Traveling can be stressful for everyone. It’s not unusual to worry about lost luggage, lost tickets, missed flights, and even health concerns. This is especially true for those who are wheelchair bound. If you use a wheelchair, you know that even everyday tasks require a bit of extra thought. If you have ever wanted to travel, but have been intimidated by the rigamarole you need to deal with, there are several things you can do to enhance your travel experience. While you can never prepare for every situation that may occur when traveling, there are plenty of situations that you can prepare for.
Five tips to make your travel experience top notch
1. Arrive Early
Even those who do not need a wheelchair to get around plan to arrive early when traveling. This is especially true with the airport, and especially true for those who are wheelchair bound. If you are wheelchair bound, try to arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight or three hours before an international flight. Wheelchair users who are not otherwise mobile may be unable to go through security, which means a full pat-down every time. Security may even opt to swab-test the wheelchair and other travel gear just to be sure there aren’t any dangerous chemicals on it.
Do not use furniture polish to clean your wheelchair before traveling. Unbelievably, it may test positive as an explosive material. Before traveling, make sure to wipe down your wheelchair with plain soap and water to prevent any uncomfortable misunderstandings.
2. Research Repair Shops
Whether you are traveling internationally or domestically, it is important to know where you will be able to find the closest wheelchair repair shop. Whether you are using a manual or electric wheelchair, travel can be stressful on the chair’s parts and components. By knowing ahead of time where you can turn to, you save valuable time that can be used for checking out the local sights. Nobody wants to spend time on their vacation researching repair shops.
3. Check Voltages
If you are traveling internationally and using a motorized wheelchair, you need to determine the outlet voltage at your travel destination. The United States is one of the few countries in the world that uses 110 volts. Most other countries use 220 volts or higher. For other appliances such as a hairdryer or electric razor, an adapter gets the job done. Unfortunately, wheelchair chargers are too strong to convert easily. Before leaving, try to find a wheelchair charger that falls within the voltage range of the country that you are visiting.
4. Book Transportation
Many cities worldwide, even in the United States, are not as wheelchair friendly as they should be. Make sure to research to find out how well equipped your destination is to handle wheelchair tourists. If you plan to use a taxi, make sure to book it well in advance. Some companies may not allow you to book your transportation more than a day in advance. At the very least, make sure to book transportation to and from the airport as far in advance as possible. By the time you get off your flight, you will appreciate that you do not have to wait hours for accessible transportation.
5. The World is Your Oyster
While these tips may make wheelchair traveling seem overwhelming, they are sure to help you travel as much as you desire with the least amount of fuss. With that in mind, do not consider your wheelchair a limiting factor for where you go or what you get to do. If you enjoy adventure, there are plenty of destinations that offer adaptive programs for the disabled. If you prefer something more tropical, cruise ships are a great option for people who are wheelchair bound. In fact, be sure to do some extensive research. Traveling with a wheelchair might also get you a few perks such as first-class train rides for the price of coach, free museum tickets, and priority boarding. These are just a few perks often offered to wheelchair-bound people.
With a bit of extra planning and a positive outlook, you’re sure to enjoy a fabulous vacation without too much extra fuss.