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Accessible Wheelchair Travel

  • Published: 2008-12-24 (Revised/Updated 2012-04-01) : Author: Moses Wright
  • Synopsis: Today wheelchair bound individuals have the opportunity to travel abroad set sail on a cruise or take a drive cross country.

Main Document

Not long ago, traveling from point A to B might be a tedious task not to mention traveling abroad. Today, wheelchair bound individuals have the opportunity to travel abroad, set sail on a cruise, or take a drive cross-country to Grandma's house.

However, handicapped vacationers must realize that there will still be extra challenges, even in travel. So, take some advice, avoid a few pitfalls, seek assistance from the professionals, and do a little research before beginning to explore the world on wheels.

Life is full of pitfalls, and traveling is no exception. Unfortunately, many people are in the tourism business are working for the money, and meeting customer needs is not always on the priority in their minds.

Two summers ago, Tina's personal experience taught a hard lesson. They were looking forward to a family weekend in a neighboring city, and reservations were placed at a local motel chain. Specifically told to the hotel staff, the travelers needed handicapped accommodations for three. Upon entering the room, to their surprise, one queen-sized bed was not what they thought they saw. The clerk has the audacity to suggest the room was re-booked without the children.

Demanding different accommodations, the clerk immediately provided a room suitable for three, with one exception - no handicapped shower. Oh well, compromises can be made for two days. No such luck! Returning to the room at night, a big problem became very apparent. The bathroom door is not wide enough for a wheelchair to enter.

Lesson learnt:

Do not allow travel nightmares to plague an already challenged life. Learn from the mistakes of another, and ask specifically for the disabled person's needs to be met. Instead of asking for a handicapped room, ask for a wheelchair accessible room. For some reason, many establishments assume handicapped people do not have families. Make sure the rooms are big enough. Unbelievably, many businesses will try to cut corners and try to rent an unacceptable room, rather than admit the motel does not have the necessary accommodations. Nor will the staff helpfully suggest a competitor with a suitable room. Do not place the reservation online. Talk directly to a person, and get a name.

Seek some advice, and seek help from professionals, especially when taking a cruise or traveling abroad. For instance, companies like Access Network specialize in assuring the customer's special needs are met. Travel around the world, and know the establishments cater to physically handicapped guests. Whether going to Egypt, Africa, or anywhere else, travel agencies, with the disabled in mind, can tell a person the best places to stay, the nicest places to eat, and the handicapped accessible tourist attractions. That's what you need.

However, even with the help of a travel agent, a little research can also prevent an inaccessibility problem from ruining a wonderful vacation. For instance Apparalyzed is an online support organization for paralyzed people. In giving support and advice, Apparalyzed also has travel recommendations including shelter, food, and fun.

So, before you kennel the dog, lock up the house, and starts exploring the world, listen to some sage advice. When looking for accommodations, be specific as to any special needs, such as a bigger room, wheelchair accessible shower bathroom. Speak to a real person, not a computer. Seek professional assistance before traveling abroad, and do a little homework before signing on the dotted line. Take the "dis" out of disability, and enjoy life to the fullest measure.


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