Driving in the countryside along the coast; view from the car window, the sun reflecting in the car's door mirror. Shot on the isle of Skye, Scotland. - learn about wheelchair accessibility for road trips

Accessibility on a Road Trip

Traveling with a wheelchair or other accessibility requirements? Whether it’s for a road trip or getting around once you arrive, the most important things are to prepare ahead of time and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Anytime you’re traveling, the first step is to make sure you have everything you need in case of a medical emergency; copies of prescriptions, medications and supplements, and a list of phone numbers for your physicians and emergency contacts. You should also have your doctor’s fax number in case you lose a prescription. If you need to go to an emergency room they need all the information about your medications that they can get.  A first aid kit is also a must.  We offer those in our store.

Being ready for a car breakdown or other emergency is important regardless of when or where you are going. Be sure to have an emergency kit for your car.  You can find a great list on this DMV website:  http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/emergency-kit.php.

Don’t wait until you arrive or when it’s time to leave to rent handicap transportation. These vehicles tend to go quickly, so call a few months in advance to ensure your needs will be met. Make sure that they have all the necessary equipment and safety measures, such as tie-downs and ramps, and that they can accommodate the size of your wheelchair. You’ll also need to be sure you have the correct auto insurance if you plan to drive yourself. If you need a taxi to drive you to and from your hotel, prearrange your pickup and drop off times.

Being technologically prepared is also important. Make sure that you have any adapters and converters you need to plug in your devices (such as a CPAP machine or electric wheelchair). Also, find places in the area ahead of time that carry any supplies you may need. Many places have organizations that work with people with disabilities and may have wheelchairs or scooters that you can rent, so you may not need to worry about bringing one from home.

You may also bring along your U.S. issued disability parking permit when traveling outside the country. Many European countries will recognize it. Just be sure to display it on the dashboard, not the rear view mirror. If you have any concerns about being accommodated on your trip, don’t hesitate to call ahead and ask. Being prepared means you can enjoy yourself!