With the holidays approaching, people will be traveling a lot more than usual. For those traveling with a disability, there are some steps to take to ensure your travels are accessible. Many travel agencies and transportation services have accommodations for disabled travelers and preparation is key to make sure you make it to your family for the holidays.
Research Before You Go
Consult with your travel agent, hotel, and transportation service to understand the services available. Contact your airline to determine what accessibility features they have. Disabled travelers and those with medical conditions can call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 to ask about airline screening policies and procedures. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has special procedures in place and can talk with travelers about what to expect.
Additionally, if you plan to stay at a hotel, contact an employee in advance to discuss your needs. Ask about elevators, as well as bathrooms. If you are traveling with medication that needs refrigeration, ask if rooms come equipped with a mini fridge.
U.S. hotels are required to have visual-alert systems for deaf guests, but if you are traveling overseas this holiday season, inquire with the hotel to make sure your needs are met.
Use a Travel Agency
While you don’t have to travel through an agency, there are many travel agencies out there that do accommodate disabled travelers. Some specialize strictly in guided tours. Call an agency that is of interest to you to see about their services that might fit your needs.
Inquire About Assistive Equipment Requirements
Travelers with equipment or service dogs should research in advance what requirements there are, if any. Consult with your destination area on any policies regarding equipment, including wheelchairs, batteries, respirators, and portable machines.
Bring Important Documents
Disabled travelers should always have any medical cards, Medicare cards, or discount cards on their person if they have them. This is especially important if you are traveling by air as an agent might require to see any of these documents.
Regardless of where you are traveling, being prepared is step one. It’s important that all travelers are organized and ask the right questions. Stay connected and understand the requirements. At the end of the day, the most important part is staying safe while making sure you make it to your destination.