BOUNTIFUL—Everyone needs a vacation now and then, but what about those who need special accommodations for disabilities or age? WinB travel specifically works to make traveling a fun and safe experience in spite of any limitations the traveler might have.
“I help book travel for people who have disabilities, seniors over 55 and multigenerational families such as a grandma who wants to travel with her grandchildren,” said owner Winifred Barrett. “There are all kinds of travel options depending on the type of limitations they have. Sometimes a cruise is better than Europe. I’m detailed oriented and work with the clients to see what their needs are.”
Barrett said she tries to find out what customers want out of travel and why so that there will be no surprises when they get to the other end. “I have a small disability myself so I don’t want them to be uncomfortable,” she said. “But there are certain things I need to know. Most people with a disability will travel with an able-bodied person who knows their personal needs.”
She recalled one trip she arranged for a paraplegic who was taking a cruise out of San Diego. “I set it all up so that van that took them to the cruise port would have a lift transport,” she said. “When the van arrived it didn’t have a wheelchair lift. The wife called me and I took care of it. That’s what’s nice about using an agent is when you call you get the same person who really cares.”
For large family groups, Barrett will arrange for shuttles and connecting cabins or rooms to fit the needs for all ages. “Sometimes people come to me and want to go with their grandkids but don’t know where to go,” she said. “They say they just want to get them away from their phones. I send over some options and then they can come up with an idea.”
Barrett has worked in the business long enough that with a little bit of travel history she can usually point customers in the right direction for the best outcome. “There are lots of guided tours and river cruises in Europe but they can be complicated because they’re not all the same,” she said. “By getting to know the people and finding out what they like to do I won’t put a person on the wrong cruise line.”
Sometimes travelers believe they can save money by booking on their own but Barrett recommends using an agent. “The commissions for an agent are already included in the prices online,” she said. “You’re paying for a service that you’re not taking advantage of. It usually costs the same. You can click boxes on the Internet but an agent can help you personally and cater to your needs. If something goes wrong, you have an agent at your back.”
She recalled a client who was in a wheelchair traveling to New York who needed an accessible bathroom in the hotel. “I had to make sure the wheelchair could go into the shower,” she said. “When I talked to the hotel I could tell they weren’t thinking of the same thing so I asked them to send a picture. When I saw it I could tell it wasn’t going to work so I had what I needed delivered.”
Later, after returning from the trip the client passed away, Barrett said. “Her partner called to thank me for the memories of that one last trip together. One simple thing could have ruined it.”
For more information about WinB travel, visit winbtravel.com.