[Wheelchair Travel Guide]: How Much Distance Should You Travel on a Wheelchair

Read this Ultimate Wheelchair Travel Guide and Know How Much Distance Should You Travel on a Wheelchair.
Ultimate Wheelchair Travel Guide

Traveling for someone in a wheelchair was a dream for a lot of people living with disabilities and was initially considered difficult or even impossible.

But in today’s time, things have become quite easy for anyone who wants to travel be it a wheelchair user or not, with this Ultimate Wheelchair Travel Guide you will know everything one needs to know to Travel while in a Wheelchair.

With the invention of Travel wheelchairs specially designed for people who do not want to give up on their dreams to travel. It is specially designed for travel.

Wheelchairs like ultra-lightweight manual and lightweight folding wheelchairs provide easier, lighter, and more comfortable travel than most of the larger wheelchairs.

They are designed in a way that folds down into smaller dimensions to fit easily in most vehicles as well.

Just as the saying goes, “If there’s a will, there’s a way”, but for us, it’s, “If there’s a wheel, there’s a way”.

So without wasting any more time let’s dive into some of the best tips on How can you travel in a wheelchair and How much distance should you travel on it.

How Much Distance Should You Travel in a Wheelchair​?

How Much Distance Should You Travel in a Wheelchair​

The distance you can travel while in a wheelchair really depends on the experience you have traveling with the wheelchair. There is no specific distance set by any law to determine your travel distance.

All you need to know is how comfortable and familiar you are with all the processes of traveling in a wheelchair. You should start traveling to destinations which are not too far.

For example, at first, you can travel in a Wheelchair to places which are 250-400kms away from your home. And get familiar with the process of traveling in a wheelchair and see how different or similar it is to travel from normal traveling.

Let me just tell you in today’s time it is not at all difficult to travel in a wheelchair if that’s what you are worrying about.

With all the new types of wheelchairs, laws set by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) it is very easy and comforting to travel to different places with your wheelchair, all you need is some planning.

You can also find some accessible travel resources on these websites.

This is why we have also written a complete travel guide with a lot of tips for a person with a disability or someone using a wheelchair.

Let’s dive into it.

Tips for Wheelchair Travellers​

Tips for Wheelchair Travellers​

#1 Take Some Short Trips First​

If this is your first trip as a wheelchair user you should keep this and some of the next once a little small. Just to get familiar with all the things.

Try taking the first few trips within a 250-400kms radius. This helps you to see how different or similar it is to travel with a wheelchair. And once you get used to it then prepare for a longer trip. 

#2 Add some extra time​

You will need some extra time in your hand as with all the moving and transferring of things it will take much longer than you think, so be sure to add plenty of extra time between your destinations.

Vehicle preparation – If it’s a road trip you are planning, be sure your vehicle is in good shape and get it serviced before you leave. Just to help you make your list make sure that you have the owner’s manual, spare tire, and car operation components.

You can also use Lyft Plus or an Uber XL, as these vehicles will have more room to keep the wheelchair.

And an additional road map too because sometimes GPS and smartphones may not work at certain places.

#3 Important Accessibility​

If you will be staying in a rental, find out if the house is compatible with wheelchairs, for example, check if it has a wheelchair ramp or not, if not you may need to bring your own foldable wheelchair ramp.

Also know about the interior space of the house before booking, see if there are stairs and if the bathroom is designed as per the ADA handicap accessibility and safety instructions.

To see our best bathroom wheelchair picks are sure to read our article, The Top 5 Best bathroom wheelchair.

#4 Important Items​

Make a list of all the current list of your medications with frequency and dosage, and keep them in the bag and make a tick once you do.

Also, be in regular touch with your doctor and inform him/her about the trip.

so it’s a very good idea to know about the location in which you will be going to stay, look if there are hospitals and care centers are located nearby or not.

#5 Be prepared​

And finally, be prepared and excited for the trip. The first time will seem to be a little difficult and overwhelming but it will be a great experience. To know more about how you can travel in a wheelchair check out the video below. You will love it.

Wheelchair Travel Packing Tips​

Wheelchair Travel Packing Tips​

#1 Make a list​

The best way to keep all the stuff and not forget anything behind is by making a list. Start making the list way before the actual trip day. Keep adding the things you use in your day-to-day life as you move towards the end of the day.

#2 Travel With Comfort ​

It might be a little uncomfortable and fatiguing to sit for long hours if the trip is long. Make sure to get your neck pillows and wheelchair cushions or any pillow that your use.

