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Willow

Holiday Nightmare - What Would You Do?

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Nesf

If I were in your position, I would not spend another 410 pounds to book alone - it's just too much money and a waste to write off 350 pounds already spend - not unless I was super-rich and could afford it :) Instead, I would work on making the best of the situation as it is and trying to find workarounds for the various issues that might crop up. If I had to sleep in bunk beds with other students, I would most definitely want a bunk bed in the corner or next to the window, and not in the middle, and would ask for it. Perhaps you could inform the airline staff at the check-in desk of your mobility issues (have relevant documentation ready) and they will be able to assist you. My experience of ailine staff is that they can be extremely helpful with issues like this. I would also factor taxi fares into the budget and take a taxi rather than use public transport where it might be crowded and you might have to stand. Earplugs, blindfold mask and headphones with music would be a must for me. I would also use Google Street maps to check out the area round the hostel to look for places close by to go to eat, or just sit alone for a few minutes, if you need time alone. Very often, hostels have quiet areas that are rarely used by other guests where you might be able go to sit to get some time out to yourself. Hmm, I once stayed in a hostel in Barcelona, now I'm wondering if it is the same one.

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Max000
19 hours ago, Willow said:

Hi everyone,

Long read...

So, I'm due to go on a trip with my University - all Art and Design students are going. From day one I've expressed my concerns and needs so that everything can be taken into account - but I fear I've not been taken seriously, and am now facing a predicament.

We're going to Barcelona, it's basically a trip to learn about Modernism. I'm moderately excited, in theory. It's happening beginning of March.

I have limited mobility - something which I try to power through most of the time but know from experience it's best to actually plan ahead for worst case, just to alleviate any extra stress. So I would normally notify the airports when booking tickets that I need assistance - this means when I check in I can tell them that I'm unable to stand for more than a maximum of 10 minutes, so that they can tell the gate staff that I need to be allowed to board first. Its honestly been a lifesaver for me in the past and has meant I can start my holiday relatively pain free. It's also an issue when moving about cities, so I tend to purchase travel city passes ahead of time so I can hop on and off public transport no matter how short the journey.

I needed to know that this had been booked (we've known about the trip since last September and I've been voicing my concerns since then), or that we had private transport as is sometimes the case for group trips, so I knew if I needed to book things myself.

We were told we were staying in a hotel so rooms would be 2 - 3 people max, something vital for me as I cannot be sharing a room with a handful of people I barely know. I NEED somewhere I can calm down and recuperate. I also from day said that I'd need a room for just me and my friend and that I'd happily pay a little extra if they were only planning on booking rooms for 3 people.

I also needed to know that we were staying somewhere with a restaurant, so that I could just pop downstairs for food instead of having to head out into the city - I just wanted to be able to still eat even if I'm in too much pain to go out. 

SO, back to my predicament. The trip is only a month away and I have only just found out SOME details (not all, no idea about day to day itinerary, but I'm not too fussed, I'm happy to do whatever I feel like on the day, as long as I have planned a list of places I could visit and how to get there, and can just choose as I see fit from the list). I now know the flight details (no mentioned of booking assistance (which is free to do by the way), I know the HOSTEL we're staying in - cue rooms with bunk beds and lots of people, and no restaurant onsite. Travel is just whatever we want to do when we're there - no coaches have been booked for the group, no passes have been included in the price.

The trip cost me £350. I have looked tonight at how much it would be for me to book the trip myself - £410 - and that would include a seat on the exact same flight as my group (but I'd have peace of mind of knowing I'd booked assistance), a double room in a Hotel, with a restaurant on site (in the same immediate area as the Uni booked hostel), and a attraction and travel pass (includes free entry to all the places I assume we're going with Uni). So, I've emailed my tutors and expressed all of this to them - I'm prepared for the worst case response from them, and am now preparing to have to book all of this myself, losing the original £350 and spending a further £410, on top of the few hundred I had aside for actual food and stuff once there.

What would you do?!

