Travel can be a headache at the best of times.
There’s a lot to do before you’ll be ready to jet off on your next vacation. You need to plan your flight, decide where you’re going to stay, and even make sure that you have the budget you need to pay for food and entertainment when you’re away.
However, for people in wheelchairs, flying can be even more complicated. The good news is that many airlines are starting to find new ways to accommodate wheelchair users on across-country and around-the-world flights. However, if you’re a care provider looking after someone in a wheelchair, or you’re an individual that needs help exploring the world with wheels in tow, the following tips will help.
Booking Flights and Accommodation
Flights and accommodation are a big part of booking a successful trip for a wheelchair user. For instance, when you’re booking your flights, you’re going to need to know a lot of information about the wheelchair that you’re going to be using, that includes:
- Size of your wheelchair (height and width)
- The approximate weight (airlines need to accommodate for this)
- Electric or manual
You’ll also need to tell the airline providers whether you’re okay to use one of their wheelchairs to take you to your airline seat, or you prefer to stick with your own machine. The more information you can offer at the time of the booking, the easier it will be to determine whether your airline can accommodate you.
After booking your accommodation online it may pay to follow up with a call, confirming what specific accessibility facilities you will require, this will prevent any awkward conversations on arrival.
How are you going to get around when you arrive at your chosen destination? There are some companies out there that can provide carefully modified hire vans and cars for people who have wheelchairs to deal with. The best way to get started is to visit the website of the hiring company you want to work with and find out whether there’s any information you can access about accessible cars.
If you want to take public transportation, including shuttle buses to and from your hotel, then you’re going to need to speak to the company that runs the shuttle to determine that they can accommodate wheelchair users. Most businesses will be able to do that these days, but there’s always a chance that you could end up with a problem if your wheelchair doesn’t fold.
While you’re arranging your transportation, you may want to think about whether you want to take your usual wheelchair with you on vacation, or whether it would be a good idea to switch to a more convenient model for the purpose of travel alone. A lightweight and foldable wheelchair might help you to get around more easily.
Managing Travel Insurance
Once you’ve got your vacation booked, along with your flights, car rental, and accommodation, it’s important to arrange your travel insurance. Anything can happen when you’re away from home – and that’s particularly true for people with disabilities to consider. Speak to an expert if you’re not sure what kind of insurance you need.
Remember, when filling out your insurance forms, you’ll need to be completely honest. Declare all pre-existing medical conditions now to avoid losing your insurance payments when you need them. Additionally, you might want to think about taking out a multi-trip or annual policy if you’re the kind of person who travels frequently. The right insurance will give you some much-needed peace of mind when you’re jetting around the world.
Preparing for your Flight
Finally, when the time comes to visit the airport for your flight, make sure you’ve packed everything you need for an enjoyable journey. This may include a repair kit for your wheelchair, extra medication, and even a letter from your doctor that shows you’re safe to have all the medication that you’re travelling with.
Get up early and arrive at the airport well before your flight is due to depart. This will give you a chance to discuss any special needs you may have with the flight staff before the queues get too overwhelming. Additionally, it could mean that you can get ahead of the crowds when the time comes to board the plane too. Many airlines will allow you to get on the plane first if you have mobility needs.
Travelling with a wheelchair can be tough – but it’s not impossible. The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be!