A love of travelling is something that has been ingrained in my personality since I was young. I was diagnosed with Emery Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy aged 19, and have been a full-time powerchair user since I was a child. After leaving college I managed to land my perfect job as Digital Marketing & PR Manager at accessible travel specialist, Limitless Travel, a job that gives me the chance to explore the world whilst also creating a community that inspires and encourages others to discover it for themselves.
Travel not only gives me stories to tell but also some of the best memories I will ever have; whether that is parasailing in Spain, speedboat rides in the Dominican Republic or wandering round the markets in Morocco.
Here are a few of the best places waiting for you to discover them for yourself…
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Montego Bay had always been a dream destination for me and my family. It is a place like no other with an amazingly rich culture, full of amazing food and music. With large open-plan layouts throughout many of the hotels, accessibility for me wasn’t an issue, and everyone was always offering to lend a hand if I needed it.
Turquoise waters edged by a beautiful white sand beach and stunning mountain backdrops create the perfect location to fully relax. Whether you’re looking to sink into paradise, unwind to the sound of the ocean, or enjoy a mixture of both, there’s something for every desire right on your doorstep.
A trip into Montego Bay is a must. Whether it is jerk chicken, snorkelling in crystal clear water or vibrant nightlife you’re after, it ticks all the boxes.
Red Sea, Egypt
Egypt has a very special place in my heart. It may not be the most accessible country I have been to but it is making strong improvements every year and is set, in my opinion, to become another top destination for the disabled traveller. Many resorts are already ﬂ at with ramped access and accessible rooms.
Not one to miss out, when my brother and step-dad said they were going scuba diving I was determined to join them. My mum wasn’t too happy about the idea but I jumped right in. The feeling of sinking under the waves and immersing yourself into an underwater world is a sensation like no other. I was in awe the whole time as I perched on the sea bed with stingrays and the most colourful ﬁ sh just going about their business beside me. Nowhere in my eyes competes with what the Red Sea has to offer; it is a phenomenon!
New York, USA
This city certainly doesn’t sleep. It is a buzzing hive of activity from the minute you wake up until the minute your head hits the pillow. Every neighbourhood offers a different view of the city – from shopping on Fifth Avenue, going back in time in the Natural History Museum or taking in the panoramic views of the city from the top of the Empire State Building.
With wide pavements, drop-kerbs and even a dedicated accessible taxi number (just call 311) New York is doing well on the accessibility front. However, just as in most cities, pre-planning is key.
The best way to truly experience everything New York has to offer is to get out there and explore: stroll the streets, get lost and ﬁnd the city’s true gems. It may be a hotdog from a street stand, the perfect photo opportunity in Central Park or a Broadway show, the list is endless. As day turns to night and the sun sets across the Hudson River, the whole city becomes a stage.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Limitless Travel is really expanding this year and offering some amazing new locations across Europe, but my favourite has to be Tenerife. From the moment I land there my mind is at ease.
Our Tenerife tour offers a bit of everything; the chance to relax and unwind, explore – and enjoy the nightlife. From stunning coastline to rugged mountain tops, its beauty is undeniable. Whether you want to climb Mount Teide, sample the Hispanic culture or spend your time relaxing by the pool or on the beach, watching the world go by or have a dip in the sea, it’s all here. I’m all about fun on holiday; for me a memory beats any souvenir. Try your hand at ballroom dancing, wheelchair gymnastics or even a bit of karaoke. Then head out and grab some dinner at a restaurant and follow up with a cocktail on the seafront to make a perfect night!
Travel can be the most daunting but rewarding experience. I am extremely lucky to have ticked off so many beautiful locations and am excited to explore even more in the future. If there is one piece of advice I can give, it’s that disability doesn’t need to be a reason not to go. If you set your heart on something, make sure to push yourself out of your comfort zone and achieve it. You won’t regret it.
By Niamh Duffy, Digital Marketing & PR Manager at Limitless Travel
ABLE Magazine’s travel section is sponsored by Post Office Travel Insurance