7 Tips For Improving Your Accessible Travel Experience

Accessible Travel

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Everyone deserves a chance to let loose and take a trip to a dream destination around the world. If you have a disability, traveling means taking additional considerations into account. If you’ve got a trip planned for the future, consider these seven tips and make your adventure as easy as possible.

1. Plan Properly

While you’ll find that many airports are more accessible than they were in the past, you still need to do plenty of planning ahead of time. You’ll want to take steps to ensure your comfort while traveling, starting with what you pack before your trip. Be sure to bring all the necessary medication that you’ll need on the plane and when you reach your destination. Try to take twice what you need and pack duplicates of your medicine into separate bottles, so you’ll be okay if you lose one. 

If you tend to get cold or uncomfortable on planes, pack plenty of blankets, extra socks, and a sweatshirt. Put all those items into your carry-on bag so you’ll have them at arm’s reach when you need them most. Doing so is also essential if there are any layovers or delays and you may not have access to your checked luggage.

2. Be Aware Of What Airports Are Offering

Airports weren’t always the most accessible places in the world, which was a fact not lost on the officials at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO has noticed that things could be much easier for folks with disabilities, so they’re working on different tactics to make air travel more accessible. If you know these guidelines, you can use them to your advantage. 

Among them are ticketing kiosks that allow travelers in wheelchairs to approach and confirm their flights with ease. The kiosks also provide enlarged wording for those with vision impairments and volume control when necessary. Most airports now have more accessible bathrooms with changing tables, grab bars, and other necessities. Many facilities also offer a navigation application that travelers can use on their smartphones to get around the airport if they have blindness or low vision. If you need something to make your airport journey easier, don’t be afraid to go up to the desk and ask.

3. Bring A Travel Mate

If you need assistance, you may want to make arrangements to take a friend or family member along on your journey so they can assist when you’re met with an obstacle. Your friend can help you navigate the airport and talk to staff members to voice your needs for a smooth trip. If you use a wheelchair, a companion can help to transfer you to and from it when necessary.

4. Avoid Additional Health Risks

Although there are many innovations in airports and at many travel destinations, nothing is 100% guaranteed, so you need to be mindful of your safety. You don’t want to get sick or hurt while you’re traveling because, in addition to not knowing where to go for medical care, you could also worsen your condition. Avoid sickness by washing your hands after you eat, using the restroom, and avoiding touching your face whenever possible. Try to keep your hands off of walls and counters, as that’s where germs can reside.

You can also take precautions to reduce strain and potential injury while traveling by being smart about your every move. If mobility is an issue, then take advantage of the fact that most establishments now have ramps that you can use to avoid the stairs. When you’re going through the airport, try to reduce the need to pick up heavy luggage. Prevent that possibility by using rolling luggage that can roll behind you. If necessary, request help and use the dollies most airports have to transport your luggage.

5. Be Cautious While Driving

There are other dangers to consider when traveling that may not have anything to do with a disability but are still important to remember, like traveling in rainy weather. Try to avoid going outside during a storm, but if you must and you’re driving, be sure to accelerate slowly and leave enough space between your vehicle and the car ahead of you. Also, always get directions ahead of time and write them down in case you use reception or your device runs out of battery, and you won’t get lost. If you need a wheelchair or assistance when you reach your destination, call ahead so you can get what you need. 

6. Visit Destinations That Prioritize Accessibility

Like the airports, many vacation destinations are also learning how to improve accessibility for travelers. When you get a destination in mind, check out the website for the hotel and the attractions you hope to attend and see if they provide ramps, equipment for guided tours, and any other needs you may require. Once you’re sure the destination meets your needs, make a reservation so you’re all set when you arrive.

Many existing travel websites can provide you with much information about accessible travel. One of them is World On Wheels, a site dedicated to visiting attractions worldwide in a wheelchair. You can also check out Wheel The World, which discusses various accessible travel experiences you might like.

7. Get Out And Get Active

Our final tip is to get out of the hotel whenever you can. Go see the sights and get some exercise in the process. There are many fun activities that you can do regardless of your disability. If you enjoy golf and volleyball, you can do both while sitting down. You can tour the city on a bike and, if necessary, rent a tricycle model that will keep you stable as you ride it. Take a stroll through the forest, and you’ll find that your troubles melt away. After all, that’s what vacation is all about.


As you can see, there are many ways to ensure happiness and success during your travel experiences regardless of disability. Use these tips to make safe decisions and memories that

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Article Author Details

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer living in the pacific northwest who has a variety of interests including sociology, politics, business, education, health, and more.