Well that trip would be out for me. Because I don't do Hostels. But it sounds like a good opportunity for you. I think you should just go for it, and just do the best you can. It's a good chance for you to find out how well you can handle it. It might not be as bad as you think. You don't know until you try. For food you should look up places to eat on Yelp or Tripadvisor. If you don't feel like going out, I'm sure you can find places that will deliver food to you. But try to come up with a list if possibilities before you go, so you will be prepared for whatever happens. 

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Willow
1 hour ago, Nesf said:

If I were in your position, I would not spend another 410 pounds to book alone - it's just too much money and a waste to write off 350 pounds already spend - not unless I was super-rich and could afford it :) Instead, I would work on making the best of the situation as it is and trying to find workarounds for the various issues that might crop up. If I had to sleep in bunk beds with other students, I would most definitely want a bunk bed in the corner or next to the window, and not in the middle, and would ask for it. Perhaps you could inform the airline staff at the check-in desk of your mobility issues (have relevant documentation ready) and they will be able to assist you. My experience of ailine staff is that they can be extremely helpful with issues like this. I would also factor taxi fares into the budget and take a taxi rather than use public transport where it might be crowded and you might have to stand. Earplugs, blindfold mask and headphones with music would be a must for me. I would also use Google Street maps to check out the area round the hostel to look for places close by to go to eat, or just sit alone for a few minutes, if you need time alone. Very often, hostels have quiet areas that are rarely used by other guests where you might be able go to sit to get some time out to yourself. Hmm, I once stayed in a hostel in Barcelona, now I'm wondering if it is the same one.

Yes, I am reluctant to spend the extra money, especially since it would be going on a credit card. I'm honestly just hoping for the best in terms of a reply to the email I send to my tutors. But as @RiRi suggested, at the very least I may look at booking a room in a hotel nearby if I am going to be in a larger room in the hostel. I was in this situation on a college trip to London a year ago, so I know from that experience that I cope for a day or so and then the anxiety pours out in the forum of a panic attack (or embarrassingly, as was the case in London, a full blown meltdown with palpitations and dizziness to boot). Thank you for all of your advice @Nesf. I'll definitely book looking on google street view and making lists of places ahead of time. And as you say, factoring in a little extra for taxi fare is a good idea also.

35 minutes ago, Max000 said:

Well that trip would be out for me. Because I don't do Hostels. But it sounds like a good opportunity for you. I think you should just go for it, and just do the best you can. It's a good chance for you to find out how well you can handle it. It might not be as bad as you think. You don't know until you try. For food you should look up places to eat on Yelp or Tripadvisor. If you don't feel like going out, I'm sure you can find places that will deliver food to you. But try to come up with a list if possibilities before you go, so you will be prepared for whatever happens. 

Thank you :) I know my physical limitations quite well, so that takes away from some of the 'don't know until you try' aspect of things, and it's not practical to try and handle it ahaha, but I'm doing my best to get an idea of the types of journeys I'll have to make and whether or not I can manage to walk or not. I hadn't actually thought of ordering food in, so I will definitely look into that before I go!

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RiRi

Until yesterday, I did not know what a hostel is. I've googled it and saw some images and wow, that does look like a nightmare. I think I get why @Willow put it in all caps. Before yesterday, I thought a hostel was just the UK way of saying hotel/motel. But it looks like it's a place where there are bunk beds and could be a total of 6 even.That looks crowded. I personally don't think I could do that, though, surprisingly I have done it in my life. Currently, unless it was all direct family, I don't think I could do that. I think booking a motel/hotel nearby is a good idea. Although, @Ben says that he always has earphones in. Bringing earplugs might be a good idea too.

