Traveling is one of my favorite activities. My husband is my favorite travel companion. I love to explore new destinations and old favorites with him. Summer is our busiest time of vacationing. I enjoyed going on many journeys during my summer off from work. The one thing that I carry with me on my trips is my disability. I cannot leave it at home and have to find ways to be able to work with it on my adventures.
Knowing what your disability is is the most important factor in traveling with one. It's important to have knowledge of this and what your needs may be. Transportation is one of my biggest needs when I take a trip. I'm not able to drive and rely on someone else to transport me to my destination. My visual perception also makes using escalators impossible, leaving me to have access to an elevator or stairs. Other people with disabilities may need to have medical equipment such as Oxygen tanks or mobility devices. Having the knowledge of your disability and how to use the adaptive equipment helps you to be more independent.
After knowing what your disability is it is important to know what services are available for travelers with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that most places in the community be accessible to people with them. The types of services at each place in the community may vary. When I was traveling this summer, one of the airports I was at had a flight ambassador program to help me navigate the facility. The other airport that I went to did not have this program and I had to navigate it myself. Other examples of accommodations can include braille signage and hotel rooms that are accessible to people in wheelchairs.
It is also important to know the specific policies for passengers with disabilities, especially with a mobility device. TSA has various protocols for how to handle travelers in wheelchairs and those who are using crutches. Some of the equipment may have to go through the x-ray, while other types of adaptive equipment may not. TSA also has different policies and procedures for people with disabilities who may require assistance. It is important to research what the rules are to make this process run smoothly.
Life indeed is too short to let a disability stop you from traveling. The key to this is preparing for the journey. Knowing what your disability is and how to compensate will empower you to know what to do if you run into difficulty on the trip. It is also important to know what resources are out there to help you as well. This wisdom will help make a successful trip full of many wonderful memories.