Travelling and holidays
Links to organisations with information on holidays and breaks for people with a disability or with mobility problems.
- Finding accessible accommodation and places to visit
- Financial assistance for holidays
- Travel insurance
- European Health Insurance Card
- Travel vaccinations
- Taking medications abroad
- Hiring equipment on holiday
- Other sources of information
Finding accessible accommodation and places to visit
Many hotels in the UK now have accessible rooms, but standards vary. If you have additional needs or specific requirements, check that these can be met before you make a reservation.
Direct Enquiries Nationwide Access Register
detailed information about accessible locations across the UK, including hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions
Disability Holidays Guide
Provides information and a holidays search facility for people with a disability.
very detailed information about accessible accommodation and venues
Holidays Guide 2012
published by Disability Rights UK (formerly RADAR), includes listings of resources, places to stay and things to do throughout the British Isles. The current edition can be bought from their website
Offers information and a database of house swaps for people with disabilities. The idea is that if one person's accessibility needs meet someone else's, both houses should be equally accessible. This is a commercial organisation.
Rough Guide to Accessible Britain
lists over 200 ideas for days out with hints and tips on some of the UK's best attractions
Tourism For All
Provides information on accessible accommodation of different types in the UK and abroad.
Financial assistance for holidays
Family Holidays Association
A charity that provides financial assistance for low-income families for holidays and breaks. Only a welfare agent - social services, GP, nurse - can apply for help on behalf of a family or an individual.
MS Society Short Breaks and Activities Fund
Grants to help people affected by MS access short breaks or holidays as well as respite care.
See also the Grants and financial help section
Most mainstream insurance companies have a sensible approach to MS and should provide a quote based on your own circumstances. It's worth shopping around to compare prices. Check the fine print of the policy to ensure that all your needs are covered. For example, mobility aids and disability equipment are unlikely to be covered by standard travel insurance policies.
The MS Trust works in partnership with Unique to provide a range of insurance products, including travel insurance, which is specifically tailored to meet the requirements of people with MS and their families. Unique will donate to the MS Trust for every policy sold.
European Health Insurance Card
If you are visiting a country in the EU, you should apply for the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. Keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any reimbursement.
European Health Insurance Card
Information on the NHS Choices website
Most people with MS can have all the vaccinations that are required when travelling abroad. It's preferable to be protected than run the risk of contracting the diseases, many of which are serious and life threatening.
If you're unwell, for example in the middle of a bad relapse, you may be advised to delay vaccination. If you're taking a drug which suppresses the immune system, you should not receive 'live' vaccines as you may be at greater risk for developing the disease. Make sure that your doctor is aware of all the medications you are taking.
Taking medications abroad
If you are taking one of the injectable disease modifying treatments, you will need a letter from your MS nurse or from the home delivery company. If flying, the injectable medication must be carried in your hand luggage as there is a risk it may freeze if carried in the airplane hold. Your drug delivery company can provide a travel pack to keep medications cool during your journey. If the medication needs to be stored in a fridge or you are going somewhere where the room temperature is likely to be above 25°C you will need to liaise with the travel company before you leave to ensure access to a fridge. If you are concerned about any aspect of travelling with an injectable medication you should contact your MS nurse or drug specific support line.
Prescription medications can be carried in your hand luggage. It is always worth taking a copy of your most recent prescription with you in case you are taken ill or in case you lose any of your medications whilst away. If you have any concerns you should contact your MS nurse.
Different countries have different regulations about medications that can be taken into a country. Before travelling, check the rules for all the countries you will be visiting, even if you're just passing through.
Information on taking prescription medicines abroad
Hiring equipment on holiday
You can hire equipment such as mobile hoists or wheelchairs from national and local organisations. Hiring from local organisations may save delivery costs. National organisations include:
Ceiling Hoist Users Club
lists accommodation with ceiling hoists
Some schemes are able to hire out wheelchairs for extended periods
You may also be able to hire equipment when holidaying overseas. A travel agent or tour operator should be able to help you with this.