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Disability Travel Resources

Here are some tips from listener Sharon Warner in Ohio:

Along the way, I have learned a couple of things:

  • Let boarding personnel know that you need extra time to board a plane. Sit close to the door so you are called first, and board at your own pace.

  • After the plane has landed, NEVER get off the plane until you see your assisting device, wheel chair, or whatever you need, waiting for you. Flight attendants are required to stay on the airplane as long as your feet are on the plane, and will help you get your equipment. Once you step off the plane, you are on your own, and may find yourself without your assisting device(s). Although flight attendants may want to help, they usually need to be on their way to their next flight, and they are now no longer required to wait with you.

  • Every airline has an arbitrator available at all times. The person may be at the airport in person, or available by telephone, but his/her job is to assist you with any difficulties. Even when you carefully plan your trip, circumstances beyond anyone's control may change things. You may have booked a flight on an airplane with an on-board chair and larger bathrooms that are handicapped accessible. If this model of plane was scheduled for your flight, but that specific airplane had mechanical problems, a smaller plane may be sent instead. It may be necessary to talk with the boarding personnel, contact the arbitrator, and the airline would need to put you up, at their expense, until the next flight with the type of airplane you require is available.

  • Carry on extra medications in case you are separated from your luggage.

  • Carry a list of your medications, physicians names and addresses, diagnosis/medical conditions, and insurance information.

  • When making your reservations, request any carts or wheelchair service you may need. Describe your limitations and needs. Get ticket and boarding pass ahead of time so you don't have to wait in lines. Talk with your airline or travel agent regarding type of bathrooms on the airplane. Call the airport to find out as much information as possible about bathrooms at the airport. Ask about handicapped parking at the airport as well. Find out how you will need to board your airplane. You may need another type of plane or an alternate route so that you will have jetways or jetbridges into the plane and not have to deal with stairs.

  • Consider what seat arrangement will work best for your needs. Would an aisle seat make it more convenient to get to the bathroom? It may be wise to sit in a row other than the emergency exit row, since the passengers in these rows may be asked to assist others in an emergency situation. Alert the arilines and flight attendants if you have any assisting devices. Ask the best way to store them ensuring that they will arrive savely.

  • Call hotels directly to find out what they may mean by "handicapped accessible" rooms. Get a complete description, asking about roll-in/walk-m showers, grab bars, lowered sinks, raised toilet seats, widened doorways, lowered closet bars, wheelchair-height peepholes and light switches. In case of a fire, who will assist you if elevators are shut off and you are not on the ground floor? Can you exit the room by yourself? If you need hand controls on your rental car or van, ask detailed questions to ensure that you can drive the vehicle.

  • Keep in mind what you do easily and without assistance as well as those situations in which you require help. Can you transfer to seats? Alone, with a board (do they provide one?), or with assistance from another person? If you use a dog for assistance, how does that change your needs? Be able to describe your wheelchair, scooter, or walker's dimensions, weight, type of tires, batteries, etc. Remember to mention any other assisting devices you may have or need, such as canes or crutches. How is your upper body strength? How are your communication abilities? Do you have any trouble with speech? Any vision problems? Difficulties with heat? Any bodily functions or daily living tasks that are difficult and therefore need to be kept in mind or mentioned when planning a trip? Remember any dietary requirements you may have, as well as any medications.

Visit the Disability Travel Bookshelf

Listen to an interview with Adam Lloyd about traveling with disabilities. Visit his website at http://www.GimpontheGo.com

Americans with Disabilities Act

Neverland Adventures
Accessible travel opportunities, tours, and cruises to people of all abilities.

Accessible Alaska Adventures
Anchorage, Alaska
Conducts tours through Alaska, all totally accessible.

Adventure Travel
5330 Peters Creek Rd.
Roanoke, VA 24019
Sharon Myers, Wheelchair Travel Specialist
1-800-677-5419 or 540-992-2670

Easy Access to National Parks
Random House, Inc.
400 Hahn Rd.
Westminster, MD 21157
A guide to 41 national parks throughout the U.S. is $16.00 plus $4.00 shipping.

