The travel industry has not always been as accommodating for travelers with disabilities until recently. Thankfully, the industry is becoming more and more aware of the needs of the disabled community and they have been doing more assist travelers. The Americans with Disabilities Act has helped make sure people with disabilities receive equal and fair treatment which has helped, but there are still difficulties for disabled people as all people have different needs and require varying accommodations.
When we think about traveling, we typically don’t think about day-to-day travel needs. Because local travel happens much more often, it is a great idea to get ready in advance for any upcoming outings. For other types of travel, many of these same suggestions can prove to be very beneficial.
- Call Ahead – If you are getting ready to go to a new doctor, dentist or other service provider, call ahead to see if they are fully accommodating or if there is anything they can do to help meet your specific needs. Upfront communication can help ease the process and decrease stress and anxiety of visiting a new and unfamiliar place.
- Clear Communication – Whether you are speaking to an airline, a cruise line, a local doctor, or a hotel, clear communication about a disability can help industry workers prepare. A “disability” can mean many different things. To clear up confusion, communicate specific needs and ask how they can be accommodated.
- Medications – If you are planning a longer trip, double-check your medication supply before you leave. Stressful and emergency situations could arise if a prescription runs out or is lost and there isn’t a way to refill it immediately.
- Check With Your Doctor – Before you travel, make sure you clear it with your doctor. There may be precautions that you need to take or other elements of your condition that your doctor might be worried about. Make sure your doctor knows your travel plans and gives you the ok.
- Exit Strategies – If you are using a new method of transportation, arrive in advance to speak to someone about entrance and exit strategies. Airplanes and cruise lines might have separate exit routes for wheelchairs or other mobility devices that can help boarding and leaving the vehicle easier.
- Timeliness – Allowing for extra time before your method of transportation is supposed to depart can help ease the traveling process. Arriving late or with minutes to spare can take away from the time that you have to communicate with the necessary individuals and to allow for an easier transition. Make sure you have time to spare.
When preparing to travel, locally or otherwise, try making a checklist that can help you get to your destination with ease. Make sure you have everything you need packed and ready to go, plan for emergency situations, get tips and advice from your doctor or other medical specialists that know your immediate needs and enlist help from relatives and friends. Advanced preparation can make traveling easier and more enjoyable the more prepared you are.