10 Disability Travel Tips
Traveling with a disability comes with unique opportunities and challenges, often requiring more research to find the best disability travel tips. No one should have to stay home due to a permanent or temporary condition. In fact, accessible travel is on the rise.
The travel industry offers more services and accommodations than ever before to individuals with impairments. With the internet on hand, individuals with disabilities often travel and share their own tips for getting around and exploring the world.
In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides the concept of equal treatment, no matter what ability, under the law, but travel in other countries can be difficult because every country has its own accessibility regulations. However, if you want to travel, be sure to do your research and check out these travel tips for people with disabilities!
Plan Ahead for Your Specific Needs
Only you know your specific needs to accommodate the ease of your travel for transportation and lodging. While the ADA outlines what businesses ought to do, that doesn’t always mean they have what they promise. Call ahead to ensure that the places you stay will be able to adequately care for your needs and find out if they are willing to adjust to your specific accommodations.
Work with a Travel Agent or Travel Company
These travel experts know how to create a travel itinerary that covers every need while getting in all the adventure. This means knowing what hotels are truly accessible and arranging the right type of transportation to ensure that you get to your desired destination with ease. From Machu Picchu to London, travelers with disabilities are finding ways to see all parts of the world. In fact, London and Barcelona are perfect for independent accessible travel since they have both hosted the Olympics and Paralympics. A knowledgeable and savvy travel agent can be the key to making your travel dreams a reality.
Check in to Accessible Accommodation
When choosing your hotel or lodging, it’s important to consider your home routine for bathing and sleeping. You’ll want to find a hotel that can offer you similar options, whether that’s a roll-in shower with shower bench and grab bars or a specialized bathtub. Many people don’t understand what “fully accessible” means. Be sure to be specific when explaining what you’re looking for in a room. And be sure to ask about the width of the doorways and the space to maneuver a wheelchair.
Select a Good Travel Guide
A good travel guide knows the sights, restaurants, and experiences that are easily accessible — as well as those that aren’t. In this way, a travel guide can prepare an itinerary that ensures that everyone has full access to every activity and an enjoyable experience overall. Guides all over the world can offer a specialized tour that accommodates wheelchairs, scooters, canes, signing, and so much more.
Plan for Flying
One of the biggest barriers to travel for many individuals with disabilities is transportation. While airlines and airports are improving their accommodation options, more can be done. In the airport, wheelchair assistance can smooth the process through the airport. However, on the actual airplane, even an airplane with an accessible bathroom and aisle wheelchair, often is far from easily accessible for a person with disabilities. Allow for plenty of time between connecting flights because people who use wheelchairs are often the last off the airplane.
Get a Doctor’s Note
When traveling, be sure to bring copies of your doctor’s contact information and a doctor’s letter that outlines your condition, medications, possible complications, special needs, and requirements. Always bring extra medication and carry it with you in your carry-on. If you’re traveling outside of the country, research the medical care available to you.
Check Your Travel Insurance
You never know what will happen while you’re traveling. You’ll want to be sure that any and every situation is covered with the right travel insurance, not only covering financial losses but also possible medical emergencies. After all, such an emergency could be extremely expensive. To explore possible medical providers, check out the website for the U.S. Department of State.
Borrow or Bring a Wheelchair
If you require a wheelchair, you need to decide if you want to bring your wheelchair or borrow a wheelchair upon arriving at your destination. Naturally, there are a number of pros and cons either way. The benefits of having your familiar wheelchair may outweigh the annoyance of arranging for its part of the journey in your travels. However, you may find it a fun opportunity to test drive other wheelchairs during your vacation or travel.
Explore Potential Accessible Travel Discounts
Many travel and transportation companies offer special discounts to individuals with disabilities and users of wheelchairs. For example, Amtrak offers discounts, and some bus transportation companies offer reduced fares for individuals with disabilities. Most companies will require proof of disability through a doctor’s note or a transit ID card. U.S. citizens with disabilities can also receive a free National Park Service Access Pass that gives access to many monuments and historic sites.
Consider Your Caregiver
If your travel includes the help of a caregiver, it’s crucial that their needs are taken into consideration to ensure an enjoyable trip for everyone. This may mean choosing a guided visit that includes a travel companion for that particular activity so that your caregiver can have an afternoon to regroup, rest, or sightsee alone. Breaks for everyone can ensure that the stamina for travel continues strong.
Traveling across the United States or the world is becoming more and more common and accessible for travelers with disabilities. As the internet expands the opportunities and knowledge on accessible travel, the world is becoming more accessible than ever before.
For StrongGo, an accessible world means being devoted to ongoing research, development, and manufacturing of TekWay® High Performance ADA Domes/Detectable Warning systems to warn visually impaired pedestrians of possible street and transportation hazards.