Travelling often comes with lots of unpredictabilities. While many might embrace them as part of the travelling process, others might find them a hurdle.
Wheelchair users are examples of such a group of travellers that might find unpredictability more than just a hurdle. Imagine arriving at the hotel just to find out that the only way to your room is the stairs. The situation becomes more than just a physical hurdle. It can ruin a holiday.
To help you maximise and enjoy your holiday as much as possible, we have compiled three vital tips for travelling overseas as a wheelchair user to save you unnecessary headaches and unpredictabilities.
1. Check what ‘wheelchair accessible’ means at your destination
The term ‘wheelchair accessible’ differs in every part of the world. What might be the standard in Malaysia might not be the same in other parts of the world. Hence, even if your accommodation states on its website that it is wheelchair-friendly, you might want to contact them to inquire about the exact detail.
Fortunately, accommodation booking sites, such as Airbnb, allow you to filter your searches by accessibility features. You can select from an extensive range of options, such as a step-free guest entrance, bedroom entrance wider than 81cm, and shower grab bar, among others.
Additionally, you might also want to check the accessibility of the attractions you are planning to visit. While most tourist attractions are wheelchair accessible, some do require prior arrangements and bookings. Also, some tourist attractions offer free access for wheelchair users and their accompanying partners.
2. Research transport options at your destination
Unless you have already rented a car, it is most likely that you will have to rely on rideshare services or public transport to move between places. Most major cities offer wheelchair-accessible public transport systems. However, you might find it harder to access the same services outside those major cities.
Researching before you travel will set your expectations right regarding transportation. Some travel organisations, such as Lonely Planet, have compiled a list of organisations categorised by countries that you can reach out to for assistance regarding accessible travel resources.
3. Consider bringing the best-suited mobility aids
Using the right type of personal mobility aid when you travel might be the solution to help you optimise and maximise your holiday. For example, you might only need a manual wheelchair at home. However, you might fare better when you travel if you use a mobility scooter or motorised wheelchair. Other mobility aids to consider depending on your mobility limitations include:
- Seat walker: If you normally rely on walking frames or canes at home, then getting a seat walker for your holiday allows you to sit anywhere when you get a little tired or out of breath.
- Travel wheelchairs: While they might not be as robust as their aluminium counterparts, their lightweight and compactibility make them the ideal travel mobility aid.
- Foldable mobility scooter: From manual to automatic, foldable mobility scooters offer lightweight convenience. With a maximum charge, most allow you to travel up to 20km easily.
Travel should be a relaxing time for anybody, no matter whether you require the use of a wheelchair or not. And while you cannot predict every hurdle that your travel throws at you, the minimum that you can do is to be as prepared as you can by doing your prior research on your destination.
Here at Falcon Mobility, we offer an extensive range of mobility aids, from motorised wheelchairs to rollators and walking aids. Contact us to find your best travel PMA today!