Posted on: 7 April 2016
If you have to use a wheelchair on a regular basis due to chronic pain, fatigue or any other issue, travelling can be challenging. However, with a bit of planning, it is possible to navigate around almost any city or rural area. Here are some transportation tips to keep in mind:
1. Investigate accessible travel options before arriving.
Before arriving at your location, look into accessible transportation options. If your destination doesn't offer accessible trains or buses, contact local taxi companies about their services. Finally, if you are flying to your destination, consider hiring a car that has enough room to store your wheelchair in the back, so you can just drive around town.
2. Switch to a motorised scooter or wheelchair.
If you typically use a non-motorised wheelchair, consider leaving it at home and using a motorised wheelchair or scooter at your destination. This gives you flexibility similar to walking, and it keeps you closer to the action, compared to driving or riding in a taxi. However, the motor also makes it easier to move around. You don't have to worry about getting tired rolling your wheelchair along with your arms or having someone push you.
3. Bring a foldable wheelchair.
If possible, the ideal situation is to have both a motorised chair or scooter and a foldable one. Your motorised option allows you to join walking tours with other tourists or explore around your hotel, easily. However, if you want to journey far from your hotel in a hire car or taxi, it's more convenient to have a foldable wheelchair that you can pop in the back of the vehicle.
4. Reconsider your walking aids.
If you occasionally forgo your wheelchair to use a walking aid, consider how it is going to work at your destination. For example, if you usually use a cane, but you are going to a beach where the cane may shift around in the sand and destabilise you, you may want to switch to a walking frame. Because it has four legs instead of one, it's inherently more stable.
In contrast, if you typically use a walking frame, but you are going to tour an old part of a city with narrow sidewalks, you may want to switch to a cane. It allows you to assume a more narrow profile than a walking frame, and that can make navigating some areas easier.
For more tips on travelling with a wheelchair, contact an accessible transportation expert.