The Braille Institute was kind enough to pass along this advice for travelers with visual impairments. Not surprisingly, as with other disabilities, planning ahead and making people aware of your situation goes a long way toward making your trip a successful one.

 

  • Carry Written Directions: Have directions written down before leaving. Even if you can’t read them, you can ask for help by showing them to someone else if you get lost. It’s also helpful to have a copy of the exact address of where you are going. A driver may not know where a specific hotel is, especially if there are several with the same name.
  • Keep Necessities With You: Carry your money, keys, tickets, etc. in a pocket. If you happen to misplace your purse or wallet or someone takes it, you still can reach your destination. Also, keep some extra money handy for tips.
  • Notify Others About Your Needs: Inform your travel agency, airline, and hotel that you are visually impaired. Tell those traveling around you as well. Sharing your visual limitations up front will enable everyone to take your needs into consideration.
  • Ask Questions: If you cannot see a monitor or find a gate at the airport, train, or bus station, ask a customer service representative or another traveler to help you find your way.
  • Carry Your Cane: Whether you choose to use it or not for mobility purposes, your cane helps notify others that you are visually impaired.
  • Ask About Discounts: Some amusement parks and other tourist sites give discounts either to visually impaired visitors or to their sighted guides.
  • Preboard And Bring Carry-On Luggage: Avoid the hassle of crowds and obstacles in aisles by preboarding trains and planes. Packing only carry-on luggage saves you time and trouble by eliminating a visit to the baggage claim terminal.
  • Suitcases: If you do bring one, remember its type and color. It may be helpful to affix a colorful piece of yarn or a sticker to help you or anyone assisting you with easy identification.
  • Plan For Guide Dog Restrictions: Some countries and states, such as Hawaii, either do not allow guide dogs or have quarantine requirements. Call your local guide-dog school for information on restrictions.
  • Enhance Your Sensory Experience By Going On Tours And Visiting Gift Shops: Some tour groups allow travelers who are visually impaired to experience an exhibit by touching objects otherwise off-limits. Gift shops often sell small-scale replicas of monuments you can touch.
  • Research Accommodations: Foreign destinations are likely to have accommodations or services different from your home city. Prepare yourself by researching your destination before you plan your trip.