Preparing for a road trip can be a tedious process for anyone who uses a wheelchair. On top of planning a travel itinerary, learning local laws, and packing snacks, drinks, and clothes, you’ll need to book a rental car that fully accommodates your needs. Finding a vehicle that you can safely get in and out of — and perhaps even drive — without damaging your wheelchair is essential.
However, not every car rental company offers accessible vehicles. Others have incredibly limited options. To make your travels easier, we’ve compiled a list of four of the best rental car companies for wheelchair users. Here’s what makes each of them great.
Before you officially book your ride, take a moment to consider exactly how many bags and passengers you’ll have. The vehicle you book should be large enough to fit your party, your wheelchair, and all your belongings with some extra cushion room. This way, your chair is less likely to be damaged on the road — and your wheelchair is less likely to damage the car. Encourage your travel buddies to pack minimally to ensure you don’t need a super-sized van just to keep your wheelchair safe.
Once you find a rental vehicle that offers the right accessibility features and can properly store your wheelchair, go ahead and book. Your next trip awaits.
Not being able to travel alone can be one of the most frustrating parts of using a wheelchair. Driving is virtually impossible without the right equipment, and most rental cars on the market don’t come with driving aids. However, Enterprise makes it simple for people who use wheelchairs to jump behind the wheel by offering a number of adaptive driving devices.
While it can require up to a few days’ notice, you can rent vehicles equipped with hand controls, left foot accelerators, pedal extenders, or even spinner knobs. Some Enterprise locations at major airports, like Chicago O’Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth, can provide these devices in as little as eight hours.
However, keep in mind that Enterprise doesn’t offer cars with wheelchair lifts.
2. Wheelchair Getaways
Wheelchair Getaways is a car rental network that can connect you to wheelchair van rental companies throughout the United States. It offers accessible vans with features like side or rear entry ramps, removable seating, and lowered floors. It makes it easy for you to ride in whichever part of the vehicle you’re most comfortable in.
Though Wheelchair Rentals primarily offers vehicles that you can be a passenger in, it can provide hand controls, steering knobs, and other assistive devices upon request and availability.
Hertz is a rental car company that offers vehicles with hand controls and spinner knobs with as little as a 24-hour turnaround — or eight hours, for hand controls at major airports. Though its U.S. rental cars don’t offer lifts, Hertz offers an accessible Easy Access bus service at some locations to safely take wheelchair users and their luggage from the airport to their rental pickup area.
Hertz is making international travel easier, too. It’s one of the only European car rental companies that offer hand controls. In Australia, it even offers a mobility fleet with rear wheelchair access and room for up to 12 passengers.
Wheelers is a pioneer in the wheelchair van rental industry, and it naturally offers some of the most diverse rental options on the market. You can book vans by the day, week, weekend, or month and choose from electric or manual ramps. Customers can even take part in Wheelers’ rent-to-buy program, which can be helpful if you’re renting a vehicle to travel locally.
The best part of renting with Wheelers? They offer deliveries straight to the airport or to local destinations, so you don’t have to find a way to pick up your van.