5 Top Tips for Travelling with a Wheelchair

Times have changed and, in the modern world, it’s becoming easier and easier for those who are wheelchair-bound to travel internationally. An increasing number of nations are developing their understanding of wheelchair accessibility; things are getting easier. That being said, here are a few tips on travelling with a wheelchair that you might not have thought of, and that may still pose an issue.

Make sure your accommodation has access… and double check!

Proper access is probably the first thing that springs to mind when booking a holiday. Whether it’s looking to stay in a hotel with a lift, at a home with a home lift or somewhere else, it’s important to make sure you choose a place that can accommodate you. Be sure to consider things like corridor width, possible obstructions, etc. If you need to charge your chair, check you can do so with the international plug sockets that may be available.

Key Phrases in other languages

The language barrier can be an issue for anyone travelling, but for a wheelchair user, it’s important to learn some phrases a little more advanced than most, including some of the following;  

  • Wheelchair
  • Where is the nearest…
  • Lift/Elevator
  • Ramp
  • Access

If you stay with a native speaker, this would, of course, be the ideal solution to any language issue. However, it’s always good to keep some phrases in the back of your mind in case you are caught without someone to translate!

Repair shops for wheelchairs

This isn’t something that is often thought of, but it’s good to know where the nearest place to go is if things go wrong with your chair. Be sure to check the reviews of a place before visiting, and be on the lookout for reliable services nearby which stock spare batteries, tyres and other vital parts on your chair that can go awry.

Arrive at Airports Very Early

It’s a horrible feeling being late for your flight, but an even worse one being late for your flight and rushing in your wheelchair. Many wheelchair users who travel frequently recommend arriving at the airport an hour before the recommended arrival time, as it often takes them longer to get through security with a wheelchair.

Fitting a Wheelchair onto a Plane

Again, this is not often an issue thought much about. Something to bear in mind with this is that the chair should be made as small as possible to fit in the cargo hold. Here are some of the most popular planes and their cargo sizes…

Airbus A320 : 48.3” x 71.5” OR 1227mm x 1816mm
Boeing 737-800 : 35” x 48” OR 889mm x 1219mm
Airbus A319 : 48.1” x 71.5” OR 1222mm x 1816mm
Embraer E190/E195 : 35” x 43” OR 889mm x 1092mm
Bombardier CRJ 200 : 43” x 33” OR 1092mm x 838mm