by Lisa A. Beach
For adults with disabilities, independent travel poses unique challenges. At hotels, people who use wheelchairs need an accessible restroom so they can roll into the shower. At movie theaters, people with poor vision or mobility issues need ramps and good lighting to safely find a seat. At pools, they might need a chairlift to help them get into the water.
These challenges often put travel out of reach for many adults with disabilities unless they’re fortunate enough to have a companion along. But what if they don’t? Or what if the travel companion (often a family member) needs their own vacation—a simple respite from their round-the-clock caretaking duties?
Adventures Unbound in Ft. Worth serves up a much-needed solution for both parties. Created in 2015 by Carrie Boggess, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and travel agent, Adventures Unbound provides supervised travel opportunities in and around Texas for adults (ages 18+) with disabilities. Besides creating wonderful memories through safe, fun travel experiences, the company aims to increase independence and improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
Boggess launched her company after taking her uncle with cerebral palsy on a cruise in 2013 and realizing the difficulties—and possibilities—of traveling with people with disabilities. “My grandmother and I took my Uncle Mikey on a cruise, and I realized how difficult it was to get accessibility, even with ADA accommodations,” explains Boggess. “The ADA requirements are still minimal and don’t always provide the best access.”
To make travel possible, Boggess relies on a network of 40 carefully screened, trained volunteers who provide assistance and care to the travelers. She recruits volunteers from local universities and service groups who have a passion for working with people with disabilities.
“I provide training on handling specific disabilities, including how to speak about a particular disability and how to speak to the person with the disability,” points out Boggess. “Plus, I provide training on personal care issues; guiding those with visual impairment; and transferring from a wheelchair.”
With a 1:3 ratio of volunteers to travelers, Adventures Unbound plans shorter day trips and occasional overnighters. Recent trips include venturing out to Grapevine for Christmas, Choctaw Casino & Resort in Oklahoma, Dallas Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Fort Worth Zoo, Plano Balloon Festival, Texas Rangers baseball games in Arlington, and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.
For more information, including a listing of upcoming travel opportunities, contact Adventures Unbound at 817.980.6944 or visit their website at adventuresunboundtravel.com.