The world is more accessible today than ever before. It is estimated that twenty percent of Earth’s population has some form of disability (estimated 1.2 billion people) and the number of these individuals is increasing daily. People with disabilities need to, want to, and can travel most of the world.
Here just are a few tasks that we can do to ensure that when your next travel opportunity arises, you are ready to go.
Outline your travel needs
Our Magic Planners take the time to evaluate the logistics of your trip in relation to your ability to keep pace. We will determine what modes of transportation will you be using such as Airplane, motorcoach, train, ship, transit vans for ground transfers, etc. We prepare a list, referring to relevant brochures and supplier websites to make sure you don’t miss anything.
We also make a list of your specific requirements. We will discuss with you what types of special needs equipment you depend on at home. We will also ask what do you use or need (or wish you had!) when shopping, sightseeing, dining out or going to the movies, attending concerts, the theater, street fairs or sporting events at home.
Can you hear and see clearly without special auditory equipment or visual aides? How far can you walk without a rest break? Are stairs difficult? Can you get in and out of the tub or shower at home without handgrips or other assistance?
Travel, whether solo or in a group, is no time for roughing it or trying to “tough it out.” If a wheelchair, scooter or portable oxygen will make your trip easier, we will place those items on your list. Many people who do not use wheelchairs or walkers at home feel more comfortable using these mobility aides for cruises, tours and excursions. In fact, most of our clients will use wheelchair and scooter rentals only when traveling.
If you already own a scooter or portable oxygen, it’s important to know the policy and procedures for bringing that equipment on board all the transport vehicles included in your itinerary, from planes to taxis to ferry boats. Does that transport have a way to stow your scooter or wheelchair? Is oxygen allowed on board? Some airlines prohibit certain types of batteries, such as wet cell batteries, or oxygen cylinders. Airlines operate under strict rules, so there may be packing procedures to follow if they do allow the equipment. Keep in mind, most airlines need at least 48 hours’ notice to make special arrangements and be prepared to fill out forms. We will assist you with all of these needs.
Overall, cruise ships are more lenient in allowing oxygen, but some disallow certain types of oxygen. All require that the oxygen be delivered to the ship and that you have enough for the entire voyage. Oxygen may never be brought aboard in your luggage. Requirements vary, so will check with your cruise line for proper instructions. Again, documentation and paperwork are required and we will assist you in completing all documentation.
Whether you are headed for a cruise ship, hotel or all-inclusive resort, we will double-check for wheelchair access at that venue, plus any venues you will be visiting on the trip. We will re-confirm that accessible hotel rooms, resort accommodations or ship staterooms are available for your travel dates. The earlier you book, the better your chances of securing fully accessible accommodations. And early booking increases your chances of securing a ground floor hotel room or cruise stateroom near the elevator if these issues are important.
We will check on the access to public rooms, restaurants, bars, toilets, the swimming pool, hot tub, beach area and other amenities. Are there TDD phone devices? How will you get in and out of the shower or bathtub? Are there flashing lights to accommodate hearing? Braille room numbers? Knowing in advance the scope of your needs gives us time to arrange advance rentals of any necessary equipment, scheduled to arrive when you do. Everything from scooters, lifts, ramps, TDD kits and special mattresses, including special needs cribs, is available for rental.
Will road travel or car excursions be part of the trip? Many car rental companies have vehicles that are modified for drivers or passengers with mobility limitations. We will check ahead to make sure a suitable vehicle will be available for your travel dates. If you will be hiring a car or van, we will make sure the company is aware of your special needs.
When traveling with a limitation or disability, full travel insurance for medical coverage abroad and trip cancellation insurance are even more important and strongly advised. We will provide you with all the necessary travel medial and assistance coverage you will need.
We Will Ask the Right Questions!
When making the final bookings, we will be sure to ask the right questions, even if the accommodations or cruise stateroom are categorized as “accessible.” For example, are doorways wide enough for the largest wheelchairs? Do the doors open outwards or into the room? Are all the public areas of the hotel, resort or ship accessible? Do you need to make special arrangements in the dining room to accommodate the wheelchair or scooter? Will the bathroom facilities truly fit your needs? Is the bathroom large enough for the wheelchair or scooter? Is there a roll-in shower? Grab-bars? Are there facilities for companion/assistance animals?
Are there shopping and entertainment facilities close by if you are staying at a hotel or resort? On shore excursions or tours, does the van have a lift and method for transporting wheelchairs and scooters?
Simply stated, we won’t take anything for granted. It’s easy to arrange for almost every situation, and the world is wonderfully accessible, once you know what’s needed, what’s available and how to find the necessary equipment.
We look forward to helping you with all of your accessible travel needs! So look through our site, chat or email us any questions, and when you’re ready, we will be here to help!