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Travel for wheelchair users can sometimes be quite difficult and there can be barriers and obstacles that need to be overcome, especially on long journeys. But, keeping a positive attitude and following some basic rules are key to enjoying the adventure.
How to organise your long journey if you use a wheelchair
Urban and themed tours, cruises, adventure trips, rural holidays, wine tourism and beach holidays are just some of the many options available for wheelchair users. Mobility difficulties and day to day necessities may make some destinations more affordable than others.
For those that would prefer support when booking a holiday
There are specialised agencies that can assist when planning a disability friendly holiday that understand the issues involved with air and land transportation in a wheelchair. The agency will be able to advise on how to manage the journey, accessible accommodation, restaurants and activities etc. The tour company will try and accommodate any needs and requirements.
Your first job: Choose a destination that best suits both your tastes and your budget.
If you prefer organising your own trips, there are several factors that you should consider, for example; preferred mode of transport, how long is the journey, is there wheelchair access. Remember that adapted seats on both aeroplanes and trains are limited. That’s why planning your journey well in advance is extremely important, especially in the case of high season or group trips.
In all cases, and especially on long journeys, it is essential to ensure that you have the correct travel insurance to cover all possible risks, especially in relation to problems that may arise whilst on the trip (delays, lost luggage, etc.) and with your wheelchair (for example, in the event of a breakdown).
Long journeys for wheelchair users: tips for everyone
For long journeys in a wheelchair it’s important to familiarise yourself with some basic tips, especially if you are going to spend a considerable amount of time on a plane, in a car or on any other mode of transport.
It is very important, for example, to choose a suitable cushion for your wheelchair and even use an additional one to relieve pressure. Even while using an anti-decubitus cushion, sitting for long periods of time can be dangerous for the skin. Remember to relieve pressure regularly throughout the trip.
Similarly, if you are going to undertake a long journey by road while in a wheelchair, always have water or soft drinks on hand to hydrate. Knowing the locations of petrol stations and rest areas with accessible bathrooms can be a great help in making the necessary stops required to alleviate the discomforts associated with long journeys.
Some other tips for your journey are:
As previously mentioned in our article on tips to organise your next trip, you must have extra special organisation when making ticket reservations. Please familiarise yourself with the policies of each company regarding the transport and charges for your wheelchair, your preferred seats and their proximity to the bathrooms, and the assistance services available at your departure and destination airports, etc.
Comfort and mobility
Always consider your comfort and mobility. What kind of clothes do you feel most comfortable in? Will you need to sleep on the plane or train? Will you make stops to eat or rest while travelling by car? Once you reach your destination, how will you move around? Will you use public transportation or hire a car? Will you need a taxi at any time? Taxis adapted for wheelchair passengers are hard to find in some cities, nor is it very common for car rental companies to have adapted models. In this respect, research and forward planning are key.
On any journey, luggage must be limited, on journeys with a wheelchair; this is especially important. Minimising what you carry directly impacts your mobility and comfort. Of course, the longer the trip, the more luggage you will need, but in some cases, it is recommended to use the services of a courier company to transport some of the luggage to the destination beforehand. That being said, you should always carry:
- Medicines. If they are liquids and you are travelling by plane, you must be able to prove that you need them.
- Technical aids (crutches, canes, shower chairs, etc.).
- If you have an implanted medical device and you must go through security checks (such as airports, museums, etc.), always have the accrediting documentation to hand.
Finally, if you need specific treatments or require certain medical devices that are uncommon, we recommend that you make a list of specialised hospitals or pharmacies in or around your destination. Thus, if an emergency arises, you will be better equipped to handle it.
If you want to learn about other tips for users on long journeys, we recommend that you investigate further and familiarise yourself on the subject. Many obstacles can easily be overcome with proper forward planning.
In addition, there are many resources and blogs in which wheelchair users discuss their experiences on long journeys. Check them out, and if you have any more suggestions or ideas, do not hesitate to leave us a comment on our social network sites.
Here at Sunrise Medical, we want you to get the maximum enjoyment from your holiday, so we offer you a wide range of manual wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs so you can find the one that suits you best. Check them out and why not enjoy a Quickie holiday!