Today more and more people are hoping on adventures, traveling and exploring all the wonders this amazing world has to offer; and this does not exclude those with disability or limited mobility. Though many places, countries and attractions are becoming more accessible, traveling can still have its hurdles and challenges for people with limited.
Navigating through airports, small and tighter airplane cabin spaces, and vehicle transfers certainly can be difficult if you are traveling with limited mobility and have medical equipment’s to bring along.
Plan, plan, plan ahead
Depending on where your destination takes you, planning is your best friend. If you make your plans, you’ll know exactly what your options are, so you can make the appropriate arrangements, leaving you to enjoy the rest of your trip. If traveling within the United States, you might consider the following:
Renting your mobility equipment
• Sometimes it might be more of a hassle to travel with your device. If you can manage without the equipment throughout the airport, then consider renting at a nearby medical equipment store. Call ahead and see who has the equipment you need and reserve the equipment or device appropriate for your needs. Many medical equipment stores will coordinate with local hotels and arrange delivery of the equipment. It’s better to have peace of mind knowing that your medical equipment will be ready and waiting for you upon arrival.
• If your using the rental option, remember that the airports have wheelchairs available to transport passengers within the airport. With proper arrangements, they can pick you up at the curbside and get you to your flight.
• If you prefer, you could purchase a lightweight transport chair that is easy for a caregiver to push you in to your gate and have them check it underneath when you board, then rent a powered mobility device in your arrival city. You can use the transport chair again and again for short trips where you must get in and out of cars.
Know your Medical Equipment
When travelling with medical devices or equipment, first make sure you get in contact with the airlines you’re traveling with to get specific requirements and approval prior to booking your trip, at least a few weeks before travels.
Write down on paper and keep with your travel documents with the following information about your device:
• Name of equipment
• Make and Model of the Device
• Weight of the unit
• Type of battery
• Dimensions (height, width and depth)
• If you are checking in your medical equipment packaged at the gate, you will need the dimensions of box and weight of units within the box
If traveling within the states, the TSA has a service through TSA Cares that can make your travels a breeze. So, take advantage of them it doesn’t cost a penny.
• You can download and print this TSA notification Card that will inform the agent of your medical condition and/or medical device to facilitate the screening process. Go to www.tsa.gov to download the form.
• If you need assistance with your medical equipment or have a wheelchair and need help getting around the airport, you can call 1-855-787-2227 at least 72 hours before travelling to request a Passenger Support Specialist (PSS) to assist you at the checkpoint or upon arrival at airport.
• For example, American Airlines offers pre-boarding, deplaning and airport assistance with prior notification and approval. Check out this link for details: www.aa.com/mobility-and-medicaldevices.jsp
Some Travel Friendly Medical Equipment:
Forte Rolling Walker: The Forté is about strength, expertise and conviction. The new Forté is strong, beautiful and for the intentional. It stands when folded, carries your things, has a removable front pouch, comes in two seat heights and widths (Forte 4320 has a more narrow and lower seat height compared to the Forte 4323) and makes a bold statement. Fortissimo! The Forté comes standard with NOVA’s patented Feather Touch locking hand brakes, 8″ wheels, seat with fold strap, large removable front pouch with close zipper and padded backrest. All NOVA rolling walkers have a beautiful metallic paint finish, fold easily and have a Lifetime Limited Warranty on the frame..
Foldable Cane: If a cane is all you need for support, there are foldable canes which easily fit in your purse, carry on, or under the airplane seat.
Cool Tool: The HandyBar! The Handy Bar uses your door’s lock receiver to turn into a grab bar for your car. Very easy-to-use and helpful tool for those tough car transfers.
Light Weight Wheelchair: When it comes to wheelchairs there are several options depending on situation and use. However, generally people always prefer the lightest weight one as they are much easier to maneuver and manage. The Ergo Line by Karmen or a Quickie by Sunrise are chairs that are very lightweight and comfortable.
3 Wheel Scooter: Another great travel companion, will not only get you to wherever you need to go such as shopping, sightseeing, group tours, navigating within cruise ship and airports.
Power chair: Perfect for Cruises and navigating tight spaces. Can roll up to any table to enjoy a meal, play card games, and can easy fit through most bathroom doorways