The Eiffel Tower at sunset. The Great Pyramids at dawn. The crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean at any time of the day or year. There’s a reason tourists flock to such grand destinations. It’s not just the photos and souvenirs they bring home, but the memories and stories they’ll share for a lifetime.
Today, global travel is much more accessible for disabled travelers than ever before. But like any other traveler, you want to travel smart. Below, we’ve gathered some travel tips and resources for disabled adventurers to make your trip as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
Get travel insurance
This is a “must” more than a suggestion—the last thing you want to deal with on your dream vacation is the hefty cost of hospital stays or doctor visits in the event of a medical emergency. And make sure any insurance you buy covers preexisting conditions.
Book hotels far in advance
Many hotels in foreign destinations only feature one or two accessible rooms, which means they tend to book up early. So if you’re planning on a July vacation to Europe, you might want to check out hotels the previous December.
Consult your doctor
Your doctor might have specific tips for traveling with your disability, so be thorough and clear when describing your plans. It’s also a good idea to get a signed statement that covers your condition, medications, potential complications, special needs, and other pertinent information in case of an emergency.
Bring extra medication
To prevent the hassle of replacing lost medications on your trip, bring at least double the medication you will need (stored separately, on the flight and at your destination). Another tip: some medications are not allowed in certain countries, so check ahead before visiting.
Buy a plug adapter
If you use an electric wheelchair or scooter and plan to travel overseas, you’ll need to buy a plug adapter and possibly a voltage converter as well. You might be able to rent a battery charger abroad, but either way it’s a good idea to have a contingency plan in case of power outages.
Bring spare parts and tools
If you use a wheelchair, bring a small kit of spare parts and tools for emergency repairs. Another good idea is to locate bicycle shops near your hotel—they’re often a great place to find wheelchair replacement parts.
Let us help you prepare
Before setting off on your voyage, let PA Healthcare give your wheelchair or scooter a maintenance check to reduce the chances you’ll need that tool kit (but still pack it, just in case!). We also sell and rent wheelchairs, walkers and transport chairs, plus rollators and knee scooters for travelers with temporary disabilities. Call us today to see how we can equip you for your trip, and check out the list of resources below for even more travel solutions.
The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality, 212-447-7284, http://www.sath.org. A database of companies and resources that assist travelers with disabilities.
American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), 800-275-2782, http://www.asta.org. Travel agents searchable by specialty, including disability and accessible travel.
Accessible Europe, 011-39-011-30-1888, http://www.accessibleurope.com. Travel agents headquartered in Italy, specializing in accessible tourism.
Accessible Journeys, 800-846-4537, http://www.disabilitytravel.com. Caters to wheelchair users, offering cruises, tours and independent trips.
The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, 800-900-8086, http://www.ncpad.org. Recreation resources on outdoor and travel activities throughout the country and abroad.
Flying Wheels Travel, 877-451-5006, http://www.flyingwheelstravel.com. A full-service travel agency offering escorted tours and customized programs around the world for disabled travelers.
Road Scholar, 800-454-5768, http://www.roadscholar.org. An educational-travel provider offering trips at various levels of activity, including minimal walking and limited stairs.