Adventures Without Barriers: Discovering Accessible Travel in British Columbia


Top Image: © Pexels/Kampus Production | Accessible Travel

“What is spectacular about the world is that it was made to be seen by everyone; regardless of your mobility or ability,” said Travel For All founder Tarita Davenock.

At 29 years old, Davenock was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and urged by her physicians to leave her career as a social worker due to stress.

Unsure of where to go next, Davenock decided to indulge her love of travel and found joy in a role as a travel advisor, helping people arrange the adventures of their dreams. But as her MS progressed and Davenock began using a wheelchair, she realized how different the world of travel was for people with disabilities.

One in four people has some form of disability, equating to a huge group of people who may experience difficulties travelling or may even avoid it altogether due to stress. A vocal advocate for accessibility awareness and a member of the committees created to assist the Canadian government with the creation of the first Canadians with Disability Act (CDA), Davenock built Travel For All around the mantra that “travel should be INCLUSIVE, not exclusive.”

Travelling with a disability can cause a lot of anxiety. Between facing the unknown and being away from our regular support systems, the fear can often outweigh the fun, especially at first. A global leader in barrier-free travel, Travel For All works to customize dream vacations for people of all abilities.

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Sasamat Lake, Port Moody, B.C. © Unsplash/Zachary Kyra Derksen

“Accessible travel is not only for people in wheelchairs,” said Davenock. “Accessible travel includes seniors, young people, and people with other disabilities that some may think will limit their ability to travel.”

Often, seniors and people with disabilities are pushed towards cruises or all-inclusive resorts as a default vacation option because those locales are “easier”—but why should your travel dreams be limited to only the least challenging destinations? Travel For All is on a mission to make every corner of the globe available to people of any ability, providing clients with peace of mind so that they can travel with confidence.

“Having a physical disability or a child with special needs should not exclude anyone from travelling, but you may need to spend some extra time planning to have the trip of a lifetime,” Davenock continued. “Once a person tells me what their disability is, and where they want to go, I can make sure that all the hotels are accessible, the different types of transportation they want to take are accessible, and all the events they plan to attend are accessible. If they need special equipment on their trip, we can make sure it’s available. For instance, on some trips, individuals may need lifts or hoists. When they reach their destinations, I make sure the lift or the hoists are there waiting for them.”

Careful planning gives travellers a sense of confidence and control so that they know precisely what to expect and what to do if things go awry. From pre-planning to post-travel and at every moment in between, Travel For All makes clients feel supported and confident in managing their travel experience.

Known for its breathtaking scenery, diverse culture, and excellent infrastructure, British Columbia makes for an incredible travel destination, and with an increased focus on accessibility, the province offers a wide range of experiences for people of all abilities. With countless mobility-inclusive options across its many communities, B.C. is an ideal destination for travellers with disabilities.

Urban centres like Vancouver and Victoria offer significant infrastructure, providing easy access for people with disabilities to explore the city’s attractions, parks, and restaurants. British Columbia Parks, the second-largest parks system in Canada, provides barrier-free features such as adaptive recreation equipment, trail systems, and more. In addition, B.C. has a variety of accessible beaches, such as Parksville Beach and Rathtrevor Beach on Vancouver Island, with boardwalks, ramps, and specialized beach wheelchairs to ensure that everyone can enjoy the sandy shores.

For those interested in urban exploration, Vancouver and Victoria are two cities that are leading the way in accessibility. The Vancouver International Airport has been rated as one of the best in North America for accessibility, and the city has a variety of mobility-inclusive public transportation options, including buses, trains, and ferries. In Victoria, many historic landmarks and museums, such as the Royal BC Museum, have made a conscious effort to improve accessibility for all visitors.

When it comes to accommodations, B.C. offers a variety of options that are accessible for people with disabilities, from hotels to resorts and vacation rentals, all of which have accessible rooms, bathrooms, and common areas. Some accommodations even offer specialized equipment, such as shower chairs and lift systems.

With over 25 years of experience, Travel For All can anticipate hurdles their clients may experience and plan around them or prevent them entirely. Almost every disabled traveller has at least one story of encountering an accommodation labelled as “accessible” and arriving to find that it is not. Working with a knowledgeable advisor reduces travellers’ likelihood of facing these situations during their trip.

From the natural beauty of BC Parks to the cultural experiences of Vancouver and Victoria, there are endless opportunities for travellers of all abilities to explore and enjoy. With the help of experienced travel advisors like Travel For All, visitors can confidently plan their trip and have an unforgettable adventure in this beautiful province.

The world is taking notice of people with disabilities and becoming accessible for people who want to travel. Regardless of age or ability level, everyone deserves to enjoy their lives and experience travel on their terms. With Travel For All, adventures become barrier-free.

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Travel For All is a full service travel agency, who specializes in customizing vacations globally for travelers with various forms of disability. Our clients have peace of mind, as we know that travel can cause anxiety when someone is leaving their safety zone.


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