Going on vacation is supposed to be a fun and exciting time. But obstacles can arise for non-ambulatory travelers. If you use a wheelchair to help you navigate your daily life, you’ll need to consider various factors when going on a trip, depending on the mode of transportation you prefer.
While it’s possible to bring your mobility equipment with you and have a smooth journey from start to finish, it’s worth planning ahead to avoid any potential hiccups. Here are five important travel tips that’ll help you prepare for your next travel adventure.
1. Call Airlines Ahead of Time to Request Special Seating
If you’re traveling by plane, it’s essential to communicate all your needs to the airline staff ahead of time so they can assist you as needed. When booking your flight, speak with an agent and explain that you require assistance. Many travelers use mobility scooters to navigate the airport. These vehicles offer an easy way to get around and are free to bring on an airplane.
Once you have decided which mobility equipment you would like to bring along, make sure to add it to your booking, as well as any specific seating requirements.
There’s some good news if you’d like to bring both a scooter and a wheelchair to a European country, as you are legally entitled to bring up to two pieces of mobility equipment with you. Even better? They do not count towards your baggage allowance!
2. Check Size Guidelines for Buses and Coaches
Many bus and coach companies have specific guidelines about the size of wheelchairs and other mobility equipment they can accommodate, so calling your chosen travel provider for details is always the safest option.
They may also require you to be escorted to the pickup and/or drop-off locations, so finding out all the details before booking is especially important if you want to take a solo trip.
3. Make Sure Your Train Can Accommodate Your Equipment
The most important thing to do before traveling via train is to ensure the specific train you plan to catch will fit your wheelchair. While most will accommodate your equipment, some older and smaller trains can’t take larger wheelchairs aboard.
Also, not all rail staff will be willing or able to help you maneuver the equipment on and off the train. So, it’s a good idea to contact the company in advance to find out whether you will need to bring someone along to assist you.
4. Take Safety Precautions to Help Avoid Accidents
Regardless of the form of travel you choose, there are safety precautions you can take that will help protect you and your equipment while on your journey.
For example, it’s a good idea to bring a bag for any loose parts that can easily detach. Also, you can cover any vulnerable areas of your wheelchair with padding. When seated in your wheelchair while waiting to board your vehicle, make sure your brakes are on to avoid accidents.
These quick safety steps can help set you up for a trouble-free travel experience.
5. Consider Insurance For Your Wheelchair
While there is no legal requirement for you to have your equipment insured prior to travel, many wheelchair users choose to get covered in case of an emergency.
If the destination you’re traveling to poses any potential risks to the capabilities of your mobility equipment, it’s definitely a smart choice to get insured. The last thing you need on your vacation is stress over expensive repair costs!
Travel Stress-Free With These Five Tips!
Whether you’re traveling within your own country or adventuring farther, ensuring you can safely bring your mobility equipment with you is a top priority. Once that’s taken care of, all that’s left is to sit back and enjoy your time away. Safe travels!