By the time she turned 22, Shannon had traveled to 12 different countries. To say she is an experienced world traveler is a bit of an understatement. With all those miles under her belt, Shannon has come up with four key ingredients for making travel a successful endeavor for wheelchair users.
Planning ahead is something Shannon recommends for any traveler, but especially for those who get around on wheels. “While there are some limitations that come with traveling with a disability, planning ahead can minimise any frustrations, so that you don’t have to worry about figuring things out when you are just arriving to the country with limited phone access or a language barrier.” She says that when she studied abroad in Australia, she began researching accessibility a year in advance!
“I have traveled to almost every continent, but this would not have been possible without the help of good travel companions.” Shannon says her friends have helped her out in ways like pushing her chair over rough terrain and helping her take her chair apart when transferring into a taxi. Good friends or assistants who have a sense of adventure often make great travelling companions!
You know best what you need in order to make your travels enjoyable, so it’s up to you to communicate those needs to others. “You need to be bold and look out for yourself, to ask questions and make decisions to ensure your needs are met,” advises Shannon. She found that clearly communicating her needs and following up with organizations/hotels prior to her arrival helped make those aspects of her travel go smoothly.
Approaching your travels with the mindset that things might not work out exactly as planned will help keep you calm if and when you experience bumps in the road. “When travelling, especially with a disability, things don’t always go to plan. But sometimes the best memories come from the unexpected.”
Keep Shannon’s tips in mind for your next trip abroad to make it an enjoyable one!
What travel tips, hacks, or pointers do you have for others who want to get out and explore the world? Share them with us for a chance to be featured on AbleThrive!