What are some vacation tips for the disabled?
- Plan ahead.
- Stay in the most accessible areas of your destination.
- Discuss your trip with your doctor.
- Consider a specialized tour or hire a guide.
- If you are renting a vehicle, make sure it suits your needs.
- Bring extra medications.
- Don’t stay home. There is too much to see and experience!
Summer is here and many families and individuals are heading out of town – to the beach, the mountains, another city, or another country. Everyone needs a break from their routine, and travel can be just as enriching for a person with physical and/or mental limitations, although it may require some extra research and planning.
More and more, the travel industry is responding to the challenges faced by disabled travelers by providing specialized services and accommodations to fill individual needs.
People with disabilities live comfortably all over the world, so there is no need for a disabled person to feel intimidated about planning a vacation.
First of all, plan ahead.
A person who is disabled needs to carefully consider their individual situation in deciding where to visit, the best time of year to travel, and which attractions to see, as well as choosing hotels and restaurants. There will be accessibility challenges wherever you go, but the more research you do ahead of time, the more comfortable and enjoyable your vacation will be.
Book hotels far in advance.
Not only is it cheaper to book rooms in advance, usually hotels have a limited number of rooms that are disability accessible and those rooms are reserved quickly. When you call, inform the hotel about your disability and your needs and be very specific.
Plan your routes and itinerary carefully.
Research the accessibility of sidewalks, bus routes, subway and train stations, and locations of accessible building entrances. Some cities, especially in Europe, may have cobblestone streets. Online visitor guides can help you navigate your destination.
Stay in the most accessible areas of your destination.
Research neighborhoods surrounding hotels and make sure the streets and sidewalks are accessible and there are accessible restaurants nearby. Find out if there is accessible public transportation nearby like a bus or subway. Google Maps Street View can help with this. Google also has a new feature to direct people to accessible public transit stops that is now available in New York, Boston, London, Mexico City, Tokyo and Sydney.
If you have been denied disability benefits don’t give up! Contact a Disability lawyer at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and get the benefits you deserve.
Discuss your trip with your doctor.
Be specific and clear about your travel plans so that your doctor can suggest measures for coping with long flights, limited medical facilities, and prescriptions. Take your doctor’s phone number and your medical information and carry it where it can be found easily.
Have a backup plan.
Prepare for possible problems, such as a wheelchair breaking. Travel with extra parts or know where a wheelchair can be fixed at your destination. Bike shops may be able to help with flat tires. Know what you would do if you experience an interruption or delay in travel, like a transit strike.
Consider a specialized tour or hire a guide.
There are a number of companies specializing in tours for people with disabilities such as Accessible Journeys, Sage Travel, and Easy Access Travel.
If you are interested in a tour, be sure to research and interview potential companies and find out:
- If the guide/company is licensed and what training and experience they have.
- The itinerary they will follow and if it involves steps, hills, or cobblestones.
- Will there be other travelers on the tour and will you be expected to keep up with a group.
- Will the guide assist you physically if you need help; for example, will they push a wheelchair.
Once you have decided on a destination, there are a few other tips that will help make your trip more pleasant and your travel smooth.
- Take a lightweight manual wheelchair with pop-off tires.
- Take a backpack or daypack that can be secured to the back of a wheelchair or underneath the wheelchair in a net bag.
- Carry a bungee cord to strap a wheelchair on to the trunk of a car or secure it on a train.
- If traveling by plane, allow plenty of time to check-in and go through security. Remain in your wheelchair until you reach the gate and then check the chair. Avoid connecting flights and allow 90 minutes to two hours for connections. Reserve bulkhead seating if possible, which is easier to get in and out of. Check with your flight attendant before the plane lands to plan your exit.
- If you are renting a vehicle, make sure it suits your needs; for example, a car with hand controls or a van with a wheelchair lift.
- Bring extra medications. Experts advise taking two complete packages of essential medications.
- Investigate medical availability at your destination.
- If a museum lacks visitor elevators, ask about using a freight elevator.
- Research disability groups at your destination. They will have the best information about accessibility and may even become travel partners and friends.
There are many places a disabled person can visit and have a great vacation.
Cities like Denver, Seattle and Las Vegas offer a variety of entertainment and attractions and are some of the most accessible in the country. National parks allow free entrance for people with disabilities with the “America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Land Pass – Access Pass.” Whatever you decide, don’t stay home. There is too much to see and experience!
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
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