It’s always fun to take a trip to the city and visit the museums, attractions, and restaurants within it, but when you have a disability, there are a few challenges that make the visit more difficult. From parking to accommodations, it’s important to plan every element of your day trip or vacation before you leave. Whether it’s your first trip or your tenth trip, consider these tips for traveling to the city with a disability and prepare yourself for some of the difficulties ahead of time.
Call Places Before You Reserve Your Visit
You may know exactly what you want to do when you visit the city, and it might be tempting to make reservations as soon as possible—but with your or a traveling buddy’s disability in mind, the importance of extra research is clear. Almost every location you’ll visit during your trip has a website where you can research their accommodations for those with disabilities. If you’re more comfortable calling them, do so to make sure their building accommodates you and your party.
Most museums and attractions will be handicap accessible; however, you can’t rely on assumptions. Do your research on restaurants, stores, museums, and any other attraction you plan on visiting—don’t forget to ask about their available parking.
Map Out Where You’ll Drive
Driving in the city can be one of the most stressful parts of the trip, but you may have to if you can’t use public transportation. Before you leave, walk through the directions to your destination a few times and look at a map to get a feel for where you’re going. If you haven’t driven in a while, practice both highway and high-traffic driving before you leave by visiting a nearby town.
Parking can be especially stressful when you have a disability; not only will you need to find a good parking spot, but you’ll also need to parallel park—a skill that is hard for anyone to master. If you’re uncomfortable driving, try to find a friend or family member to drive instead.
Practice Common Public Transportation Movements at Home
If you are planning to use public transportation once you’re in the city, you must prepare yourself to handle the chaos of a constantly moving stream of foot traffic. Not being able to move as fast as other commuters can leave you feeling stressed out as you maneuver the train, bus, or subway systems.
While you can’t get the feeling of being at a train station from home, a helpful tip for traveling to the city with a disability is to practice performing some of the motions that you’ll do while using public transportation. Try emulating the following motions at home:
- Moving from the platform to the train
- Stepping on stairs or going up ramps
- Squeezing past other passengers
- Sitting down and standing up
- Folding your walking aid quickly
- Moving your wheelchair through tight corridors
Just like you would with your planned attractions, make sure you research the public transportation to see if there are accommodations for those with disabilities. Try to find the best method of transport for you and your party that suits your needs by looking for multiple options.