Seeing Our Way

Trav'lin Days Are Not Done
By Dorothy Troyer
spectrios.org

Think you can’t travel if you are visually or hearing impaired? Think again.

Don Davia, who is totally blind, and his wife, Anna, have traveled extensively in Europe, the United States and Canada.

Don and Anna have discovered that being visually impaired is not a hindrance to travel, but rather an advantage at times, such as being escorted to the front of long lines. Guides go out of their way to provide specific details in their explanations so that Don doesn’t miss anything. Fellow travelers quickly realize that they are getting a bonus by having Don along.

When touring a museum, Don is sometimes provided with white gloves so he can touch exhibits (the ones that have signs saying “Do not touch.”) Anna was a bit envious when Don got to touch Michelangelo’s’ David and rub St. Peter’s foot with his gloved hands.

Don and Anna recommend Globus Travel, www.globusjourneys.com; because the tour groups are small, and their guides know the features that make a difference to travelers with physical limitations. Call Globus at 866-755-8581 and talk to an expert. They also have good things to say about Faithful Tours, a division of Mayflower in Downers Grove. Call 630-435-8500 and talk to a real live person or check them out at www.faithfulholidays.com/fast_facts.html.

If you like printed travel guides, try AAA’s Barrier-Free Travel series, which gives detailed specifications on facilities at hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions and also ranks them on their accessibility. It includes information for wheelchair users and visually and hearing impaired travelers. Details it notes include heights of bed frames, sinks, desks and whether Braille menus and TDD phone kits are available. They retail for about $12.95 in bookstores and are available at AAA offices and at www.aaa.com.

Don and Anna advise that the best times to travel are from March to May and then in October, but be back home by Thanksgiving. AND if you dread the airport scene, just ask for a wheelchair. Getting through security will be a breeze, even if you’re traveling alone. Just tip handsomely and smile all the way. Bon Voyage dear Lions.


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