Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

How to Have a Fun & Safe Summer: Traveling during the Summer Can Be Hard Enough with the Bigger Crowds and Warmer Temperatures, but It Can Become Even More Challenging If You, or Someone You Are Traveling with, Is in a Wheelchair or Has Limited Mobility

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

How to Have a Fun & Safe Summer: Traveling during the Summer Can Be Hard Enough with the Bigger Crowds and Warmer Temperatures, but It Can Become Even More Challenging If You, or Someone You Are Traveling with, Is in a Wheelchair or Has Limited Mobility

Article excerpt

Nathan Watkins, president of Troy Technologies - a company specializing in travel wheelchairs and accessories - shares some tips and advice on how to make your summer travel plans as hassle-free as possible.

PLAN AHEAD: According to Watkins, one of the most important things you should do before booking your travel arrangements is to call ahead and relay your needs to the services you will be using during the duration of your trip.

"Even though service providers are required by law to accommodate travelers with special needs, most need some time to make the necessary arrangements," Watkins said. "It is important to be specific and clear when describing a disability. Not all service providers know the "lingo" of accessi-ble travel, or the medical terms for certain conditions. So make sure to give as many details as you can about what you can and can't do, and don't downplay the severity of the disability. The more information a service provider has, the better they will be able to accommodate you."

BE PREPARED FOR A MEDICAL EMERGENCY: Watkins advises, when traveling far from home, to make sure to clear the trip with your doctor beforehand. It can help prepare you and your traveling team in case of a medical emergency.

"It is a good idea to describe the trip to your doctor before heading out," Watkins said. "A doctor can often prescribe measures for coping with an unusually long flight, limited medical facilities at your destination, and the unavailability of prescription drugs and other pitfalls of traveling. Take a doctor's statement and phone number, preferably on letterhead, covering your condition, medications, and potential complications. Be sure you have a number where your doctor can be reached in an emergency situation at any hour of the day."

CHOOSE AN ACCESSIBLE DESTINATION: Most places and almost all forms of transportation are now wheelchair accessible. In many locales, guided wheelchair tours are available, often with both private and group tour options. Additionally, there are many wheelchair travel resources, clubs and even travel agents available online that specialize in wheelchair travel. However, Watkins advises to always read the reviews and to get the best accommodations, you want to stick to first world countries. …

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