Traveling With Disabilities

Traveling with Disabilities

Fortunately, in the past few years, the travel industry has become more accessible for all types of people, including those with disabilities. However, you can never be certain if a hotel is going to have large enough doorways for a wheelchair, or if a particular destination has copious amounts of hilly walking -- so we've come up with a few good tips to ensure you have a enjoyable trip, free of worry.

1. Always call ahead to check accommodations. In most states, travel providers are required by law to make reasonable accommodations for disabled persons, so as long as you give them a 24-48 hour heads up, they should meet your needs.

2. Be specific when describing the disability and the needs required. Not everyone will be aware just what is needed for each specific disability, so you will need to be clear in detailing what accommodations need to be made.

3. Talk to your doctor beforehand to get some tips. They may have specific suggestions for you based on destination, time of year, type of lodging and other various factors.

4. Always bring extra medication, if it is required. Most doctors recommend bringing double of what you would need on a trip in case of delays or emergencies.

5. Request your doctor to find local physician availability where you'll be staying in case of emergency. Most doctors will be able to network and relay specific information to colleagues in other states to ensure the local doctor is aware of your situation, should anything come up.

6. For flying, make sure to arrive as early as possible to make arrangements for seating with the flight attendants, if your disability requires that extra space. Also be sure to grab the attendant's attention before landing to make a plan for a smooth exit.

7. Be aware of your rights, especially at an airport. Read the TSA's rules for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division has a comprehensive guide to the rights of disabled air travelers.