3 Top Tips for Accessible Travel Planning
The founders of Tapooz Travel share tips for putting travel within reach.
When looking at the big picture, the ease with which we jetset from A to B in our globalized, hyper-connected world is nothing short of a miracle. Aïcha Nyström and Laurent Roffé, the husband-and-wife team behind the travel company Tapooz, are hoping to make that simplicity a reality for all travelers, providing bespoke planning services for those with accessibility needs.
The couple started the Bay Area–based company 11 years ago, with both having been involved in the community with disabilities; Roffé was a guide and trainer for those with disabilities, and Nyström a ski guide for those with visual impairment.
They now service over 30 destinations, and have brought thousands of guests from all over the world to vetted destinations and experiences customized around the needs of each client.
“We want to see a point where anybody can get on their tablet and book as fully able-bodied people,” says Roffé. “All the tools are there, it’s just a matter of time.”
Here are Roffé’s three tips when it comes to planning accessible travel.
1. Book with an Expert
“People in a wheelchair represent such a small portion of people with accessibility needs,” says Roffé. There’s a much broader scope of what it takes to create a navigable path of travel. Tapooz doesn’t earn commissions on bookings with its partners like travel agents would, and the couple’s years of experience mean they have deep relationships with partners that help make the trip seamless.
2. Don’t Skip the Parks
“The National Parks System has done a really great job of upgrading and updating; the Grand Canyon is a great example of how trails have opened up for people with a wheelchair.” He also cites the Muir Woods and Alcatraz as 100% accessible; they’ll pick you up from the ferry landing. “Don’t overlook state parks,“ he says. “Some of them are on par with providing this experience, too.”
3. Always Call Ahead
When it comes to room access, Roffé says that it boils down to updates, availability, and inventory. “If you’re trying to book on your own, it’s an intricate process. Many hotels don’t have filters that allow you to plug in your requirements. It’s always best to call, verify the path of travel, and then call again to double-confirm your requirements. Especially the day before, double check.”