Family holidays should be an exciting time. But with so much to organise, it can often be a little stressful too! So, imagine throwing a wheelchair into the mix. Suddenly there are a mountain of new considerations. Will my child’s wheelchair fit in the hotel hallways? How do I work around bathing my child who can’t sit unsupported without his usual high support shower chair? Where do I hire a van? Will the playground have any activities that my child can enjoy? Does the zoo we want to visit have adequate paving to push a wheelchair?
“Unfortunately, it really is no surprise that some families like my own find the whole ordeal more stress than it’s worth and choose not to holiday at all,” said Kristy Hislop, whose 4-year-old son relies on a wheelchair due to being born with Cerebral Palsy.
“Whilst planning our next holiday, I found myself thinking, wouldn’t it be great if there was just one website where you could just organise the whole holiday in a few clicks? Book an accessible hotel, a van, hire a comfy chill-out chair or shower chair, check where the most wheelchair friendly parks are and know that there is an appropriate bathroom facility nearby should we need one. Surely in this day and age it’s doable, right?”
And so, from that ever growing desire to create a world with no limits for her son and others just like him -Wheeling was born.
Taking the stress out of travelling in a wheelchair, Wheeling aims to be a one stop shop for accessible travel.
“We are putting an end to families staying home simply because the task of coordinating all the additional arrangements is far from relaxing,” said Kristy. “Need a truly accessible hotel? We’ve got that sorted. Need a wheelchair van? It’ll be waiting for you at the airport. Need a shower chair? Hoist? Beach wheelchair? We will have them waiting in your hotel room ready for your arrival. All this can happen over our user-friendly online booking platform.”
“My mission is not only to provide a space where you can book all the existing services you need for an accessible holiday in the one spot, but to also educate providers who just may not know what they can do to become a more wheelchair friendly environment and educate councils on how important access to play is for children of all abilities while we’re at it.”
The site is currently in the very early days of taking expressions of interest for Sunshine Coast providers wanting to be listed on the site.
“In the not too distant future, I will look back and say to my family as we sit by the beach enjoying our holiday: ‘Can you believe there was once a time when travel was almost too hard for us? How things have changed!’.”
Travel and tourism providers can register interest at www.wheeling.com.au