Episode 27: InvisiYouth Chat Sessions with Disability Travel Blogger and Marketing Manager the UK’s Leading Online Accessibility Guide, AccessAble, Carrie-Ann Lightley
Nothing feels better during the start of the January winter than daydreaming about those ideal vacation getaways we want to plan. All those warm, tropical destinations we’d love to escape to during these winter months. But let’s be real…planning a vacation or trip when you have a chronic illness or disability can be quite complicated. We want to make holidays fun and spontaneous again, so we enlisted the help of someone who’s an expert in travel with a chronic illness, Carrie-Ann Lightley. As a disability travel blogger, Carrie-Ann has sent over 15 years learning how to best survey and examine hotels, venues, transportation and vacation destinations to suit those with disabilities or chronic illness from her experience living with cerebral palsy. And now she’s the Marketing Manager for the UK’s leading virtual accessibility guide AccessAble which provides detailed information about all things travel through their trained surveyors. So, no better person than Carrie-Ann to bring on the Season Three opener and give us all the traveler advice and holiday tips so we can put the fun back in our vacation and travel life—no matter how long your trip may be. In this episode, Carrie-Ann and Dominique chat about their top three countries on their traveler’s list (which ALL three are identical!), and how Carrie-Ann answer to ‘what was your childhood dream job?’ was probably one of the best answers we’ve ever had on the podcast, examine what the top questions someone should think of when picking their holiday destinations or researching about whether hotels, venues or restaurants are accessible, and talk openly about why it’s pivotal those of us with chronic illness/disability chat with our travel companions (family, friends, partners, etc) BEFORE any trip about how they can be helpful in certain scenarios so no one’s making major decisions under pressure. And our intermission story time is filled with major laughs as Carrie-Ann tells us a story that involves a vacation to Spain, her husband, an ocean view and an unfortunate encounter with a light pole—trust us, it’s unlike any story we’ve heard before and Dominique lives for a good surprise ending! Plus, we bring back our new segment of Top Search and bring on the dialogue about what are the top searched questions people are asking when deciding on travelling, top questions they search when considering whether locations or venues are accessible to their medical needs, the top questions we should be asking hotels if we need assistance, and the top hashtags to search on social media when checking out holiday spots. And the end of our episode is JAM-PACKED with facts and tips our guests should take some major notes on because Carrie-Ann and Dominique give the best advice for when you travel on the small day outing, the weekend trip and the long vacation holiday, the best tips for packing—especially if you have medical needs to pack with you too—efficiently for a trip, and the guidebook to scheduling activities into your holidays so they’re medically tangible yet spontaneous too, so it’s fun and stress-free for everyone involved! Carrie-Ann even brings up some surprising statistics that prove why it’s not just ideal to make your venue accessible for guests, but it’s also a major avenue of revenue to bring in many more guests if they can use the facility and enjoy their holidays there. Venues, hotels and holiday destinations should become more inclusive, it’s a fact, and it just makes sense. You will be booking your next holiday with so much excitement after you check out this episode!
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