People have been traveling in wheelchairs for a long time. Both manual and electric chairs have made it possible for elderly, and physically challenged people to see the world and go on long adventures. With accessibility requirements spreading throughout the world, more places can be explored by wheelchair-bound travelers. Planning ahead will also make for a more enjoyable trip.
Whether traveling by car, plane, or boat, it’s important to find both accessible travel routes and to pack everything you need for wheelchair travel right from the start. While you may already have your charging cables and travel bags ready, we’ve got a few packing tips that will make your wheelchair travel experience both easier and more comfortable.
1) Light Foldable Travel Ramp
An unexpected step is the biggest challenge for most chair-bound travelers, especially if you are traveling alone. Having the ability to overcome a few steps can keep you moving on your adventure and help you avoid asking strangers for too much help. To this end, search for a foldable travel ramp right for your budget and luggage. Thin carbon or steel ramps can help overcome those one- and two-step barriers that seem so minor for walking people.
2) Backup Battery
If you travel with an electric scooter the last thing you want is to run out of batteries in the middle of an adventure. Make sure you have a charge cable for outlets, and plug in when you stop for meals. You should also consider carrying a backup battery your chair. Charge the backup battery and your chair overnight, then carry the battery with you to make sure your chair doesn’t suddenly become ‘manual’ at the worst possible moment. Staying charged and ready to go will keep your wheelchair travel experience moving.
3) Seat Cushion
Renting wheelchairs or scooters on your travels? For the partially mobile, this is often the most practical choice and can reduce the hassle of transporting your own chair. However, rented scooters may not be comfortable or have as much padding as they should. A single portable memory foam seat cushion can make all the difference between tailbone pain and a comfortable vacation.
4) Secure Travel Bags
Your wheelchair is, unfortunately, a beacon for thieves and pickpockets precisely because people assume you won’t notice and can’t move fast. Whether these things are true or not, you are more likely to be targeted for petty theft and therefore need to take a few extra precautions. Find luggage with zipper clips and locks, cut-resistant straps, and hidden pockets for valuables. This can help to discourage pickpockets and make targeting you more trouble than it’s worth.
5) Spinner Wheel Suitcases
Towing luggage with a wheelchair or scooter can be pain, especially if you don’t have the right gear. For moving through airports, hotels, and over sidewalks, nothing beats spinner wheels on a mobile suitcase. Spinner wheels are four wheels underneath an upright suitcase that change direction and roll easily. This means you can fasten your luggage to the chair and tow it without having to worry about direction, tilt, or using one of your hands.
6) Bed Assist Strap
Finally, you never know what kind of situation you’ll have to get in or out of. Many people who travel in wheelchairs need some assistance with things like getting out of bed or transitioning from one chair to another. That is where the assist strap comes in. Sometimes called a caddy or rope ladder, this is a combination of strap and handles that can be used to pull yourself around. Keep one handy not just for hotel beds, but for anything you need to anchor and use for personal mobility.
Traveling should be available to everyone. Planning ahead and doing research should make your wheelchair travel experience just as enjoyable as anyone else’s. Do you have other tips for traveling in a wheelchair? Please share in the comments below.