Accessible Sunshine in TenerifeBy Martyn Sibley -
So when Limitless asked me to go and research Tenerife for them, I didn't hesitate. Hopefully I've balanced the accessibility bits with the dreamy bits. Access might not be so glamorous, but we all know it is essential for any of us with a disability.
Flying to Tenerife
There are plenty of flights from the UK. The average flight time is around 4 hours. I always book my tickets online, then phone the 'special assistance' number about my needs afterwards. Just Google the airline name for their customer service telephone number.
Personally I phone to secure the Passenger with Reduced Mobility (PRM) assistance getting me onto the plane, and to share my wheelchair (and sometimes mobile hoist and shower chair) dimensions. These vital items do not cost extra to your general luggage allowance.
On the morning of the journey I hoist into my wheelchair with my transit seat already positioned. It's kind of like the promove sling (http://www.promove.uk.com/the-promove-sling/) and makes it easier to be lifted by people later. Plus I wear a urine bag, to simplify the toilet difficulties on the plane. I know this is trickier for the ladies, but solutions are available (often shared in accessible travel groups on Facebook). I then drive my car, and park in the airport parking for disabled people.
Transfer from the Airport
In the past I preferred 'roughing it' and being with non disabled people. This might sound funny, but integration is important too. However as I've got older, I prefer having the roll-in shower, swimming pool hoist and so forth.
On this recent trip I met a Co Founder of Spotify (the music streaming app) who had Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The same disability that I have. So these shared experiences have become as powerful as the relaxation of just having the right adaptions.
Out and About
The Los Cristianos and Playa De Las Americas areas (in the southern part of the island) are known for their accessibility. The beach I mentioned above has wooden boards, so I can get nearer to the sea in my chair. The red cross lifeguards nearby can assist disabled people into the sea. Their amphibian chair means people like me can be rolled into the water.
Due to the history of accessible hotels and this beach, the other businesses have upped their game. Naturally some bars and shops still aren't accessible. Their loss right?! Because with enough options I will spend my money and sing my worst karaoke tunes elsewhere :-)
If you feel very daring, there are excursions available to the famous Mount Teide volcano. Plus you can join other adapted tours around the island, or go on boat cruises, or SCUBA dive (like I did a few years ago in 2012).
Whether you have travelled lots with a disability, or its your first time - I can't recommend Tenerife enough. There's always great weather, the accessibility is so fantastic, and you'll never be short of things to do.
If you are ready to book up your next trip, then give Limitless a call. You won't regret it :-)