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Top Ten Tips for Mobility Impaired Travelers Planning a Trip

Tips for Mobility Impaired Travelers

1. MAKE A LIST of questions and potential barriers in step-by-step sequence for each place or activity you are exploring. Have you previous experience with someone with a mobility impairment? Was that person able to walk some distance or confined to a wheelchair? Can staff assist me? Are there any steps to negotiate? Are areas paved, gravel or sand?

2. CALL FIRST and speak to the owner, manager or someone in authority for answers to your questions. If you prefer or need to remain in a wheelchair, know your dimensions (from your toe to the outside of your back wheel; widthwise, from wheel to wheel; and your overall weight) so you can explain your needs. Write notes, including the name of your contact!

3. CALL AGAIN! The day you'll be checking into a specific accessible accommodation, call that morning to confirm. After making reservations through a central office to rent a specific model car, call the manager at the location to confirm the details the week that you'll be picking up the car.

4. BRING DUCT TAPE to repair mobility equipment, wrap your hands for long distance wheeling if you don't use gloves and myriad other uses.

5. REQUEST BULKHEAD SEATING on the airplane so you have more room to transfer onto the seat and are close to the front. Even if you can't get pre-assigned bulkhead seating, the gate crew will usually be able to accommodate you.

6. BUCKLE UP in your own portable seat belt when boating or doing other potentially turbulent activities. Buy a portable seat belt and two ratchet tie-downs with hooks at both ends. (These are usually available at an automotive store.) You can run the seat belt across your shoulder and around the back of the chair to hold you in your wheelchair or boat seat. Run the tie-downs through your back wheels and secure the hooks to something solid to keep your wheelchair stationary.

7. USE A BIKE RACK on your car to hold your wheelchair or other equipment. This will leave more trunk room and bike racks - like baby strollers - can be easily checked on airline flights.

8. LOOK FOR FLOATING DOCKS when boarding boats. Even where the body of water is not tidal, water levels can fluctuate during droughts or rains and floating docks that rise or lower with the water level can make boarding a boat easier.

9. ASK TOURIST CENTERS for any available access information. Several centers have developed lists of lodging and tourist activities that are readily accessible.

10. WATCH ANY NEW ACTIVITY before deciding if you can tackle it. Talk with the operator to see what concerns they might have. Observe step-by-step how somebody else boards the helicopter, roller coaster or glider; how do they ride; how do they land. Decide for yourself if and how you can do it safely and comfortably.

Wheelchairs on the Go:

Accessible Fun in Florida is available:
online at;
and by phone 727-573-0434 or 888-245-7300.