Having a disability should not stop you or a loved one from exploring the unknown, escaping the everyday world of your current reality, and having the adventure of a lifetime. Here are some tips for easy ways to improve accessible travel:
Always call the places you plan on visiting before you arrive. Those who provide service are required by law in many cases to accommodate travelers with special needs. Some just need some time to make the arrangements ahead of schedule to be ready for your arrival. Be sure to mention your needs when you call to make the reservation (approximately one to two days before arrival).
Be as specific as possible when describing your disability. Give as many details as you can about what you can and can’t do, and be honest about the severity of the disability. The more information a service provider has, the better they will be able to accommodate you. If they promise you certain accommodations, try to get these promises in writing.
Make sure to bring your medication (if needed), and then bring extra and keep them in your carry on bag. It is advised to bring 2 extra packages of your medication just in case of an emergency.
Look up your doctor availability ahead of time in the area you will be traveling. Your physician, health care provider, insurance company or local embassy can provide the names and contact numbers of doctors at your expected destination. Health Care Abroad is a great resource to find remote physicians in your travel areas.
Fly direct and avoid connecting flights as much as possible. Flying directly into a city can save you time, money, and the hassle that comes with unnecessary trouble of having to get on and off a plane more than is needed, especially if you have a wheelchair. Speak with your flight attendant before your plane lands to plan a smooth exit from the plane.
Prepare a ride to and from the airport in your desired city, especially if you have a wheelchair.
Bring extra parts and tools. Wheelchairs go through a lot while traveling, so it’s very important you take care of it as you adventure across the world to ensure that you are able to use it as you need. This means bringing spare parts and any tools you’ll need to care for it. If you need to take your wheelchair apart for certain flights then make sure your companions know how to do this as easy as possible.
Make sure to know your rights as a person with disabilities. Knowing what the TSA’s rules for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions are will greatly help you in making the process of passing through security much easier. Use the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disability Resource Center.
Be willing to ask for help. Use all the resources you can to get to where you need to. This includes seeking help from customer service in any location to find what you need or asking for help from a fellow traveler about any questions you have because most people are more than willing to lend a helping hand.
Have fun! It’s definitely more of a challenge to travel when you have some limitations, however, it is more than worth the trouble when you finally land in your destination and breathe in the air of a new place with possibilities that are yet to be seen. Breathe in the new and breathe out the old. Happy travels!