Vacations are a time for relaxing enjoying oneself and seeing new places. Each year tens of million travel to different places during their vacation time, for this purpose.
For those with mobility issues traveling is also something to look forward. The chance to have a change of scenery and get introduced to a new culture can create feelings of excitement and joy. Traveling however for those in wheelchairs requires that special care is taken to ensure that the trip is in fact enjoyable.
For those assisting someone in a wheelchair, you need to do some homework and be prepared for all potential issues that may arise. Here is a way to make sure that your wheelchair bound friend or family members enjoys the trip as much as everyone else:
Plan Everything Out
Work out a plan that the two of you put together that includes how the trip will progress, where you will go and what will be needed. Start with packing and what needs to be brought with you and what can be purchased when you arrive. Because there will be additional traveling items like the wheelchair, you should expect that you will have less free hands. So finding smaller items that can be purchased at your destination can be a helpful plan.
Think through how think will work at the airports, transportation from the airports and when you arrive at the hotel. How much additional help will you need and will it be available at each of these places? How can you ensure that there will be the needed help? Make these calls before you leave and have backups in case one falls through.
Pick a Wheelchair Friendly Hotel
Wheelchair friendly hotels make a world of difference for a person with mobility challenges. These hotels have rooms that are designed to accommodate wheelchairs with wider space to maneuver the wheelchair, bathrooms with rails near the toilet and sink and a roll-in shower that will accommodate the entire wheelchair, allowing the person to shower while sitting down. The rooms also make sure that vital controls for the HVAC system and lights are at the level so someone in a wheelchair can operate them. The hotels also have ramps or elevators that allow a person in a wheelchair access to all areas of the hotel including rest rooms, lounges, and the pool area. In these types of hotels, a wheelchair person can be mobile and even autonomous much of the time.
Be Realistic about what is Possible
When you plan for and take a trip with someone in a wheelchair be realistic about what is possible with that person. You can expect that some things in terms of accessibility and access may not be all that you hope but that should not dampen your trip. Be sure and pick wheelchair friendly restaurants, cafes and attractions and look to enjoy yourself with what is available. Make the best out of what you do get and know that things are getting better all the time. Also understand that when you go to another country the definition of what is accessible and not may differ, so use sound judgment. If something looks like it should be out of bounds, treat it as such even if someone may tries to convince you otherwise. Safety first is the best motto.
Traveling with someone in a wheelchair does not have to be a major challenge as long as you plan and pick the right places to go beforehand.