Accessible Travel: Planning A Vacation When You Have A Disability 

June 28, 2023

One in four adults in the United States are diagnosed with some type of disability, the Centers for Disease Control reveals. Over 12% have mobility issues, while 12.8% have a cognitive disability. Although traveling with a disability takes some forethought, it is certainly possible to take that vacation you have been dreaming of. By taking care to plan your trip properly, you can ensure you get the most out of your vacation.  

Organize mobility aids

Over 6.8 million Americans use mobility aids, such as, wheelchairs, scooters, canes, walkers, and crutches to help them navigate daily life. So, if you use mobility aids, take time to consider which ones you will need on your trip. Do you need different aids for different terrains? Most resorts, hotels, and cruise ships provide wheelchairs to rent either at no charge or for a small fee. And, a wheelchair can also be provided at airports if needed, while your own wheelchair is stored with your luggage. If your mobility aid has any special storage requirements, it is also important to let the airline know to ensure it is handled correctly at every stage of your trip.  

Get the right travel medical insurance

Travel medical insurance provides you with a crucial financial safety net while traveling, so it is important to make sure you get the right, comprehensive coverage for your disability. In most cases, travel medical insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions unless you have a pre-existing condition exclusion waiver. According to Forbes, a pre-existing condition is generally defined as “an injury, illness or medical condition that caused you to experience symptoms, seek treatment or take medication before buying the travel insurance policy” – although the exact definition can vary between travel insurance companies. And, to further help with your financial peace of mind, you will still continue to receive your Social Security disability benefits while abroad. A vital source of income, the average Social Security Disability Insurance benefit totals around $1,358.30 per month, while the average monthly Supplemental Security Income payment is worth $568.13.  

Plan your trip carefully at each stage

You will also need to plan each stage of your trip carefully. For example, you may need to budget for more time at the airport once your flight lands in order to give yourself the time needed to arrange the right taxi to take you to your hotel. By ensuring your schedule is as flexible as possible, any obstacles or mishaps that occur are not going to set you back badly. And, when it comes to booking your hotel, you may find it more useful to do so over the phone. Talking with a customer service representative allows you to explain your needs in detail and ask questions as needed, providing you with more information than may be available on the website alone. 

Your dream vacation is well-within your reach. By organizing mobility aids, obtaining the right travel medical insurance, and planning your trip carefully, you can make your journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible. 

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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