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Tips For Travelling With Disabilities

Updated: Apr 9, 2019

Woman on a mobility scooter, man sitting next to her on the Mark Twain Steamboat at Disneyland.

Travelling is stressful for even the fit person who travels all the time. So for someone who is disabled and travel is a once in a blue moon event…its SUPER stressful! I know from personal experience that travelling can and should be done if not just for the memories. So I am putting together some travel tips for people who have disabilities so they can travel, have great experiences and enjoy it!

1- Know that flexibility is your friend- When you have disabilities of any kind, sometimes things come up that are unexpected. I have arthritis and during my last two trips my ankles suddenly swelled up for no apparent reason! With it came pain and pressure. So we just calmly dealt with it. My husband went and got ice from the ice machine. I put it in a reseal-able baggy. I always take some when we travel. I elevated and iced down my ankles with an OTC pain reliever! We did have to slightly delay our plans for the day but everything came together fine!

2- Take any comfort measures with you- I always take a few pillows for getting comfortable in a car. We normally travel by car. I also take a small throw blanket because it can help in many ways. It can keep you warm, you can roll it up and make another pillow or support for propping up your feet.

3- Take any necessary medical equipment-I always take my wheelchair, a shower stool, enough medication for the duration and a day or two more (just in case), a cane, they make portable shower grab bars you can buy and anything else I need. You can’t always depend on a hotel or destination to have these items. Now if you are travelling by plane this probably won’t be feasible. So you will need to do some research. Call your hotel and find out if they have the medical equipment you need or work with a medical supply company you can rent it from. For example Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, works with a medical supply company and they will assist you with getting your needed items and they will return them for you as well.

4- Carry a travel first aid kit- With an OTC pain reliever, Band-Aids, ace wrap, ice pack and gauze. Although I recommend this for anyone travelling!

5- Build in rest or down time- When you have medical conditions it is important to rest and have down time. If you are travelling with a lot of people, it may be necessary to discuss this ahead of time. You should make sure and plan for it so you don’t forget and get overwhelmed.

6- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes- Yes, we all want to look nice. So you might need to do some research if you are picky about how your clothes look. I like elastic waistband, cotton t-shirt dresses, I get a size bigger on t-shirts, and I like fabrics with some spandex because it makes it give a little more and flexible!

7- Use a relaxation app- You can get them for free and the one I use has some sounds for free and some you have to pay for. I like the water and rain sounds. When I am overwhelmed, in pain or upset…I just grab my headphones and listen to the gentle sounds of rain drops…

8- Use a music app- Like Pandora, Apple Music or Spotify. You can get relaxing music or whatever music that calms and relaxes you!

9- Take a reusable water bottle- Hydration is important everyday of your life! But more so when you are travelling. So keeping a water bottle with you and staying hydrated will help your overall trip be a better experience.

10- Keep your medication with you- If you’re flying or taking a cruise, you may not see your bags for several hours or days. If you keep your medication in your carry on, you never have to worry about it when you need it!

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