Wheelchair Accessible Travel Guide
Today, individuals confined to a wheelchair can travel by nearly every mode of transportation to virtually everywhere in the world. But whether traveling two hours or two thousand miles away, traveling with a wheelchair still requires a lot of thought and careful planning. Wheelchair uses must not only consider how to get from point A to point B, but what they need to do to prepare for the trip, whether they’ll find wheelchair accessible accommodations and attractions at their destination, and even little ways to make travelling with a wheelchair easier. Without proper planning, wheelchair users may find travelling more frustrating than accessible.
General Travel Tips
Many of the tips designed for individuals with disabilities also apply to wheelchair users. From making sure they understand the types of accommodations available to them to how parking and handicapped identification works around the world, these tips help lay out what wheelchair-bound travelers should expect and how to access the resources that they need to make their trips successful.
WorldonWheelz: Travel Tips – Find advice on flying, hotels, cruises and other general wheelchair travel.
The Disabled Wheelchair Traveler: Holiday Tips – If traveling during the holidays, use these tips to help with accommodations, transportation, and other travel considerations.
FIA Guide for the Disabled Travel – Find all of the information on parking and identification that you need when traveling with a wheelchair.
Travelers with Disabilities – Discover general tips to keep in mind when traveling with a wheelchair or other disability.
Traveling By Air
With all the rules and regulations, traveling by air can easily become a frustrating method of travel for anyone. Add in a wheelchair and the chance for frustration increases. Understanding the specific rules and guidelines that apply to wheelchairs and taking time understand all that flying with a wheelchair entails can help reduce the stress and frustration at the airport.
How to Travel by Air with a Wheelchair – These tips make flying with a wheelchair a less stressful experience.
Flying with a Wheelchair and Other Mobility Aids – Gain an overview of what happens when flying with a wheelchair.
Flying Tips for Wheelchair Users – The AARP offers some flying tips designed particularly with older wheelchair users in mind.
Air Travel Tips for Wheelchair Users – A short video outlines steps wheelchair users should take when they fly.
Wheelchairs and Scooters – Make sure you review the TSA guidelines for traveling with a wheelchair before heading to the airport.
Information About My Wheelchair – Use the placard to provide information about your wheelchair to airline or other transportation employees.
Making Travel Easier
While tips for disabled individuals may be helpful for wheelchair users, they experience some challenges that do not apply to all disabled people. Simply carrying a suitcase or getting in the door of the swanky hotel they booked can be a challenge. When ramps and other accessibility features fail to appear, travel can become downright impossible. Learning what challenges may arise and how to handle those challenges or effectively complain about them can make traveling with a wheelchair much easier.
Traveling with Disabilities – Adam Lloyd, a notable speaker on accessible travel, discusses ways to make traveling with disabilities easier.
Luggage Tips for Wheelchair Travel – Managing bags can be difficult for wheelchair users, but these tips help make sure they have what they need.
When Your Accessible Travel Plans Go Awry: How to Effectively Complain – Sometimes things don’t go as planned; these tips help you handle those situations.
5 Things You Can Do to Help Your Wheelchair-bound Travel Companion – Those traveling with wheelchair users can also help make traveling easier.
Attractions and Accommodations
Wheelchair users can travel virtually anywhere in the world, but some places make it easier. From wheelchair-friendly cities to special tourist experiences designed specifically with wheelchairs in mind, wheelchair users can plan a vacation they will enjoy. They may even discover some trips they never thought they could take, such as kayaking the world’s greatest rivers or exploring the beaches of the Caribbean.
The Most Handicap Accessible Destinations Around the World – Being wheelchair-bound does not have to limit where people go, as this list of handicap accessible destinations shows.
Accessible Trip Experts- Learn about wheelchair accessible locations from others using a wheelchair and discover the best places to visit.
Disabled Travel Trends – Discover some new travel trends and, perhaps, get ideas for a future trip.
Tips on Finding the Right Wheelchair Accessible Hotel – Not all hotels have highly accessible rooms, so it pays to check them out in advance.
Traveling with Your Wheelchair – Four wheelchair users share their experiences during four unique trips.
Cruise Hints and Tips – Even taking a cruise is not out of the question for wheelchair users.
Cruising with a Disability – Find practical advice to help plan and enjoy a cruise while using a wheelchair.
Best Ships for Cruisers with Disabilities – Not all cruise ships are ideal for people with disabilities, but this article helps you know what to look for.