Great American Vacations for People with Disabilities
Random House, Inc.
400 Hahn Rd.

Westminster, MD 21157 496 pages. $17.50 plus $4.00 shipping

888-INN-SEEK or 203-798-2543
This toll-free hotline for travelers seeking the right B&B will soon have a fax-back

Travelin' Talk Network
P.O. Box 3534
Clarksville, TN
Network of individuals across the United States and around the world sharing information on accessible travel in their areas. Directory is $35. Membership includes lodging discounts and newsletter, $l-$10 one-time sliding scale fee.

Society for the Advancement of Travel for theHandicapped (SATH)
347 Fifth Ave., Suite 610
New York, NY 10016
Clearinghouse in contact with organizations in many countries. Publishes a quarterly magazine "Open World," subscription $13.00/yr. Yearly membership is $45 for individuals, $25 for students and senior citizens. Provides information on air, rail, and bus travel, hotels and services worldwide for various medical conditions and impairments.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
1291 TaylorSt. NW
Washington, DC. 20542
Information centers, travel agents, and transportation for people with disabilites. Free brochure.

International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
716-754-4883 (in US)
Lists English-speaking medical providers by country who are certified by this association.

Centers for Disease Control - Center for Travelers
Provides information for every country regarding diseases and concerns about being in a different area of the world.

Wheelers of Hawaii
Maui Van Rentals

Rainbow Wheels Rental Vans
Rental of fully equipped IMS vans throughout the US.

Accessible Van Rentals
Wheelchair Getaways
Rental of fully equipped IMS vans throughout the US and Puerto Rico.

New Horizons
Information for the air traveler with a disability. Available for $1.50 from the US Department of Transportation
Consumer Information Center
P.O. Box 100
Pueblo, CO 81002
Publication #355A
(MS office also has a copy).

Mobility International
PO Box 10767
Eugene, OR 97440
541-343-1284 (voice, TTY)
fax: 541- 343-6812
e-mail: miusa@igc.apc.org
Refers members to organizations in destination countries.

Accessible Journeys
35 W Sellers Ave
Ridley Park, PA 19078
fax: 610-521-6959
Offers worldwide tours for mobility-impaired; finds travel companions.

Flying Wheels Travel
143 W Bridge St
Owatonna, MN 55060
fax: 507-451-1685
Offers worldwide tours and cruises for the mobility-impaired.

The Guided Tour, Inc.
7900 Old York Rd, Ste 114-B
Elkins Park, PA 19027-2339
fax: 215-635-2637
e-mail: gtour400@aol.com
Web site: http://www.guidedtour.com
Worldwide tours for adults with de- velopmental and physical challenges.

Accessible Bus List
American Bus Association
1100 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005-3934
Lists U.S. tour-bus companies. Free.

Access to the Skies
Paralyzed Veterans of America
80118th St NW
Washington, DC 20006
For PVA information: 800-424-8200
to order: 202-416-7709
TTY information and ordering: 800-795-4327
Quarterly newsletter. Free.

The Air Carrier Access Act
(See PVA entry above.)
To order: 888-860-7244
Legal rights for people with disabilities traveling by air. One copy free.

The Cruise Guide for Wheelchair Travelers
Available only through Cruise Lines International Association-affiliated travel agencies. Comparison chart of services and facilities. Free.

The Disability Bookshop Catalog
Twin Peaks Press
PO Box 129
Vancouver, WA 98666-0129
To order: 800-637-2256
for more information: 360-694-2462
Lists more than 400 titles. $5.

The Disabled Driver's Mobility Guide
Can be ordered at your local AAAclub (specify title and stock number 3772) for $8.95 plus $3 shipping.

Fodor's Great American Vacations for Travelers With Disabilities
A two-volume guide. $19.50.

Travel Tips for Hearing-Impaired People
Send SASE to American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, One Prince St, Alexandria VA 77.114


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