There’s no doubt that travel can be a stressful experience for people of all ranges of ability. And while traveling may present a unique set of challenges for people living with disability, most of these challenges can be overcome by planning ahead, using the right kind of equipment, and packing accordingly.
1. Plan Ahead
There’s no such thing as too much planning when it comes to travel arrangements. The more planning you do now, the less headaches you’ll have later, so be sure to call the airline, hotel, and your travel agent to talk about accessibility and how you’ll be accommodated at all stages of your trip.
Don’t have a travel agent? You might consider investing in a travel agent who specializes in travel for people with disabilities. The money you’ll spend is well worth the time and energy you’ll save by getting your agent to do a bulk of the planning for you.
2. Shop for Hassle-Free Luggage
Having the right kind of luggage can make traveling with disability much easier. While you’ll likely want to look for lightweight luggage with wheels, choosing the right luggage will depend on your needs and range of ability. Consider investing in protective locks for all your bags and don’t forget to choose luggage sturdy enough to carry your medical equipment safely.
3. Pack Medications and Medical Information
Pack all your medications with you in your carry-on bag so you can access them in a moment’s notice.
Do you know the best way to contact your doctor in case of emergency? Carry a printout of your doctor’s address, fax and phone numbers. You should also carry contact information for the nearest American Embassy and for hospitals close to where you’ll be staying. Keep print outs of this information with copies of all your important travel documents in your carry-on bag.
4. Use Your Own Equipment
Your next vacation or business trip is not the ideal time to test out new medical equipment. Traveling with the wheelchair, cane, or walker you’re comfortable with and that you already know how to operate efficiently will make your travel plans run more smoothly.
Additionally, taking your own equipment with you on your trip will save you from having to rent equipment, a process that can be costly and time-consuming.
Be sure to read ahead on TSA guidelines for traveling with disabilities and other medical conditions so that you know what to expect at the airport’s security checkpoint.
Whether it’s for business or for pleasure, traveling with disability doesn’t have to be a burdensome experience. By planning and preparing ahead of time, you can help ensure that your next trip memorable, relaxing, and hassle-free.