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Max000
8 hours ago, RiRi said:

Until yesterday, I did not know what a hostel is. I've googled it and saw some images and wow, that does look like a nightmare. I think I get why @Willow put it in all caps. Before yesterday, I thought a hostel was just the UK way of saying hotel/motel. But it looks like it's a place where there are bunk beds and could be a total of 6 even.That looks crowded. I personally don't think I could do that, though, surprisingly I have done it in my life. Currently, unless it was all direct family, I don't think I could do that. I think booking a motel/hotel nearby is a good idea. Although, @Ben says that he always has earphones in. Bringing earplugs might be a good idea too.

Hostels are fantastic, because 1. they are cheap, and 2. you can meet a lot of people who share the interest in traveling. #1 is good for everybody. For those of us with ASD #2 might be a deal killer. But you never know until you try. When I spent five months in Japan, I could have saved a lot of money by staying in hostels. But even though I wasn't diagnosed at that time, I knew I wouldn't be able to handle that. So instead of that, I just searched for the cheapest hotel I could find in the Tokyo area, and stayed in that one hotel for the entire five months.  Which worked out good for me. Because I needed to spend some time alone. But on the down side, even as cheap as the hotel was I spent about 2.5 times as much on lodging, as if I had stayed in a hostel. I also spent a lot more money on train fare, and had to spend 3 hours roundtrip everyday traveling into the city. If I had gotten a hostel, it would likely have been located more conveniently in the city center. If you can handle it, hostels are great places to stay for most people, maybe even for some autistic people, if they can handle it. 

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Nesf
16 hours ago, Max000 said:

Hostels are fantastic, because 1. they are cheap, and 2. you can meet a lot of people who share the interest in traveling. #1 is good for everybody. For those of us with ASD #2 might be a deal killer. But you never know until you try. When I spent five months in Japan, I could have saved a lot of money by staying in hostels. But even though I wasn't diagnosed at that time, I knew I wouldn't be able to handle that. So instead of that, I just searched for the cheapest hotel I could find in the Tokyo area, and stayed in that one hotel for the entire five months.  Which worked out good for me. Because I needed to spend some time alone. But on the down side, even as cheap as the hotel was I spent about 2.5 times as much on lodging, as if I had stayed in a hostel. I also spent a lot more money on train fare, and had to spend 3 hours roundtrip everyday traveling into the city. If I had gotten a hostel, it would likely have been located more conveniently in the city center. If you can handle it, hostels are great places to stay for most people, maybe even for some autistic people, if they can handle it. 

My experience of hostels is that people often travel in small groups of two or three and tend to keep themselves to themselves and aren't really interested in talking to strangers. There's no requirement or obligation to socialise with them. Which suits me fine, because that's what I want too. For me, the problem is the noise and having to share bathrooms and general lack of privacy. It's doable, but need earplugs, music, somewhere quiet to sit away from the other guests.

In some ways, B&Bs are a lot worse,  because you are often expected to talk to the hosts - and they often hang round and scrutinise you, watch you. expect you to make light conversation or small talk. I hate that. The time that I felt most uncomfortable travelling was in B&Bs for this reason. Out of all of them I much prefer a hotel if I can afford it.

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Willow

So I got to speak to some people who are organising the trip today and I think they have now realised that they need to take me seriously when it comes to what I'm telling them I'm capable of. Also, my old tutor from college last year (who ran the trip to London and looked after me when I had a meltdown), came to the meeting today to make sure I felt comfortable enough to come on the trip. So, as far as I can tell, the new arrangements are - I ring the airport to ask for assistance ahead of time; they are going to organise a twin room for my friend and I; they will help me arrange a taxi for the days we're visiting somewhere further afield and they will pop out to get food for me if I'm not physically able to at the end of the day. 

I do feel much better about the trip now - I'm just hoping that they can follow through on their promises at this late stage :)

Thank you to everyone who replied with great advice, it's all things I can bare in mind in case things start to go wrong!

I also learned there's a beach a few minutes walk from where I' staying, so if all else fails, that's where you can find me. :D

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RiRi

@Willow I'm really glad that these people are finally helping you and that they're going to accommodate you, even though it took you some doing for it to happen and probably some stress too. I hope everything goes better than you think it will and that you have a good time there. :) 

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