Wheelchair Traveling Advice: What You Need to Know

July 6, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

Summer is finally here, and if you pay attention to the news, you know it’s going to be a hot one. And not just here in the Bay Area, where our company is located – forecasters believe we’re going to experience record heat nationwide. So maybe this is a good time to consider some international travel. What’s the weather like in Germany this time of year? I hear it’s easier to get to Cuba now, too…

But regardless of where you’re travelling, if you’re new to a wheelchair, this journey is going to be a little different. Traveling as a wheelchair user means additional concerns and precautions, in order to ensure a safe and comfortable trip.

Here’s what you need to know about wheelchair travel:

Preparation is key

Have you ever heard “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Well, that’s extra true here. What if you get to your hotel room and realize you can’t wheel your chair through the doorway? What if the airline doesn’t have reasonable accommodations for you? These problems can be easily avoided, simply by calling ahead. Many hotels will list accessible room info on their websites, but it’s better to verify personally with a phone call. Remember: when in doubt; call out.

Patience will help keep your trip fun

When you need special accommodations, that offers plenty of opportunities for folks to mess up. For instance, what could be simpler than helping a wheelchair user on and off an airplane? And yet, this gets screwed up on a regular basis. People get forgotten, or worse.

We hope nothing so drastic occurs to you, but be prepared for some unexpected problems. If you can handle them with a little grace and patience, it’ll go better for everyone – especially you!

Get ready for that airport experience

One of the most problematic places for wheelchair users is the airport. For starters, let’s forget about going through the standard metal detector. You’ll need to be patted down by TSA personnel, and your wheelchair will be inspected very closely. Additionally, it may take you additional time to navigate through the airport – these are crowded places, after all.

Sightseeing could be a problem

Especially if you’re traveling abroad. Although we have laws that require equal accommodations for wheelchair users in the states, the same can’t be said for all other countries. You could encounter uneven or broken pavement, dirt roads, grass or gravel, all of which would be troublesome for your wheelchair. Another reason planning is essential: you’ll understand the possible difficulties beforehand.

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