Staycation – The New Form of Accessible Travel

Tropical Setting with the word staycation.
Now that it is officially summer, it is time to have some fun in the sun!

For people with disabilities, traveling can be more work than fun.  The extra preparation and planning can be daunting.  Consider a staycation!

A staycation is a period of time in which an individual or family stays at home and relaxes or takes day trips from their home to area attractions. Recently, you may have heard of people taking staycations for economic reasons. For people with disabilities, a staycation has many benefits. Staycations mean no long car trips, no airplane rides, no hotel rooms, and no worrying about the accessibility of the places you are visiting. You get to have new experiences and adventures while still being able to sleep in your own bed!

The reason that we go on vacation is to get away from our every day schedules and to see new places. With a little creativity you can do this without leaving home!

Staycations can take many forms.  This can include day trips from the town you live in, to actually declaring your home a vacation spot.
Another way to experience a staycation is to simply be a tourist in your own town. Most towns have museums and attractions that locals never visit. Take this opportunity to learn about the history of your community. Do a web search for your town’s name, and you will be surprised at what you will find. Some other ideas for activities in your local area:

– Attend a local sporting event.
– Take a tour of a factory in your area.
– Take a class at your local community college. Many offer weekend courses during the summer months and throughout the year.
– Attend local festivals.
– See a show at your local community theater or community college.
Visit a vineyard – Texas has many vineyards and wineries that are open to the public.

Visit a local hotel and raid their brochure rack for ideas. Or, call your town’s chamber of commerce to help you get started.

Most government facilities are required to be wheelchair accessible. National and State parks offer many attractions and special events. For information on Texas State Parks, go to http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/.  For information specifically on accessibility for Texas State Parks, click here.

Picture that says "Greetings from My Home"
Another way to vacation in your own home is to do just that! Turn off phones, unplug the TV and computer, and spend some quality time with family and friends. Invite people to spend some time at your home or host a potluck dinner. Take time to enjoy eachother’s company. Make elaborate meals that you normally don’t have the time to put together. Or if cooking is physically difficult for you, take this time to teach all of your family’s secret recipes to the younger generation. Here are some other ideas:
Have an all night movie fest! Watch your favorite movies back to back and stay up as late as you want – you are on vacation!
If you are the crafting type, take this time to scrapbook memories or have a friend come over to teach you a new craft!

If none of these ideas strike you fancy, go online at www.staycationidea.com or www.staycationblog.blogspot.com for more ideas.

You can really get into the spirit of things by decorating the house with tropical decorations. Make sure you put away any paperwork or anything that will snap you back into the chores of daily life. Put a sign on the door letting everyone know that you are on vacation, and have the post office hold your mail. With all the money you are saving by staying home, hire a maid service to clean your house so that you can focus on the fun.

Don’t forget to take pictures of your activities, just because you are staying home, you will still want to remember your experiences.  If you have trouble physically accessing a camera, take a look at these products:
Switch adapted video camera:

Switch adapted still camera:

What about a faux-vacation? This takes staycation one step further by pretending that you are actually in another location while never leaving home. You could “take a trip” to a foreign country of your choice. Most areas have ethnic pockets where you could totally immerse yourself in a new culture. By eating the food, shopping in the local markets, and maybe even learn a couple phrases in the language, you can really feel like you are in another country without leaving the good old USA. Click here for a Wall Street Journal Article about this type of experience.

Being on vacation is a state of mind. By taking advantage of the opportunities around you, you can have a vacation anywhere!

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About improveability

I am a rehab engineer trying to make the world a better place through assistive technology.
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