There is really nothing like summer and sunshine! We all need it, especially here in Ireland, where sunny days are rare. A bit of sunshine can do wonders for our spirits.

Planning a holiday with David takes a lot of research. Because he uses a wheelchair, I can’t just book any holiday. Many hotels claim to be wheelchair-friendly, but in reality, only a few truly are.

Often, I would book through a travel agency unless I know a place that has worked for us before. Some bathrooms can’t fit a wheelchair, or they lack adequate grab rails. We even have to think about footpaths—is the hotel on a level surface or up a hill? Can we easily get to the promenade? Is there a hoist to get into the pool? Are there enough lifts, and are they big enough for a wheelchair?

For us, an all-inclusive holiday or renting a chalet or apartment in a hotel and near shops works best. All-inclusive trips are more expensive, but they save the hassle of finding wheelchair-friendly restaurants. Sometimes, wheelchair bathrooms are placed at the back of restaurants, making bathroom trips a challenge. David also has hearing loss and can be quite loud, so quiet places aren’t ideal for us.

Timing is important, too. If there are many children around, it can be tricky with an electric wheelchair. Kids are curious and might get too close, risking accidents.

Planning and airport assistance have been lifesavers. Book assistance in advance, and we always arrive early, especially in other countries where finding help can be difficult. Airport and airline staff are usually very helpful.

Packing comfy clothes is essential. Elastic band shorts, loose cotton clothes, and T-shirts are perfect since sitting in a wheelchair can get very hot. Other parents of children with intellectual differences also face challenges, so stick with what works for your family.

Holidays are fun and set you up for a great year. They provide much-needed vitamin D and a change in routine, which is great for David. It’s his holiday, so I plan with his needs first. When he’s happy and enjoying his holiday, it makes me burst with happiness. That’s my sunshine.

Enjoy your summer planning!