Traveling by wheelchair can strike a nerve if you do not plan, research, or think about possible setbacks and delays because of handicap restrictions.
For instance, not every hotel or motel has wheelchair accessibility, which may pose problems if traveling alone.
Be sure to ask about wheelchair accessibility while making hotel reservations.
Those with mobile challenges rely on wheelchair assistance wherever they travel, including airline services, boating or cruise accommodations, and other transportation mediums, such as taxis, buses, shuttles, and amusement park rides.
Consider inquiring with these services about possible airlift assistance, elevators, and ramps.
Additionally, inquire with these services about medicinal and special equipment restrictions, such as designated areas for defibrillators and oxygen tanks.
Finding out this information ahead of time can save you time and money.
Wheelchair Maintenance and Repair While Traveling
If you’re traveling alone in a wheelchair, make sure you have a maintenance or repair service to verify that the wheelchair is in good working conditions before leaving.
The extra effort will eliminate setbacks and delays over broken or repairable parts requiring servicing at the destination upon arrival.
Hiring a maintenance or repair service team will save you time and minimize stress while on your trip.
Exercise precaution by placing your name and address onto each of the detachable parts before leaving home.
Only display your name when traveling overseas.
Also, bring a travel-size repair kit containing all the necessary tools and materials needed to change a pneumatic tire.
Pneumatic tire repair kits can be found at any major retail chain store in the bicycle section.
Remember that not all international repair shops are identical to the service you’re used to receiving at home, so make every effort to reduce potential problems by acting now.
Tips for Sea Travel
Cruise operations usually incorporate ferry services to transport passengers to shore from a ship anchored out at sea.
These ferry services are not always equipped with lifts or ramps to help the handicap lower their wheelchairs onto the carrier.
Ask personnel for assistance in locating any wheelchair accommodations to board the ferry and deport for the shore.
Depending on the weather, sea, tidal conditions, or technical difficulties, certain restrictions may be in place that limits certain passengers from leaving the cruise tender.
Generally, the crew will guide you to a gangway or use a creepy crawler, a mechanical device designed to “walk” your wheelchair down a flight of stairs, to help the mobile challenge find its way to the shore.
Handicap persons will need to transfer to a lightweight, manual wheelchair if originally in an electric wheelchair or scooter to allow the crew to move the equipment onto the shore successfully.
Be sure to alert the crew of any medicinal or special equipment that also needs to be moved alongside your wheelchair or scooter.
Tips for Air Travel
Most people believe that airliners accommodate wheelchair travelers.
However, some airline services have neglected taking the extra effort to ensure that these services are implemented to minimize potential injuries for those confined to a mobile device.
Any airline can pose potential problems for wheelchair travelers, depending on the time and day that the flight departed for its destination.
Furthermore, the quality of wheelchair assistance relies heavily on the airline staff and airport crew that unloads your equipment and luggage.
Confirm your airline flights with your carrier within 24-48 hours of your departure.
Flight times, numbers, and seating arrangements can change on a whim.
Notify the airline service team about your disability.
Also, mention the kind of wheelchair you have and other equipment that will need to be transported upon arrival. Request for a “gate check” to load your wheelchair directly to the plane’s fuselage.
Be sure to remove all leg supports and seat cushions before giving your wheelchair to the airline staff.
Carry these items with you onto the airliner.
Use special bags to store delicate items in between transitions.