A family road trip is an event that is eagerly anticipated months in advance. However, there are people who—due to their disability—cannot always come with. If you have a friend or a member of the family in a wheelchair, that doesn’t automatically mean that they cannot travel and have adventures on the roast like the rest of the gang. If you meticulously plan the upcoming road trip, then their disability will not be a hindrance for them to go and have fun like other passengers.
Picking the right destination
Now, there is little point in going through detailed preparation only to find out that the hotel you’ve booked has no wheelchair ramp. The inconveniences don’t end there, as other hospitality services might also not be accessible to people in wheelchairs. You need to ask about the conditions at hotels, motels, and other possible accommodation you will use on the road. Luckily, Google Maps has created a list of wheelchair accessible places that you can stay in while traveling.
If you’re traveling across the border, it might be difficult to plan a road trip on your own. That is why you might want to solicit help from travel tours specialists who manage road trip planning for people with impairments. If you go to a large agency, they will probably have local agents and guides who can assist in finding the right accommodation, wheelchair accessible restaurants, and local transport. In many places, public transport is not tailored to suit the needs of people in a wheelchair so getting from point A to point B could prove to be challenging. Using your passenger car is perhaps the smartest choice.
Selecting the right vehicle
Since you and your passenger are going to spend most of the time on the road, the vehicle you select has to adhere to certain standards. If you are planning to use your four-wheeler, then you will need to help carry in the person with the disability to the back seat and the wheelchair will need to be foldable in order to fit inside the trunk.
However, this is the least favorable option, as it is much more convenient to rent out a minivan that has a wheelchair ramp at the back. This eases the entrance procedure a lot and passenger with disabilities won’t feel helpless as they enter the vehicle on their own. If you’re interested to find out more about vehicles suitable for driving people with disabilities, then head to DrivrZone and their blog.
Pack all the necessities
Remembering to pack everything you need for the trip is always an upstream battle. Murphy’s Law states that you are bound to forget something, but when you are traveling with a person with a disability, you simply cannot make this mistake. Apart from the usual food, documents, a first aid kit, drinks, cutlery, etc. you have to remember to pack any medicines they might need. Furthermore, go to an insurance agency to get travel insurance for everybody with a special premium for your friend in the wheelchair. Finally, ask them what clothes they will need and pack both summer and winter outfits because you never know when the weather might change on the road.
Make frequent stops
It is recommended that you drive 4 hours in one go before making a short pit stop. Even if nobody needs to use the toilet, you need to rest your eyes and take a break in order to be able to concentrate better on the road. If there is a person in a wheelchair in the car, then be prepared to take longer breaks. Furthermore, look for roadside restaurant and diners that have a spacious family restroom and accessible toilet for those who cannot move around on their own.
Asking for help
Speaking of the restroom, it might be necessary to ask an employee at the restaurant to help you with the door or direct you to the right toilet. On other occasions, you might need help with directions if you get lost. In both scenarios, you shouldn’t shy away from asking for help. In fact, interacting with new people is an essential part of any road trip. Your friend or loved in the wheelchair might also ask for help to test the kindness of transfers you meet on the road.
Having listed the most important factors to take care of, we hope you realize how essential it is to plan well. When you are ready for the worst case scenario, you are by default ready to have fun with your loved ones who won’t feel they’re missing out on anything because they are in a wheelchair.
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