Traveling offers many exciting opportunities: a chance to meet up with family and friends, see new places and experience different cultures. It also requires that you leave your daily routine and comfort zone. If you have difficult getting around, traveling offers additional challenges. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help you get around while traveling.
Follow our 3 step travel mobility check process to for successful travel.
Access your personal mobility:
First, it's important to honestly assess how you get around. Think about the follow questions: How long can you comfortably walk? What kind of physical activities do you find difficult, i.e. stairs, hills or standing from a seated position? What do you currently do to improve your mobility?
What kind of trip will you be taking?
Next, closely consider your trip and the physical requirements you'll likely need to perform. Are you planning a trip that has you on the move? Will your trip require less activity, i.e. staying one spot with little walking?
Choose Your Tools:
Finally, you'll need to match the tools needed accomplish your travel goals with your physical abilities.
Canes: Regardless of your mobility needs, canes are a great tool to have handy. They come in all shapes and sizes and offer a good bit of help in any situation. Many models fold for convenient portability, others have 4 legs which provide a stable base, still others have ergonomic handles, some are designed as walking sticks for treks; regardless of your activity, there is a cane for you.
Rollators, Rolling Walkers & Walkers: Generally grouped together, these items each feature a different set of functionality yet they all help their users steady themselves while walking. Standard walkers, which provide the most support, have no wheels and must be picked up and moved with each step. Also available are wheeled walkers, these items look like standard walkers and have similar handle systems but include either 2 wheels upfront or 4 wheels at the bottom of each leg. Rollators, often called rolling walkers, come in 3 and 4 wheel models, they are perfect for the person who needs a bit of help walking. Both 3 and 4 wheeled models have a handy carry pouch or basket while the 4 wheel models have a built in seat and back rest for those requiring frequent stops. All rollators & walkers fold for easy portability.
Bath Safety Items: Tight spaces and wet surfaces in bathrooms offer many challenges to people with mobility issues. Bath benches, which are specifically made to sit in the bathtub or shower, fold out and provide a stable seat while bathing. Portable grab bars use suction to adhere to shower walls and allow the user to safely grab while entering and exiting the bath. These bars are ideal for travel as they are important and are easy to attach and detach to any bath surface. Another item to consider is the raised toilet seat; it allows use of the toilet without fully sitting. Traditionally, bath safety items are a bit bulky, which may preclude traveling with all the items, but some bath items are designed for the traveler and fold compactly or fit into a discreet carry bag.
Wheelchairs: There are 2 basic styles of wheelchairs - power and manual. Power wheelchairs offer users a great way to get around. Range for power wheelchairs varieties between 4 and 15 miles. Always contact your airline to confirm there ability to carry your power chair. There are two types of standard folding wheelchairs to choose from- those in which the user pushes themselves and those in which the user is pushed by a companion. Standard wheelchairs allow the user to propel themselves, allowing a bit more independence for the user whereas transport chairs require a companion to push them but are generally lighter. All manual wheelchairs fold for further portability and some transport chairs are designed for travel and fold to the size of a back pack or into a carry bag.
Mobility Scooters: Versatile and flexible, mobility scooters offer a great option to individuals with a variety of mobility issues. Powered by rechargeable batteries, the range on most mobility scooters exceeds 10 miles. Travel models fold down and break apart of easy storage and travel. Always check with your airline for travel restrictions.
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Written by: 1800Wheelchair.com Staff for Access-able.com
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