Bern Travel Pictue

After a recent Facebook post by Bernadette got a lot of attention (and tons of questions), we thought we’d interview her and ask her to share her tips and tricks for traveling with a disability.

At the airport:

  • Ask for a wheelchair if you don’t have a scooter and you get to skip the lines.
  • If you’re in a scooter, look for handicapped line.
  • There are usually ramps available — you just have to ask.

Scooter tips:

  • Bernadette uses a Gogo Elite Traveler (best advice: charge it every time it’s not in use! Bring an extra charger, just in case.)
  • See gate agent and let them know you need early boarding.
  • You can ride the scooter to door of the plane.
  • An airline employee will tag and store your scooter (they know what to do).
  • It helps to know how heavy it is and the type of battery it uses.
  • To get to/from the airport or for sightseeing at your destination: Request handicapped taxi, Uber offers handicapped rides in some places, carry bungee cord in case you need to store the chair/ scooter in a trunk that’s a little too small.

The concierge at your hotel can be helpful in so many ways

  • They will request taxis or shuttles for you.
  • They can coordinate tours, shopping, reservations, etc. that take your special needs into consideration.
  • Request handicapped room (doors are wider, roll-in shower).
  • Request shower chair (cover it with towel for comfort).
  • They can provide information about getting around the property (ramps, elevators, courtesy shuttles/golf carts).

Many travel websites and apps are available to find accessible hotels, restaurants, pools, tours, etc.

  • Expedia.com (Filter properties by Accessibility)
  • Use Google Maps Street View to get the lay of the land before booking a hotel room
  • Tripadvisor.com provides Search results for Wheelchair Accessible Restaurants, Hotels with Accessible Rooms

 

There are some wonderful travel websites/blogs such as:

Paris in a Wheelchair

(https://bit.ly/2wpXoow)

Wheelchair Accessible Cities in Europe

(https://bit.ly/2FWTDX8)

Sage Traveling

(sagetraveling.com)

Rick Steves

(https://bit.ly/20N6X9z)

What are the Top Tips you have to share re:accessible traveling?

  • Get a wheelchair at the airport!
  • Carry 2 chargers for your scooter — just in case.
  • Use a lightweight manual wheelchair with pop-off tires — add a backpack that fits on the back of the chair.
  • Ask for elevators, or even a freight elevator.
  • If you haven’t traveled with your wheelchair or scooter, you should!

Traveling with a CPAP or BiPap?

Things to do before you fly:

  • Pack your CPAP prescription from your doctor in your CPAP case.
  • Seat Guru (seatguru.com): Pick a seat that has access to power if you need to use your CPAP machine on a long flight. Also, bring your airline’s phone number and website with you to check their assisted device policy. The airline has the final approval for in-flight usage.
  • FAA Compliance Letter: Download from the manufacturer’s website and keep with your CPAP machine.
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA): Review the airport security page for medical conditions to confirm the process for CPAP machines (www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures).
  • Review airline website for policies for using CPAP machine for in-flight use and restrictions for carry ons.

Things to do when you fly:

  • Bring your CPAP machine in its case as carry-on.
  • Prepare to show appropriate documentation (pack with your machine).
  • Remove your CPAP from your luggage for security.
  • Turn humidifier off, and turn on airplane mode (if your CPAP machine has it).

Car Rental tips for traveling with a disability:

https://bit.ly/2jLagfZ

https://bit.ly/2KPfkvT

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