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Accessible AirBnBs: Should You Craft One? Could You Use One?
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Accessible AirBnBs: Should You Craft One? Could You Use One?

AirBnB can be tough to use, even when you aren’t looking for an accessible option. And if you aren’t someone who needs accessible options in your home, you may not consider all of the individuals that you are potentially excluding.

What are your options if you have accessible needs?

What can you do to if you want to welcome everyone into your AirBnB?

What to Do If You Need an Accessible Option

Under the ADA, hotels, motels, and other places of lodging, if designed or constructed after Jan. 26, 1993, must be usable by persons with disabilities. It is also illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities. Although it’s quite hard to prove discrimination that happens, it does: Airbnb hosts are more likely to turn away guests with disabilities. Looking at the detailed accessibility filters can help you ignore the places that just don’t work.

It’s also a little bit easier to use hotels and motels which are legally required to follow disability law and can be sued much easier than individual hosts on AirBnB.

Why support something that makes disability lodging more difficult?

Creating an Accessible AirBnB

There are a variety of ways you can create an accessible AirBnB. Whether you want to change your doorways to zero step or remove obstacles that can trip blind (or just clumsy) guests, there are a ton of options. Adjustable countertops aren’t just good for your guests, they are good for your back. Start with your must-haves to accessibility will get you more guests, then you can start tackling the “would be nice” improvements.

Start With Musts

Starting with your must-haves for an accessible home is how you can create an environment that is friendly for everyone quickly.

Can your guests get into your home? Are there steps? Is the doorway wide enough? Even if you can’t put a ramp in for your entryway, a foldable ramp could be an option. If a human being using a wheelchair can’t get into your home, no matter the internal renovations, your home is not accessible.

If people visiting your home are using a wheelchair, updating your countertops and tables to be adjustable is not only good for your guests, it’s good for your back. While that might seem like a huge task, starting in the kitchen with a remodel is a great start. Making sure a wheelchair can maneuver in your home is a big part of renovations. While it might be something like making a larger bathroom, it could also be as simple as moving your couch.

Maneuverability is not only about the large-scale changes like making sure your doorways don’t have steps and large enough to get through; it also applies to smaller changes. Like removing clutter that may limit the potential 60 inches needed to turn around and lighting potentially dark areas that may have pitfalls for your wheelchair-using guests.

Would Be Nice

Wouldn’t it be nice to not trip over things? People who use wheelchairs also don’t want to trip over things, and when in a home they are unfamiliar with, you can remove some of those roadblocks. Low-level clutter, like shoes in the entryway and a small shelf full of porcelain figurines, might be prime roadblocks to your guests. Minimalism is not only stylish but a great way to remove some of the small physical barriers to your wheelchair-using guests.

Lighting areas that have bumps or roadblocks is also a great way to help the people who use wheelchairs in your AirBnB. Sure they might be able to get over the ledge leading to your kitchen, but can they see that the ledge is there? You will also want to have alternative light-sources on hand in case of a temporary outage, so that your guests can safely navigate their surroundings in the absence of power.  

You can change door knobs to be lower, add light switch options, put bars into your shower. There are a thousand tiny changes that really make your home accessible to all AirBnB guests. Please consider who you are dis-inviting to your AirBnB when you are not accessible.

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