Wanderlusts on Wheels!

Wanderlusts on Wheels!

August 24, 2020 | By Nafeesah Allen

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, my, have we come a long way. A quick Instagram scan for the celebratory hashtag #ada30 reveals a lot of female travelers in the mobility rights community. Jillian Mercado says her electrical wheelchair is “international hunny.” And Angela Rockwood is serving us looks all over the West Coast’s runways. Wheelchair Travel with Kim’s Instagram feed will have you ready to dust off the ole’ English-to-German dictionary and backpack through Europe. With that, we’re highlighting wheelchair accessibility and highlighting operators, resources, and sites that make getting around the world look effortless.

Before you even think of where you’ll go, you’ll want to think of how you’ll get there. Trains are an oft-forget and underutilized resource for people with mobility limitations. Yes, it may take longer to get to your destination, but you don’t have to worry about anyone manhandling your very expensive chair. Bridge plates, ramps, and designated seating go with the territory, though you will want to book tickets 24-hour in advance to make sure that concierge service is available and waiting for you. Whether it’s Amtrak or Eurobahn, you’ll want to follow the advice of the good folks at wheelchairtravel.org to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch.

Your hotel room is your castle. Travel like royalty! Aside from the usual tips of calling in advance to book a wheelchair accessible room, your very best bet would be to go where the pros go. Cory has provided a list of the top 20 destinations in the world for wheelchairs, and this list has something for everyone. From Asheville to Tokyo, these recommendations are lux and spacious. There’s room to turn around in the bathrooms and the buffet bars are at the proper height. He encourages wheelchair users to support establishments owned by wheelchair users. Not only will your stay help an entrepreneur with disabilities, but also the owners have thought of every possible angle to make sure your vacay is flawless! Win. Win.

If international travel tickles your fancy, you will not get bored with Wheel the World. From Brazil to Fiji or South Africa to Vietnam, they are a full-service tour operator that arranges, tests, and validates your tour package, accommodation, and local activities. This company makes sure that every step of the way is completely wheelchair accessible. Some packages are even paired with local guides to do all the translating and negotiating so that you – and your travel companions – can focus on having a good time. Other companies to consider are Accessible Journeys, with awesome options to Ireland and India for ladies on wheels, and Wheelchair Escapes, which offers cruise and boat travel too.

If you’re more of a DIY traveler, then you’ll want to find the accessible travel communities along the way. Social media is a great way to find allies and to stay in touch while on the go. This is particularly true for those traveling far and wide. Follow Accessible Travel Peru if your heart desires Machu Picchu and Cusco. If you’re off to Melbourne try Push Adventures or start MakingTrax in Wellington. You get the point! Local wanderlusts will guide you toward adaptive tours and inclusive tourism options that make sure you won’t be sidelined on your next great adventure. 

While out and about, don’t just post selfies – contribute to AXS Map – and rate the locations that you frequent. This site crowdsources ratings about the accessibility compliance of the interiors, restrooms, and entrances of local establishments – bars, restaurants, movie theaters, you name it. The map is only as good as the quantity and quality of reviews, so everyone should share their experiences. Together, we can make the world a more equitable place for all globetrotters.



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