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Accessible Travel

WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Moderator Posts: 384 Moderator
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What are some of the best travelling tips YOU could give to someone who is starting off their new life travelling?

Do you have any great or even bad travel stories? 

We are still brand new to travelling, and have only gone on one out of province trip since my partners accident, and it wasn't very far. We went across country to PEI when we were only a year into our injury and the biggest adjustment was seeing a small isl chair coming down the ramp, renting a care, and staying in hotels that claimed to be fully accessible.

Also, my partner got sea food poisoning while we were away, which made for an interesting nights sleep or lack there of. I guess we forgot that if one must get sea sick, it sort of had to be in a bucket on his lap. This IS all a huge learning experience for us still and we are 4 years into this life. 

Would love to hear some of your best and worst travel stories. Somehow it makes our lives feel less isolating to know that other's have experienced similarities or have some really great advice for our future ventures. 

Thanks so much for reading and look forward to reading your responses. 


Your WAGS of SCI
(Elena and Brooke)


  • prc_Bethprc_Beth Moderator, Information Specialist Posts: 53 Information Specialist
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    I'm sure everyone is looking forward to the time when they can travel again. 
  • SterlionSterlion Moderator Posts: 103 Moderator
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    The best thing to do when traveling is communicating to every business involved in your trip what you will need in advance. Airline, car rental company/accessible transportation to the hotel.
    Things to consider:
    - Airline: Boarding order (Some board wheelchair users first and take them off last on arrival)
                  Can your chair fit or will you need isle chair
                   How to tag your chair so you can leave it at the gate instead of checking it
                   Will there be assistance to carry luggage

    - Car rental: Ask to reserve a specific model vehicle to fit wheelchair and luggage 
    - Hotel: Not all "accessible" rooms have WHEELCHAIR accessible bathrooms. Make sure you communicate what you need.
  • stephanie426stephanie426 Moderator Posts: 51 Moderator
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    I love traveling! I used to travel 2-3 times a month for work, and now I travel a ton for leisure with my fiance. 

    My first tip for travel is do it OFTEN! The more you travel, the more you'll get used to it and learn exactly what you need. It becomes less of a hassle/thing to have anxiety about and more second nature. 

    Next, know what your needs are, be ready for things to go wrong, and look at every "wrong" as an opportunity to problem solve. One hotel didn't have a shower chair and didn't even know what they were. I told them exactly what they were, that they could find one at a medical supply store or local pharmacy, and bring it to my room by 5pm. If they didn't, then I'd be happy to go purchase one myself and they could take the cost off my bill and I would leave the shower chair with them as they are required to have them under the law. It worked out great as an advocacy opportunity and I got to tell them exactly which shower chair I wanted! Bonus: I knew no other butt had touched it before mine! 

    Also, if you're new to traveling, travel to "new" cities first. Places like Miami which are much newer than places like Boston are more accessible because the infrastructure was built for wheels! Boston is full of cobblestones, broken streets, tiny doorways, etc. Miami is well paved, wide spaces, and even has accessible beaches! Likewise, I love going places with accessible trains, like Washington,D.C. - it makes getting around the city much easier and you'll get to see more! 
  • heatherkrillheatherkrill Moderator Posts: 75 Moderator
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    Geoff travels a lot for work (well, he did before the world shut down in March) and one of the most frustrating elements for him is the rental car situation.  It seems that even when he calls and makes a reservation and speaks with someone in person inevitably he still arrives to a vehicle not yet hooked up with hand controls.  As a family, we prefer to travel by our trusty Subaru station wagon, one that I've become very adept at packing-- but at least then we feel better prepared at taking everything with us we will need.  Geoff is a para, so we don't have to transport a power chair or hoya lift, but we do bring a toilet seat with us always.  Now that we have two kids and a dog, the space is less.  However the thought of buying a bigger car is financially not an option for us until the pandemic straightens out and he is able to return to work.  
  • ambercollieambercollie Moderator Posts: 147 Moderator
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    Great Travel tips and ideas!!
  • vpitaluga1vpitaluga1 Member Posts: 5
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    @heatherkrill you should try traveling with portable hand controls; since your husband is a para, he can install them himself! $300 + 5 minutes to driving independence! We use the Freedom Staff ones, they're available on Amazon.
  • prc_Bethprc_Beth Moderator, Information Specialist Posts: 53 Information Specialist
    10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Awesomes First Anniversary
    The best thing to do when traveling is communicating to every business involved in your trip what you will need in advance.
    That is a great comment! 
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