18 Tips for International Travelers
Adapted from Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities
- Tell everyone about your dream. You may tell someone who can help make it happen.
- Research the options. Keep looking until you find what you want.
- Ask key questions. Does weather have an effect on your disability? If you have multiple sclerosis, it might.
- Develop international contacts before you go. Join international organizations; go online; become a host family for foreign visitors or volunteer with exchange programs.
- Present your disability realistically and positively. Openly communicate before you go.
- Be a creative fundraiser. Ask for it; earn it; go for it.
- Don’t assume accessibility. Doorways, steps, signs—accessible definitions are not universal.
- Learn a little language. Know at least a few key words and expressions to make communication go more smoothly.
- Be firm but flexible. Ask for what you need.
- Be open to wheelchair options. Power wheelchairs may not work; extra tire tubes may be a must.
- Choose the right attendant or interpreter. Appropriate physical skills, language skills, and temperament are important.
- Know the rules about traveling with a service dog. Research quarantine laws and required documentation.
- Pack carefully. Both day-to-day necessities and extras for unplanned situations are key.
- Connect with local disability organizations and people with disabilities. Connections made before you go will help with the transition to a new culture.
- Be adaptable. Work with your situation, not against it.
- Maintain your medication schedule. Regularity is important, even critical.
- Push yourself outside your cultural comfort zone. Be open to new experiences and ideas.
- Be creative. No sidewalk ramps or learning a new area? Find a side street, driveway, or a willing passerby.