There is no reason for anyone with a physical disability not to be able to see or experience the world. Accessible travel is now made more possible by the tourism industry. From airplanes to hotels to tourist sites, everyone is well aware that people with disabilities go beyond their capacities to see the world. Why would anyone want to take that right away from you?
Prepare Your Finances
The truth, however, is that it isn’t cheap to travel when you have disabilities. Since you need certain special equipment and accommodation, it will be hard to stay in a non-tourism-department-approved hotel or apartment. Not all accommodations have facilities for the disabled. Those with the right facilities are mostly bigger and more expensive hotels.
You have to be ready to spend more than an able person would. This is one of the disadvantages of traveling with a disability. But you can prepare your finances better if you know what you are eligible for as help from the government. Applying for Social Security disability benefits will not make you ineligible for travel, but the agency can provide insurance, medical and financial benefits, and even a companion animal for you to take to your travels.
Research Everything You Need to Know
In the United States, the US Department of State and The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are good resources when a physically disabled person wants to travel. However, you cannot expect that all countries follow your home country’s rules and regulations when it comes to accommodating people with disabilities. You have to research what facilities and assurances are available for you once you arrive in the country.
This information will help you prepare for what lies ahead. It will help you book the right accommodations, transportation, and tour guides once you reach your destination. Also, it pays to have everything you need instead of wasting your time when you arrive.
Make Sure the Travel Insurance Includes Medical
When you have a medical condition, you don’t know when you have to go to the doctor or hospital. Make sure that your travel insurance includes medical coverage. Check what hospitals and doctors are accredited by your insurance so that you know where to go in case of an emergency.
Talk with a Travel Agent
Travel agents specialize in preparing itineraries for individuals, couples, families with young children, senior citizens, and yes, people with disabilities. They know exactly what you need and what are available in the places that you plan to visit. They can discuss these things with you, so you have an idea of what to expect when you arrive there. A travel agent with experience in planning itineraries for disabled people will guide you through the process.
Arrange Assistant While Flying
When booking a flight, the booking agent or the website will ask if you need assistance. This means that someone will guide and help you until you are settled on the plane. Whether that means you need a wheelchair or not doesn’t matter. Someone from the airlines will help you with the luggage, at least. This is especially important if you are going to travel on your own.
At the same time, this is when you have to decide if you want to carry your own device such as a wheelchair or rent one when you get to your destination. Most airlines will carry the wheelchair for free, but you have to check with your destination country about the regulations they have about taking an electric wheelchair, for example. Is the power source there the same as the one your wheelchair needs?
Take Advantage of Discounts
Some airlines, hotels, and tour packages give discounts to people with disabilities as long as they have a companion who will pay in full. Don’t belittle these discounts because they can add up and you will save a lot more than you thought. Reduced fare is also possible in domestic transfers, as well as in buses and trains. Singapore, Japan, and London offer discounts to disabled people all the time. Tourist attractions such as zoos, museums, and theme parks also provide discounts.
Don’t Forget Your Medicine
Talk to your doctor about refilling and taking the medicines with you. Some destination countries will require proof—a doctor’s prescription—that you have to take these medicines with you. Make sure you bring that with you, so you won’t have to deal with the customs and immigration departments in the airport of your destination.
While traveling with disabilities is not as easy compared to people without disabilities and medical conditions, it is not impossible. When you feel that you are ready to take the risk of traveling despite the challenges, don’t think twice and just do it. The experience will be exhilarating. You will realize that every bit of the difficulty you will encounter is well worth it.