Traveling with a Disability

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Eugene Baily offers some helpful travel tips for people with disabilities.

By Eugene Baily

It is the time of year when people are thinking about summer and vacations. This could involve some traveling. People with disabilities want and should be able to travel as they want to or need to.

 Eugene Beach 2
 Eugene enjoying a nice day out!
I use a power wheelchair and I have found that one of the keys is to
have a plan. One of the keys in traveling is to be flexible within your plan. If you are traveling with one or more people, you may want to divide your trip into different parts. Each person sets up a different part, so that each person can know about each part of their travel plans.

I want to talk about the plan and what that is and maybe ways to put one together. One of the things is a time line. This can help you set up your travel in different parts like, transportation, setting hotel rooms, and going to events when you are there. In my experience you may have to set things in a different order, like having to set up the hotel rooms first then the event tickets then the air travel, like the time I went to the Sprint Car National in Knoxville Iowa. It took me almost a year to set that trip up.

When traveling you should look into the transportation issues in case you have some problems with one part of it or have to change the whole thing. For example, I called and set up my transportation from the airport to the hotel before I left, but when I got there they did not have a bus that could take my power wheelchair. So I had to go to my back up plan, I called a cab. Yes it cost me a little more, but I got to the hotel. That is one reason why it is a good idea to have a Plan and have flexibility within that plan.

If you are planning to attend a sporting event or any event, you should call for information or look up seating and parking on the internet if you can. Then all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the event and have a good time.

Something to remember is that you may need special equipment, like a different type of wheelchair. When I went to Hawaii, I wanted a wheelchair that could go down on the beach on the sand. I worked with the hotel staff to find that type of wheelchair. Even though I rented the wheelchair from a different company the hotel staff was helpful to me in finding that type of wheelchair. The hotel told me when I was checking out, they were thinking about getting one of those types of wheelchairs to have at the hotel to rent out for to people. So they learned something new at that time as I did.

Some of you may be thinking about international travel. I have not traveled outside the United States, but some of things are the same as I talk about before and new things like a passport. Also you’ll need to think about visas and money exchange rates, if you are going with a tour or alone, or by train or by bus. There may be language differences. So that’s why I think you should have a plan, before you ever get started.

Eugene Beach 1 
Eugene often travels with his good friend Steve Zabilski, executive director of Society of St. Vincent de Paul based in Arizona
In closing, I would always make a plan, that way you have time to check everything out and could help lower your cost, by doing thing at different times and a different part of your trip. Remember on your travel day only thing about your traveling on that day.

If you do use any type of equipment you should make up a list of repair places in the city that you will be in. If you have your equipment look at before you go on your trip, you should not have any problems.

I hope everyone can get out there and see new things and do fun stuff on their summer vacation and have fun.

Eugene Baily is a NLACRC consumer and staff member who enjoys going on trips with his family.
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