First things first, and I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you matter, and I want you to thrive and enjoy life. If travel helps you do that or if you just need to suffer less in your comings and goings, I hope you will stick around and perhaps share some of your own suggestions and strategies too. Some posts will be general and some location-specific. This post is more general in nature and possibly most important as consideration for any trip.
My challenges entered my life nearly three decades in, and with a healthy sense of denial, wish it wasn’t so’s, and apparently slow learning, it has taken some time to be honest with myself, recognize my limitations, and advocate for my needs. This is a crucial step in figuring out how to approach travel that will enrich your life, not suck the life out of you.
I encourage you to take some time to think through barriers and obstacles you encounter. This is not a one-size-fits-all list, but it will guide you in determining locations, modes of transport, accommodations, etc. you may want to pursue for (un)limited travel. For instance, I need to monitor how much walking and standing I will be doing so road trips where I ride a lot are really great. However, one of my best friends suffers from metastatic breast cancer causing a compressed fracture in her spine and sitting a lot is torturous. If you are here, I assume you have needs that may be different from my own. While I share my own experience, consider whether my tips would aid you or whether you have different needs.
Here are some questions to help you get started:
Where to go:
How carefully do you need to select your travel destination and type of trip? Are urban locations better because they often have sidewalks, ramps, and other helpful accommodations? Do you need a trip that stays in one location once you reach the destination? What kinds of activities would you enjoy and are there locations at your destination that offer accessible or alternative tours? Does an attraction offer wheelchairs or scooters to rent? Would group travel enable you to see the world while minimizing hassles with transportation or luggage or would individual or self-planned travel allow you to pace and direct your trip as necessary?
How to go:
Are you able to manage flights, trains, ships, or cars alike? Do you have concerns about any mode of transportation?
Flights–do you need direct flights, long layovers, wheelchair or autocart assistance between gates, aisle or extra legroom seating, to board early? Do you need to pay the fee to check your bags or avoid certain difficult airport connections?
Trains–do you need to stretch out in a lounge or sleeper car or to set up for the long haul in the dining car to reduce steps? Do you need to request one of the staff to hoist your luggage?
Ships–do you need to request to be near the elevator or in a room with additional space or no step into the bathroom?
Cars–can you drive? What is your limit of time or mileage in driving? Does it make a difference if the driving is through cities or over interstates? Do you need a car for ease in getting in at a lower position or do you need an SUV/truck/higher vehicle? How often will you need to stop to take a rest?
Where to stay:
When you plan lodging, do you prefer larger hotels with more accommodations? Do you need a place with an elevator/lift and to request a room near it? Or do you prefer one level lodging that may be better with a small inn or a spread out resort style property? Do you need to request a room with extra room, a sofa, or other amenities? Do you need to ensure lift bars by the toilet and shower? Or perhaps you need a tub to sit while bathing?
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of considerations you may need to think about to plan your adventuring, but I hope they give a good start to thinking through your needs and what will make a difference in your travel experiences. It may help to think about your needs to be proactive in voicing those as you plan and reserve your travel sites, tickets, and accommodations. Often, there are alternative methods and solutions to address any limitation you have. Acknowledging and voicing your needs will also aid any company representatives you encounter during travel planning and execution and also any travel companions in advocating for and meeting your needs.
You matter. Take stock of what matters to you.