Traveling with a Disability

Now that Spring has sprung and traveling is made a little easier, many older adults are looking forward to a few weekend getaways or perhaps longer trips when possible.  But seniors with disabilities can face a number of obstacles while traveling.   It’s important to plan ahead and map out any trip before setting sail and thanks to the web, it’s easier than ever to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Each country has it’s own accessibility laws and standards and for those planning a trip outside the United States or Canada, it’s a good idea to find out if there are any accommodations for wheelchairs or medical equipment at hotels, airports and on airplanes or cruise ships in advance.  Those who rely on assistive equipment for mobility or on other portable machines will need to ensure they have compatible charging units for power equipment or use manual devices when possible.

Older adults with health conditions should always check with their physician before making plans to travel and consider taking out extra medical travel insurance in case of an emergency.  Prescription medication should be carried in it’s original, labeled container and travelers should plan on having enough medication on hand that would be sufficient even if the return trip home was delayed.   Talk with your doctor about any immunizations that may be necessary and always keep and up-to-date list of medication in your possession in case of an emergency.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a travel medicine specialist can help those with disabilities protect their health with advice about diseases, vaccines, medication as well as arrange care overseas.   Persons traveling with a service animal should find out in advance about any quarantine regulations in the destination country.

For those planning a trip closer to home, many state parks offer discounts and access to amenities for those with a disability.  To learn more or to apply for an Access Pass visit the United States Geological Survey website by following this link.

To learn more about traveling with disabilities and medical conditions, visit the United States Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration here.