Have you ever turned down a holiday due to limited mobility? Or, had a trip ruined because your accessibility needs weren’t met? Sadly, this is fairly common.
Over 40% of the population will face mobility issues at some point in their life yet airlines, holiday destinations and tourist attractions continuously fail to step up. This leads to huge financial loss on their part as well as a large portion of society missing out on what life has to offer.
Accessible travel for all is, of course, the end goal but until then, there are steps you can take to improve your overall experience. From investing in a portable wheelchair for travel to standing up for your rights, take matters into your own hands to give yourself the best chance of a smooth journey.
Know your rights
Advocating for yourself when living with reduced mobility is key. It is not uncommon for airport staff and pre-booked assistance to talk to your companion rather than directly to you. Make yourself known, express your needs and don’t settle for poor treatment. Knowing your rights and the assistance you are eligible for will ensure you receive the support you need and nothing less.
If using a mobility aid such as a portable wheelchair for travel, it is worth making a note of the weight and measurements of your equipment. This will come in handy if you are told you cannot bring it onto the cabin of the plane or seating area of an entertainment venue.
Utilise resources available to you
If you have a smartphone, apps are a great tool to help navigate and improve your accessible travel experience.
Transreport is an app that allows customers to report issues and concerns they encountered when travelling by train. Transreport’s subsidiary app, Passenger Assist, has been created specifically for requesting assistance. It requires that you create a profile listing your accessibility needs, simplifying and reducing the time it takes to book assistance.
Reading reviews before you travel can also help pinpoint areas with good accessibility and avoid places where people have had a bad experience. Access Advisr is a reviews site that allows people with reduced mobility to rate and review attractions they have visited or transport they have used. This may be worth checking out before travelling anywhere to avoid areas with poor accessibility if possible. Of course, leaving a review (good or bad) after your own trip will help others in their future journeys.
There aren’t currently many apps or resources on the market specifically aimed to help people with mobility issues navigate airports or flight travel. However, the previous tools can still provide valuable advice and assistance during other parts of your journey.
Planning ahead may seem like an obvious piece of advice but we don’t just mean organising your timings or creating an itinerary. Whilst both are useful and a necessity when travelling, preparing yourself in advance for any potential obstacles you may encounter on your journey is what will really help to make your trip run smoothly.
How far will you need to walk to get to your gate? Is there a lift? Will you have to walk up stairs at any point? Is there wheelchair access? Will you have to wait in a queue? Is there anywhere to sit down?
These are all valuable questions to ask before travelling. Whilst you can’t prepare for every possible outcome, considering these factors and asking the relevant questions will help to reduce the amount of hiccups throughout your journey.
Harness your independence
If your needs have only recently changed and you are travelling for the first time with reduced mobility, your first point of call will likely be pre-booked assistance. This service typically promises; transport from point of arrival to the airport/terminal building, an airport wheelchair, a designated member of staff to help you through the airport, assistance boarding the plane and specially selected seats if needed.
The reality of pre-booked assistance is slightly different. Whilst we can’t speak for every airport or venue and would recommend looking at reviews and doing your own research beforehand, most people with accessibility needs are let down by their pre-booked assistance and end up waiting around or their needs not being met.
No one wants their trip to begin on a bad note, especially if it is a celebration or particularly special holiday. That’s why travelling as independently as possible with the help of a portable wheelchair for travel and without relying on a third party makes so much more sense.
Find a mobility aid that suits your needs
Airport wheelchairs and those hired once you reach your destination tend to be bulky, slow and just get in the way when not needed. Rental chairs can also lack general hygiene which is especially important whilst the pandemic is still ongoing and you may be considered vulnerable. You have likely spent a significant amount of time and money on your trip and wouldn’t want it to be hindered by lack of accessibility, leaving you watching from the sidelines.
A portable wheelchair like Traveller Chair is ideal for overseas travel, remaining by your side 24/7 as a trusty companion from beginning to end of your journey. Think of it as a backup, a friendly support, always there just when you need it. You are now completely in control of your journey.
If you feel comfortable walking to the gate at the airport then you can do so, carrying the Traveller Chair in case mode. Or, if you are getting tired and in need of respite, quickly assemble from case to wheelchair in just 30 seconds. Once you’ve reached your destination, you can peruse local streets and museums knowing you have the option to rest whenever you need to.
Don’t let poor mobility obstacles stop you from taking that trip. Going from case to chair in just 30 seconds – Traveller Chair is ‘with you all the way’ from drop off to pick up.