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I love to be able to travel. When I was young, every summer we would take several trips like camping or going to California to visit relatives. I loved when I could just throw a bag in the car and take off for somewhere. Now that I have disabilities, travel is so much more complicated. Some of this will help if you travel to Disney, but the following travel tips and information is primarily any disabled traveler.
The first tip I need to tell you is planning is crucial. Will you fly? Will you drive? Is where you want to go accessible for your wheelchair if you have one? If you need transportation when you get there will you be able to access the type you need? Where are you staying? Is the hotel accessible?
There are several ways to answer these questions but research is the key. I always start online. I look up my destination in my search engine and see what "pops" up. If I am going to an area that I don't know very well. This will normally tell you popular tourist things and give you an idea of what the area is like.
When you have identified things you want to do...check the website of every place you plan to visit and see what they say about accessibility. In the country I live in, The United States, we have disability and accessibility laws that determine what public places must do to accommodate people with disabilities. Not all countries have accessibility laws. Make sure if you are traveling out of country you look at what accessibility is in that country.
I then will normally start looking at hotels. For us, price is the largest concern. I normally use a website called Booking.com or Hotels.com to check costs and what is available. There is a great website called accessibleGo they let people rate a hotels accessibility so when you are searching for a hotel you can see what other people who have stayed there said.
If you are flying you need to check with the airports you are going to and with your airline about their policies. Some offer more services to disabled people then others. You also need to let your airline know what type of wheelchair you have and if you have layovers that you would need your chair,
If you are driving you should plan your route. Know where you can stop and plan for breaks. Driving can be very painful for people with disabilities. Having frequent breaks to get out and stretch, walk around if you can...can greatly affect the quality of your trip. I have to stop every few hours.
You should make sure you pack any medical equipment or medications you need. I always lay everything out to make sure I have it before I pack it. Another great idea is to make a list. Write out everything you need to take and as you pack it, mark it off.
I always pack extra clothes because with one of my medical problems I have bladder problems. I can have leaks and accidents. In addition to urine pads, I always bring some extra clothes in case I have a problem.
Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes last year the amount of stuff I have to take with me has grown. I also have a refrigerated medication now that I have to take. So I have a small ice chest or cooler and several ice packs I take with me. Pro Disney tip: If you are going to a Disney Park they have a great service...in their first aid station they can hold refrigerator medicines including insulin for you while your in the Parks!!! Then you don't have to try and keep them refrigerated.
With my arthritis I have to bring ankle wraps with and ace bandages in order to wrap joints that swell up and get inflamed. I also bring lots of zip lock baggies because they come in handy. If my joints start to swell I can get ice from the ice machine, put some in the zip lock bag and ice my joints! Pro Disney tip: If you need an ice pack and your in the Parks...go to first aid...they will give you an ice pack!
This might be a no brainer but I also bring pain relievers such as Tylenol and ibuprofen. I also bring an antacid such as Tums, anti-diarrhea medication like Imodium, and band aids because it never fails that we need something like that on vacation.
Traveling even while disabled can be an amazing experience. With the appropriate preparation, planning and packing...you can go pretty much anywhere that non-disabled people can go!
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