Swedish Independent Living Center. Vacation Home Swap
Providing accessible vacation home exchange for people around the world with disabilities. independentliving.org
A consumer oriented online magazine covering disabled friendly travel, Emerging Horizons’ primary focus is travel for people with mobility disabilities; everybody from wheelchair-users to slow walkers. Information covers resources, news and travel tips. candy-charles.com
World on Wheelz
Originally created to be a helpful tool for disabled travelers who were planning their own trips, World On Wheelz now works with a travel agency to arrange and book accessible trips for disabled travelers. worldonwheelz.com
Access Travel Center
This site features a broad array of travel related information including links to discount travel information, cruises, hotels providing access for disabled guests, transportation and more. accesstravelcenter.com
Travel Access Services (TASC)
TASC is an international organization that offers a database to assist individuals with travel planning by matching travelers’ accessibility needs with disabled friendly travel and hospitality providers. tascinternational.org
Gimp on the Go
A web site filled with travel reviews, tips, photographs and resources on a wide range of travel-related topics. gimponthego.com
Travel with a Challenge
Provides information about cruise and land vacations specifically designed for mature travelers and those who are mobility challenged.travelwithachallenge.com
Global Access News
Accessible travel reports and free e-zine. globalaccessnews.com
- Access-Able Travel Source -- Access information for disabled travelers
- Accessible Journeys
- Alpenglow Adventures - Serving Children with Disabilities
- armchair.com: handicapped-accessible
- Destination Hope - Special Needs Travel and Recreational Assistance
- Global Access - a Network for Disabled Travelers
- Global Dialysis: Dialysis Centres and Travel around the world
- Hotels Combined - Accessible Hotel Search for Travelers with Disabilities
- InnSeekers Bed & Breakfast Search - listing wheelchair accessable B&Bs
- Medical Travel, Inc. - The Disability Travel Experts
- National Center on Accessibility
- Society For Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH)
- Travel Guide For The Wheelchair Traveler
- Vacation Home Exchange - Persons with Extensive Disabilities
- World On Wheelz - Specialists in Wheelchair Accessible Travel Arrangements
- Wheels Up! Wheelchair Travel Specialists
- World First - Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Travel Insurance
- Accessable Journeys - Licensed companions
- Environmental Traveling Companions
- Friendship Ventures - creates unique educational, recreational and social opportunities for people of all ages with mental and physical developmental disabilities.
- Guided Tour,Inc -Travel for persons with developmental and developmental & physical challenges
- Luck Mindy Adventures - escorted, assisted travel for adults with disabilities, small-group and custom tours
- Search Beyond Adventures - provides all-inclusive escorted vacations for travelers with disabilities and special needs
- Splore - Accessible Outdoor Adventures
- Travel And Recreation for The Developmentally Disabled
- Travel Aides International
- TRIPS - Escorted group travel for developmentally disabled adults
- Trips R Us - Travel , Social Programs and recreation for people with special needs
- Vent Love, Inc.
- Ventures Travel - supervised travel vacations for persons with disabilities.
- Free & Low Cost Medical Transport
- Hire Mobility - Wheelchair Accessible Vans Australia
- Project ACTION Technical Assistance - Accessible Community Transportation In Our Nation
- Runways Transportation Co - Accessible Transportation in North Florida between Jacksonville and the Beaches and Gainesville.
- ScootAround - provides scooter and wheelchair rentals in over 500 US locations and some parts of Europe
- Sydney Electric Wheelchair Rentals
- Wheelchair Travel For The Disabled Visitor Minibus Hire Car Rentals (UK)
Toll-Free Hotline For Air Travelers With Disabilities
The hotline will provide general information to consumers about the rights of air travelers with disabilities, respond to requests for printed consumer information, and assist air travelers with time-sensitive disability-related issues that need to be addressed in "real time." The line is staffed from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time, seven days a week. Air travelers who experience disability-related air travel service problems may call the hotline at 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY) to obtain assistance. As in the past, air travelers who would like DOT to investigate a complaint about a disability issue must submit their complaint in writing or via e-mail. Click here for details.
- TSA: Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions
- Flying with Disability
- Equal Access to Transportation (DOT)
- Guidelines for Aircraft Boarding Chairs
- Aircraft Stowage Procedures For Powered Wheelchairs
- Securement Of Wheelchairs And Other Mobility Aids On Transit Vehicles
- Airlines Information for Disabled Travelers
- Mobility Air Transport (MAT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to making air travel more accessible, convenient, and comfortable for the mobility impaired and their travel companions.
- Airline Websites:
- United Airlines - Access for People with Disablities
- Specialty Air Transport
- Global Medical Escorts - long distance medical assistance services over commercial airlines
- JET I.C.U. - the specialist in critical-care transportation. (I have used them and recommend them)
- MMA: Mercy Medical Airlift Charitable Air Transportation
- Revolution Air - Private Jet Charter Services
- Yahoo! Emergency Services:Ambulance Service:Airlift
- Haseltine Systems Corporation - containers to protect wheelchairs during air travel
Camps for Children
- Victory Junction Gang Camp
- Ability Camp Conductive Education for Children with Motor Disorders
- Camp Nuhop - For boys and girls with learning disabilities
- Camp Lee Mar - for kids and young adults with special needs 5 to 21 years old
- Challenge Air - flights for disabled children
- Camp Without Barriers for Children and Adults with Disabilities
- Kids' Camps - Special Needs Camps
- Kids' Camps - cancer/oncology Camps
- Kids' Camps - burn Camps
- Kids' Camps - Visually Impaired Camps
Books to Buy! Available in association with Amazon.com
- Barrier-free Tourism for People with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region
- New York City For Dummies (Dummies Travel)
- San Francisco For Dummies (Dummies Travel)
- Walt Disney World & Orlando For Dummies 2005 (Dummies Travel)
- PassPorter's Walt Disney World for Your Special Needs: The Take-Along Travel Guide and Planner!
