Don’t let your sight loss prevent you from taking and enjoying a holiday. There are lots of different types of holidays to choose from, and a number of services and organisations who can help find the right holiday for you.
Choosing a holiday
There are number of organisations in the UK who can help you find and book a holiday which is especially tailored for people with sight loss, for example Traveleyes.
Bodies such as Tourism for All UK, Visit Britain and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) can also provide information about booking a holiday from mainstream tour operators who have made efforts to make their information and holidays more accessible.
As well as the information below, see our factsheet for more information on choosing a holiday, the different types of holidays available and tips when planning your holiday:
Specialist hotels for blind and partially sighted people
A number of specialist hotels around the UK cater specifically for blind and partially sighted people. Vision Hotels is a small group of specialist hotels run by Action for Blind People.
A "specialist" hotel has staff specifically trained to offer support to people with sight loss. The hotels often have additional features such as:
- colour contrasting surfaces
- talking lifts
- tactile signs
- talking menus
- useful products such as liquid level indicators and talking alarm clocks.
If you need a bit more support and care on holiday, some residential and care homes which provide care for blind and partially sighted residents, including RNIB's residential homes, also offer short term respite care.
You can find more specialist hotels or places to stay in the UK using the Sightline Directory.
Other hotels and guesthouses
As well as staying in specialist hotels, you can of course choose to stay somewhere which doesn’t specifically cater for people with sight loss. Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, a hotel cannot refuse to serve you for a reason related to your disability, or offer you a different standard or manner of service. Holiday providers should make reasonable adjustments to accommodate you, and be willing to offer "auxiliary aids" to make your stay more comfortable. For example, if you are unable to read the menu, they could enlarge it or read it out to you.
When you are making your booking, it is a good idea to let the hotel know if you might need extra help getting to the hotel, or a tour of the hotel when you arrive so you can familiarise yourself with the layout.
Activity holidays and themed breaks
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can go on an activity holiday which could include activities such as rambling and walking, creative and cultural courses, sensory experiences or sports. There are a number of different providers of activity holidays for people with sight loss, both across the UK and further afield, for example:
- The Calvert Trust Centres in Northumberland, Cumbria and Devon which offer activities such as abseiling, archery and swimming.
- Torch holiday and retreat centre, a family-run retreat in the West Sussex countryside. With secluded grounds and wonderful views of the South Downs they offer a selection of diverse holidays including book weeks, activity weeks, craft and music.
- Seable, which provides sensorial holidays in Sicily which include activities such as scuba diving, olive oil making, fishing with Sicialian fishermen, visiting the Tactile museum and driving in Europe's highest active volcano.
- Traveleyes is a UK-based company specialising in providing holidays for blind and partially sighted people who want to explore worldwide destinations, with independence, flexibility and freedom. They offer a range of UK breaks, sun holidays, cruises and long-haul escorted tours.
A number of local societies also plan their own holidays and breaks for members. You can find you local society using the Sightline Directory. If your local society does not arrange trips, they may know of organisations in your area that can help.
Providing holidays for blind and partially sighted customers
If you provide a destination or service to people going on holiday, there are a number of ways you can make sure the service you are providing is accessible to people with sight loss. We have produced a number of factsheets so you can make sure that your blind and partially sighted guests receive great service.
Use our benefits calculator to check which benefits you are entitled to. Our calculator will ask you some questions about your circumstances and then tell you how exactly much you could be missing out on.Use the benefits calculator