Travel is one of the best ways to broaden your horizons, forge new friendships and learn some invaluable life skills. It is not without its challenges, however, and situations such as getting lost, not speaking the local language or flight cancellations can still crop up.
The frustrations that come with travel can be even more difficult to contend with if you have a disability. Not all places and parts of the world take into account the unique needs of someone with a visual impairment or a wheelchair.
However, with a little preparation, there is no reason why this should stop you.
In this article, we’ll look at some ways to make your trip easier and more enjoyable from start to finish, no matter your disability.
Check Flight Protocols and Restrictions
Before you arrive at the airport, it’s advisable to call the airline to check what their protocols are for taking equipment onboard. If you are blind or visually impaired can you travel with a cane or will the airline deem this to be a potential weapon?
If you can take a cane on board does it have to be a collapsible one that must be stored in an overhead luggage compartment or under your seat?
If you are traveling with your wheelchair or a mobility scooter do the same rules apply? If so, make sure you label your equipment with your contact details and mark it as fragile, safely storing any detachable parts and straps to prevent them from getting lost en route.
Depending on your needs, consider the possibility of renting a mobility scooter or wheelchair at your destination.
Pack Medication and Bring Proof
When traveling abroad with medicine make sure you pack enough medication to last your entire trip and check you are permitted to bring this into the country you are visiting. It is advisable to carry your medication with you on board in case it gets lost. If you are flying with over-the-counter or prescribed medication you may need to do the following:
- Get a letter from your doctor stating they are prescribed for your condition.
- Correctly label all medication with its original packaging.
- Check how much liquid medications you can carry onboard.
Plan Your Outings
Do some research on the places you would like to visit beforehand. For example, check the websites of any museums, theaters or art galleries you plan to see or call ahead to enquire about access for wheelchair users such as ramps, elevators and stairlifts.
Also, do this for the transportation system for the country you are visiting as well as the accommodation you are staying in. It’s also worth checking if there is a list of discounts, grants, and freebies for people with disabilities at your chosen destination.
When choosing where to stay make sure your accommodation meets your needs. Some helpful questions to ask are:
- If you have a wheelchair, what are the dimensions of the room, the bathroom and their respective doors?
- Do the shower and toilet have grab rails installed?
- Is there a connecting room for you and your caregiver?
With these four things in mind all that’s left is to pack your passport and enjoy your trip!