The first big event I ever planned was in college. It was a charity event which raised money and canned goods for our local food pantry. At the time, my biggest worry was making sure the college kids who participated in the event were in their right places at the right time. I had a team who I delegated tasks to, and we had advertised, organized, and made sure the event would at least be entertaining, if not a full-blown success. The night came and went, with us raising several thousand dollars and hundreds of canned goods. Any person who attended would say it was a success.
But was it a success for everyone?
Looking back, there were many things that were not attended to. The event was not planned with accessibility in mind, despite having mobility-impaired people in attendance. There was no thought behind being inclusive and having acts that would represent a more diverse population. How much better would the event have been if I had stopped to consider this? I wish it hadn’t taken me seeing and experiencing my own disabilities in order for me to think about inclusivity.
As an accessible event and travel planner, I find that several things are often overlooked by the able-bodied population (in terms of accessibility) when planning an event, outing, or trip. I created The Chronic Concierge so that disabled and able-bodied people could plan fun, accessible, and inclusive events and trips. I truly believe that we can create the kind of world where everyone can participate. Each month, I will be publishing ideas for people to consider when they are planning their next adventure, with a focus on how to be more inclusive.
For today, let’s explore some things to keep in mind for your next outing, event, or trip.
Location, location, location!
The internet is a wonderful resource when it comes to thinking about where your next event or trip will take place. Many cities and buildings have websites that include information about the building or city’s accessibility. Unfortunately, the general population is often not well-versed on what true accessibility means. It is always a good idea to call a place or location ahead of time to inquire about what a place’s accessibility really looks like. This will ensure that all of the people participating in your adventure are considered and planned for.
Meals for everyone
Check with anyone in your group or party to make sure you are meeting dietary requirements for all guests. Food allergies have become more prevalent with time, and several people have intolerances that may keep them from enjoying their experiences to the fullest. Once you know what you are working with, researching local dining options may be your best bet to have an amazing experience. Local restaurants and bakeries will often work with you to provide accommodations for your meal or snack. Chain restaurants can be good, but often aren’t as able to easily accommodate specific dietary needs.
Knowing your limits
If you are disabled, mobility impaired, or chronically ill, you may find that you only have so much energy during the day to enjoy activities. If you are planning a vacation or trip, I typically plan for rest and hydration breaks as often as needed. Knowing your limits before a vacation can help you plan for activities that you can do without feeling like you have to miss out. As for events, ensuring that there is proper seating, hydration, and reasonable expectations around the length of the event will also help those with limitations.
These are just a few of the ways that you can plan to include all people, regardless of limitations or background. Everyone deserves to be able to participate and have a great experience. Want some help planning a customized experience for your next event, outing, or trip? Let us here at The Chronic Concierge help you begin planning today!