For individuals who are visually impaired or blind, traveling outside of their comfort zone can be a daunting experience. However, with the right aids and strategies, it’s possible to travel independently and confidently. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover 16 primary travel aids and tips that can help those with visual impairments to navigate public spaces with greater ease and confidence.
Primary traveling aids for a blind person
the primary traveling aids for a blind person include:
A White Cane
If you’re visually impaired or blind, a white cane is an essential tool to help you navigate through public places. It detects obstacles in your path and signals to others that you have a visual impairment. Choose a sturdy and durable cane, and carry an extra one for emergency situations.
A Guide Dog
Guide dogs are specially trained to assist people with visual impairments or blindness in navigating through public places. They can help you avoid obstacles and find your way around unfamiliar places. However, not all places may allow guide dogs, so it’s important to check beforehand.
Wearing sunglasses can help reduce glare for people with low vision and protect their eyes from bright sunlight. Choose comfortable and well-fitting sunglasses, and carry an extra pair in case of damage or loss.
Caps can be a useful aid for blind people, especially when navigating through outdoor spaces. The brim of a cap can act as a tactile indicator, warning you of the presence of obstacles such as hanging tree branches before you collide with them. Choose a comfortable cap with a sturdy brim that won’t easily fold or flop over.
An Accessible Smartphone
An accessible smartphone can be a valuable tool for people who are visually impaired or blind. It can help you stay connected, access information, and navigate the world around you more easily. Make sure to have important accessible travel apps installed, such as Google Maps BlindSquare, Be My Eyes, Seeing AI, Uber, Lyft, and MoveIt, and carry a power bank for emergency charging.
Earphones or Earbuds
Earphones or earbuds can help you listen to navigational instructions, music, audiobooks, or podcasts while traveling outside. They can help you hear your audio content more clearly and block out distracting sounds. Carry an extra pair in case of damage or loss.
Portable Digital Handheld Magnifier
Portable digital handheld magnifiers are small devices that can magnify text or images, ideal for individuals with low vision to check train schedules, menus in restaurants, or bus numbers while traveling. They are compact and can fit in a pocket or purse.
Organize the money denomination in your wallet and remember it before starting your journey, use a credit card with a limit enabled, and use apps like Apple Pay or Google Pay for online payments where possible.
A GPS device can help you navigate through unfamiliar areas and locate specific destinations. Choose one with accessibility features, such as voice-guided directions and tactile buttons, and have a backup navigation tool, such as a printed map or a phone with accessible maps.
Carrying identification, such as a driver’s license or state ID, or disability ID is important for accessing certain services while travelling.
Use a shoulder bag. A shoulder bag can keep your hands free to hold a white cane or the strap of a guide dog.
If you take medication regularly, carry it with you in a secure container. Have a list of medications and dosages, as well as any relevant medical information, in case of emergencies.
Carrying snacks can provide a quick energy boost and help you stay focused while traveling outside. Choose snacks that are easy to eat on the go and won’t spoil quickly.
Staying hydrated is important for everyone, and carrying a water bottle can help ensure that you have access to water while outside. Choose a water bottle that is easy to carry and has a secure lid to prevent spills.
When choosing shoes, it’s important to consider safety, especially if you are blind or have low vision. Look for shoes with thick upper layer that can provide protection against stumbling or tripping. Heels should be no higher than 1 inch (1.6 centimetres), and the shoes should have a way to securely fasten to your feet, such as laces or Velcro®. opt for thin, hard soles that can help prevent slipping, and make sure the shoes have a heel collar that can firmly grip your heel for added support.
Do not Hesitate to Ask for Help
Remember that it is okay to ask for help when needed. Many people are willing to assist you with directions, crossing the street, or locating a specific destination.
In conclusion, traveling with a visual impairment or blindness doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By using the aids and tips we have discussed in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently navigate public spaces and enjoy your travel experiences to the fullest. Whether it’s using a white cane, a guide dog, an accessible smartphone, or safe shoes, these primary travel aids can make a world of difference. So don’t let your disability hold you back from exploring the world. Remember to ask for help when needed, and keep a positive mindset. With the right tools and attitude, anything is possible. Start planning your next adventure today!