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Planning Excursions and Tours

Scuba diving. Nature walks. Beach excursions.

What do all of the above have in common? They’re all frequently offered options for shore excursions/activities while cruising or traveling abroad. Did you know that all of these activities can be tailored to accommodate travelers with Special Needs, too? 


Joy on the Beach (Beach Wheelchair) at Hollywood Beach


We’ve compiled some of our top tips for planning the hiccup-free excursion: 

Key Considerations

Firstly, asses what special needs you and your group need to consider.  What can make you vacation enjoyable and comfortable for all parties traveling?  Would you benefit from slow paced tours, accessible transportation and accessible destinations? 

When organizing the travel itinerary, it’s a good idea to research thoroughly. Among the things to take into consideration are entry ramps to buildings, accessible bathrooms and wheelchair vans and benches for slow walkers. This due diligence ensures that all trips and excursions are specifically tailored to your needs and requirements. 

Be sure to ask the right questions: Are the sidewalks wheelchair or electric scooter friendly? What are the requirements for service animals? For transportation, do vans have straps for securing wheelchairs and electric scooters? How many wheelchairs and electric scooters can be accommodated? For venues, are there entry ramps and elevators? What are the doorway widths? Are bathrooms accessible? 

Don’t assume that other countries have the same accessibility standards as the United States. Some ports are not suitable for excursions and some hotels will be less accommodating than others. 

The web is a great place to start your research.  You can simply Google things such as “Accessible St. Thomas” or “Accessible hotels in New York City”.   However, you should not stop there.  Pick up the phone and call the hotel, cruise line or provider to confirm any information you may find.  Contrary to popular belief, you can’t believe everything you read on the web!


An Accessible Van in Cozumel


A Reliable Team

It takes a lot of work to plan a vacation that everyone will enjoy and that will accommodate everyone. We highly recommend that you turn to a professional travel agent, a SNG Certified Accessible Travel AdvocateTMClick here to find one close to you.  A travel agent will have relationships and rapport with cruise line staff, hotel staff and concierges and service providers such as Special Needs Group.

Our best advice? Always expect the unexpected. Over-planning is better than being caught unprepared! 


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


Images are the property of Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Seas or are being used with permission.

June 24, 2014



Special Needs Group / Special Needs at Sea is the leading global provider for Special Needs travel. We offer a broad range of Special Needs equipment including wheelchair rentals, electric scooter rentals, power chair rentals, oxygen and more. We are recommended by ALL major cruise lines for superior service and value. Special Needs Group also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. For more info, visit








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