The travel world is slowly waking up again. Restaurants are reopening to increasing numbers of customers, sports have picked up and museums and galleries will follow suit. With travel and leisure attractions like these, it can be difficult to get reliable information about how accessible and inclusive they are. Occasionally, well-intentioned businesses may list storefronts or venues as accessible without understanding what that should mean. It can be hard to trust that you’re getting your facts served straight.
Enter these three awesome online sources! Sort fact from fiction and get out and about with our top three access information websites, all of which were founded by a wheelchair user or families of wheelchair users.
Founded by Max Burt (a permanent wheelchair user) and his wife Justine, WheelEasy markets itself as a ‘one stop shop’ for access-related information about leisure destinations. It functions as a web portal, similar to TripAdvisor except dedicated to people or groups with mobility restrictions.
Using a straightforward Traffic Light System – from green for accessible through to red for inaccessible – WheelEasy rates various locations against specific criteria, based on information provided by wheelchair users.
WheelEasy delves deeper than access information typically provided by city or regional councils. It zeros in on specific leisure venues and their amenities, such as train stations, lookouts, cinemas, museums and hotels. Beaches, for example, are rated based on parking, ramp access, bathroom access, availability of beach wheelchairs and access to swimming in the ocean.
It also maps designated ‘Hotspots,’ which are areas that are particularly accessible with a higher density of ‘green’ traffic symbols. Friends of WheelEasy are certified attractions or providers who exceed legal requirements to be wheelchair friendly.
Check out the website here to find accessible listings and handy maps to use on a day about town. You can break your plans down into destinations. Circular Quay, for example, has 103 accessible listings to scroll through, and Bondi 86.
Notably, WheelEasy just undertook the mammoth task of locating all accessible bathrooms in the City of Sydney. Their Mapping March event indicates just how comprehensive and fuss-free their approach is.
Its name is a tongue twister but its mission is straightforward and seriously impressive. Getaboutable has managed to assess more than 2000 accessible destinations. And internationally, no less.
Getaboutable is an award-winning social enterprise founded by Dr. Yasmine Gray. It seeks to promote inclusive businesses and connect people who have assistance needs, mobility restrictions and vision or healing impairments with leisure-based events, destinations and products. All profits made are reinvested in endeavours that improve inclusivity in the tourism and leisure sectors.
The most useful feature of this website is its search function, allowing users to view property or activity listings by category or by city. The fifteen operational categories include accessibility services (such as changing places or equipment repairs/sales), accommodation options, cultural venues, entertainment venues, outdoor activities and a dedicated ‘children and families’ section. You can also search via a map, with pins marking out the best accessible services.
Website users also have the option to participate in the venture by adding a listing or joining the
community. The website’s function relies on these contributions.
Have Wheelchair Will Travel
Have Wheelchair Will Travel was created by an adventure-seeking family who wanted to remedy the lack of access information available about travel. Founder Julie Jones worked as a travel consultant for over a decade before she began travelling with her son, who was born with cerebral palsy. She shares thorough reviews of attractions, accommodation and events in a blog format. Most listings are personally tested by the contributors which allows for great attention to detail.
The website has extensive coverage of destinations in Australia and around the world, including the United States, New Zealand and more. Most recently, for example, you can read up on top hotels in accessible San Francisco, as well as insights into enjoying Oracle Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants Baseball team.
As well as reviews, Julie publishes tips under different categories, including advice for travelling with airlines, hiring cars, saving money, shopping and preparing wheelchairs for travel. The images on the website are worth a mention, providing an informative snapshot of bathrooms, entry ways and key points in evaluating accessibility.
You can read more on the Have Wheelchair Will Travel.