Traveling is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences that anyone can do in their free time. However, for those individuals who use a wheelchair, travel might cause anxiety or unease.
Traveling while in a wheelchair does complicate a few things, but by no means does it mean you can't be an adventurous traveler. As long as you pay attention to the tips below, you'll be to enjoy yourself at every destination.
1) Research Accessible Attractions
At first thought, it might seem like there are only a select few tourist attractions or locations that are able to accommodate someone in a wheelchair. The good news is that the world is slowly becoming more accessible.
Before you count yourself out of that exciting trip, make sure to do your research first and see if that attraction has wheelchair accessibility. Locations that you might have thought out of the question for you to visit are actually doable.
For example, you can go zip-lining in Las Vegas or visit Beijing's Forbidden City. It's even possible to visit the pyramids in Egypt, a location that otherwise seems too far, too remote, or with terrain that isn't conducive to a wheelchair.
2) Get Comfortable
No matter how you travel, you'll never fully relax if you're uncomfortable. That's why a lot of people choose a reclining wheelchair before they leave for the trip.
These make it possible to kick back on the beach and watch the sunset comfortably. Plus, your reclining wheelchair will keep you comfy while you're spending downtime, like waiting to board a plane.
3) Make it Easy to Get There
It might seem easier to travel within the United States if you already live there. It's always easier to travel close to home, right? The truth is, traveling from state to state can be more of an ordeal than expected.
Since the train systems in the United States are limited, you'll have to resort to traveling by car or air. Traveling by air, as mentioned previously, is doable, but is still complicated. Traveling by car could also be tedious since you would have to prepare to rent a car or even be limited only to a car service if you are traveling alone.
Air travel, while more of an ordeal that other types of travel, is very accessible for wheelchair users. You might have to give yourself more time than the average flyer, but it's certainly doable.
4) Know How to Get Around Town
While more countries and tourist areas are becoming wheelchair accessible, it's important to do research transportation options in each destination. You have to know whether the destination of your choice has public transportation, whether it's trains, buses, etc.
For widely-available public transit, consider visiting countries in Europe. You can hop on a train and be in any number of countries in minutes or hours, and they are all wheelchair accessible. In this case, you could see a handful of countries in a much easier fashion than traveling state to state.
5) Reach Out to the Differently Abled Community
The differently-abled community is worldwide. There are numerous forums and groups available for wheelchair users to connect to other members of the community in about every country. Reaching out to the locals who are also familiar with your specific needs is the perfect way to get recommendations or know which traps to avoid.
This will also help with misconceptions or misinformation. Unfortunately, it's possible that accessibility information you find online could be outdated or even completely wrong. Talking to locals will ensure you have the best, most updated information.
For example, as mentioned above, you are able to visit the pyramids in Egypt. However, the actual interiors of the pyramids aren't wheelchair accessible.
6) Know Your Legal Rights
Know your rights while traveling abroad or locally. Differently-abled people are afforded a set of civil rights that are designed to protect against unfair treatment.
Every step of your travel journey, including the airline, hotel, attractions, public transportation, and restaurants should be held accountable for these. Being aware of exactly what your rights are is important to ensure that you aren't taken advantage of while traveling.
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