good idea to prepare.  Having a few back-up ideas comes in handy too.  You never know when mother nature may interfere with a cruise on Loch Ness or whale watching excursion out of Reykjavik.  And if you don’t have time to do the research, reach out to a travel professional –  like us!

Map Your Path -  Knowing your route ahead of time prevents your vacation from becoming a stressful struggle.  Identifying wheelchair ramps, flat pavement, accessible building entrances and transportation stations make for an easier trip.  

Know Your Limits -  Would you feel safer and more comfortable exploring magnificent Rome with a group?  How much down time do you need, to relax and stroll through the boutiques in Paris?  Know yourself.  Everyone wants to enjoy their vacation, and knowing your limits is key to a successful trip.  

Be Prepared -  Don’t let a flat tire on your scooter while sightseeing in picturesque, mountainous Switzerland ruin your trip!  Pack according to your needs, and consider such items as spare parts for equipment, ample supplies and medications.  Also, consider engaging a travel companion – this can be extremely valuable in unexpected situations. 

Consider a Tour -  Traveling with a group offers many benefits – you get to sit back and enjoy the trip, while all the plans, routes and details have been handled for you.  Some companies – like us – cater to accessible and relaxed pace travel.  

Whether you want to see something new - or very, very old - or simply relax and unwind, know that travel can be available to everyone.  So go ahead, book that bucket list Mediterranean Sea cruise, family holiday in classic London, anniversary getaway in romantic Florence, once-in-a-lifetime exploration along the Normandy coast, or any other trip you envision and explore the world! 

Patti and Kelley are the co-founders of The Relaxed Explorer, specializing in accessible, guided small group tours.  Call at (412) 386-8730 or visit us online at www.therelaxedexplorer.com.

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