Some Tips for Global Travel in a Wheelchair

As more and more airlines, hotels and means of public transportation around the world are becoming accessible to wheelchair users, global travel is a becoming possible for people with disabilities. It’s possible to maintain an active lifestyle and go places, and there are many online resources with information about accessibility in various countries and cities around the world.

Inclusive travel for wheelchair users
The total number of wheelchair users in the U.S. over the age of 15 years is about 3.6 million, with about 2 million new users being added each year. In addition, about 11.6 million people have limited mobility and use walkers, canes or crutches. This has made accessibility a major goal for transportation and public buildings across the U.S. Since many wheelchair users want to maintain an active and self-reliant lifestyle, many travel companies offer inclusive excursions, to nearby, national and international destinations.
When planning international travel, there are some things to keep in mind with regard to accessibility. Planning ahead, from booking airplane tickets and hotel rooms to knowing how to recharge a wheelchair in a foreign country, can help the trip go off without a hitch. But as every traveler knows, it’s the things you don’t expect that can be hardest to overcome. With that in mind, here are some useful tips for planning an international trip for wheelchair users.

Tips for international travel
There are plenty of resources online for international travel in a wheelchair, with information about accessibility at airports, hotels, tourist sites, museums and much more. Here are some important tips for staying safe when traveling.

  • Travel insurance
    When getting medical insurance for your trip, you should make sure that it covers all existing medical conditions. Other things to look for in a plan is coverage for trip cancellation or interruptions, emergency medical care and medical transportation, baggage losses and damage, and delays and missed connections. Travel insurance must be purchased within fourteen days of making your flight bookings.

    STEP, or the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program maintained by the U.S. Department of State keeps a record of Americans traveling abroad and their itineraries. This enables U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to help travelers in case of any emergencies like crime, accidents, illness, natural disasters, political unrest etc. Travelers can enroll online and the program is free of charge.

  • Check the voltage
    Countries around the world use different types of electrical outlets, and you have to be sure that you can plug in your wheelchair to recharge it. Global electrical outlet adapters are a good investment that help ensure you can always tap into a power source while traveling or in transit.
    Besides the shape of the electrical outlet you have to keep in mind that the voltage also varies around the world. In the U.S., domestic electrical outlets deliver 120v, while in the U.K it is 230 v. Unless your wheelchair and other electrical appliances are designed for dual voltage use, you should get a power transformer that will change they voltage to the appropriate type.

Traveling can be a challenge and an exciting adventure, especially in a wheelchair. If you’re prepared, with information about accessibility, as well as how to handle unexpected issues and problems, you’ll get much more out of your journeys.