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Cruising with Children with Special Needs

  • April 17, 2013

  Fewer things are more exciting to a child than the promise of a family vacation in an exotic, new location. Such experiences offer wonderful opportunities to learn, explore, and see the world at a young age! For families with children with special needs, however, planning a vacation can pose a few challenges. Cruising can be an ideal vacation choice for families with children with special needs. A cruise offers a chance to visit multiple destinations, without the hassle of…

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Take Your Own or Rent It? Special Needs Equipment While Traveling

  • February 26, 2013

At some point in most individuals’ travels, the question has been asked: should I take it with me or rent it? For travelers with Special Needs, the conversation can get a bit more complicated, as the discussion involves specialized equipment such as wheelchairs, power chairs, supplemental oxygen, walking aides, etc.     To help make the decision a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of taking your own personal equipment vs. renting. Do you have…

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Valentine’s Day: Great Date Ideas for Individuals with Special Needs

  • February 8, 2013

For some, Feb. 14 is the most romantic day of the year, and with it comes feelings of joy, love, and excitement. For others, Valentine’s Day brings the pressure of planning the perfect date for that special someone. However you look at it, there are many wonderful ways to celebrate the holiday, especially for individuals with special needs.        Image courtesy of europeweddingdeals.com If you or your special someone has limited mobility or impaired hearing/vision,  or is a slow…

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A Guide for First-Time Cruisers with Special Needs

  • February 1, 2013

You’ve finally made the decision to go on your first cruise. Congratulations! Cruising can be a wonderful way to see the world, especially for travelers with limited mobility, special needs, or who are slow walkers.     As a first-time cruiser with special needs, you can accomplish a lot during the planning process that will make your trip easier and more enjoyable. Following are a few tips to ensure smooth sailing:   Image courtesy of charlotteobserver.com   · We can’t…

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Cruising: A Guide to Assisting Your Travel Companion with Special Needs

  • December 13, 2012

With modern technology, accessibility and the efforts of advocacy groups such as Special Needs Group, it’s easier than ever before for individuals with Special Needs to travel. Although these individuals can travel alone, when it comes to cruising, traveling with a companion or group can make their vacations much more enjoyable. Today, those who are cruising with someone with Special Needs can be confident that their travel companion will benefit from ships’ accessible features. Since the inception of the American…

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Air Travel with Oxygen

  • August 22, 2012

Airports: most of us have a love/hate relationship with them.  They can be a total nightmare to navigate, and who likes waiting on endless security lines and the idea of lost luggage? Yet, they can be our best friend, as they are often the starting point for an amazing vacation! If your travel includes a cruise, a trip abroad, or even a domestic excursion, flying is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to reach your port or destination.…

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Events of the 2012 Paralympics

  • August 6, 2012

Few things are more inspiring than the dedication of an Olympic athlete. Every four years, we are reminded of the heart, the hope and the home team pride that goes into qualifying, training, and performing on the world stage. As we watch from the stands or from the comfort of our homes, it is almost impossible to avoid getting pulled into the action… Who hasn’t found themselves unexpectedly cheering out loud at one of those “hundredth of a second” wins?…

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Cruising With Special Needs: Do You Really Need An Accessible Stateroom? What To Know

  • August 1, 2012

Will my room have an ocean view? On which floor will my cabin be located? These are the typical questions that arise while arranging cruise accommodations. For those traveling with Special Needs, there’s another consideration that may need to be added to the equation: how accessible is my stateroom? For Special Needs travelers, there are a number of things to consider when booking a cruise. Each unique situation dictates the appropriate level of cabin accessibility to request: Maybe you’re not…

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Cruising for Seniors

  • July 2, 2012

Recently, we have focused many of our blog posts on travelers who have full time special needs. Senior Citizens and others who do not have a full time special needs, however, also benefit greatly from our products/rental equipment - which provide assistance in their travel adventures, too. Cruising can be a wonderful choice for senior travelers, as it cuts down on the hassle of driving and multiple transportation modes. A cruise allows you to see a number of destinations in…

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Famous Special Needs Athletes

  • June 22, 2012

As the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics draw near, we thought it appropriate to dedicate a blog entry to some of the most remarkable special needs athletes, Olympians and Paralympians of the past century. These incredible athletes have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and have gone on to become some of the most inspirational figures in their sports and events. Marla Runyan Image courtesy of nwhm.org  Blind at the age of 9 due to Stargardt’s Disease , Marla Runyan went…

