Taking a short break or holiday

Taking a break or having a holiday can do you the world of good. A change of scenery can give you a fresh outlook and help to recharge your batteries. Whether it’s a short local break, a trip abroad or a longer holiday going further afield.

The term short breaks is also used to describe ‘respite care’. This is a where a short stay in a supported accommodation, such as a care home, can be arranged to give carers a break from their caring responsibility. Allowing you to take a break, while the person you care for is being well looked after.

Things to think about when booking a holiday or short break

There can be a number of things to think about to help it to run smoothly. You may need to think about arranging extra support and check that you can access the facilities you need, if you have a disability or are caring for someone on the trip. The following checklist should help you with this.

Using a travel agent make sure that any travel agent you use is a member of ABTA, the Travel Association who represent UK travel agents and tour operators. Travel agents who are members display an ABTA symbol in their windows so that you can easily recognise whether they are a member.

Hiring a car if you are planning to hire a car in the UK or abroad, check with the care hire company that you can get insurance cover first. Many companies have restrictions on age and you may find that you can’t get the insurance cover that you want. Visit Age UK for more information.

Passports make sure you have a valid passport for the duration of your stay (see below)

Electronic System for Travel Application (ESTA) gives you permission to travel to the US without a Visa.

Visa: Check if you need one on the GOV.UK website

Travel insurance: you don’t have to buy your insurance from the travel company that you book your holiday with. Shop around to make sure that you have the type of insurance that fits your needs and covers all of the activities that you intend to do on your holiday. Buy travel insurance with healthcare cover for your condition. Your EHIC or GHIC will cover medically necessary treatment.

Many companies offer annual travel insurance cover, which might work out cheaper for you, depending on the number of holidays you take each year. If you are travelling in the UK, you may already be covered under your existing home contents insurance.

Organising your own package: putting your own ‘package holiday’ together is increasingly popular now. A package holiday is a pre-arranged combination of at least two of the following three elements: transport, accommodation, and other tourist services.

If you are organising your own package and are making bookings over the Internet, you should ensure that you keep a record of all of the relevant booking reference numbers and confirmations that you receive.

Travelling in a group if you are travelling as part of a group, don’t rely on one person to make all of the arrangements in case they fall ill during the planning stages, or are unable to go on the holiday.

Going away for a long time: If you’re planning a long stay holiday, check with your local social security office whether any benefits you receive will be affected.

First Aid kit: Remember to take all your medication and pack it according to the guidance for that country.  Things like insect repellent for mosquitos and midges, sun cream, as well as tweezers for splinters or ticks, plasters and antihistamine cream are all useful.  For further information go to NHS website.

When travelling alone single traveller supplements may apply: This means you pay an extra charge. The majority of hotels price their rooms as doubles or family rooms and don’t reduce their rates if they are used by a single person.  However,  Fred Olsen cruises offers more than 200 single cabins across its four ships, avoiding the single person supplement.

Holidays or short breaks to suit your needs

There are organisations that can provide information and advice about going on a short break or holiday if you are older, disabled, have mobility problems, need specific facilities or have care needs.

Age UK has general travel information for older people.

Altogether Travel offers help with travel and holidays including offering care and support and travel companions

Calvert Trust provide outdoor activities, meaningful challenges and adventure holidays in the UK for people with disabilities and their families.

Dementia Adventure provide supported group holidays for people living with or caring for someone with dementia. They can arrange your travel, accommodation, activities and meals. You can choose a holiday that suits your needs, such as coastal break, walk in the mountains, or explore historic sites. There is a cost for this service but subsidised breaks are available.

Disabled Access Holidays offers a directory of disabled accessible accommodation.

Disability North offer information on providers for people with a disability and accessible leisure offers.

Enable Holidays offer a range of overseas package holidays with adapted accommodation and tailored for disabled people, their families and friends.

Revitalise is a national charity providing short breaks, respite care and other services for disabled people, visually impaired people and carers.

Holidays with Help provide holidays for people with disabilities and their carers and also specialist respite care breaks.  Blackpool, Weston Supermare and Scarborough.

SAGA Holidays specialise in holidays for people aged 50 years old and over in the UK and abroad.

Smile Holidays is a specialist provider of all inclusive holidays for adults with learning disabilities. With a variety of destinations in England, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.  They offer a  choice of excursions, attractions, entertainment and fun.

Tailored Leisure Co offers a range of support from online fitness, to Spa breaks to holiday homes and tailored package holidays.

