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rano-kau-07

5 Expert Tips for Awesome Wheelchair Travel

There’s something universal about human emotions — the love for travel! Probably no one would ever lie in their deathbed and go “Gee, I really regret traveling to all those beautiful, interesting places”.

We know that feeling, you know that feeling. There’s no need to explain traveling is great. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about taking a first big trip as a wheelchair user, or you’re already an experienced wheel-powered globetrotter who’s looking to further their knowledge. We want you to know that fun, safe, even adventurous wheelchair travel is possible and that exploring the world without limits is a realistic possibility for you!

This is why we’re going through 5 tips to help you better your wheelchair travel experience. We have the expertise – after all, our team explored Machu Picchu in a wheelchair! – to suggest a few things that can make your trip easier. Let’s go!

1) Check your hotel accessibility by calling ahead
Nowadays the Internet makes things super easy for us. Booking hotels online is great, but accessibility-wise, not everything is what it seems. In our experience, we’ve found that several accommodations claim to be wheelchair accessible or to have accessible bathrooms for wheelchairs online when in reality, it’s not the case. Several countries don’t have a regulated entity such as the ADA in the US that can confirm accessibility claims, so what we recommend is to call ahead and ask direct questions regarding the installations: How wide are the doors? Are there steps, elevators, is the room on the first floor? Do you have roll-in showers? That way you’ll get a better, more realistic picture of what your money is buying. We’ve had great experiences finding wheelchair-friendly accommodations in several destinations this way, also asking for detailed pictures by email!

2) Consider the intricacies of the in-flight experience

If you can get first class or business tickets, please go for it. It will be a much more comfortable option. However, if you’re flying economy like most of us, there are still ways to improve the time spent inside the plane. If you’re planning your first airplane trip, please be aware that all airlines are required to provide an inflight special wheelchair designed to through the narrow aisles. If you need to use the lavatories, let a crew member know so they can assist you. It is a good idea to call the airline ahead to ask whether their particular models have accessible lavatories as per required by regulations in certain countries.

3) Plan ahead for the care of your power wheelchair
If you’re a power wheelchair user, it’s important to be aware that it might be damaged in the transportation process. However, there are ways to avoid this. You can include handling instructions taped to the packaging of your electric wheelchair with clear instructions such as “NOT LAY ON ITS SIDE”. There are statistics for airlines in America that were recently released indicating that there are several companies that treat this delicate cargo with care and respect. Review the power wheelchair mishandling statistics here.

4) Research new technical adapted equipment

As they say, knowledge is power, and innovation is strong these days. Search the internet for innovative equipment that can help you make the most out of your capabilities. The Joelette is one of our favorites – an all-terrain wheelchair that’s perfect for trekking and hiking! Want to try biking? No problem. There are handbikes, trikes, tandem bikes, that can accommodate different kinds of disabilities, including visual disabilities. For water sports lovers, there are adapted kayaks, sailboats, amphibius wheelchairs, all designed to help you have the time of your life. Do your research to discover what could be the best fit for your abilities and needs. Also, you can contact us and we can help you find out.

5) Consider professional services with disability packages
Our company, Wheel the World, was founded in order to empower people with disabilities to explore the world without limits. We know we’re not the only ones to offer tourist packages to gorgeous destinations where you’ll get everything you need to have the experience of a lifetime tailored right to your requests: the equipment, the assistance, the expertise. Consider hiring a provider to take you to your dream destination and to guide you diving, trekking, hiking and biking through remote landscapes. We really know our stuff.

Consider these tips for your next trip, whether it is the first one or if you’re already a seasoned traveler. We’ve taken hundreds of travelers with disabilities to challenging destinations with amazing results, and the experiences have always been incredibly rewarding. Always be careful to call ahead and gather as much information as you can, and be cautious enough to put yourself in the hands of professionals when necessary. That way, the experience will turn out amazing, just how it is supposed to be.

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