Accessible Travel - Information for Disabled and Less Mobile People
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8. International Travel
It is important to be well prepared when planning any journey abroad. Make sure you have all the information you need about the trip (and for all parts of your journey) before you book your ticket. There are many sources of information available through your travel agent, tour operator, transport operator or station, airport or port.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has published information for Disabled Travellers on its website: www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/your-trip/disabled-travellers.
This section contains general information when planning a trip or holiday abroad if you are disabled or travelling with someone who is. Also see Section 9 on Travelling by Air and Section 10 on Travelling by Sea.
Your passport will need to be valid and in good condition. Information on how to apply for a passport is available from Directgov: www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Passports/index.htm.
General travel health information is available on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-health/Pages/introduction.aspx. The Department of Health has also published a useful leaflet Health Advice for Travellers: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4123441.
If you are visiting an EU country, you should apply for the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). See the website www.ehic.org.uk or call 0845 606 2030 for more information. The NHS website also contains some useful information on healthcare abroad: www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/Pages/Healthcareabroad.aspx.
You should take out travel insurance before you travel. Mobility aids and disability equipment are unlikely to be covered by standard travel insurance policies. If you need to take this equipment with you, make sure that it is adequately insured for loss or damage. Further information on travel insurance for disabled people is available on the Directgov website: www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/TravelHolidaysAndBreaks/PlanningATrip/DG_4018312.
Travelling with an Assistance Dog
It may be possible for you to travel with your assistance dog now that dogs are allowed to travel more freely under the Pet Travel Scheme, more commonly known as the Pet Passport Scheme: www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/index.htm.
Different countries have different rules about dogs entering their country. Before you travel, you will need to make sure that you have all the papers to prove your dog has had the necessary preparations. You should always contact your vet, the organisation that trained your dog, or the umbrella group Assistance Dogs UK: www.assistancedogs.org.uk before you make a decision.
Other useful links:
Directgov: Travel and Transport - Taking your pets abroad: www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/TravellingAbroad/BeforeYouTravel/DG_4000019.
Guide Dogs Publication - Travelling Abroad with your Guide Dog or other Assistance Dog: www.guidedogs.org.uk/fileadmin/gdmain/user/Advice_and_services/Travel_and_Guide_Dogs/Documents/AdviceServices_travelguidedogs_travellingwithyourguidedog.pdf.
Medicines and Oxygen
Each country will have its own rules on the types of medicines or medical equipment you can take with you. Transport operators will also have their own rules on carrying oxygen. Please ask what the rules are, and what can be provided for you at the time of booking.
Useful information on travelling abroad with medicines and oxygen is available from the NHS Home Oxygen Service www.homeoxygen.nhs.uk/5.php and Carers Direct: www.nhs.uk/CarersDirect/yourself/timeoff/Pages/Travellingabroad.aspx.
Travelling Overseas by Train
Directgov has published information for disabled people who wish to travel overseas by train: www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/TravelHolidaysAndBreaks/GettingThere/DG_4017236.
Other useful information is available on the Eurostar website: www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/travel_information/before_you_go/special_travel_needs.jsp.