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Man in wheelchair on a dock

Wheelchair Accessible Travel Tips for Your Next Vacation

Travel is one of the most exciting and enriching parts of life, and everyone should have the opportunity to travel regardless of personal ability or limitations. However, navigating the various modes of transportation and going sightseeing can be very challenging if you’re in a wheelchair. So, just in time for summer, here are some wheelchair accessible travel tips for your next vacation.

Air Travel for Disabled Passengers

Many vacations require a plane ride, which can be very daunting for wheelchair users. When you book your flight, ask for a seat behind the bulkhead because this space has extra leg room and also room to transferring you onto a plane seat. You’ll also want to take advantage of pre-boarding and avoid connecting flights to minimize issues during your trip. Other tips for more accommodating air travel for disabled passengers is to bring your own cushions to be comfortable, communicate clearly with the airline staff, and to arrive to the airport an hour earlier than the suggested time so that you aren’t stressed out at the airport.

How to Find Accessible Hotels

It is also important to call ahead to hotels at your vacation destination to inquire about accessibility options. First, make sure that the hotel is located in an accessible area of town and that it has ramps and elevators. You can narrow down your hotel options first before making phone calls, and here are some key questions to ask when you call:

  • What are your hotel’s accessibility features?
  • Do you have accessible parking?
  • Do your hotel’s entrances have ramps?
  • Does your hotel have an elevator?
  • Do you have a ground-floor room available?
  • Can you send me photos of your hotel’s in-room and bathroom accessibility features?

Cruise Travel for Disabled Persons

Cruises can be incredibly fun and accommodating for wheelchair users as long as you know some wheelchair travel tips before setting sail. Some cruise boats and cruise destinations are naturally better suited to wheelchair users than others. But generally, wheelchair travel tips for cruises include organizing equipment rental in advance, choosing a newer ship with more accessibility features, learning about shore excursions that are wheelchair-friendly, and reading reviews from other wheelchair users about their cruise experiences.

Road Trips with a Wheelchair

However, some of the most accommodating and memorable trips can be taken cross-country in your very own vehicle. For example, you can experience and embrace the wide-open road with a Bruno vehicle transfer seat or vehicle lift for power wheelchairs. Wheelchair and scooter lifts work well in vans, trucks, SUVs, and cars to accommodate your needs and ensure a safe ride, entry, and exit. All travelers going on a road trip should pace themselves and take breaks to stay alert and enjoy the journey. Also, make sure to drink water during long car trips, bring a basic repair kit for your wheelchair in case of any issues, and be prepared with a fully-charged phone and car charger.

Make Accessibility Travel and Tourism Easier with Advanced Planning

With all aspects of travel, planning ahead will get you a long way when it comes to wheelchair accessible travel. As a wheelchair user, you may have to start planning your trip farther in advance, make a few more phone calls, and make more special requests than other people in your travel group. But an increasing number of businesses and modes of transportation all around the world are now catering to the needs of travelers with different abilities, so now is a great time to get out and see the world. Another recommended option for travel for disabled persons is to book a tour with a high-quality local guide company that specializes in trips and sightseeing for wheelchair users. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and take much of the stress out of travel planning so that you can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of travel.

Check out our list of wheelchair accessible travel destinations!