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Joy on the Beach

  • June 14, 2012

We’ve all spent those days cooped up in the office or stuck at home dreaming of the perfect beach vacation. The sun on your face, the sand between your toes… pure heaven! With the summer months heating up, now is the perfect time of year to plan some fun in the sun. If you’ve been following along with our blog, you’ve heard us mention our pride and joy: The Joy on the Beach wheelchair. This amazing, innovative beach wheelchair for…

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Top Ten Tips for Cruising with Special Needs

  • June 8, 2012

  Are you considering your first cruise as a special needs traveler?  Still wavering on your final decision? Read about the benefits of cruising and why, for those with special needs, cruises are a wonderful way to travel.   Planning your trip might take some time, but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind throughout the process. Below, find some of our top tips.   1.   Book through a travel agent: Using a travel agent is…

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Inaugural National Mobility Awareness Month

  • May 11, 2012

Did you know that more than 18 million people in the U.S. and Canada have difficulties with mobility?   This May marks the first ever “National Mobility Awareness Month.” The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, or NMEDA, is teaming up with local communities in an effort to promote mobility and accessibility education for seniors, veterans, caregivers and those with special needs.   "The statistics are clear," said Dave Hubbard, executive director and CEO for NMEDA. "The disability community deserves recognition…

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Summer Cruising

  • May 2, 2012

Cue the April showers, May flowers! It’s official: summertime is just around the corner. Summer is one of the most popular times of year for cruising, and a quick weekend sail-away, a week-long, or longer cruise/land extension may be the perfect, hassle-free way of spending a family vacation.     Photo courtesy of sunsafetybarbie.blogspot.com A summer cruise is a great solution for the entire family, and, as we have mentioned in previous blog entries, has a number of benefits for…

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Autism Awareness Month: Cruising and Travel with Autism

  • April 12, 2012

Did you know that 1 percent of all the children in the United States ages 3-17 are diagnosed with some form of autism? According to The Autism Society, today, between 1 and 1.5 million Americans live with autism.      Image courtesy of www.healthfixdaily.com Whether you’re the parent or family member of a child with autism, or are living with autism yourself, it is important to understand that traveling with autism may require additional planning. Venturing into unfamiliar surroundings can…

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Cruise Terms Explained: Tendering

  • March 30, 2012

If you’re a first time cruiser, you may be unfamiliar with the term “tendering.” Essentially, tendering is another way of disembarkation at port. The method involves anchoring somewhere close to shore (but not adjacent to the dock) and then taking a smaller boat to shore. These boats run back and forth, on a schedule, so that passengers may come and go throughout the day.     Photo courtesy of freocruisers.com.au Tendering for Special Needs Passengers:   Most of the time,…

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Traveling Abroad: Key Accessible Phrases

  • March 23, 2012

When traveling abroad, it can be tremendously helpful to know some key accessible terms in the native language of your destination! Below, we have listed some of the most common, useful terms that special needs travelers might find helpful in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and German. Feel free to print this information and carry it with you during your travels!   In addition to some of these helpful terms, it is also advisable to carry a translation phrase book with…

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Cruisin’: What To Pack

  • March 15, 2012

Essentials -- The Checklist:   -Tickets (airline and cruise) & ID/Passport (carry an extra picture ID, just in case)   -Vaccination Certificate (if required) -A Travel Visa (if required) -Wallet & fanny pack -Credit cards & cash -Appropriate clothing: Depending on the duration and location of your cruise. Be aware that many cruises offer nightclub, entertainment, or even formal events and dinners while onboard. -A watch -Bathing suits -Sunscreen -Extra reading glasses or contact lenses, plus sunglasses -Cameras & film or memory cards -Adaptors & converters, currency conversion charts, guidebooks & language guides, if traveling internationally -A first-aid kit, especially if traveling with children -Bug spray & sunscreen -Toiletries -Headache, seasickness or other over…

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Special Needs Travelers: London 2012 Olympic Games

  • March 8, 2012

  The Olympic Games are a great opportunity for travel, cultural diversity, and wonderful family entertainment! For travelers who are thinking about attending the 2012 Olympic Games, it’s time to start making plans (if you haven’t already).     According to the LOCOG (London Olympic Games Organizing Committee) Chief Executive, Paul Deighton, the 2012 London games are promising to be the “most diverse and inclusive Games possible.” As a testament to this promise, there are a variety of accommodations and…

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Domestic Life & Travel With Special Needs: Know Your Rights

  • February 23, 2012

  Planning a trip with a special needs traveler requires a bit of extra preparation. When traveling within the US, it can come in handy to be aware of your rights! If you plan to travel with medical equipment or a service animal, be sure to do some research beforehand.   Medical Equipment: If you’ll be traveling with medical equipment such as oxygen, medications, or disability-related aids and devices, be aware that some items may have to be declared to…

