Traveling with a wheelchair can be an exciting adventure, but it can also present unique challenges. From navigating airports to finding accessible accommodations, there are a few factors to consider to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to travel with a wheelchair as well as how to overcome five of the most common challenges travelers with wheelchairs face.

1) Flying with a Wheelchair Can Be Complex

man in wheelchair getting luggage from baggage claim at airport

Flying with a wheelchair requires careful planning and coordination. Airlines have specific policies and procedures for passengers with disabilities, including wheelchair users. It’s crucial to notify the airline in advance about your wheelchair and any specific assistance you may need.


Tips for Flying with a Disability:

  • Contact the airline at least 48 hours before your flight to request wheelchair assistance.
  • Arrive at the airport early to allow extra time for check-in and security screening.
  • Consider using a travel wheelchair or a wheelchair that can be easily folded for easier transport on the aircraft.

2) Lodging May Not Always Be Truly Accessible

man walking woman in wheelchair up to lobby desk at a hotel

While many hotels and accommodations claim to be accessible, not all of them meet the needs of wheelchair users. We recommend researching and verifying the accessibility features of your chosen lodging before booking.


Tips for Finding Wheelchair Accessible Hotels:

  • Look for hotels that offer accessible rooms with features such as roll-in showers, grab bars, and wide doorways.
  • Call the hotel directly to inquire about their accessibility features and request specific accommodations, if needed.
  • Consider staying in an accessible vacation rental or Airbnb, where you can communicate directly with the host about your needs.

3) Public Amenities/Attractions May Not Be Accessible

woman in wheelchair in front of city buildings

Popular tourist attractions and public amenities throughout major cities have become more accessible to wheelchair users in recent years, but this is not always the case. Before you book your travel to a city or buy tickets to a tourist attraction, make sure to check that they can accommodate your wheelchair and any other needs you might have.


Tips for Finding Wheelchair-Friendly Amenities/Attractions

  • Do your research before your trip. If you can’t find the information on the website for the place you are visiting, explore websites and apps that provide accessibility information for various locations.
  • Contact the attraction or venue directly to inquire about their accessibility features and any accommodations they may offer.

4) It Can Be Difficult to Travel By Yourself

woman in wheelchair alone at a bus stop

Traveling alone with a disability can present additional challenges, such as navigating unfamiliar environments, handling luggage, and dealing with airport, hotel, and restaurant staff that aren’t fully trained to provide proper accommodations to travelers with disabilities. With a bit of research and a game plan, it is absolutely possible for wheelchair users and people with disabilities to see the world!


Tips for Traveling Alone with a Disability

  • Research and plan your route in advance, considering accessible transportation options, wheelchair-friendly routes, and the location of accessible amenities along the way.
  • Take advantage of smartphone apps and websites that can help you find accessible accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, as well as navigate public transportation.
  • Advocate for yourself! Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations regarding accessibility for travelers with disabilities in the countries you plan to visit.
  • Arrive at airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs early to allow extra time for check-in, security screening, and boarding.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from airport or transportation staff, hotel personnel, or fellow travelers if you need help.

5) Your Wheelchair Could be Damaged

close up of back of wheelchair at an airport

One of the big concerns for wheelchair users when traveling is the possibility of their wheelchair being damaged or lost during transit. Don’t let this stop you from going on adventures! There are some things you can do to set your mind at ease when traveling with a wheelchair.


Tips for Traveling with a Wheelchair

  • Invest in a sturdy and reliable wheelchair that is designed for travel.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers the cost of repairing or replacing your wheelchair if it is damaged or lost.
  • Carry a basic toolkit and spare parts for your wheelchair in case minor repairs are needed.

Make Travel Easier with Accessible Van Rentals

man in wheelchair coming out of accessible van with view of mountains

While you may encounter these common challenges while traveling with a wheelchair, we believe wheelchair users can overcome these challenges thanks to various accessible travel solutions.

With Wheelers Accessible Van Rentals, travelers can rest assured knowing they have reliable transportation tailored to their needs, allowing them to explore new destinations with ease. Find a location near you and book your wheelchair van rental today!

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