KHM Travel Agent Expands Options for Special Needs Travelers
Written by: Amanda Bailey on June 04, 2015
Part of a travel agent’s role is making the world a more accessible place for their clients. They bring travelers to far-off destinations they might never have dreamed of visiting, while minimizing the hassles their clients might experiences along the way.
For travelers with disabilities, the desire to travel is equally strong. The hurdles, however, can be deterring for many. Fortunately, there are a growing number of travel agents specializing in accessible travel, like Faliscia Knuckles of Your 5 Star Travel Connection in Michigan.
Your 5 Star Travel Connection is a Special Needs Group Certified travel agency that strives to provide accessibility solutions for each client to give them the ultimate travel experience.
Her agency is new, but as a special needs traveler herself, Faliscia has experience in curating memorable, hassle-free trips. It’s also what inspires her to help others.
“I understand what it’s like to get people to understand who you are,” she says. “I feel I’m qualified enough to do this with sincerity and patience.”
Faliscia became certified through Special Needs at Sea, the organization that developed the Certified Accessible Travel Advocate program. It’s the first program in the world to train travel agents to address the needs of disabled travelers.
Specializing in accessible travel requires additional training on top of learning destinations, resorts, airlines and cruise ship cabins. Faliscia lists our Boot Camp live training event and our series of training videos as very beneficial to starting her travel agency.
However, when working with disabled clients, it’s equally important to determine all of their travel requirements, ensure any additional equipment and transportation are available in destination, and coordinate access to mobility aids.
For those interested in the accessible travel niche, Faliscia recommends spending time with those who are disabled or less-mobile to truly get an idea of their needs.
“Volunteer with seniors or disabled children to get a feel for what it is like working with people of this nature,” she says. “You might take a class on ADA [The Americans with Disabilities Act] to find out the laws and guidelines of this area of business.”
Becoming a special needs travel expert might take a little extra time and effort. However, considering that 20 percent of the US population has some form of disability, it’s a travel segment that has yet to reach its full potential.
On top of that, it’s a niche that is highly rewarding, which is why Faliscia points to customer fulfillment as her favorite aspect of being a travel agent.
She loves “helping others by satisfying their needs, enabling them to travel and experience the world, with the end result of happiness and freedom.”
As the Special Needs Group points out, the world is wonderfully accessible, once you know what’s needed. Faliscia is one such individual determined to expand travel opportunities for everyone, regardless of their situation.
We are honored to have Faliscia as one of our hard-working travel agents, and would like to thank her for sharing her insight into this segment of the travel industry.