Wheelchair Travel Tips

By Marg Buller | May 30, 2009

Sometimes it is easy for people to forget that those who have disabilities and are confined to a wheelchair have a much more difficult time doing things we take for granted. In fact, some people choose to ignore the fact and think that people in wheelchairs are actually just like you and me, and they should be treated as such. This is true to an extent, however people who are confined to wheelchairs face many more obstacles than everyone else. Because of this,
it is necessary to make accommodations ensuring that they can have the same experiences that everyone else does.

There are a few things that need to be done before the handicapped can experience the world in the same way that everyone else does.

If you are confined to a wheelchair and you want to travel, then you need to make sure all of your travel arrangements are in order. It should be just as easy as going to the airport or boarding a cruise ship, but even in this day and age people will have to be reminded that you’re traveling with wheels.

Airline Travel:

When you travel by airplane, make arrangements in advance so they know you’ll be coming on a wheelchair. If you don’t, then there is a chance that they will not be prepared for you and may make you wait.

Make sure that you request to be allowed to ride your wheelchair to the gate. If you are
using a motorized chair, make sure you do not have wet cell batteries. If you do, then your batteries will have to be placed in a no-leak container. Gel cells are preferred. It is not unusual for the airlines to lose luggage you would run into issues if you had a motorized chair and no batteries.


Just like with airlines, make sure the hotels know you’re coming. Make sure that the hotel is wheelchair accessible, and definitely make sure they’ll help you out if you need it. Once again planning is key to having a trouble free vacation.

Cruise Ships:

Cruise ships can be much more helpful than airlines when it comes to the handicapped. There are a few ways to disembark from a cruise ship, one of which is by tender. Tender is where a boat is launched from the cruise ship about half a mile from shore and a few passengers can opt to leave.

Then there is the gangplank where everyone disembarks normally. Either way, you can either have your chair carried. If you disembark at the gangplank, there is a special device that is capable of lifting your chair and setting you down on the dock. You should call ahead and get detailed information about how this will be handled.

Finding accessible activities at your destination also requires some advanced planning. Your first stop should be the areas local tourist information booth.

Depending on where you are vacationing, they may or may not be able to help you. By researching the activities on the Internet before you leave, you will be able to have an agenda of activities and restaurants to visit before you arrive. This will save much time and allow you to enjoy your vacation more.

So before you travel, do your research, make sure everything is set up and in place, otherwise you may run into a lot of trouble when you try to travel.

Being in a wheelchair shouldn’t stop you from experiencing life, but it will do a fine job of making it more difficult if you aren’t vigilant.

About the Author:

Marg Buller is the proprietor of the Country Blessings B&B Retreat near Peterborough, Ontario Canada. Country Blessings is dedicated to providing accessible vacation accommodations
for disabled adults and seniors.

Country Blessings B&B is located on the beautiful shores of lovely Lake Chemong in the Kawartha vacation area of Ontario.

Reproduced from http://www.new-haven-railroad.com/railroad-blog/?p=4169