Tourism for All website can help you plan accessible travel and accommodation. Helping you to arrange a holiday or short break to suit your needs. Find places to stay and things to do with facilities such as, hoists, accessible bathrooms, changing places, autism or wheelchair friendly and more. They also list accommodation providers who have been trained and provide places suitable for people with hidden disabilities. For example, quiet places, sensory rooms or ground floor access.,

Accessibility support

Airport Assistance is available to help you travel around the airport if you have a disability or mobility issues.

National Rail Service Enquiries offers Passenger Assist to help older and disabled passengers travelling on the rail network. You can request help before you travel on their website, the Passenger Assist App, or by contacting them. When you contact the train company you’re starting your journey with, they can: arrange assistance. help you on and off trains, reserve wheelchair spaces and seats, provide you with detailed rail information.

AccessAble can help you to plan your trips to places like shops, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, railway stations, hotels, colleges, universities, hospitals and more. They visit and review the accessibility of places in Newcastle. Use their directory of venues to find wheelchair friendly venues, read more about facilities and disabled access available. Such as:

  • photos of the facilities
  • entrance to the building
  • accessible toilets or changing places
  • how easy it is to move around the venue
  • lifts
  • transport and parking
  • dementia friendly
  • quiet or safe space
  • sign language

EuansGuide.com is a disabled access review website where disabled people, their families, friends and carers can find and share the accessibility of venues around the UK and beyond. The website shares thousands of experiences, helping you to plan activities, days out, short breaks and holidays that suit your needs.

North East and Cumbria Hubs Mobility Advice Service offer free advice to people who are unable to drive or have been advised not to.

Travelling abroad

Check the Gov.UK website for information about your destination country.  It’s the only place with accurate and up to date information. For instance, covering issues such as vaccines and documents required.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommend taking the contact details of the nearest British Consulate (sometimes called UK Embassy) with you, as they could prove invaluable in times of trouble.

TravelHealthPro website provides health information for travellers and details health risks of travelling to all destinations.

Health advice

Ask your GP about any immunisations that you may need to have at least three months before travelling abroad. Vaccinations can be expensive as not all of them are free on the NHS and several courses of vaccine may be needed.

NHS Fit for travel website lists the recommended vaccinations you should get for each country. You can also find out more by visiting the NHS.UK.

Health insurance for travel in Europe

If you are travelling in Europe or some Commonwealth countries, you may still use your  European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if it is in date.  Alternatively a  Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) free of charge which lets you get medically necessary state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.

Buy travel insurance with healthcare cover for your condition. Your EHIC or GHIC will cover medically necessary treatment.


If you are planning to travel abroad you are required to have a valid UK passport. Well in advance of travelling, check that your passport is valid and in good condition.

Travelling abroad with pets

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows cats, dogs and ferrets to travel with their owners to some countries and to re-enter the UK without having to go into quarantine.

For more information, contact your vet or visit Gov.uk

Short breaks for carers or the person you care for

A carer is someone who looks after a family member, parent, friend, partner, child or neighbour who could not manage without their help. This includes children, young carers and adults who look after an adult. The person you care for may have a disability, a physical or mental illness, be frail, or have alcohol or drug-related problems.

You may need to take a break. To be able to have a break you may need someone else to be with the person you care for. To take a break you could arrange for a family member, neighbour or friend to be with the person you care for. Or you could use a support service such as:

There is a cost for these services listed above. The person you care for may be eligible for financial help from Newcastle City Council, to help pay for support.

Speak to Community Health & Social Care Direct at Newcastle City Council to find out if you are eligible for financial help. Even if you are not eligible they can give you advice. They may be able to arrange support for the person you care for, so that you can have a break.

Read more about looking after someone and the support available for carers in Newcastle.

Short breaks and day centres for people with learning disabilities or autism

Shared Lives is a Council run service for adults who have a learning disability or autism and who need overnight support and supervision.

Castle Dene offers short breaks for people with learning disabilities. There is a cost for this service.

Welford Centre is a day centre for adults complex needs. To use this service you must be referred by a Health or Social Care professional.

Read more in our services for people with learning disabilities or autism article.

Days out

The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain  a guide to accessible days out in Britain.

Things to do in Newcastle is our article with more ideas for fun activities to try in Newcastle

Day trips and visits read more about where you can travel to on public transport or for free with a concessionary travel pass


Barking Mad Dog Care provides a dog sitting or dog boarding service as an alternative to kennels. Barking Mad provide Home-from-Home holidays for your dog.

Last updated: December 8, 2023