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Disabled Travelers

Germany is one of the better countries for travelers with disabilities. All the large cities have excellent facilities. The local tourist offices can issue permits for drivers to allow them access to parking areas for people with disabilities. Newer hotels are more sensitive to the needs of those with disabilities, and the more expensive restaurants, in general, are wheelchair accessible.

Older, smaller towns may pose more of a problem, however, especially where the streets are cobblestone. Also, because of Germany's many hills and endless flights of stairs, visitors with disabilities may have difficulty getting around outside of major cities, but conditions are slowly improving. If the areas you wish to visit seem inaccessible or you are not certain, you may want to consider taking an organized tour specifically designed to accommodate travelers with disabilities.

Organizations that offer assistance to travelers with disabilities include MossRehab (tel. 800/225-5667; www.mossresourcenet.org), which provides a library of accessible-travel resources online; Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH; tel. 212/447-7284; www.sath.org), which offers a wealth of travel resources for all types of disabilities and informed recommendations on destinations, access guides, travel agents, tour operators, vehicle rentals, and companion services; and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB; tel. 800/232-5463 or 212/502-7600; www.afb.org), a referral resource for those who are blind or visually impaired that provides information on traveling with Seeing Eye dogs.

Air Ambulance Card (tel. 877/4247633; www.airambulancecard.com) is now partnered with SATH and allows you to preselect top-notch hospitals in case of an emergency.

Access-Able Travel Source (tel. 303/232-2979; www.access-able.com) offers a comprehensive database on travel agents from around the world with experience in accessible travel; destination-specific access information; and links to such resources as service animals, equipment rentals, and access guides.

Many travel agencies offer customized tours and itineraries for travelers with disabilities. Among them are Flying Wheels Travel (tel. 507/451-5005; www.flyingwheelstravel.com) and Accessible Journeys (tel. 800/846-4537 or 610/521-0339; www.disabilitytravel.com).

Flying with Disability (www.flying-with-disability.org) is a comprehensive information source on airplane travel.

Also check out the quarterly magazine Emerging Horizons (www.emerginghorizons.com), available by subscription ($17 per year in the U.S.; $22 outside the U.S.).

The "Accessible Travel" link at Mobility-Advisor.com (www.mobility-advisor.com) offers a variety of travel resources to persons with disabilities.

British travelers should contact Holiday Care (tel. 0845/124-9971 in the U.K. only; www.holidaycare.org.uk) to access a wide range of travel information and resources for seniors and people with disabilities.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.