I don’t know about you, but I am a passionate traveler. I visited more than 30 countries worldwide and still counting. You would probably say “wow’ to this. Let me ask you a question. What would you say if I told you I was a wheelchair user? Today I want to share my expertise about the 5 most common travel problems for people in wheelchairs. However, don’t get to think for a second I, or you, should give up traveling just because a few obstacles may come up along the way.
It would be a pity not to see all of the beauty this life offers, and one of the most precious things we can do for ourselves is to travel. I will be honest with you – it is never easy, at least not for people who are using wheelchairs, but the richness of experience and widening our views beats all of the problems we face on an everyday basis.
1. Traveling by Bus
When traveling overseas, people in wheelchairs have to take the bus in order to take a tour of a new city. Bus travel causes numerous problems for wheelchair users as some buses are not accessible to them. Older style buses usually don’t have ramps, which means you would have to stand up and take a few steps to the priority seating area. Yet, not everybody can walk those few steps. The lack of a wheelchair space is another problem that comes up when taking a bus. If there are no foldable up seats, it would be a safety challenge for a person in a wheelchair to take a ride.
2. Plane Travel
Even though wheelchair ramps still require a lot of attention and improvement in all areas of the world, traveling by plane is even trickier. Wheelchair users, most of the time, can’t stay in their wheelchairs onboard a plane, which means – they would have to be comfortable with sitting in a plane chair. For me, personally, this wasn’t a big deal, but we should think outside of the box, as for some people – it is.
3. Having Your Wheelchair Damaged
In such situations I mentioned above, when you have to put your vital wheelchair in the hold, there is a chance it will come out damaged or with pieces missing. This is, probably, one of the most difficult situations a person in a wheelchair can face while being on the go, but it still happens. Athena Stevens, the disabled actor, sued British Airways for damaging her £25,000 chair. Even though the airline would compensate for the damage after some time, it actually doesn’t matter the moment you are left without your main support in another, possibly far away, country.
4. Not Being Able to Travel by Yourself
You still can give it a try, but I would highly recommend you to travel with your partner, a friend, or a member of your family. Even though there are kind people all over the world, you may feel uncomfortable asking a stranger to help you out with your wheelchair. On the other hand, you just never know what to expect when visiting a new place for the first time. Nobody would offer you greater support than someone you have full trust in.
5. Lack of Rooms for Disabled
Yes, you read it right – some hotels offer rooms for disabled people. This is a major plus, as society is becoming more aware of the challenges disabled people are facing. However, not every hotel is wheelchair accessible at all, not to talk about the number of rooms big enough to accommodate two people with wheelchairs. Still, traveling in a wheelchair can be a lot of fun besides these issues. I guess you are just like me, and you care about comfort while being on the road. When visiting another country, I want to take a glance at the historical areas, museums, tucked-away streets, and local shops.
And, remember – nothing is stopping you from seeing the world, and neither should these 5 most common travel problems for people in wheelchairs. Millions of wheelchair users are traveling overseas, including me, and there is no chance I would give it up just because there will be a few bumpy rides.