#3 Extra Stocks​

Make sure to keep extra stocks of your main supplies like any medications, supplements, and other medical supplies.

Or any specific equipment you may need in your journey like the Portable commode chairs or the shower chairs, which you may use in your daily routine.

Also contact your doctor to check if you will be needing supplies like blood glucose meters, portable oxygen, incontinence pads, PEG tube feeding supplies, or ostomy equipment.

#4 Carry Refreshments ​

Carry plenty of water and healthy snacks to stay hydrated and keep energy levels up. 

If you have disabilities you can consider stopping a high amount of liquid intake before your trips because it may be hectic to use the bathroom on the plane as some planes have very tiny bathrooms

#5 Use A Power Wheelchair

As fun and exciting as traveling is, it can be very fatiguing as well.

Self-propel wheelchairs can be a bad choice for traveling. While power wheelchairs can help you keep moving when you’re too tired to self-propel.

If you are interested in finding the best power wheelchair for you, check out the detailed article: The 5 Best Electric Powered Wheelchairs.

#6 Carry A Travel Suitcase ​

There are various travel wheelchair options, such as wheelchairs that come especially with their own travel suitcase. It will keep your wheelchair protected as it goes through baggage handling.

Important Airplane Tips For Wheelchair Users​

Airplane Tips For Wheelchair Users​

Someone traveling by plane on a wheelchair requires careful and a well looked through planning and preparation.

You will have to do everything the same like you use to like purchase your ticket, get to the airport before time, and board the plane.

But the same process might be a little complex this time, and to make this complex process simple it’s best to learn the law for a wheelchair user so you know what to expect on your flight.

These little pieces of information can help make your flight very simplified and comfortable.

Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is the law that covers access to all flight information to and from the USA, similar to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Any access-related questions will be answered on the disability hotline operated by the US Department of Transportation at (800) 778-4838.

And once you are onboard and face any access-related problems, ask to speak to the Complaints Resolution Official (CRO), as they are airline employees specially trained to resolve access-related issues on the spot.

Airplane Wheelchair Travel Tips – Before You Fly​

Airplane Wheelchair Travel Tips

#1 Find Out About Airport wheelchairs​

This should be at the top of your priority list. Airports also provide wheelchairs for their users, which you can choose just by letting them know while booking the flight.

But if you would like to travel in your own wheelchair, don’t forget to mention this to the reservation agent also.

They will usually ask all the details about what type of wheelchair you have. You should also arrive at the airport at least one hour prior to normal check-in times.

Types of assistance you require – If you are someone who requires a guided assistance and/or wheelchair assistance, it’s important to let your agent know about this at the time of booking your flight to ensure the help is there for you where and when you need it.

There are some of the important requirements that you need to keep in mind.

#2 Seating Preferences​

While booking your flight, check if the airplane has a seat with a flip-up armrest to make your transfers from the wheelchair to your plane seat easier.

You can also ask for a bulkhead seat but reserve it way before time as not every airline routinely reserves bulkhead seats for wheelchair users.

#3 Read The Disability Instructions​

It would be great if you can attach clear assembly and disassembly instructions of the wheelchair if you are planning to travel in your own wheelchair.

As some wheelchairs may have different steps to assemble and disassemble and ACAA is required to correctly assemble it before returning it to the passengers.

#4 Be On Time​

As mentioned before make sure to be in the airport at least 1 Hour before the asked time as a person in a wheelchair, it would be much better to have some extra time on your hand rather than having to rush around to get on board.

Get familiar with the airport, use the bathroom if needed, and check in on time. Also if you will be using your own electric wheelchairs make sure the battery is fully charged.

#5 Comfort​

Comfortable cloth is a must. Be sure to wear loose-fitting clothes which can help you breathe properly, bring your wheelchair cushion for comfort.

Stay hydrated and keep your blood sugar in check by eating small snacks. 

Wheelchair Travel Tips – At The Airport​

#1 Arrival Time​

Try to get to the airport as early as possible and give yourself plenty of time to check-in, find some staff who can help in all the processes like baggage checking, going through security, and ultimately boarding the plane.

The most recommend arrival timing is 3-4 hours prior to your flight time. Also, make sure a destination tag is put on your wheelchair when you check in.

#2 Self-Identification​

The first step as soon as you reach the airport is to self-identify yourself and so let them know that you will be needing assistance with airline personnel.

Although you would have let them know about the assistance while making the reservation, they still need to know that you are the person requiring aid.

