We could all use some more time spent in the great outdoors. The so-called “nature-deficit disorder” has been widely publicised and the health benefits of being out in nature are varied. That being said, if you or someone you care about has special needs that make many everyday tasks a challenge, finding the time and energy to get out and enjoy the outdoors can be a real challenge.
Similarly, when it comes to planning a special needs-friendly holiday can be a challenge when many holidaymakers fail to understand what kind of adjustments disabled people and those with limited mobility require - especially when everyone’s needs are different!
In today’s blog post, we’ll take a practical look at camping and glamping holidays in nature when you or someone you’re travelling with has special needs. We’ll talk about the different accommodation options you have, how to find a campsite that suits your needs and how to prepare for your trip.
Can I go camping if I’m disabled?
The short answer is a resounding yes! Everyone should be able to enjoy the great outdoors and can make camping a reality as long as they do their research, find a good site for camping or glamping and ask the site owner as many questions as necessary before booking.
If you’re new to camping, it might be a good idea to start with shorter “practice runs” where you only stay for one or two nights and don’t venture too far because long car rides are a pain for everyone, but are especially troublesome if you have difficulties sitting up for long periods of time. Opting for accessible glamping over camping is another good beginner-friendly option.
It’s also important to remember that special needs mean different things to different people, so before you book your accessible holiday, it’s important to ask lots of questions when you’re looking to book accessible holiday accommodation of any kind. While in an ideal world, all holidaymakers would provide extensive details online about how they can cater to special needs, unfortunately, you often have to pick up the phone and ask for this information yourself.
What to ask before booking your holiday
One of the things you should find out is how close to your tent pitch or glamping accommodation you’ll be able to park. At many Wigwam® sites, there’s a parking space for a single car directly behind your camping pod, but it’s always good to check. If there’s no info online, ask about whether there are any steps to get to into your glamping accommodation or other facilities like shower blocks and whether there are any steep inclines within the site.
If you want to go solo camping in a tent, feel you can handle most things but expect to have some difficulties pitching up, call your site directly well in advance and ask if you could get some help with this - many site owners would be happy to provide you with an extra hand.
Making a meal plan ahead of time can be a huge help, especially if you have dietary restrictions or get easily fatigued. If campsite cooking isn’t something that’s easy for you, do a bit of googling into the local area before your trip to see if there are accessible pubs, restaurants and shops nearby where you can get what you need. You can also ask the site manager if they could help to get you this information or if they could buy some groceries to wait for you when you arrive on the site.
Choosing your camping holiday accommodation
Staying in a tent may or may not be realistic for you. If you have a condition that affects your legs, crawling in and out of a low-down tent may not be the ideal option. Additionally, sleeping almost directly on the ground with just a thin sleeping mat might not work for you if you suffer from muscular aches and pains as the ground can get very cold overnight and you’ll only have light padding between you and the hard earth.
If you’ve got your heart set on camping in a tent, though, try hammering down a small pole by the tent entrance when pitching up: you can rely on this for some extra support when you’re lowering yourself down and getting up. Larger tents with full-size doors such as safari tents and yurts offered on many glamping sites may be a better option as they’re easier to get in and out of.
And if sleeping on a sleeping mat would pose a challenge, look into a foldable camping bed that elevates you slightly more or opt for glamping accommodation that offers “proper” beds while still having beautiful nature right outside. Opting for glamping accommodation specifically designed with disabled access in mind will likely be the simplest option as you’ll have all the adjusted and extra features you need in a cabin or tent that’s easy to get in and out of with lots of space inside.
What can I do while camping?
Whatever your special needs are, there are many ways to enjoy yourself on a camping or glamping holiday - in fact, it’s often the simplest activities that feel the most rewarding when holidaying in the great outdoors. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to have a bit of a rest so as not to overexert yourself.
Basking in the light and warmth of the campfire, reading a good book in the shade of a big tree, gentle walks on and around your campsite, stargazing and eating al fresco are all activities that are fairly accessible to all if you need a break from more strenuous activities. Find the beauty in the small things, treat yourself to some R&R and enjoy living in the moment - whether you’re able-bodied or have special needs, there’s no better recipe for a camping holiday.
Disabled glamping holidays with Wigwam® Holidays
Here at Wigwam® Holidays, we believe everyone should have easy access to enjoying the great outdoors. In order to lower the barrier to entry when it comes to glamping, we’ve launched a new, accessible glamping pod model that makes disabled holidays in nature accessible for far more people than before.
Our accessible Wigwam® cabins feature lots of extra space to make them wheelchair-friendly, with a height-adjusted hob and sink, accessible en suite wet room and toilet, grab rails and fittings and storage for a mobile hoist.
Intrigued? Browse our accessible glamping sites across the UK by clicking the link below.