People with mobility disabilities need to do a lot of up-front research before traveling to their destination to ensure their needs can be met. And most of the time, this means asking questions – lots of them. The more specific the better. Craig is a wheelchair user and an avid traveler. He has compiled a list of questions that other wheelchair users will want to ask and get answered before embarking on that vacation of a lifetime.
"Everyone has their own definition of what handicap-accessible means. That's not anybody's fault. It's widely misunderstood."
So here are some specific questions you will want to consider the next time you plan a vacation.
Hotels, Buildings, and Elevators
- Once I am past the entryway of the building, is the rest of the structure accessible?
- Will the elevator fit my mobility equipment? Is there a plan in case the elevator isn't working?
- How big is the bathroom? Are there bars in the bathroom or a chair in the shower? Which way do the bathroom and shower doors open? Can I shut these doors while using the facilities with my equipment?
- Are the sidewalks and roads smooth enough for my mobility equipment?
- Will the cab or car I am reserving be able to fit my equipment?
- Will the train or subway stops have elevator access? How do I let the driver know I need extra time entering or exiting the cart?
- How wide and steep are the access ramps? Will I need assistance going up the ramp?
"Sometimes it takes 10 or 15 phone calls to find a place that will work for you and that will work with you," says Craig. “If that place isn't willing to take a tape measure out and do measurements for me, I move onto the next place and I ask them."
While it may be tedious, time-consuming work to get your questions answered, it will pay off in the end. And asking these questions will help businesses in the travel industry gain a better understanding of how they can best accommodate their clients.
"The more people with disabilities that travel, the more the services will become accessible, the more experience players in the game will gain in learning how to take care of people with disabilities."
Be sure to share this post with someone who is planning an upcoming vacation!