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Disabled travelers' resources

By KARIN ESTERHAMMER, Los Angeles Times

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 11, 2000


In the United States, disabled travelers have been gaining better access to hotels, transportation, historic sites and tourist attractions, in part because of the Americans With Disabilities Act, passed by Congress in 1990.

But how can you be certain the destinations you choose are accessible, especially when traveling abroad? The following is a sampling of agencies, newsletters and Web sites that specialize in travel for the disabled.

Travel agencies

Access First, Malden, Mass., (800) 557-2047.

Accessible Journeys of Pennsylvania, (800) 846-4537, Internet http://www.disabilitytravel.com.

Cobb Travel Agency, Birmingham, Ala., (205) 822-5137.

Directions Unlimited, Bedford Hills, N.Y., (800) 533-5343.

Flying Wheels Travel, Owatonna, Minn., (800) 535-6790.

Marilyn's World at Dupont Plaza Travel, Los Angeles, (323) 969-0660.

Mobility International USA, Eugene, Ore., (541) 343-1284 (voice and TDD), http://www.miusa.org. Tours and exchange programs. Annual membership $25 (includes quarterly newsletter).

Nautilus Tours & Cruises, Woodland Hills, Calif., (800) 797-6004.

Tri Venture Travel, Redding, Calif., (530) 243-3101.

Publications

Beverly Nelson's newsletter, the Very Special Traveler, which gives travel tips and recommendations, is $25 a year for six issues. P.O. Box 756, New Windsor, MD 21776; call (410) 635-2881.

The newsletter Emerging Horizons reviews accessible lodgings, including inns and B&Bs, and offers travel ideas. A four-issue subscription is $11.95. Call (209) 599-9409, http://www.emerginghorizons.com.

Fodor's Great American Vacations for Travelers With Disabilities ($19.50) tells you not only where to go, from Orlando to the Outer Banks, but also lists the most accessible places to stay, along with where to find skiing and snorkeling adventures and even wheelchair repair shops. It is available in bookstores.

The Society for the Advancement of Travelers With Handicaps publishes a quarterly magazine, Open World, and is a good resource for everything from disabled travelers' rights to where to plan a sailing trip. Phone (212) 447-7284, http://www.sath.org.

Twin Peaks Press, P.O. Box 129, Vancouver, WA 98666; (800) 637-2256 for credit card orders. Publisher of the Directory of Travel Agencies for the Disabled ($19.99), listing more than 370 agencies worldwide; Travel for the Disabled ($19.95); the Directory of Accessible Van Rentals ($12.95); and Wheelchair Vagabond ($19.95), loaded with personal tips.

Web sites, other sources

A catalog of laws, agencies and advocacy groups concerned with access to transportation can be found online at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov.

Access-Able Travel Source, P.O. Box 1796, Wheat Ridge, CO 80034; phone (303) 232-2979, http://www.access-able.

com. Lists travel agents who specialize in helping travelers with disabilities, and provides reams of other facts.

Disability Travel and Recreation Resources, http://www.jsrd.or.jp/dinf_us/disability_resources/travel.htm, provides Web links to all areas of travel planning, from accessible B&Bs to home exchanges.

TKTS 'n' Tours Travel, phone (888) 866-3810, http://www.ticketsntours.com. Web site with a message board so that people can get travel tips and ask questions.

The National Sports Center for the Disabled, phone (970) 726-1540, http://www.nscd.org, has been offering winter and summer outdoor adventures for nearly 30 years. Learn to ski or snowboard in winter; camp at the accessible campground in Winter Park, Colo., in the summer; and raft, mountain bike or rock climb.

Gimp on the Go, http://www.gimponthego.com. The name is irreverent, but the editor, who is disabled, says he just wants to share his love of travel. The site includes travel tips, public forums for exchanging recommendations, and destination reviews.

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