The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) site is a good place to start for those with vision or hearing issues. While U.S. hotels, transportation, and cruise ships sailing in U.S. waters are required to be ADA-compliant, don’t assume that the foreign equivalent will be. For example, for those who are vision impaired, ADA-compliant
lodging is required to allow service animals; provide large-print, Braille, or audio options for relevant hotel information; and comply with requests for adjoining rooms. Other services such as conducting a room orientation tour should also be provided.
For hard-of-hearing guests, ADA-compliant
lodging is required to provide, upon request, a compliancy kit that includes visual alarms and visual notification devices. Teletypewriters (TTY or TDD) or amplified phones should also be available. If transportation, a cruise, hotel, or other lodging (such as Airbnb) isn’t ADA-compliant, call ahead to discuss what accommodations can be made. However, bring whatever aide is necessary in your carry-on, in case loaner equipment isn’t working or available. Multiple kits aren’t always available, so it’s a good idea to travel with devices such as SafeAwake
, a travel-size alarm that shakes the bed and flashes a light if the smoke detector is triggered.
Joel Barish, founder of DeafNation.com
, a comprehensive source for the deaf and hard of hearing, also advises performing a Google search to find similar communities at your destination. For example, Signs Restaurant & Bar in
Toronto employs a deaf waitstaff that only communicates in sign language. Dans le Noir
is a restaurant chain where you eat in complete darkness, with locations in London, Paris, Barcelona, and more.