Regardless of if you are new to traveling with a disability or if you consider yourself an authentic globetrotter, knowing what to do when you have a wheelchair in tow is essential. The good news is, today, travel – of any type – is more accessible than ever before. If you are planning a trip and want to ensure you have a stress-free experience, use the tips and information here.
Determine Your Personal Requirements
One of the first things you should understand is that there is no shame in needing help because you are disabled. Take some time to think about what you need and make sure you are honest with yourself. Figure out what you can and can’t do, and then think of ways you can be accommodated while you are traveling.
If necessary, rent medical equipment, travel with a care assistant, take along your power wheelchair – if there is something that will improve your experience, it’s worth it. If you are planning a long trip, such as a western Caribbean cruise or an international flight, being overprepared is best. When you overprepare you will have confidence that whatever happens, it won’t deter your travels.
Research the Accessibility of Your Destination
Today, you can find more accessible travel information online than ever before. Regardless of where you are going or what you want to do, don’t be afraid to dream big. You don’t have to settle for a boring or mediocre trip just because you are in a wheelchair. Accessibility options around the globe are increasing and now you have the opportunity to touch the Pyramids in Egypt, zip-line in Las Vegas, and even tour the Forbidden City of Beijing. These are experiences that were limited for those wit disabilities just a decade ago – so take advantage of where you can go and what you can do.
Know Your Legal Rights
If you have disabilities, you still have civil rights. These have been given to you to protect you from any type of unfair treatment in society. Regardless of if you are dealing with a taxi, transportation provider, attraction, restaurant, airline, or hotel, you have rights to equal access within the U.S. These same equal access rights are given in other countries, as well.
Make sure you know what rights you have so you are able to protest in any situation where they are not being upheld. If you are traveling domestically, get to know the Air Carrier Access Act along with the Americans with Disabilities Act. You can even print out the relevant sections of all thee laws and take them along on your trip. If something goes wrong, make sure you stand up for yourself and your rights and be sure to report any violations to the Department of Justice.
Set Reasonable Expectations
Accessibility is hardly ever perfect. As you start researching your trip, you should begin to develop a set of expectations that are aligned with this fact. Remember, you may run into issues. When you begin setting your expectations for your travel plans, make sure you research the accessibility in the locations you are planning to visit. If you can’t find the information online, call the attraction or location By researching your destination and setting realistic and reasonable expectations, you can avoid being disappointed and make the most of the accessibility features that have been put in place.
As you can see, there are an array of expectations to keep in mind when it comes to accessibility. Today, there are more than a few factors to consider when traveling in a wheelchair, and while this is true, you will find that people and places are more accommodating than ever before. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare can ensure your trip is enjoyable and fun – regardless of where you are going or what you are doing. By knowing what to look for is the best way to plan for an amazing travel experience.