Summer travel with a disability made easy
Following are some tips from AMS Vans to help make sure your vacation is truly a vacation.
Hotels across the country offer accessible rooms, but it is important to Reach the hotel directly to make sure these standardized
rooms will meet your needs.
Wheelchair accessibility is important, but not the only mobility concern you should question. Make sure to ask about amenities including swimming pools, restaurants, nearby attractions and pet accommodations if necessary. Remember, hotels, airlines, rental cars and even tourist attractions are required to make accommodations for a service animal.
Calling the hotel directly will help determine where you should stay. A few questions you may wish to ask include “Do you offer disability services?”, “Which floors are the disabled rooms located?” and “Can the furniture be moved around easily to make the room more accessible?”
A few days before you are set to arrive, call the hotel to double check that everything is in place. If your hotel offers paratransit to local tourist attractions that is an extra bonus, but if not it’s important to work out the transportation kinks before arrival.
If you are traveling via airplane then most major airports offer rental car services. Companies usually require a 24 to 48 hour notice in reserving a vehicle that is wheelchair accessible. Rentals are available to meet the needs of passengers and drivers.
Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz are just a few companies that offer vehicles equipped with hand controls allowing you to be behind the wheel wherever your destination. Other options are companies such as Wheelers Accessible Van Rentals and Accessible Vans of America, LLC.
Tourist attractions are often important factors when weighing where to vacation. The lure of sandy beaches, crashing waves and bright sunshine is hard to resist. Beaches offer wheelchair access and some offer rentals for all terrain wheelchairs. Your hotel concierge may have more information about this service or check with the local lifeguard station.
Amusement parks, beaches, national parks, museums and historical sites serve as a great backdrop for your vacation photo. Browsing the internet is a good place to start, but once you find a place to visit don’t be afraid to give them a call and ask them about the services they provide.
Now that the where, how and what to see is taken care of, you may need to take care of airplane arrangements.
Airlines are required by law to make travel accessible for people with disabilities. Reach the airline ahead of time to find out about their procedures. Check if an aisle seat is available and if you can board the plane ahead of passengers to allow you the necessary time to get settled.
For more tips the Untied Spinal Association offers a booklet to help inform passengers of their rights on commercial airlines. You can obtain a free copy of this booklet at www.unitedspinal.org under the “publications” link.
With all these arrangements made ahead of time, it is still important to be flexible. Unexpected situations do arise, but thanks in part to your planning skills you are already aware of possible back up plans. Knowing before you go allows you to go with the flow and have a vacation that is truly a vacation.