People with mobility issues have to constantly assess their environment, to make sure that the immediate space around them doesn’t offer any obstacles that they cannot physically overcome.
Unfortunately, this is a habit that cannot take a break even when on holiday. If you have to use a wheelchair, you will need to now assess an environment that is much bigger than the streets of your hometown and you might never have even been to.
So, it might take some forethought to navigate the various environments you might come across while travelling abroad. If you’re looking for some tips, take a look at our guide.
Think about your location
You should not be limited by your disability, so if you want to go on a cross-country hike, you can do that, perhaps with the use of a handbike rather than a wheelchair. If you want to spend your time in the Icelandic hot springs, you should do that. You don’t have to be limited to the hottest tourist traps of the big city to ensure accessibility.
However, you do have to ensure accessibility. Do some research on wherever you are going. You will have to do this on a national level anyway, asking what the world politics, the cultural climate and the crime rates are, but you will have to add to that basic accessibility questions.
What is the land like at your destination? Great rolling hills, long cobbled streets, or flat stone paths? Is your hotel wheelchair accessible? A townhouse B&B tucked down an alley in the heart of the city is charming, but perhaps not as accessible. You can, of course, visit all these areas, but be sure that your wheelchair can handle it. You might need to upgrade or change the tires.
If you’re really having trouble finding somewhere ideal or would like someone to take the heavy lifting out of it, you can look up holiday packages specifically tailored to people with disabilities.
Make sure you get your travel insurance
As a safety net, should something go wrong, you should look into some travel insurance. Travel insurance will allow you to go to the hospital, should you need it, without the horror of a massive bill when you leave. This is very important if you’re using a wheelchair.
StaySure has travel insurance to cover medical conditions from invisible disabilities to long-term conditions and will make sure that your baggage and cash is covered should it get lost or stolen. Plus, as a very helpful addition in this day and age, it even includes cancellation or shortening of your holiday due to Covid.
Keep your wheelchair in good nick
The first thing you should do on the run up to your trip is to get your wheelchair serviced. When you’re packing, add a puncture kit to your bags in case you have an emergency on the road.
Let your airline know if you use a battery-powered wheelchair a decent amount of time before your flight. They will need to know whether they can allow your battery on board, as some refuse different models that aren’t “safe”.
You can also get travel wheelchairs, that are lightweight and come with travel bags, or are more comfortable for a flight, or are considered heavy duty for all terrains.
All terrain wheelchairs will allow you to have the experience you’re looking for. If you’re tired of man-made architecture and city streets and are looking for the backpacking experience, you can combine an all-terrain wheelchair with some cross-country train rides to make a majority of the trip easier.