The image is split vertically into two parts - On the left, Global Accesibility Day is written inside a circle on red background. On the right, following text is on a white background – Does accessibility only benefit persons with disabilities? Lets explore more about inclusion on Global Accessibility Awareness Day! At the top right is the logo of planet abled.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020

Did you know that over one billion people or 15% of the world population experience some form of disability or impairment? [Data source – WHO] Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Accessibility may mean something different for each one of us. The ideal world would be one where everything is accessible equally to all.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day tries to increase awareness on the need to make the digital world accessible to all. Do you know how easy it is to understand accessibility?

If you have a visual impairment, that touching Facebook video or beautiful Instagram photo may not be accessible to you. If you have a hearing disability, that interesting discussion you wanted to watch on YouTube may not be accessible to you. Or if you have a cognitive disorder, too many cluttered elements on a web page may cause you extreme distraction. Did you know that if the color contrast is insufficient, the content may not be accessible to older people with age-related low vision or color blindness? A tech savvy person with multiple disabilities has to find a way around many of these and more.

While over 57% of the world population uses the internet[Data source – Datareportal], only around 10% of websites are accessible to all of us[Data source – AbilityNet]. In that, only a meager 2% of homepages are entirely accessible[Data source – Webaim]!

The image is split horizontally into two parts. The top half has a red background with the words 57% of the world population uses the internet and only around 10% of websites are accessible to all. Within that, only 2% of homepages are entirely accessible! The bottom half has a white background with the words- But does accessibility only benefit persons with disabilities? Lets find out! At the top right is the logo of planet abled

Fun fact: Many of the technological developments that we take for granted today were first devised to suit a disability! Read on to find out.
1.     The SMS or short messaging service was designed as a means of communication for people with hearing and speech impairment. Today, instant messaging has become the most common medium of communication!

. A white background and a heading Fun Fact. At the centre is an illustration of a lady looking at her mobile device. The following text surrounds the centre illustration- SMS (Short messaging services) was designed as a means of communication for people with hearing and speech impairment. Today instant messaging has become the most common medium of communication! At the top right is the logo of planet abled.
2.     The pinch-in-pinch-out technology to change zoom levels was first developed to aid those with low vision. Today all of us use this magnification method on a daily basis!

A red background with a heading Fun fact. At the centre is an illustration of a pair of hands holding a mobile device and pinching out with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand.The following text surrounds the centre illustration- The pinch-in-pinch out technology to change zoom levels were first developed to aid those with low vision. Today all of us use this magnification method on a daily basis! At the top right is the logo of planet abled.
3.     About 39% of internet users across devices use voice search and voice commands[GlobalWebIndex]. Many voice assistant apps were initially designed for people with mobility and motor impairments to control their devices.

A white background with a heading Fun fact. At the centre is an illustration of a pair of hands holding a mobile device on the voice recorder application. The following text surrounds the centre illustration- Many voice assistant apps were initially designed for people with mobility and motor impairments to control their devices. Today 39% of internet users across devices, use voice search and voice commands. At the top right is the logo of planet abled.
4.     Closed captioning began to be used widely for the benefit of people with hearing difficulties. Research indicates that 69% consumers view videos without audio and over 80% are likely to watch the entire video if captioning is available[Data source – Verizon].

A red background with the heading fun fact. At the centre is an illustration of a video playing with closed captions. The following text surrounds the centre illustration- Closed captioning began widely for the benefit of people with hearing difficulties. Research indicates that 69% consumers view videos without audio and over 80% are likely to watch the entire video if captioning is available. At the top right is the logo of planet abled.

Life would be very different, almost difficult, for everyone if we had to go back to a time without these facilities! When it comes to incorporating accessibility features while designing either a physical space or website, it benefits a bigger category of people than initially aimed for!

We hope that accessibility of every kind becomes a norm for the world and each of us are aware of the need for it.
Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day to all!

The image is split horizontally into two parts. The top part is in a red background and has the Global Accessibility logo along with the words When it comes to incorporating accessibility features while designing either a physical space or digital platform, one can easily observe how accessibility eventually benefits a bigger category of people than initially aimed for! The bottom part has a white background and the words Today on Global Accessibility Awareness Day lets pledge to make our world more accessible thereby making a better and inclusive planet for all! Along with the logo of planet abled

A picture of green trees lined in the background of a clear blue sky. On the picture are the words,‘Let the Planet heal and come back from vacation. Then you can go on one.’

