Globetrotting with a wheelchair

Essential Travel Tips For Wheelchairs and Scooters

Thu Apr 25 2024

Globetrotting with Ease: Essential Travel Tips For Wheelchairs and Scooters

Travelling the world in a wheelchair or with a scooter can involve navigating a variety of challenges, from airline travel to public transport. This blog offers essential tips for travellers, highlighting the experiences of wheelchair users to make your global adventures smoother and more enjoyable.

Tips for a Smooth Journey

Preparation is key. Familiarise yourself with your wheelchair or scooter and prepare it for travel. Take time to research airlines, airports, and their specific policies and facilities for wheelchair users.

Advocate for Yourself

Be clear and assertive about your needs and rights. Educate each staff member you encounter during your journey about your equipment and requirements so that everybody understands how to help make your journey as smooth as possible.

Plan Ahead for Public Transport

Understand the limitations and facilities of public transport systems in your destination. Booking assistance in advance, where required, can help avoid unnecessary complications.

Stay Informed and Involved

Keep abreast of developments in accessibility in the travel industry. Engaging in advocacy and sharing your experiences can contribute to improving accessibility for all.

Embrace Flexibility and Patience

Travelling with a wheelchair or scooter often requires extra time and patience. Be prepared for unexpected challenges and maintain a flexible attitude.

Folding Mobility Scooters

Folding Mobility Scooters in the range we have at Wheelfreedom greatly advance portable mobility aids, especially when travelling. These scooters are light and can be folded up easily, making them perfect for taking on planes and trains or fitting in the boot of a car. They're like having a portable scooter that turns into the size of a small suitcase, so you can take it anywhere without much hassle. This makes travelling much easier and more enjoyable for those who use them, as they don't have to worry about how to move around when they reach their destination. With these scooters, people with mobility issues can travel freely and explore new places without feeling limited.

Flying with a Power Wheelchair

Flying can be daunting for powerchair users, but with the right preparation, it can be a smooth experience. According to New Mobility, the key is to know your equipment well. Most damage to power wheelchairs occurs during loading and unloading from the aircraft. To minimise this risk, familiarise yourself with your chair's features and prepare it for easy disassembly. Attach clear instructions for assembly and disassembly to aid airport staff. Additionally, do thorough research on your departure and arrival airports, the airlines, and their policies regarding power wheelchairs. Communicate clearly with airline staff and know your rights under the Air Carrier Access Act.

The Realities of Public Transport

The experiences of Anne Luttman-Johnson and Chris Wood, as discussed in THIIS, shed light on the everyday challenges wheelchair users face while using public transport. Anne's story highlights the anxiety associated with being separated from her wheelchair during flights, as wheelchairs are often not stored in the cabin and are prone to damage. Chris, an aviation accessibility campaigner, emphasises the need for more wheelchair-friendly flight experiences. Both Anne and Chris have faced difficulties with train travel in the UK, back when ramp assistance needed to be booked 24 hours in advance, limiting spontaneity and often leading to mishaps when staff forget or are unaware of the arrangements.  The good news is that train companies now accept assistance booking requests up to 2 hours before your journey is scheduled to start, any time of the day. For more information on passenger assistance for UK  National Rail passenger assist is your best port of call. But when travelling abroad, it's always best to research the rail companies you will be using ahead of your journey to know where you stand. 

Overcoming Obstacles

Despite the challenges, many wheelchair users have found ways to enjoy travel. Anne Luttman-Johnson, for instance, refused to let her disability dampen her wanderlust. She has travelled the world, learning to navigate the complexities of different transport systems. Her resilience and determination exemplify the spirit of many wheelchair travellers who refuse to be confined by their mobility limitations.

Chris Wood's efforts as an aviation accessibility campaigner highlight the importance of advocacy in bringing about change. His work towards creating a more wheelchair-friendly flight experience is a testament to the power of collective action and persistence in addressing systemic issues in the travel industry.

Travelling with a wheelchair or scooter doesn't have to limit your globetrotting aspirations. With the right preparation, knowledge, and attitude, you can navigate the skies and streets with ease and confidence. Remember, every journey is not just about the destination but also about the experiences and learnings along the way. The world is increasingly becoming more accessible, and with these tips, you can be part of the growing community of wheelchair users who explore it without bounds.

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