Twenty percent (62 million) of the U.S. population has some form of disability, and the number of these individuals is increasing daily.
In a news release from Milet Group, Brandy Milet, a Dream Vacations specialist and a certified as a Special Needs Group accessible travel advocate from Special Needs Group, shares several tips about how to prepare to travel with special needs.
Outline your travel needs
Take time to evaluate the logistics of the trip in relation to ability to keep pace. What modes of transportation will be used?
Make a list, referring to relevant brochures, your trip organizer or travel agent to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Now, make a list of your specific requirements and consider what special needs equipment is used at home.
Travel, whether solo or in a group, is no time for roughing it or trying to “tough it out.” Many times a wheelchair, scooter or portable oxygen will make any trip easier.
Many people who do not use wheelchairs or walkers at home feel more comfortable using these mobility aides for tour and excursions.
Become familiar with the policy and procedures for bringing special equipment onboard all the transport vehicles included in the trip itinerary, from planes to taxis to ferry boats.
Keep in mind, most airlines need at least 48 hours’ notice to make special arrangements, and be prepared to fill out forms.
Overall, cruise ships are more lenient in allowing oxygen, but some disallow certain types of oxygen.
All require that the oxygen be delivered to the ship, and that the passenger has enough for the entire voyage.
In fact, oxygen may never be brought aboard in luggage. Requirements vary, so check with the cruise line for proper instructions.
Whether headed for a cruise ship, hotel or all-inclusive resort, double check for wheelchair access at that venue, plus any venues that will be visited.
Confirm that accessible hotel rooms, resort accommodations or ship staterooms are available.
The earlier one books their vacation, the better the chances of securing fully accessible accommodations.
And early booking increases chances of securing a ground floor hotel room or cruise stateroom near the elevator, if these issues are important.
Check on the access to public rooms, restaurants, bars, toilets, the swimming pool, hot tub, beach area and other amenities.
Knowing in advance the scope of one’s needs makes it possible to arrange advance rentals of any necessary equipment.
Many car rental companies have vehicles that are modified for drivers or passengers with mobility limitations.
Check ahead to make sure a suitable vehicle will be available for your travel dates.
If hiring a car or van, make sure the company is aware of special needs.
When traveling with a limitation or disability, full travel insurance for medical coverage abroad and trip cancellation insurance are even more important and strongly advised.
Ask the Right Questions
When making final bookings, be sure to ask the right questions, even if the accommodations or cruise stateroom are categorized as “accessible.”
It’s easy to arrange for almost every situation, and the world is wonderfully accessible once it is determined what’s needed, what’s available and how to find the necessary equipment.
Contact Milet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-445-1188.
For more information, visit MiletGroup.com.