Traveling with a disability doesn’t have to be a challenge. In the past, many destinations had a reputation of being hard to manage if you need extra assistance. Luckily, times are quickly changing. Today virtually nowhere is off limits. Hotels, cultural attractions, museums, and even city streets are more accessible than they’ve ever been before.
Your diagnosis doesn’t mean your travel dreams have to come to an end. The world is vast, and you have the freedom to explore as much as you desire. Follow these 6 tips below to make sure your experience is smooth from start to finish.
1. Research Your Airline
No matter whether you have a disability or you’re able-bodied, the airport is stressful. The last thing you want to worry about is how you’ll manage everything from security to transportation. Your first line of defense is to research your airline. Most airlines today have accommodations available for those who need extra help. Look into disability options for your particular airline, and talk to the staff about any guidelines. These services are usually offered at no charge, so take advantage of them.
2. Contact Your Hotel
Like with your airline, you’ll want to talk to your hotel in advance to keep things running smoothly. Most hotels across the globe have accommodations for those needing extra assistance. If you’re in a wheelchair, for example, there are handicap accessible rooms. The most important thing to note, however, is that these hotels need a heads up about your needs. Contacting the hotel directly prior to your trip and talking to them about your needs is the best way to ensure they’re ready for your arrival.
3. Work With a Guide
While you can find travel guides for just about any type of travel, the same is true for navigating a city with a disability. Working with a local guide who knows the ins and outs of your destination will cut down on frustration and communication challenges. Guides can help with arranging for special accommodations, planning activities, or even just getting you from place to place.
4. Talk to Your Doctor
If you’re currently under the care of a doctor, talk to them about your travel plans. They might prescribe extra medication just in case or give recommendations for medical facilities abroad. Most of disabled travelers use online platforms like Booknowmed to book a treatment online while they are visiting different countries. You should also travel with your doctor’s contact information on your person as well as any necessary medical alert information.
5. Know Your Rights
No matter where you’re traveling, you have rights. In the United States, these rights fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This prevents discrimination for people with disabilities even with regards to transportation. This applies to TSA as well, and it means you are allowed special accommodations like extra liquids if medically necessary or private inspections. Before you leave home, review your rights both abroad and in the United States.
6. Choose a Tour
If navigating the many steps of trip planning is too overwhelming, you still have options. There are many tour companies today that specialize in travelers with disabilities. These can be organized for both private groups or large groups, and you have a lot of freedom to choose where you want to go. The benefits of traveling with a tour are not having to worry about calling your airline or the hotel in advance, and all of the activities are perfectly planned with your needs in mind.
Where will you visit next? The world is truly yours to explore, disability and all. Don’t let your diagnosis get in the way of your wanderlust. These tips will keep your trip running smoothly.