Pre-planning a trip is worth the time it takes ... expect the unexpected and plan accordingly. When pre-planning your trip, it is best to gather as much information as possible. Make a rough draft of the route you will be taking and the places you want to visit. From your rough draft you can start to fine-tune your trip with travel guides and/or web sites to get more specific information. You can also make telephone calls to get detailed information to determine if your functional needs will be met (many places of lodging and visitor attractions will display the international symbol of accessibility - but that does not always mean they are functional for your particular needs). We discovered that by calling a place of lodging or specific attraction directly (not the "800" number), the information is somewhat more reliable. Have a list of general questions ready concerning your functional needs; if they cannot provide answers to your questions, ask them to try to find the answer(s) and get back to you.
Once your route and places of lodging are determined, you should pack all the specific items you need; do not assume they will be supplied for you (we call this our back up system). By doing this, you will encounter less stress if a problem arises. Have a medical folder with you containing your medical history. Many devices are available to carry a complete medical history, with x-rays, if needed; discuss specifics with your doctor.
Make sure you have all prescriptions filled for the time you will be gone, and for a few days after your return. There are drug stores where you can refill anywhere in the nation, but make sure they are in your routing plans. If you need oxygen, call your oxygen supply company and ask where (on your route) you may pre-order to have it waiting for you. Emergency phone numbers for companies regarding your adaptive
equipment, and their retail locations at your destination, are important to have. Make an initial contact to make sure they can service your equipment before you leave on your trip; visit their web site to locate the nearest dealer to where you will be traveling. Have a repair kit with you, in addition to duct tape, a flashlight, batteries, wire, rope, a patch kit for tires and cushions, and an air pump. Take an extra cushion in case the one being used is not repairable, and a backpack for the chair to keep the spare cushion in case of emergency. Take a folding commode in case the accessible bathroom is not functional for you. There may be other items and solutions you may have and if you care to share them, please e-mail your suggestions to us!
- Try not to travel alone; have a companion that can assist you
- Have a cell phone with proper coverage
- Have emergency numbers for next of kin on your cell phone under "ICE"
- Have emergency roadside service numbers
- Let a friend or neighbor know where you are going and leave an itinerary. Check in with them at least every few days on a planned schedule
And most importantly, check out the
lodges and attractions listed on
The Disabled Traveler Companion website
to view exactly what you will be getting -
BEFORE you arrive.