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Accessible Travel

18 Tips for International Travelers

Adapted from Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities

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