Vacation – all inclusive – whispers of Neustadt

The travel agency Punkt-Um of Lebenshilfe enables people with disabilities to explore new worlds. We’re always looking for companions for this season, too. A mission that pays off for everyone.

Mobility – This means not only the way to the shopping center, but also travel. Literally, the obstacles are too great for many people with disabilities. Obstacle-free path from the front door to the hotel room? is unlikely. Easy language reservation system? Nobody.

together on vacation. Photo: period

Since 1991, Punkt-Um Tours has been offering tailor-made tours: archery in Spreewald, dog sledding tour in Neuenkirchen, visit of the Beatles band in Erfurt, hiking in the Ore Mountains are all featured on the pages of the current catalog. There are 70 trips per year for groups and individuals, one of which is by plane, for example to California or Gran Canaria. “River cruise on the Rhine with a completely new, unobstructed ship,” says Henrike Großmann. She and her team paved the way for people with disabilities to go on vacation.

great adventure

The cornerstone of this, says Henrike, is volunteer support, because vacationers’ restricted freedom depends on the support. With what’s known as the coach’s flat rate, companions can receive tax-free wages for their services of up to €3,000 per year, plus free lodging and lodging, she explains. A tour group of ten needs professional guidance and at least two volunteers or part-time employees.

Amusement park or sleigh ride - excursions are planned in the catalog as needed.  Photo: period
Amusement park or sleigh ride – excursions are planned in the catalog as needed. Photo: period

Many have taken advantage of this help opportunity to savor a social career — to start or change careers, or to complete an internship, says Henrike. Others just want to have a good time. There is an offer of training in advance: first aid, a course on how to properly hold and lift people, and a crash course in care. But the real advantages lie on the personal side: “The trips lead to friendships and partnerships, sometimes for life,” says Henrik. Uncharted visions, self-knowledge and adventure await here.

Vacation again at last!

Planning trips is a logistical masterpiece, beginning with putting groups together. Henrike and her team have a social network that has grown over the years in their heads: Who has what needs and characteristics? Who has interests and what is excluded? Queues are long and the supply – especially in East Germany – is very poor.

Henrike explains that for many people with disabilities, Punkt-Um Tours is the only opportunity to set off on their own. It mainly involves people who live individually. “No one who lives in a dorm is entitled to paid leave, since in theory the provider covers it. But in practice, there is often a shortage of staff to do so.”

PunktUm offers both domestic and international flights.  Photo: period
PunktUm offers both domestic and international flights. Photo: period

It hit Henrique personally when flights were canceled due to the pandemic. After endless cancellations, hardships, and rescheduling, this new season means: finally time off again – for others. “When I see the cheerful faces on leaving and arriving, I know why I’m doing it,” she says. She proudly remembers that her highlight during Corona was organizing a honeymoon. Her biggest goal for the coming years: “to continue”. This year’s trips are already fully booked, but helpers are still sorely needed. The team is happy to receive inquiries.

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