Traveling can be taxing and stressful for everybody, especially for those who have a disability. No matter where you’re heading to in the world, going on your travels should be something to look forward to, rather than fear. To ensure your trip runs smoothly, here are a few tips on how to travel comfortably with a disability.
Speak to Your Doctor
If you have a trip coming up, it’s important that you speak with your doctor before heading out the door. Engaging with a medical professional will give you clarity on whether you’re fit to fly. Airlines want to make sure that your condition is stable, so it’s best to get expert advice before embarking on your journey. Many individuals with a disability fear that their condition may hinder their travel plans, so to put your mind at ease, consulting with your doctor beforehand is key.
Once you’ve been given the go-ahead that you’re able to travel, it’s important that you communicate with your airline and agent when booking your trip. If you have any special requirements, be sure to inform everyone you will come into contact with beforehand, such as the special assistance desk at the airport, the ground staff, and cabin crew. Whether you’re traveling a short distance or long-haul, don’t be hesitant to express your needs. If you have any dietary or physical requirements, letting people know will not only increase your well-being but improve the safety of those around you.
Allow Yourself Extra Time
If you are in a wheelchair, you need to bear in mind that some things may take a little longer. Airport security will need to swab both the wheelchair and the individual sitting in it. These swabs are then sent through a scanner before you’re allowed to continue through into the airport lounge. While these kinds of procedures are mandatory, they could delay your departure, so giving yourself extra time to get to the airport and through security is important. Electric wheelchairs are great for travel since they fold up and can help you get around with ease, especially if you have to deal with flight delays and waiting around.
Bring Extra Medication
Only you will know what medication is best to bring with you on your travels. Even if you’re only away for a couple of nights, knowing you have your medical supplies should you need them will put your mind at ease and help you look forward to your journey. You may want to keep a small bag with you that you can fill with everything you need. If you do need to take medication throughout your trip, it’s best to pack it in both your suitcase and hand luggage so you always have some on hand.
As you live with your disability each day, this means that you know more than anyone about what you need and how to handle situations. While airline staff should be informed and trained, this may not always be the case, so try and stay calm and have patience with others. The last thing you want is for stress levels to rise, so if you’re traveling alone and feel unnerved by the experience, practicing deep breathing techniques can help keep you calm and collected. Remember, there will be special assistance available at the airport and staff that can provide support should you require it.
No matter what kind of disability you have, you should never let your condition stop you from traveling. Whether you’re heading off on your first journey, or you’re an experienced traveler, all the tips listed above can help make sure your trip runs according to plan.