We all know that traveling can be difficult, especially when needing to make accessible accommodations. Whether you are traveling by plane, or with your own or rented accessible vehicle, there are several additional factors to consider. Since the busiest travel season of the year is quickly approaching, here are 10 helpful tips to consider:
1) Plan and Research – Before you depart, research some top accessible destinations to visit including parks, museums and restaurants. Use online tools like Google and Yelp to help you with your research. Also, look for companies that offer wheelchair accessible tours.
2) Know your Equipment – It is always helpful to know the make and model of your wheelchair as well as the height, width and weight when you are seated in it. This information can all be found in your owners manual or on the manufacturer’s website, and by having someone help take a few measurements. Writing this information along with the phone number of your wheelchair manufacturer can come in handy if you are in need of parts or service.
3) Read Travel Blogs & Join Online Communities – There are several amazing accessible travel blogs online. A few of our favorites are www.curbfreewithcorylee.com, www.spintheglobe.net and www.pantou.org. You can also join the MobilityWorks Community Forum and ask questions to our experienced staff or interact with other forum members.
4) Be Safe – One of the biggest concerns when traveling to an unknown place is safety. Here are a few helpful tips:
- Make sure to give a friend or family member an itinerary of your trip and plan a time to check in with them every so often
- Check out safety apps such as “Companion” or “Watch Over Me” especially if you will be traveling at night
- Wearable alarms, tactical flashlights and whistles are great to carry along as well.
5) Have a Backup Plan – Before you depart make a list of other hotels, tours and transportation options in case something falls through. It’s also a good idea to locate wheelchair repair shops in the area and bring their phone numbers and addresses with you.
6) Take Pictures for Proof – Before allowing an airline or anyone to handle your wheelchair or accessible equipment make sure to take recent pictures or video. This way, you are covered in case any of your belongings are mishandled or damaged.
7) Bring Important Documents – In addition to your identification there are a few documents that will be helpful to bring along:
- Proof of Ownership of Wheelchair
- Instructions for Assembly on any Equipment
- Copy of the Air Carrier Access Act
- Copies of any Prescriptions
8) Carry a Safety Kit – If you are driving, having a few things in the event of an emergency can be a life-saver. Items such as a blanket, road flares, basic tools and car chargers are always a good idea to keep with you. You should also have your vehicle and accessible equipment inspected by a NMEDA certified technician prior to any road trip. MobilityWorks offers ProtectionWorks, an emergency roadside protection program that includes wheelchair passenger transportation.
9) Alert the Airport in Advance – Most airports require at least a 48-hour notice and an early check-in time for anyone requiring additional accessible accommodations. The airline you are traveling should also have a disability services contact in the event that any issues arise.
10) Rent Equipment from a Trusted Company – If you are traveling somewhere there is not a MobilityWorks location and need to rent an accessible vehicle, check out Accessible Vans of America. When renting an accessible vehicle, you should always be given a safety demonstration before pulling away. Make sure to inspect the four safety tie-downs for signs of defects, fraying or malfunctions.
We hope these tips will help guide you during any adventures you plan to take this fall and in the future. We wish you a safe, fun and hassle-free trip.