World Health Day 2020

Did you know it is World Health Day today? And that the Planet is facing the WORST health crisis in the last 100 years? Well yes. And going by the technology and scientific developments we have this crisis is one of the worst the human race has EVER faced. We’d like to share with you some pointers to stay healthy in such unprecedented times.

  1. Stay home as much as possible
  2. Eat healthy. Staying at home and with a change of routine, we feel like snacking all the time. But it important to eat healthily.
  3. Exercise. Builds immunity like nothing else
  4. Have Vitamin C supplements and stay hydrated
  5. Stock your medicines for the next few weeks and never skip them.
  6. Keep your health professional’s number in your emergency contacts AND
  7. And most importantly, take care of your mental health. We are in this together and this too shall pass. So keep holding on and keep your mind occupied.

If you have a disability or a medical condition, here are few additional things to note:

  1. Identify alternative support arrangements in case your caregiver may need to be isolated.
  2. If you use assistive devices, please wash them frequently with soap or disinfect them regularly as advised by the provider. (Everyone is focusing on washing hands. For people who use assistive devices, keeping them sanitized is equally important.)
  3. If possible, keep spares of assistive products in case of damage.
  4. Keep emergency contact of your assistive device provider for repairs if need be.
  5. If you are going out for any medical treatment, wear a mask and keep safe physical distance.

Also, if you can, please donate for charities in your respective regions. The world needs more compassion from all of us for each other. There are migrants, health workers, support staff and volunteers who are working day and night on the ground to make everyone healthy back again. Some donation is the least we can do to appreciate the work they are doing and have access to all resources to keep them healthy and safe.

Stay safe. Stay healthy.

‘Let the Planet heal and come back from vacation. Then you can go on one!’

From all of us at Planet Abled, Namaste.

A toned picture with a planner, pencil, photographs, spectacles and a camera placed on a laid out map indicating planning a journey.

7 ways to travel when you can’t… and some!

With the Covid-19 causing lockdowns across countries, most of us have had to shelve any travel plans we’ve had. Everyone is scampering to cancel their bookings and brace oneself to the possibility of social distancing and staying in the confines of their homes for the next few weeks. Many countries have issues travel bans and advisories to its citizens.

These are times when avid travellers feel the pinch. Travel is an addiction and for many not being able to travel or not having a travel plan in place for the next few months is very disturbing. Health and safety take precedence over anything else but other than stocking essential supplies, we also have to deal with boredom and stopping ourselves from overthinking while governments and healthcare professionals are working tirelessly to contain the pandemic.

Here are 7 ways to pique your interest and help you find your travel fix: 7 ways you can travel even when you can’t.

  1. Visit museums from around the world

The back of a lady seated and looking at the large paintings in front of her at an art gallery

Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 1200 museums and galleries around the world that uses high-resolution image technology and similar controls as google street view to allow you to go on a virtual tour of the galleries and view the art collections. Many museums offer guided tours, audio guides and welcome videos and provide detailed information about each art work. The search function also helps you find art work that fits your interests by filtering by country, artist, museum, date and so on. Explore the top museums of the world such as The British museum in London, The Metropolitan museum of art in New York, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and so on.

Visit: Museum and galleries around the globe

If you’re looking to tour Le Louvre Paris, it offers its own online virtual tours.

  1. Visit important landmarks and monuments virtually

A white marble minaret rising into the bring blue sky

Google street view allows you to explore many monuments around the world such as the Great pyramids of Egypt, the Colosseum in Rome or the Sydney Opera House.

Additionally, you can enjoy incredible panoramic views from the top as well. For instance, get a peek of how the bird’s eye view feels like from the top of Qutub Minar in Delhi, the Eiffel tower, the Tokyo tower, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro etc.

Visit: Important monuments of the world: a virtual visit 

  1. Witness wildlife in their natural habitats

Two antelopes locking horns at dusk over a carpet of yellow-green grass in an African safari

If you are an animal lover and like watching them move about in their natural habitats, then you don’t have to wait until your safari trip in Africa or Jim Corbett to witness it. Sitting anywhere in the world, you can now via live cameras view animals across the world. Be it underwater life in the Atlantic Ocean, pandas in China, Alaskan brown bears, gorillas in a Congo jungle, or leopard, rhinos and elephants in an African safari. It can be an exciting learning experience especially for kids.

