Traveling with a disability can be complicated if you don’t know what you have to do. Planning your vacation becomes a must if you’re in a wheelchair. Make sure that you research to make your holiday simpler, understand your rights under the Constitution, and set realistic expectations for yourself. Don’t forget, hiring a traveling agent can be advantageous if you’ve never done this before. Talking to someone who has is also a good idea. Let’s dive in.
#1 Think Ahead
Your first goal is understanding exactly what you need. You might need assistance carrying the luggage or finding your plane seat. Whatever it is, knowing exactly what assistance you require is crucial. This way, you can ask for what you need. If you’re not sure, you might not get the right help at the right time, and this might get you in trouble. You don’t want to lose your connecting flight, right?
#2 Research + Plan
Your next goal is booking an accessible hotel. Read their reviews to make sure that they are wheelchair accessible! Do not trust their website. Call ahead to make sure that this hotel is actually accessible. If you don’t, you might find yourself having to cancel your booking or get another room across the city – who knows? Making sure you’ve got all covered is a must.
Speaking of which, plan an accessible route (buses, taxis, trains, airplanes, etc.). Call ahead if you can just to make sure they have what you need. You might think that airports are always prepared – but they’re not. You’ve got to call ahead to make sure they’re preparing for your arrival. Have plenty of backup plans, including an extra wheelchair, if needed.
#3 Understand Your Legal Rights
Make sure you know your rights, no matter who you’re dealing with. Read and deeply understand the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. You’ve got to stand up for yourself and report violations to the DOJ if it comes to that. Airports, taxis, hotels, restaurants – they are all required to help people with disabilities. If you are not traveling within the U.S., research the destination country’s rules and regulations. Print a copy and take it with you.
#4 Set Reasonable Expectations
If it’s your first time traveling in a wheelchair, I’ve got to be honest with you – nothing is completely perfect, so try to stay flexible and think positive. If you don’t, you’d better not go at all. Traveling in a wheelchair is not comfortable but it’s definitely doable. So, instead of thinking of all the things that go wrong, enjoy the things that go well. Think about it this way: if you’ve planned well, then if the worst-case scenario happens, you’re prepared. Enjoy your vacation and make sure that you stay mindful.
#5 Hire a Travel Agent
As I mentioned before, traveling alone and in a wheelchair for the first time can be challenging. In fact, preparing for your trip can be really time-consuming. Instead of doing that, you could consider hiring a travel agent to help out with your planning. Not only will this give you some peace of mind knowing someone’s planning the trip for you, but it will also take away your worries knowing someone knows exactly how to plan for wheelchair travelers. While it’s true that this is an extra expense, it can come in handy for first-time wheelchair travelers.
If you’re traveling with friends or family, don’t worry about it. I’m sure they’ll be more than willing to help you out with whatever you need. Just make sure that you’re letting them know that you might need assistance every now and then. Set realistic expectations for them too.
#6 Talk to Another Wheelchair Traveler
You could also talk to someone who’s been in your shoes before and get advice from them. The anxiety will disappear after chatting with each other – they will calm you down in no time. My friend has done that before, and it really motivated her to go. She was not sure whether this trip was worth it so she got advice from someone else with experience; soon after, she stopped feeling anxious. You can learn from their mistakes and ensure that you won’t make the same ones.
#7 Don’t Stress
The last thing I want to mention is, have some faith! Don’t try to over control every single thing getting in the way. Be open to new experiences. Complaining or being angry about your situation will not help but being trustworthy and honest will. When you’re happy, better things start happening. Other people truly want to help you and are really excited to do that. So, don’t forget to plan, research, read, keep your head up, and smile! It’s going to be okay!
Justin Osborne is a writer at bestessays.com, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at uk.bestessays.com.