With the summer months finally here, families near and far are planning vacations and adventures. Traveling is a great way to see new places, create new memories, and spend quality time with family. There’s no reason that someone with physical limitations should have to stay home or forgo a trip.
If you, your child, or another family member has a physical disability, traveling can come with some unique challenges. Here are four tips for accessible travel and ways you can help your entire family have an enjoyable, worthwhile vacation.
Plan Everything in Advance
Planning your trip ahead of time can help you reduce the chance of surprises that could derail your vacation. Ensure you have an itinerary planned that includes hotel and travel information, as well as what particular activities you will be doing each day and when you will be taking breaks. Additionally, bring any necessary medication and make phone reminders to take them.
Do your homework and ensure that everything you plan to do is accessible for the person who is physically limited. If the information cannot be found online, you can call to speak with someone who works at the location. Make sure to describe the disability in detail and bring doctor’s notes, if needed.
Try to Replicate the Home Routine
Traveling often involves lots of movement, activities, and sightseeing. When planning a trip with someone in a wheelchair or who has a physical disability, it’s important to take into consideration the stamina of this person. If they have more energy during the day, plan to do most of the things on your itinerary in the morning.
Some people are hesitant to take naps during the day on vacation, but this may be necessary if the disabled individual is used to doing so at home. Remember, fatigue can make or break a trip.
Get Familiar With Equal Access Rights
Within the United States, the American Disability Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in “areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.” While hotels, transportation, and cruise ships in the U.S. are required to comply with ADA requirements, don’t expect other countries to follow the same exact guidelines.
Call ahead of time and ask questions about the specific accommodations at each place that you plan on spending time. For instance, call the hotel or lodging you will be staying at to ensure that there is a bench in the shower and that the bathroom entrance is wide enough for a wheelchair.
Be Flexible and Stay Positive
Even with proper planning, life can be full of unexpected curveballs. While there are many practical tips that you can follow, one of the most important tips we can offer is to simply stay positive, expect the unexpected, and be flexible.
Things may not go your way 100% of the time, but instead of wasting your precious time and energy on anger or frustration, use it to find a solution. Lastly, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help when you need it!
At Angel Law, our Portland birth injury attorneys represent families with children who have been harmed due to negligent doctors or medical providers. If you would like to speak with our legal team for free, you can call our office at (503) 862-8666 at your earliest convenience.