Are you scared of traveling due to inaccessibility hassles? Do you find planning a journey in a wheelchair complicated? Here are some simple tips for traveling in a wheelchair with ease, based on my travel experiences.
Mostly I find traveling in a wheelchair adventurous. Sometimes, it seems blissful when it saves me from long queues of security checks at many places, immigration, and boarding at airport/train stations. Creating awareness among people about my priority access makes me a proud volunteer.
21 Practical Tips for Traveling in a Wheelchair Effortlessly
Isn’t it exciting to voice out for yourself and educate others? If yes, try this on your next trip, and share your experience in the comments below –
As a Wheelchair Traveller, Select an Accessible Destination
Once you are determined to travel, list your basic requirements and start searching for an accessible destination accordingly. For your first trip in a wheelchair, I suggest selecting a weekend destination near your hometown.
Research About Sightseeing Places At Your Holiday Destination
To enjoy your vacation to the fullest, it is crucial to gather the accessibility parameters of the sightseeing places at the destination of travel from a reliable source. The best way to check this is via the tourism office/ website, by joining some group of native people with disabilities on social media.
Select a Suitable Wheelchair For Your Trip
It is essential to select the wheelchair appropriate for the place of visit. A few points to consider while choosing the same: –
Search For Wheelchair Repair Shops In Advance
Making a list of some wheelchair repair shops at your holiday destination is necessary to deal with any unforeseen circumstances. You can also ask your local vendor if they have any counterparts in your city of travel.
Choose an Appropriate Mode of Travel
As a wheelchair traveller, select the suitable mode of travel (Bus/ Flight/ Train); keeping in view the following points –
Keep Time for Wheelchair Check-in Procedure
Arrive approximately an hour early at the airport/train station/ bus station to avoid rushing to the wheelchair inspection desk, packaging point, and then getting your wheelchair checked in properly. After this, you may proceed to the washroom facility before your security check, followed by a final stop at the boarding point.
Use Washroom Facility Before Boarding the Transport
Using the washroom facility before commencing your journey will help you to settle down comfortably in your mode of transportation. It also avoids the possibility of an unexpected accident that may incur; of sudden pressure on your bladder while moving your body from the wheelchair to a seat.
Prepare Yourself (Mentally & Physically) for Travel
Never over-stretch your physical limits suddenly; instead, start preparing your body well in advance for the trip with physical exercises and physiotherapy sessions under the supervision of a doctor to enhance your physical strength.
Check-Out En-Route Stops/ Hotel Stays
While going on a road trip with friends or family, research en-route convenience stops / hotel stays to relax on the way. Also, check the time taken from the tour beginning point to the en-route stop.
On Your Travels, Pre-book Accessible Taxi
This tip rightfully earns its spot among my top 10 tips for traveling in a wheelchair. Try to find and pre-book an accessible vehicle for airport transfers and other local visits within the city you are heading.
Search for a Fully Accessible Hotel
One of the major factors; involved in planning a trip in a wheelchair is to find a hotel that meets your accessibility requirements. Sometimes, it may be difficult but not impossible. Call the hotel directly and rightfully ask questions before booking an accessible room with them.
Book & Re-Confirm Your Accessible Room With the Hotel
Ensure to book your accessible room; by paying the hotel well in advance and re-confirm the same in writing at least one week before your travel dates. Its always better to ensure that arrangements are made well in advance.
Check the Voltage at Your Travel Destination
It is mandatory to check the voltage at the destination before travel to carry the appropriate converter and adapter on your vacation. Sometimes, even using an adaptor doesn’t work well. So, if you are using a rechargeable battery-operated wheelchair like me, I suggest buying a 220 – 240 Volts wheelchair charger as most countries operate on 230 volts supply voltage. However, the cities in the USA operate on 120 volts supply voltage.
If Possible, Keep Alternative Mobility Aids
Some alternative mobility aids like a tripod stick (in my case) prove to be a helpful support system. It helps me every time; to cross through a narrow door, take a couple of steps to reach ground level, and when there are no grab rails in the washroom, etc.
Wrist Hanging Toiletry Pouch Is a Must For Wheelchair Travellers
Post pandemic, while traveling via any mode; every person with a disability (irrespective of gender) must carry a tiny toiletry pouch. It must contain essentials like an extra mask, sanitizer spray, dry & wet wipes, toilet seat cover/pee-safe spray, etc. Since, they have to use grab rails often during travel or hand-hold someone as support while shifting from their wheelchair. Also, in case of air travel, they have to use an airline wheelchair to board the flight. Hence, the chances of getting infected are more. This tiny sanity pouch can help to sanitize anything before use quickly.
Take Foldable Stool and Commode Seat
As a wheelchair traveller, it is advisable to take a foldable stool and commode seat while traveling by road to remote areas/ countryside. This is one of the most important tips for traveling in a wheelchair in offbeat or less-travelled destinations.
Carry a Comfy Cushion, Neck Rest, and Small Cozy Blanket
Taking your resting favorites along can make you feel at home while traveling. A little nap with them on the way to your destination can help keep you rejuvenated on tiring drives.
Use Lightweight Suitcases or Bags
For all types of travel, carrying lightweight suitcases and bags are the best choice. Small trolley bags with fully rotational wheels are easy to handle.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
A basic but one of the top tips for traveling in a wheelchair is being comfortable. You can be at ease by wearing casual clothes during the ride/ drive. Suggest wearing a comfy loungewear/dress for a long route air/ train journey.
Take a Pocket-Sized Selfie Stick
To enjoy your tour to the fullest and capture all your memories from start to end, carry a pocket-sized selfie stick. Its easy to carry and wouldn’t add much weight to your existing luggage.
Carry a Blowing Whistle as an Emergency Buzzer
It is unfortunate but true that most accessible toilets have no emergency alarm or are not functional. In such a scenario, a blowing whistle can work as an emergency buzzer for you during the entire tour. Besides, it can fit into your pocket easily.
Trust the above-stated tips for traveling in a wheelchair will help you plan your next trip effortlessly and encourage you to enjoy new experiences. As you would have heard – practice makes a man perfect. Similarly, I believe that traveling in a wheelchair frequently will make you independent and confident to travel solo one day.