Does this type of travel agent/guide exist?
October 21, 2023 6:00 PM   Subscribe

I want to pay a travel agent or similar person to help me make plans for a visit to London, specifically because some of my travel companions have limited mobility + other issues which mean a typical tourist itinerary won't work for us.

I don't need the flights arranged necessarily; that's easy enough for me to do. But basically everything on the ground, including where to stay to have good access to [thing I know we want to do] + daily itineraries + restaurants that will work for dietary restrictions + minimizing walking + more.

Please don't suggest ChatGPT or the like; I've seen plenty of stories showing they'll confidently give you an itinerary that's completely wrong/includes closed businesses/incorrect hours for sites/etc.

So this could be a travel agent, a tour guide, a blogger specializing in London, etc. But I likely want to pay someone for their planning, and then execute it on my own, or at least be on our own once we're there. I don't think we want "a guide who's with you all the time" type of person...or do we?
posted by BlahLaLa to Travel & Transportation around London, England (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is what a travel agent is for. There should be agents who specialize in itineraries for people with mobility issues, and you can choose what level of service you need. It’s usually nice to have them do the flights too - that way if you run into problems they can help you while you are in the air.

Have a great time!!
posted by gemmy at 7:05 PM on October 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

There are tour agencies focused on travelers with disabilities but I think they are all inclusive package type tours that usually are geared to people who use wheelchairs or are visually impaired. It might be worth it to reach out to some of these companies to ask if they could offer the service you are looking for?

My weirder idea is that you could email the career counseling centers at colleges and universities that have hospitality, hotel and tourism management degree programs and post a job ad?

I think this is such a valuable niche for tourism -- who wants to spend a zillion hours doing internet research. Like there are subway transfers in Seoul metro system that would be absolutely hellacious for someone with limited mobility, but how would one know that?
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:45 PM on October 21, 2023

Oh, and I found this tip and confirmation that there are travel agents who specialize in accessible travel:
Some cities are more accessible than others. Candy Harrington, the guru of accessible travel, has written several books on barrier-free travel to destinations like the Grand Canyon and B&B's throughout the US, as well as guides for road trips and for vacation seekers. Cities that have hosted the Olympics tend to host the Paralympics soon thereafter, and regulations dictate that those cities accommodate disabled travelers, according to Michael Glen. Cities with Paralympic competitions tend to have streets with wheelchair curb cuts and accessible hotels and restaurants, as well as accessible subways, buses and trains, he adds. Look into Barcelona, Sydney, Vancouver, or London.

Consider using a travel agent who specializes in accessible travel. Skeesuck says that travel agents who specialize in accessible travel can customize your trip based on your interests, abilities, and energy level, and act as an advocate for you, answering queries about your safety and security. He recommends Able to Travel, Easy Access Travel, Sage Traveling, and Hammer Travel. [The actual article is hyperlinked]
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:50 PM on October 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

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