Travelling with deafness can feel daunting at times, not knowing if there’s announcements, relying on listening for safety, communication barriers, but these can all be addressed and shouldn’t stop you from exploring and enjoying yourselves!
If you’re setting off on holiday, travelling further afield, or even considering a day trip, I’ve come prepared with my ‘Deaf Travel Tips’ to make your trip as stress-free as possible!
Do your research!
It’s best to plan ahead as best as you can before you go. More planning = less stress! Research where you want to visit, how to get there, transport – stops/changes, getting around, what to do, timings – leave early to allow yourself enough time in case anything goes wrong.
Arrange special assistance
Whether at a train station, airport or any main transport hub, book special assistance. The teams can make sure you’re in the right place at the right time, and if it’s a big place, they can get you from one side to the other quickly!
They can listen to announcements for you and let you know what the next stage is. You can arrange it at the first place, and also when you arrive at your destination.
Make others aware
It’s important to let people know about your deafness in case of emergencies. This could be the transport team, hotel team – they can wake you up if there’s a fire or anyone you think that needs to know.
Take a vibrating alarm clock so you can wake yourselves up every day!
There’s nothing worse than not having any hearing aid/cochlear implant batteries at hand! Always take spares with you everywhere you go. If you have spare hearing aids/tubing/moulds/care kits, take these with you!
I always recommend taking a watertight tub to put your tech in if you’re going swimming, or to the beach. A dehumidifier is also a great kit to have when going to hot countries. Another must, is a portable phone charger! Small but handy to keep in your bag, especially if your phone is vital for communication and getting around!
Communication barriers is the biggest issue that deaf people face, but it’s easy to get around this! Always carry a notepad and pen with you! If worse comes to worse, write it down!
The notes app on your phone is always handy. I always suggest translating something like ‘I’m deaf, I need to lipread/use sign language/face you when talking/write down’ into their language and storing it on your notes app. It’s handy to whip it out if someone’s struggling to understand you!
There are language translating apps, where you can type what you want to say and it’ll translate it into their language for you – perfect if you want to order something in a restaurant, or buy something, or ask for directions.
There are lots of apps to help you get around, whether transport apps like train maps, bus stops, or even maps of the area if you want to go from one place to another easily.
Video calling apps are a great way of contacting home! There are also messenger apps that use WiFi. Have a look on the app store to see if there’s anything you may want to download.
Information is all around you, make use of your heightened vision and look out for information boards, departure boards, signage – if in doubt, ask someone.
Always be visually aware of your surroundings, keep hold of your belongings, always stay with someone and let people know where you’re going. Don’t go somewhere if it looks unsafe!
Try and do as much as you can during the day, and stay in public spaces or the comfort of your hotel in the evenings as when it’s dark and you can’t see or hear, then it may be worrying if you can’t communicate. It’s best to be happy and comfortable.
And last of all… enjoy!
Take photos, have fun, create memories and enjoy every moment! Don’t let your hearing loss stop you from living your life to the full!
If you have any deaf travel tips, I’d love to hear them! Please comment below.