- Aaa's Barrier-Free Travel Hawaii
- Access for Disabled Americans - A Guide for The Wheelchair Traveler
- Around the World Resource Guide, Fifth Edition 2003
- Hawaii - A Guide for The Wheelchair Visitor
- Able to Travel - True Stories by and for People With Disabilities
- Access America Guide to the Rocky Mountain National Parks
- Access to Air Travel for People With Reduced Mobility
- Accessible Trails in Washington's Backcountry - A Guide to 85 Easy Outings
- Barrier-Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers
- Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships 2004 - includes section for the physically challenged.
- California Parks Access - A Complete Guide to the State and National Parks for Visitors With Limited Mobility
- Easy Access to National Parks - The Sierra Club Guide for People With Disabilities
- Exotic Destinations for Wheelchair Travelers - Hotel Guide to the Orient Hong Kong MacAu Singapore Taiwan Thailand
- Fodor's Great American Vacations for Travelers With Disabilities (2nd Ed) - With Complete Accessibility Information on Hotels, Restaurants and Attractions
- Handicapped in Walt Disney World : A Guide for Everyone
- How to Travel-A guidebook for Persons with a Disability
- Rick Steves' Easy Access Europe 2004
- Rollin' on : A Wheelchair Guide to U.S. Cities
- The Rough Guide to Travel Health
- Travel Access in London : A Guide for Those Who Have Problems Getting Around
- Travel for the Disabled : A Handbook of Travel Resources and 500 World Wide Access Guides
- Travelability - A Guide for Physically Disabled Travelers in the United States
- Traveling...Like Everybody Else - A Practical Guide for Disabled Travelers
- Walks in Welcoming Places - Walks in the Northeast for the Not So Young and the Disabled
- Wheelchair Around the World
- Wheels and Waves - A Cruise-Ferry Guide for the Physically Handicapped
- Department of Transportation Accessibility
- Access for Disabled Americans
- Access-Able's Newsletters Page
- Emerging Horizons Accessible Travel Newsletter
- Office du transport du Canada / Canadian Transportation Agency
- ADA Guidelines for Over-the-Road Bus Companies
- Yahoo! Clubs thedisabledtraveler - A forum to discuss travel for disabled, and to exchange special-needs travel resources to help those travelers with a physical or developmental handicap to get out and see the world.
When We Travel
Wheelchair Accessible Hotels Find hotel rooms from over 70,000 hotels around the world. Search by hotel, price range, rating, and even amenities.
- When We Travel Search Hotel Destinations
- Accessible Accommodations
Rooms Plus .net
Reservations Motel Directory Plus Travel Guide.
- Hotels-by-City for U.S. Canada & Europe
Over 65,000 Hotels Worldwide.
- Mobility Advisor Wheelchair Accessible Hotels
- Wheelchair Accessible Europe
Vacation Home Exchange
Swapping homes with other persons with similar needs, in other parts of the world, is a low-cost and practical alternative. You can find out in advance how accessible the vacation home is, since you can ask your swap partner relevant questions.
After having established contact with a potential exchange partner you will need to share much more information, set up a contract and check your home insurance. Here, we provide you with the first step, the rest is up to you.
The following listings are likely to change over time. VISIT the following sites for current listings
- IndependentLiving.org Vacation Home Exchange
- Wheelchair Accessible Owner Rentals
- Perfect Places Handicap Accessible Vacation Rentals
- Access Travel Center Wheelchair Accessible Vacation Rentals - United States
- HomeAway.co.uk shows 36,000 wheelchair accessible vacation rentals worldwide!
|Country||Type of Exchange||Last Updated|
|Accessible Lakehome in Cable, WI||United States||Swap and/or Rent||2012-02-10|
|House in Abruzzo Italy||Italy||Swap and/or Rent||2011-06-09|
|Suburban home just outside Raleigh, NC, USA||United States||Swap and/or Rent||2011-04-10|
|Cozy house in Stockholm||Sweden||Swap and/or Come and stay||2010-09-10|
|House in Victoria, BC||Canada||Swap and/or Come and stay||2010-09-07|
|Apartment, Jerusalem||Israel||Swap only||2010-08-31|
|Individual villas in Chiang Mai||Thailand||Come and stay and/or Rent||2010-08-23|
|House, Lake Okanagan, BC||Canada||Swap and/or Come and stay||2010-07-16|