I use a portable oxygen concentrator for long walks, stairs and hills. I’m pretty fit, and I can walk for three hours with my oxygen in my backpack. I’d like to take a European group tour, and I’m considering not disclosing my disability because I don’t want to be turned away. Do you think these tours will take me? I figure once I’ve paid my money and I’m there and they can see that I can participate in the tour, then they will be more willing to take me. What do you think?
Oxygen concentrators are more common today then they were 10 years ago, so I think more tour operators are aware of them. That said, I believe full disclosure is in the best interest of all parties in this case.
I can’t speak for the tour operator, but when you mention oxygen, there could be a concern that you might not be able to keep up with group. For that reason you should go over the itinerary very carefully with the tour operator before you lay down your money. I would describe your activity level to the tour operator, and focus on what you can do . Additionally there may be some items on the itinerary that aren’t in the brochure, and you want to make sure you will be able to participate in all the activities. The ultimate goal is to find a tour that will work for your energy level, and with so many options out there, I’m sure you will find one that’s just right for you. But you’ll only be able to do that if you disclose all the pertinent facts about your disability to the tour operator up front.
As a general rule of thumb, the more information you give a tour operator, the better they can accommodate you. Don’t ever exclude any information about your disability, your medical equipment or the facilities that you require. Sure, there may be a chance that they will say that they can’t accommodate you, but wouldn’t you rather know that from the get-go, so you can find a company that’s a good match for you? Honesty about your abilities and your expectations is always the best policy for everyone concerned.