Insight on travel with Danny and Val from Accessible Vacations
Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled?
Our favorite place that we've been to is the Hawaiian Islands - we visited for the first time before we had children and most recently with our toddler while my wife was pregnant with our second son. She's already dreaming of the day when we get to return with both boys in tow!
What is your number one tip for disabled families to make their travels easier?
The more (hands) the merrier! Parenting is exhausting, whether you're abled or disabled and traveling doesn't mean that your daily responsibilities magically go away. Whether it's taking every opportunity to vacation with other responsible adults to share the load with or simply accepting help whenever it's offered, we are not too proud to take help wherever we can get it. It's amazing how much more enjoyable a vacation becomes when you accept help, whether it's pushing through the airport or traveling with a family member or friend who is willing to watch the children so that you can get a well-deserved break. After all, if you're anything like us, it's not uncommon for you to get back from vacation and feel like you need a vacation from your vacation. Let’s be honest, we could all use an occasional vacation from our full-time parenting duties as well. Let's normalize needing (and accepting) help!
What are some ways the baby product industry can help disabled families?
We know from personal experience - and based on feedback from our audience - that shopping for baby gear is a major pain point for parents with physical disabilities. We would love to see a day where baby product manufacturers employ actual people with disabilities to improve product design and incorporate accessibility in every step of the process from prototype to marketing. The fact of the matter is there isn't a business or marketing degree that can substitute the lived experience of parents with disabilities. We exist and we're eager to improve the accessibility of baby products for all disabled parents who may come after us. Things like decreased hand dexterity, lower center of gravity, and decreased trunk function/balance all impact how disabled parents interact with every baby product and make genuine collaboration a must for brands who genuinely value disabled parents as an often-overlooked customer base.
Must-have baby product for accessible travel?
When traveling with a disability, there are many more factors to consider and things to pack - a shower chair, medication, bathing and toileting supplies all make for additional luggage that abled people do not have to think about. As fellow parents we don't need to tell you that traveling with children also comes with its own set of additional items to take from car seats, strollers, play yards, and more. With regards to traveling as a disabled parent, my approach is to minimize the number of items I need to take for the children. That's what makes Doona such a great product for us as we travel through the airport: gone are the days of attaching and detaching an infant car seat from a stroller and ensuring both parts - as well as a wheelchair - make it safely to our destination. I love the convenience of collapsing the stroller conveniently into car seat mode and, as an added bonus, the collapsible handle height makes it the perfect height for pushing from a wheelchair or even for a helpful and proud big brother to push.
Tips for new parents who want to travel?
Make hotel crib accommodations whenever possible. We've already mentioned the importance of minimizing additional luggage items and this is one of the most obvious ways to do so. Getting a crib from your resort or hotel will save the headache of carrying extra weight around on your trip - and since playards don’t fly free of charge, leaving it behind could help you save some money, too!
What features do you look for when choosing baby products?
When it comes to big-ticket items like furniture, strollers, and car seats, I pay special attention to specs like height and weight. Tall, bulky items are much harder for me to access independently. With small items, like clothing and diapers, I tend to look for items that are easy for me to manage in spite of my decreased hand function. Magnetic onesies, pull-on diapers vs. diapers with tabs that require a pincer grasp, and an easy-to-clip baby lap carrier have all been game-changers for our family.