This is a guest post by Rebecca Moore.
Do you dream of a life filled with travel and adventure? Many people do, but most don’t pursue that goal for various reasons: kids, jobs, money, and the like. If you have a disability, you might be tempted to close the curtain on your dream of exploring the world due to your physical or cognitive limitations. But you don’t have to close that window of opportunity due to your disability; there are many people with significant disabilities who continue to explore the world using some savvy travel tips.
Always Plan Ahead
You know what accommodations you require for your disability better than anyone. Planning ahead – always planning for worst-case scenarios and having a backup plan whenever possible – can mean the difference between a frustrating trip and an adventure that you can enjoy.
Call all travel providers well in advance to inform them about your disability and explain what accommodations you need. This allows airlines and other travel providers to make sure that any equipment or help is readily available to you on travel day.
Get Clearance from Your Physician and Buy Travel Insurance
It’s always a good idea to get a physical from your healthcare provider and explain the nature of your travel plans. Your physician can give you the go-ahead to take the trip or let you know about any health conditions or other concerns that may prevent you from making the trip.
Additionally, your physician can write a letter explaining your disability and any other medical conditions, provide a list of your prescription medications, and even write special prescriptions to ensure that you have an ample supply of any medications you might need throughout your trip. Finally, getting a travel insurance policy will cover many healthcare needs should you need to visit a doctor or hospital during your trip.
Choose the Right Luggage
The right luggage makes all the difference, particularly for people with disabilities. Make sure your luggage meets airline requirements for physical dimensions and weight, and pack carry-on luggage that you can fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. Take any medications, documents, and other essentials – or at least a several-day supply – in your carry-on bags in case your checked luggage is lost.
Choose Hotels in the Most Accessible Areas
A hotel that is able to meet your needs is a must, but this will make little difference in the outcome of your trip if getting anywhere outside your hotel proves next to impossible. Select a hotel based not only on the accommodations they offer but also on its location.
Easy access to accessible transportation, for example, will help you explore the area you’re visiting without spending valuable time trying to find a way to get from point A to point B. Access Hotels is a great resource for finding wheelchair-accessible hotels and hotels with other accommodations.
Learn About Your Destination and Plan Routes and Activities
Doing a little investigative work before you arrive at your destination can pay off and save you hours of time during your trip. If you have specific activities you want to participate in or sights you’d like to see, plan out the best possible route for navigating these areas.
You can also select the activities you want to experience based on how accommodating they are for your specific disability. For instance, if you’re interested in taking a guided tour, look at the tour company’s website and call to discuss what options they offer to make the experience enjoyable for you. If you’re not sure where you’d like to go but are looking for an exciting adventure, look for information on the most-accessible travel destinations.
Don’t let your disability prevent you from exploring the world. By using a few savvy travel strategies, you can visit just about any location no matter your disability.
What strategies and tips can you add for traveling with disabilities? Please share in comments below.
Rebecca Moore, the author of this article, is currently studying health information science. She created AbleRise.net with a friend with the ultimate goal of fostering community mechanisms for seamless acceptance and assistance for those coping with any measure of disability.
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