If you're suffering from a disability and believe it's going to impact your ability to travel, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, disabled people can experience the joys of traveling as much as anybody else. It's just that they need to plan their travel in far greater detail than people not suffering from disabilities. That's because they have special needs and their travel plans need to be made keeping these needs in mind.
So let's take a look at a few tips that will help make travel an easier, simpler, pleasurable and safer experience for the disabled:
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Detailed Planning is an Absolute Must
Do not compromise on the efforts you put into making your travel arrangements. It begins with identifying a disabled friendly travel destination and making detailed travel plans. This includes picking disabled friendly accommodation and working out a tour itinerary that allows you to soak in the sights and sounds of your destination in spite of your disability. Make sure you zero in on the challenges you might face and ensure that the planning process helps you find solutions for these problems. This will guarantee you're ready to face any eventuality.
2. Use a Travel Agency Specializing in Disabled Friendly Travel Arrangements
There are plenty of travel agencies that help people with disabilities work out their travel plans. These agencies are staffed with people who are well aware of the wide range of services needed by a handicapped traveler and make necessary arrangements that will cater to his/her special needs. Whether it's booking a wheelchair accessible hotel room or arranging for a caregiver or booking a disabled friendly cruise, or something else, they are experts in understanding the requirements of travelers with special needs and make sure their travel plans factor in the disability of the person.
3. Carry your own Assistive Devices with you
A friend of mine uses a Pride Pursuit scooter to solve his mobility problems. He makes sure its transported with him, whenever he is traveling. So, when he reaches his destination, all he needs to do is put back his dismantled scooter and start using it to move around. The reason I've mentioned this fact is to bring home the benefits of carrying your own assistive devices with you while traveling. This ensures you're not forced to use a device that you might not be very comfortable using. For e.g. if you've been using a power chair and the only assistive device available at your destination, is a manually operated wheelchair, you will face no end of problems.
4. Extra Medications are Important
Whenever you travel, you need to carry extra medication with you. There is a chance that the medications prescribed for your disability might not be available where you're going. And you dont want to face a scenario wherein you run out of medication and it isn't available anywhere. Experts recommend you carry two medicine packages packed with all essential medications you need in case of emergency. This medication should be easily accessible at all times and make sure people traveling with you are aware of where you are keeping your medications.
A related aspect is making sure you have the contact details of a local specialist doctor. This allows you to get in touch with them if and when you need to, especially if you experience a worsening of your condition.
5. Give yourself Ample Time to Recuperate
There is no reason not to travel long distances, but you must give yourself time to recuperate after the travel. If you're taking connecting flights make sure there is ample time for you to rest between two flights. If you're taking a bus or train after flying to a specific destination, make sure you give yourself a day's rest between travel. Your body is under enough stress already because of your disability. So don't stress yourself too much. A hectic travel schedule might only serve to exacerbate the symptoms of your disability. So, whenever your plan your travel make sure you space it out. Don't rush from one place to another. Enjoy travel in your own time. Don't replicate the travel plan of a person who's not suffering from a disability. Make sure your travel arrangements conform to your special needs.
6. Join a Group
Instead of traveling alone, why not join a group of like minded people with shared interests. Do not let your mobility get in the way of your getting in touch with other people making plans to visit the same destination you are planning to visit. But before joining their group, make sure they're well aware about your disability and are comfortable with the fact. Traveling with a group ensures you have help if and when you need it and there is a sense of security when you're traveling with a group of people.
One of the better things you could do is join a group of people with special needs who're traveling to a destination you would like to visit. Such groups are usually accompanied by trained personnel who can take care of the special needs of the people traveling in the group.
7. Don't Be Scared
There is a tendency amongst disabled people of fearing travel, especially long distance travel. While this fear has its basis on strong logic and their existing physical condition, this shouldn't stop you from visiting destinations of choice. All you need to do, is make sure you leave nothing to chance and carefully plan your trip keeping in mind any and every eventuality that you might encounter through the course of your travel. If you're well prepared, there is no reason why you should stop yourself from enjoying the joys of travel.