When you have a disability, a lot of things in life become a challenge, but that doesn’t mean you should stop doing them. Take going on vacation, for example: it’s something that people take for granted, and it can be tough for someone with a disability to venture away from home, but if you do your research, it’s certainly possible. Here are four tips for traveling when you have a disability.
1. Speak to a doctor
It’s important to get a doctor’s advice and to get cleared to take a long journey. Be honest with your doctor about what activities you have planned, so they can help you decide whether the trip is feasible.
You should ask to be prescribed enough medication to last through your journey and until you get home. Follow the TSA guidelines for taking your medication on the plane, ensuring it’s in its original packaging so that agents can see it’s a prescription medication. Never check your bag with your medication. If it gets lost, you could end up trying to get replacements from a doctor abroad.
2. Call ahead
Always make sure you’ve notified the relevant people you’ve booked with about your disability. If it’s a physical disability and you’ll need help getting on and off the plane, or assistance at the airport, call the airline, and they’ll go through your requirements. It might be worth calling them before you book the flight to ensure they can meet your needs.
You should also make sure the transfer is suitable and that you book an adapted room in the hotel in advance. Adapted hotel rooms are limited, so it’s important to call the hotel and double-check that they have a room reserved for you.
3. Pack everything you need
Packing for a vacation is tough when you have a disability, as there will be lots of extra items you need for your comfort and medical reasons. It’s worth thinking about what you use every day and making a list. There are also a number of wheelchair packing lists and other disability-specific checklists online to help you out.
4. Use the services of a flight coordinator
If you struggle on commercial flights, it may be worth using the services of a flight coordinator to help you get to and from your accommodation. Flight coordinators are RNs with emergency and critical care experience in addition to special training in flight psychology. This can often be easier than dealing with airlines yourself, especially if you have multiple issues and needs. It can often help to have someone experienced in these kinds of travel arrangements to sort yours out, as they will anticipate any challenges or difficulties.
If you have a disability, you should still be able to enjoy activities such as going on vacation. While it can take a lot of planning, it’s worth it to be able to explore a new place and enjoy some much-needed relaxation.