When planning a trip, there are a lot of things to consider in terms of complete accessibility. Feeling prepared for the airport is a great starting point, but there are a lot of other factors that go into making any travel plan a complete success. From packing to ride sharing, here are a few considerations to make when doing accessible travel planning.
If you’re in the market for a new suitcase and plan to travel often, try and find a suitcase that is designed for your needs. The Phoenix Instinct is a slick set of luggage specifically designed to hitch to the back of your wheelchair to help make traveling easier. It’s a reliable travel companion when picking up luggage and traveling to the destination, especially for travelers with manual wheelchairs.
If you find yourself running out of luggage space quickly, organize outfits with a day-to-day plan. Consider the weather too. — it pays off to bring a light jacket or a raincoat with you in case of emergency.
For your carry-on, choose a backpack or bag that will be both easy to stow and convenient to access from the wheelchair. Sling backpacks are casual and stylish options that can typically fit laptops, iPads, a spare set of earphones, and many of the smaller items you may want to bring with you. You’ll appreciate its flexibility if you are transferring from chair to chair or entering a car you’re unfamiliar with.
In-Flight Entertainment Options
Airplane mode lets anyone use your phone without disrupting any signals, with only downside is that you lose out on messaging in most cases. If you are not willing to purchase in-flight WiFi or if the flight is fairly short, there are a few other ways to help pass the time. It pays off to consider the following options to help make the flight time seem faster.
Download iPhone games. Puzzle games make for reliable time sinks, especially on flights. Angry Birds and Bejeweled Blitz are classics and don’t require WiFi to play. If neither interest you, consider playing games like Reigns and Monument Valley that push the iPhone envelope.
Read a book or magazine. The airport stores are packed with novels and magazines to capture your undivided in-flight attention. If you have your heart set on something specific, you can always download a book to Kindle or iBooks before the flight begins.
Watch a movie or TV show. You can now download movies and TV show episodes on Netflix. This is an incredibly useful feature for TV buffs ready to start that new show or for anyone who wants to knock another movie off their must-see list.
Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. Flights are one of the best times to listen to audiobooks or catch up on your favorite podcasts. Serial, if you haven’t listened yet, is an interesting mystery to keep you glued in the entire flight. But if storytelling isn’t your thing, Apple Music and Spotify both allow you to download your playlists. All you need is a pair of headphones to listen in peace.
Contact the Hosts Before Landing
For trips back to familiar places for the holidays, it may be helpful to make a call ahead of time to get things prepared. For instance, moving unsecured area rugs or long cables in high-traffic areas are an often-forgotten task for hosts, yet doing so enables mobility throughout the entire home.
If you’re staying at a hotel, try and book hotels that have luggage racks handy. The height is typically adjustable, make it much easier to access your belongings without laying things out onto a bed or desk. It also helps to inform the hotel if your disability in case they have any processes in place to make accomodations more comfortable.
Coordinating an Accessible Ride
When contacting your accommodations, it may help to ask if they know of any local service that can help you once you arrive. This is especially useful if you are unfamiliar with your destination. If staying with a family member or friend, they may even offer to send someone familiar pick you up when you arrive.
In a pinch, Uber and Lyft offer accessible rideshare options for specific cities like Boston. The hope is that this new program will be less expensive than other options, and provide more familiarity with the service. Anyone that owns a wheelchair accessible vehicle for rideshare use should have the training to properly support help people with wheelchairs.
Ready for your next trip? Let your vacation begin!