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Solutions for Special Needs at Home

  • February 16, 2012

Recently, we read a truly heartwarming article on npr.org entitled “Building Better Houses For Wounded Soldiers,” which detailed an innovative military experiment dubbed the “Wounded Warrior Home.” Located at the Army’s Fort Belvoir in Virginia, Wounded Warrior Home is an attempt to accommodate injured or handicapped soldiers who wish to reside close to the army base. The initiative provides housing for soldiers with special needs or injuries, particularly for those who are full-time wheelchair users.          The…

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The Best Accessible Travel Destinations

  • February 9, 2012

  We had an inspirational comment on our Facebook wall last week from one of our fans, Sheryl, who writes: “I’m partially disabled, but I take that word and divide it into two different meanings. ‘Dis’ is for whatever…physical ailment and ‘Abilities’ is the Bucket List of what I can do.”   This is truly the backbone of our philosophy! At Special Needs Group, we firmly believe that everybody deserves the right to travel. Below, we’ve outlined some of the…

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Is Cruising Right For You?

  • February 2, 2012

If you’re planning a vacation sometime this year and struggling to find the perfect option that the whole family will enjoy, you may want to consider booking a cruise. Below, we’ve outlined some of the benefits of cruising to help you decide if a cruise is the right option for you.     Benefits of Cruising: One of the top benefits of cruising is that it’s a great “bang for your buck” option. Entertainment and onboard activities/performances are typically included…

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Special Needs Travel: The Most Helpful Apps

  • January 25, 2012

Traveling, especially with a member of the family who has special needs, can be an overwhelming experience. Luckily, in today’s world, there are a number of gadgets, gizmos and smart phone apps that can help alleviate some of this stress. If you’re planning a trip with a friend or member of the family who has special needs, we’ve compiled a list of the most helpful apps to make your trip a little smoother.     CitiRollers & Wheelmap: Specifically developed…

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Why It’s Important for Travelers, Especially Those with Special Needs, to Use a Travel Agent

  • September 8, 2011

Traveling can be a wonderful experience, filled with new places and cultures to discover. However, the experience can be much more enjoyable when working with a travel agent, who can plan every aspect of the trip ahead of time, eliminating a great deal of stress for the traveler. This especially holds true for travelers with special needs. Individuals with special needs have more travel planning to do than others, to ensure that their trip is not only enjoyable, but also…

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Theme Parks in the Off-Season: Easier Navigation for Individuals with Special Needs

  • August 15, 2011

Summer is almost over, the lines are shorter, and it’s a great time to visit a theme park. For individuals with special needs, the off-season is a prime time to enjoy theme parks to the fullest, as smaller crowds equal easier navigation. Whereas in the past, even in the off-season, many individuals and families with children with special needs skipped theme park vacations because they didn’t feel comfortable with the facilities and services; today, there are many more options for them.…

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Cruise Lines’ Smoking Bans Help Passengers Traveling with Oxygen Breathe More Easily and Safely

  • July 21, 2011

More and more cruise lines are now enforcing smoking policies that prohibit smoking in staterooms. Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line recently announced that smoking will soon be banned in all of their ships’ staterooms. The three companies join other cruise lines including Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania and Azamara in banning passengers from lighting up in staterooms.   Officials from the three companies stated that the change is a reflection of guest preferences.…

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How the Rise of Obesity in America is Increasing Demand for Bariatric Equipment for Travel and More

  • May 18, 2011

  It’s a fact: 93 million Americans are overweight. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in three Americans is overweight. Another one-third is obese, meaning they are at least 20 percent heavier than their ideal body weight. Approximately one in 20 people is morbidly obese, or 50 to 100 percent above his/her ideal body weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of acquiring serious medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, certain types…

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MOBILITY SCOOTER ETIQUETTE / TIPS FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

  • February 17, 2011

As baby boomers are now in or reaching their mature years, a record number of people are driving around in mobility scooters, whether it be on vacation, in a supermarket, at a convention, etc. While those driving scooters deserve the respect of others in order to smoothly operate their equipment, driving a scooter is a two-way street. If scooter drivers are conscious and courteous of those around them, they make it safer and more pleasurable for pedestrians and others. Surprisingly,…

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TIPS FOR TRAVELING HEALTHY FOR TRAVELERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

  • January 11, 2011

  The New Year is here. Whether your journeys are to foreign lands or to visit family and friends, Special Needs Group offers these tips to help you stay healthy while away from home.   Be Informed Before traveling, check with the Center for Disease Control for updates on any outbreaks or health warning for the countries on your itinerary. The recent outbreak of Cholera in Haiti is an example. The CDC will also recommend any shots or vaccinations required…

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