August is one of the busiest months for travel! It can be challenging navigating airports and train stations, especially when a disability is involved. Careful planning can help reduce stress for any traveler, so here are some simple tips for planning a trip and traveling with a disability:
1. Call ahead of time. In most cases, airlines and other service providers are mandated by law to accommodate travelers with disabilities. By calling ahead of time, you can confirm that your accommodation needs will be met as well as offer the service provider advanced notice so that they can make preparations to welcome you.
2. Research your destination. Check out your destination and housing arrangements before you begin your travels. Look for information about wheelchair accessibility, city transportation, hotel disability accommodations, and the accessibility of the sites that you plan to visit. Also, be sure to check with your doctor ahead of time for local health and medical resources around your destination. If you happen to need a doctor during your travels, you’ll be glad that you did the research ahead of time!
3. Understand your rights. Familiarize yourself with your rights. Every traveler deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and courtesy. Remember that your rights are legislated for your benefit.
4. Be courteous. The security guards and TSA employees have a tough and busy job. Seek to brighten their day during your interaction with them.
5. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Ask the security guard or TSA employee if you need help carrying equipment or navigating through a security checkpoint.
6. Arrive early. This is especially important when your travels involve a flight. To account for security checkpoints and travel time within the airport, it is recommended that you arrive at a minimum of two hours before your flight’s departure time.
7. When traveling with a child who has a disability, inform your child ahead of time about the travel plans. For instance, if you are planning a trip to the beach, pictures of the beach or other sites you plan to visit can be helpful. "Map" out the week so that the child knows that "Day 1 is beach day”, “Day 2 is Sea World", “Day 5 we come home,” etc.
Do you have more tips to help ease travel with a disability? Please share them with us!
Print out Tips for a Traveler with a Disability