Quick Tips For Traveling With A Disability

Disabled Access

Disabled Access

Traveling with a disability can be very difficult. In fact, finding ADA compliant hotels, restaurants, sidewalks, buses, beaches, planes, pools, or anything else can be a full-time job! But, do not fret, it is possible with some planning and a couple of tips. So before you go booking something this summer here are some things to help plan ahead to get the most out of your vacation!

Do Your Homework

It is very important to take your time and do your homework when planning a vacation. This starts by choosing a destination that is widely accommodating to disabilities. Nowadays with technology, it is easier than ever to see how accommodating a place may be. Google Maps is a great tool to see if the area has lots of handicap parking, the sidewalks are large, and you can even see bumpouts and accessibility using the Google Street View feature.

Another thing to consider before booking anything is the hotel. Look for a hotel that is ADA Compliant. Things like Priceline.com can be helpful with their search filters that narrow down “Handicapped Rooms/Facilities”. Although I would still highly recommend calling ahead and seeing whether or not the rooms will accommodate your specific needs. For instance, if you need to fit a Hoyer Lift under the bed and their hotel uses platform beds then you will not be able to use the lift.

Also, take into account is how far away you are willing to stay, as well as the time of year that you are looking to stay. Weather.com has great search features to see what the general temperature will be throughout the year so you can plan your days out (or avoid rainy seasons). When it comes to traveling consider whether or not you want to fly. There are so many things to consider if you want to fly so make sure to call the airlines to check out accommodations beforehand to allow an easy travel experience!

Having a backup plan is vitally important. I know this seems like more work than it is worth. However, one of my patients told me about how a room was mistakenly booked out and the family resorted to staying in a standard non-accommodating room for a couple days until an accessible room opened up. This was a huge burden on the vacation and made it much more difficult than it was worth. So making a backup plan is necessary. Finding additional hotels in the area that are also accommodating and close to the attractions you want to visit is important.

Have Fun!

Here are some quick tips:

  • Googling handicap accessible places to eat ahead of time. This will help ensure you’re not driving around and looking for places.
  • Consider investing in a Portable Human Lift. This is a Hoyer Lift that can fold so that it can more easily fit into a van.
  • Find the perfect bag to help you get organized for the day. Consider a bag with many pockets for organizing your stuff. Often times traveling packs or a 3-day pack can be a great option for traveling.
  • Consult with your physician prior to going on vacation. Make sure to ask about getting clearance to fly on a plane if needed. Also, ask about getting all medications that you may need for the trip.
  • If you’re flying, look at how to check your bags and assistive devices that you may need throughout the airport.
  • Look into nearby hospitals, dentists, and physicians that are covered by your insurance in case of an emergency.
  • Drop any expectations. And have fun!!!

If you plan ahead and take the extra time to make sure that you are prepared for anything, then the trip will be much more enjoyable. I often times talk to parents that are reluctant to take vacations with a son or daughter that has accommodating needs. However, in the end after consideration and thought along with planning the trips always seem to go great! Just remember planning ahead is the key to having a great time!

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Christine Astarita
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