Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

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5 Essential Tips for Wheelchair Accessible Travel

Leandre in a meadow in his wheelchair

As the great poet Dr Seuss once said, “You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way.”

Here at SCIO, like Dr Seuss, we too believe you’re off to amazing places. As those who’ve caught the travel bug can also attest, travelling really is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. Whether you’re travelling across the city or around the globe, each new place offers something diverse and unique that may broaden your understanding of our world and the people living in it.

Wherever you may go, we want to make sure you get there safely and comfortably.  If you have an SCI you may need to consider a few more things when embarking on an exciting journey, and we’re here to make sure nothing gets forgotten. We’ve compiled our five essential travel tips for those with accessibility needs to ensure your next adventure starts off on the right note.

  1. Research, Research, Research

A successful trip starts by picking the right destination. Before embarking on your journey, be sure you select a destination that can support your accessibility needs. Looking into city architecture, accommodation, and transportation accessibility is crucial to assuring your dream destination has been modernized to meet a high accessibility standard. Beware of false or misleading information online and always double check your sources.

Looking for a great place to go? Check out this blog by Emma, one of the UK’s leading travel bloggers who dishes out comprehensive reviews and advice on accessible travel:


  1. Start Looking for Hotels Well Ahead of Time

Starting the hunt for an accessible hotel sooner rather than later is always a good idea. Many hotels with accessible rooms, including big chains, get booked early, and the last thing you want is to be rushing at the 11th hour to find a solution. Looking months in advance, calling prospective hotels to confirm their accessibility and asking clarifying question are all key to snagging a great hotel.

After a long day sightseeing, your hotel should be a welcome, comfortable haven. Planning well in advance ensures you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your adventure with a room well suited to your needs.


  1. Book Transportation in Advance

Doing so may seem overkill; however, trust us when we say looking into transportation ahead of time will save you stress. How accessible is public transport? Are the roads cobblestone or smooth to accommodate a wheelchair? How easily will you be able to call a wheelchair accessible taxi? These are all questions to consider when looking into how seamlessly you’ll be able to navigate a new city. If the city is not as accessible as what you’re used to, its always best to plan to ensure you have the resources booked to get where you need to go: like for example, to and from the airport.


  1. Consider Working with a Travel Agent

Is all this talk of planning causing some anxiety? You may benefit from a travel agent. A competent travel agent can book flights, hotels and car services for you, which immediately removes some of the hassles. An agent well versed in accessible travel should be there to answer questions and ultimately put your mind at ease.

If you’re on a tight budget, an agent’s services can also be used more sparingly. They can take the reigns on only a small portion of your trip, or help you with the one thing you may be struggling with, like booking a flight or hotel.

An important point to remember, however, is that not all travel agents are created equal. Some will have a better understanding of your needs than others. Shop around a bit until you find the best agent for you, and trust us when we say, there are some fantastic people out there who are here to help you.


  1. Have a Little Faith

Travelling away from home can be stressful, but we’re here to reassure you the world isn’t all that scary. If you take the time to consider your needs, choose a fun and accessible place and start the planning well in advance, you’re almost guaranteed an enjoyable experience. As Dr Seuss said, your mountain is waiting. Go after it.

Need more information before your next road trip, or want to take a deeper dive into the nitty-gritty details of vehicle modification? Check out our list of Fast (and Furious) Facts on Vehicle Modification or give us a call. We can put you in touch with experienced travellers who can give you the inside scoop.

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