Wheelchairs are a common assistive device that many people use throughout their lives. Some people use them temporarily or only when their body needs extra help, and others need wheelchairs all the time. While many people quickly learn how to use their wheelchairs or help their loved one navigate everyday life, traveling with a wheelchair presents a bigger challenge. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about traveling with assistive devices.
Know Your Rights
There is an Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights that many travelers like to read before partaking in air travel. It covers basic information about the illegality of discriminating against disabled passengers, along with other helpful information. The Bill of Rights covers anyone with a disability. So if you use a wheelchair or someone else traveling with you uses another assistive device, like oxygen, you’ll find this helpful. While you shouldn’t need to bring a copy with you on your flight, some people like to do so to make sure everyone on the aircraft understands how to accommodate them.
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or bus, the key to any successful trip with group transportation is preparing early. You should call the airline, train line, or bus line at least one month before your trip to make sure they can accommodate your wheelchair and any other assistive devices you have. If you’re traveling in a group and another person also has an assistive device, make sure that they communicate with the transportation with plenty of time to spare.
Write down the names and contact information of whoever you spoke with so that you can double-check that everything’s ready as you approach your travel dates. If possible, everyone in your group who has an assistive device should contact the same person so that they understand your needs as individuals and as a group.
Pack an Emergencies and Extras Bag
Unfortunately, traveling on group transportation can result in damaged or lost assistive devices. To make the best of those situations, pack an emergencies and extras bag that you keep close by at all times. You should include repair tools for your wheelchair, oxygen tank, and any other assistive devices you use.
You should also pack any extra items that your equipment needs, such as extra batteries for an oxygen concentrator. The key to staying safe while using a wheelchair and oxygen is preparation, so being prepared with an emergencies and extras bag is necessary for any trip.
There’s a lot to know about traveling with a wheelchair and other assistive devices, like oxygen. If you use more than one assistive device or are traveling in a group of people with various health needs, then there’s even more information to learn. Advocate for yourself throughout your entire trip so that you can have a good experience and stay safe.