Lonely Planet produces some of the most popular travel guide books on the market. They are a great resource for planning a tourist itinerary, with full-color images and lists of all the best things to see and do. I have a large collection of Lonely Planet books, and typically pick one up before traveling to a new city for the first time. They have helped guide my own travels to cities like Amsterdam, Brussels, Hong Kong and Seoul, among others.
What the books haven’t been able to do, though, is to tell me how to get around a city and experience the attractions from the seat of my wheelchair. Travelers with disabilities, particularly those using wheelchairs, need detailed information on the accessibility of a destination. A standard travel guide book can’t possibly include all of this relevant information, which is the reason for travel blogs like mine. The information found in the wheelchair travel guides on this website is what travelers with disabilities need, but Lonely Planet (and other travel book publishers) can’t possibly meet the demands of every group.
Martin Heng, the Accessible Travel Manager of Lonely Planet and a wheelchair user himself, has not only recognized this problem, but has taken steps to do something about it. Mr. Heng and Lonely Planet have just published Accessible Travel Online Resources, a digital (PDF) book that serves as a directory of websites where travelers with disabilities can find the information they need. This e-Book is a great first step in making accessible travel resources available to those who need them, and I applaud Lonely Planet for being the publisher to do it.
I’ve copied the following description of the book from the Lonely Planet website:
Hard of hearing or vision-impaired? A wheelchair user or slow walker? Fibromyalgia, MS or spinal-cord injury? None of these should stop you from experiencing the joy and benefits of travel.
We at Lonely Planet believe that travel is for all, no matter what their abilities or limitations. We also know that the first barrier to travel for many people who have access issues or a disability is a lack of information, combined with a fear of the unknown.
We hope that this collection of online resources will go some way towards filling the information gap and alleviating unfounded fears, either by providing information directly or by introducing you to countless people who haven’t let their disability get in the way of their love of travel.
The book has organized online travel resources into five major categories: Country-specific Websites; Personal Travel Blogs; General Resources; Travel Agents, Tour Operators & Commercial Websites; and Specialist Sports Organizations. I was happy that my blog made an appearance, on page 57:
What really excited me was the magnifying glass icon featured next to my listing, which signifies that WheelchairTravel.org is considered to be a trusted, searchable database of venues and facilities. Sites with this indicator “will be particularly useful when you are at your destination.” As one of only two blogs to receive that praise, I am honored by the attention that has been given to WheelchairTravel.org and my mission to #OpenYourWorld.
As the little blurb states, I am always looking for other wheelchair users to share their travel stories on this blog. Head over to the Contribute A Story page to get started. I look forward to adding your unique perspective to this growing website!
If you’d like to download Accessible Travel Online Resources, which is FREE, click here.
You can also purchase destination guide books from the Lonely Planet website. I will earn a small commission for any purchases you make, which helps support the costs of maintaining this website.