#3 Transport Assistance​

Transporters are the airport’s staffs who are trained to help you get to different places in the airport, they can help you with your wheelchair and get you through the airport.

They also use a buggy or a cart to help assist people who check their wheelchair. You can rent the buggy beforehand.

#4 Security Clearance​

One of the steps you need to go through once you arrive at the airport. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will help you walk through the metal detector.

The process is usually smooth, still, you can let the security agent go slow if you have any sore body areas before the screening. The most airport also provides a private screening with a companion present, if that is what makes you comfortable.

You can also contact the TSA Cares Hotline prior to your flight if you have any questions about the security screening process.

According to the ACCA guidelines, you can stay in your own wheelchair for as long as it contains a non-spillable battery until you get to the boarding gate.

Once the security process is completed TSA agents will attach an inspection tag.

#5 Boarding Gate​

The boarding gate personnel will be there for you if you want any specific assistance like help with your luggage or mobilizing within the airplane.

If you will be staying in your own wheelchair until you get to the boarding gate, then the staff will have to take your wheelchair to the baggage checking area once and then they will return it to you at the gate of your destination.

And until then, you will be transported to your airplane seat with an airport aisle chair.

#6 Wheelchair Parts​

 It is important to remove all the detachable parts of your wheelchair to ensure that a destination tag is put on all the parts.

If you do not want to detach it yourself then make sure proper assembly/disassembly directions are given with the wheelchair.

Once you get it back inspect your wheelchair properly at your arrival gate and ensure that there has not been any damage to it and that it’s working properly. And if you find anything unusual, report the problems immediately. 

#7 Inside The Flight​

The flight crew will be notified beforehand about you, and you will be assisted properly. Still don’t hesitate to ask for anything you want.

They will help you throughout your whole journey until you have reached your destination airport.

Hotel Travel Tips for Wheelchair Users​

Hotel Travel Tips for Wheelchair Users​

For a person living with disabilities and traveling in a wheelchair, it is very important to find the perfect hotel room. Everything should be as you are in your second home. You should look for a Hotel which is wheelchair friendly.

Hotel rooms should be properly accommodated with a variety of activities from relaxation and proper sleep to personal and medical care.

It can be tough for people living with disabilities to move to a different place and live as they are often very attached to their home and to the environment of the house.

Here are some important tips to choose the best Hotel for Wheelchair Travelers and other people traveling with a disability:

#1 ADA Requirements​

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) has set up a series of accessible requirements pertaining to the construction and design of hotels and other lodging facilities, especially for people with disabilities.

The rules are still followed today and were updated in 2010 to promote greater accessibility. Developed especially to protect people of all abilities, and not only wheelchair users, accessible hotel design requirements to a diverse array of disabilities.

The rules include roll-in showers with a seat, a grab bar in the bathrooms and bathtubs, and easily accessible communication equipment.

Other services like shuttle services, swimming pools, and spas should also be offered to people with disabilities with proper caution. This set of rules should be followed across every ADA guest room in every hotel.

#2 Hotel Room Booking​

ADA regulations also have a separate rule for room reservation in hotels in regard to their guests with disabilities.

One of these rules states that hotel staff must describe the room in enough detail so that the person booking the hotel can determine if it will meet their requirements.

Detail Photos should be provided, and the measurement of the wheelchair should also be provided to the hotel personnel to ensure all preparations are done by the staff beforehand.

It is important to make sure the wheelchair can navigate easily within the room, especially the bathroom.

You should also ask for the height of the bed from the floor, to ensure you’ll be able to transfer to and from your wheelchair easily.

Overbooking of ADA specialized rooms is prohibited, so once you get a reservation, it will be available on your arrival.

Also Read: Best Cars for Wheelchair Transfers

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Do airlines charge separately for wheelchair assistance?

No, airlines don’t charge for wheelchair assistance, they are required to assist any people with disability for free as per the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
How to request wheelchair assistance? To get assistance with your wheelchair all you have to do is call the airport authority ahead of time, best to let them know while making your flight reservations.

Q2. How does wheelchair assistance work?

For the wheelchair assistance first, the airport will need to know if you will be using your own wheelchair or you would rather use the transport chair provided by the airport.
Then let them know if you have a travel companion with you or you will be needing a transporter to help you with the wheelchair.

The Bottom Line​

I hope we have helped you by answering your question of How much distance one can travel with a wheelchair and also helped you by providing a complete travel guide for wheelchair users.

We tried to be as detailed as we can, still if there is anything you think we missed out on or want us to add, do let us know in the comments below.

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