Long distance travel is oftentimes exhausting for many able-bodied people, and the stress could be compounded many times over for people with disabilities and special needs. Yes, travelling is exciting and invites a sense of adventure, but people with special needs shouldn't just rush to the airport without careful planning.
There are a lot of things you have to contend with: thick crowds of people, oppressive security screenings, the seemingly never-ending queues, overpriced airport food, flight delays and cancellations, the list goes on. For people who use wheelchairs, the experience is worse many times over. The preparation and pre-travel requirements alone could deter the most people from travelling at all. However, being in a wheelchair has not stopped many people from travelling and seeing the wonders of the world.
While travelling with a wheelchair requires more preparation, the payoff is worth it for the chance to experience a heightened degree of freedom and adventure. Here are a few pointers that can help make your journey easier and more comfortable despite being in a wheelchair. This guide covers general travelling, regardless of the mode of travel like ships or aeroplanes. Depending on where you are, passenger transport companies such as airlines and shipping lines are mandated by law to accommodate travellers in wheelchairs.
However, many establishments still forget or neglect to extend services that can help make the journey less stressful and more convenient. Some companies, on the other hand, go above and beyond to ensure that their passengers enjoy their trip. Before booking the trip, it is vital that you and your co-travellers are familiar with the rights and privileges afforded by both domestic and international laws regarding wheelchair access in public transportation. Being armed with the requisite knowledge will help you easily navigate the system and overcome hurdles that may come your way.
If possible, bring a copy of the respective laws with you when you travel. When travelling on an aeroplane, you may request a seat with a flip-up armrest to make the transfer from wheelchair to the seat easier and more manageable. Some domestic airlines and practically all international airlines designate a row or two for users with wheelchairs and special needs. It doesn't hurt to call ahead of time and check the availability.