I have always wanted to visit Florida so you can imagine my reaction when I received a call to say I’d just been booked for a modelling job in Miami! After the initial excitement wore off, I quickly started to worry about the logistics of travelling last minute with a disability. Nevertheless, here’s an insight into my adventure across the pond.
As I’m a Northerner, the first step of my journey was travelling by train to Heathrow Airport. My mum pushed my manual chair whilst I tried to roll a suitcase, which in hindsight, was a bad idea all round. However once we arrived at the train station, we had fantastic assistance by LNER staff.
We stayed at a hotel in Heathrow Airport overnight so I could rest properly. It also meant we were close to the terminal when it came time for the flight the next day. Taylor, from the airport assistance department, helped us through departures and provided a brilliant overall experience – she was so attentive. We then boarded the plane first and sat in the extra legroom seats; something I am so grateful we chose! I took on board a range of things to help me on the flight – like my mask to help prevent me from getting virus / infections and pillows to help prop myself up.
Once we touched down in the Sunshine State, we checked into our hotel. We stayed at a fabulous accessible hotel in Miami which even had pool hoists to the jacuzzi. I always look at the surrounding location when booking a trip away and what was great about the hotel was it was right on the beach so I could wheel straight onto the sand. I spent most my energy filming and the rest sleeping, so I didn’t see as much of Miami as I would have liked but I will certainly go back!
- Make sure you have the correct health insurance and doctor’s notes for medication.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Need assistance? Ask someone!
- Plan as much as you can…but always have a plan B.
After the success of my first long-haul flight, it definitely does make me want to explore the world more. I think with the right planning and preparation, travel can be accessible and I hope it continues to become more inclusive in the future.