Visit: Wildlife webcams from around the world

Accessibility: Most links include the audio streaming of the jungle and natural habitat

  1. Watch travel stories and movies about travel

The back of a seated man wearing a grey and blue horizontally striped henley shirt watching television at home

Follow your favourite travel vloggers and watch their stories. Make the best of your Netflix, amazon prime, you tube subscriptions. If you’re a history buff, there are some wonderful documentaries about the historic structures and civilisations around the world. Or watch travel guides to off-beat destinations. Binge-watch travel movies- those that inspire you to travel the world.

Accessibility: For the benefit of visually challenged, Netflix has an audio description feature with narration that describes what is happening on-screen including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes. All titles that currently have this feature can be found here. Some of the suggested titles with audio description are ‘Wine country’, ‘Tales by light’, ‘Jack Whitehall: Travels with my father, ‘Murder Mystery’, ‘Ibiza’,

Visit: Best travel movies of all time

  1. Reading books- an alternate way of travelling

An open book and cup of coffee in the fading evening sun with a backdrop of still water with the sun's reflection

Reading books, like travelling, can change the way you see the world. Books give you somewhere to go when you have to stay where you are. Choose from a travelogue, a memoir or a novel that can give you a complete feel of a new city. As you follow the character through his journey, you will have witnessed a new culture, it’s people, it’s food and their inner most feelings.

Some books we recommend for you to go on a virtual wanderlust around the world are A movable feast by Ernest Hemmingway, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, On the road by Jack Kerouac

Some easy reads are: Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert, In a sun-burned country by Bill Bryson, Around the world in 50 years by Albert Podell, My life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme

Accessibility: Most of the above mentioned books are available as audio books/ kindle versions for visually challenged

Visit: Best travel books list

  1. Bring the holiday home

The hands of a mother and child pouring white batter from a ladle on to a pan indicative of making pancakes

If you can’t go on a holiday, bring the holiday home. Some other ways to feel travel experience is to learn a new language or to embrace a new cuisine. Go a step further. Play ‘destination day’. Choose a destination and dress accordingly, cook a meal from the said cuisine and discuss trivia about the destination- its language, culture, history, people etc. This will be most appreciated by restless kids/grandkids who are probably most bored by being confined to small spaces.

  1. Plan a trip for the future

A brown suitcase covered with stickers of vehicles, slogans about travel and stamps of animals appeared packed and ready for travel

The next best thing to travelling is planning your next trip. Since you may have had to cancel your trip in the wake of the pandemic strike, you can minimize your disappointment by planning the next. Think about how you’d like to unwind once the virus threat has subsided. Choose from all the places in your bucket list. And make a plan. Let us look at why now is the best time for you to make travel plans.

  1.  You have the time – Usually whether you do your entire travel planning by yourself or whether you go through a travel partner, the biggest constraint is time. When you are bound by time constraints that stops you from going all-in with your plans. Being at home all the time, making these plans will give you a good time-out from your routine.
  2. You can get a very cheap airfares and discounts – Most airlines around the world are slashing airfares for future travel. Cruise liners are offering up to 50% off on their fares for cruises slated for the latter part of the year. Hotel chains are offering competitive rates as well.
  3. Most of the bookings can be done risk-free – Airlines and cruises are offering free cancellations/date change or credits in lieu that can be used for up to a year. And this at a cost that would be a fraction of what it would have been in a normal course. This is a way to steer clear of losses like what we faced due to currently cancelled trips.
  4. More accessible rooms are available – Be it for stateroom booking for cruises or top resort stays, accessible rooms are limited in number and tend to get booked out much in advance. Given the current cancellations and hesitation for future travel, these are likely to be available for your benefit.

Visit: Why to book your (accessible) travel now 

So go ahead and make plans for your future travel now and do reach out to us to discuss your travel plans. We are also offering a risk-free zero-cancellation-fee for all trips booked with us before 30th April, 2020 for travel dates until the end of 2020.

We hope that the situation normalizes soon and that businesses, economies and public health will bounce back to normalcy at the earliest.