Global adventure is for the whole globe. We're all invited.
Learn the term “Accessible Travel” because you’ll start seeing it everywhere. Accessible travel, or travel by people with disabilities, is on the rise across the US, and the rest of the world is starting to following suit.
A 2015 study found that adults with disabilities in the US spent $17.3 billion on their own travel, with an overall economic impact of $34.6 billion when factoring in companion travel.
Clearly, millions of people have the desire to travel, but the resources sometimes aren’t as readily available to people with disabilities. But that’s rapidly changing. Thanks to the American Disabilities Act that was signed in 1990, accessibility is on the rise. Hotels, airlines, restaurants, museums – nearly every public place in the US has to be ADA compliant.
There are still some tricky spots – historical locations, trails, certain foreign countries – but there are a number of specialty travel agents and outfitters who are making it easier for people with disabilities to delight in global adventure.
In 2004, Toad&Co co-founded Search for Adventure (SFA) to tackle this very problem.
“As a brand that’s committed to empowering people with disabilities by
providing employment opportunities in our warehouse, we were hell bent on also providing travel opportunities,” says CEO Gordon Seabury. “Search for Adventure is our answer to accessible travel.”
Since its inception, SFA has taken more than 700 people on 104 trips to places like the Grand Canyon, the Bahamas, and the Appalachian Trail.
In 2016, Toad&Co partnered with the National Parks Foundation and accessible travel company Wilderness Inquiry to get 1,225 people with disabilities into 10 different national parks via the Canoemobile.
“Toad&Co is all about empowering people to get outside and live their fullest lives, so making a positive impact on an under-served community feels really good,” says Gordon.
There’s still a long way to go when it comes to to truly accessible international travel, but the movement has begun. As a fellow traveler, you can do your part by being flexible and aware: Leave first-floor hotel rooms for others, never make assumptions about someone’s abilities, and don’t be afraid to offer to help a fellow traveler. The worst (and best) case scenario is that they’ll politely say, “No thank you, I’ve got it.”
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.