Tips for VIPs: Travel and transport

Travel picture

Following our collection of tips on food and cooking as a visually impaired person (VIP), we asked you to share your advice on getting out and about. And you didn’t disappoint!

Enjoy the view
"Although I no longer go birdwatching, I use my binoculars to read signs and look at flowers, paintings, exhibitions, or just the scenery.

"When travelling on public transport, I carry my “monocular” unobtrusively in my fist. It magnifies ten times so I can bring it up to my eye to read the boards on the station platform, or spot the route number on a bus from up to 100 metres away."

Keep tabs
"Add bumpons (tactile sticky dots) to your luggage to help you identify it on the luggage rack or carousel."

"It used to be difficult for me, when out shopping with my husband, to find our car in the supermarket car park.
But now there’s a yellow sticker in the rear window, I can locate it easily."

Delegate the driving
If you regularly make the same journey, list it on and see if you can get a lift with someone who has a spare seat in their car.

See if there’s a “Daisy” in your area. Driving Miss Daisy is a network of “community companions” whose accessible cars can be booked to
get you to and from medical appointments, or anywhere else. See for more information.

Who else can help?
Registering as sight impaired may mean you get discounted or free access to local bus, train and tram travel, although the details will vary depending on where you live.

Contact your local council to find out what services they offer. When planning a train journey, call the free National Passenger Assist number (0800 022 3720). With 24 hours’ notice they can arrange for staff to meet you at each station, make sure you get on the right train and even carry your bag. 

In late 2017, Virgin Atlantic announced that they would start to provide audio-described in-flight entertainment.

Stand out at the bus stop 

Many people with macular degeneration can see the bus approaching, but cannot read the route number until it is very close or too late to indicate to the driver that you want it to stop.

Print out in large bold black ink on white paper, each of the service numbers you use the most. Into the centre of each A5 quadrant. If you are unable to do this at home, visit your local stationery shop and they can also laminate it for you so they are durable and waterproof.