(StatePoint) The stress of travel can impact anyone, but add in the need to find wheelchair-accessible transportation, hotel rooms or restaurants, and that stress is amplified considerably.
The experts at Mobility Ventures, maker of the MV-1 -- the only mobility vehicle built with wheelchair users in mind -- are offering tips and an interactive map that highlights cities with MV-1 vehicles in their taxi and rental car fleets, to make accessible travel easier for wheelchair users and their friends and families this holiday season.
“Mobility and accessibility can improve the quality of life, independence and mobility of all wheelchair users,” says Pat Kemp, executive vice president, Mobility Ventures. “Tips and resources can help lessen travel stress for people who use wheelchairs and their loved ones.”
Be sure to allow at least 90 minutes between flights to allow time to deplane -- wheelchair users are always the first to board and the last to deplane.
Protect mobility devices from damage while in flight with a cover (e.g., sleeves for wheelchair frames).
If you use a removable wheelchair cushion, bring it with you on board the airplane to be sure it is not lost or damaged.
If you need special assistance, inform the airline gate agent upon check-in.
Accessible space and seats are available on coach, business class and first class train cars. On Amtrak for example, there are two different onboard seating options for passengers traveling with wheeled mobility devices, depending on the type of device.
Amtrak also has “accessible rooms” passengers with disabilities. These rooms are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and should be booked 14 days in advance.
If you require a companion or an attendant while traveling, check for companion fare or discounted tickets.
Passengers who use oxygen equipment can bring the equipment onboard trains with certain restrictions.
Look for a “guaranteed ADA” room when booking.
Check the room for any barriers
at check-in. A room can be ADA compliant but that does not mean that there will not be any mobility barriers.
If you have difficulty pushing a manual chair, request a room near the elevators or on the first floor.
Search for taxi or rental companies with wheelchair accessible vehicles.
Don’t let mobility or accessibility concerns inhibit your plans. With some preparation, travel can be comfortable and stress-free.