Travelers who need special mobility equipment to operate put extra planning and care into their trips. While many tackle planning alone, the process can be alleviated with an accessible travel agent — a travel agent who specializes in helping individuals with limitations travel for business or vacation.
Here are the ways an accessible travel agent can help ease getting from point A to point B.
An accessible travel agent doesn’t charge extra
The best part about working with a travel agent is that you don’t pay them! They’re basically your accessible travel concierge, but you’re not paying extra for the service. They get paid when you book your trips with them, but through the vendors you select.
You can spend a lot of time researching the dimensions of the hotel handicap rooms, cab vehicles, and available wheelchair rentals. Or you can leave it up to the travel agent to know the relevant information.
They can tell you what to expectSylvia Longmire, is an accessible travel agent who we featured in an Atlantic Luggage blog post two years ago. She has multiple sclerosis and uses a power scooter. She is also a frequent world traveler, traveling on planes, taking cruises, and sightseeing tours in foreign countries. So she knows her way around a lot of different modes of transportation and places to visit and avoid.
Many accessible travel agents often face mobility limitations themselves, and they know what to expect, because they’ve already experienced it. They can tell you the easiest way to get through TSA if you’re not able to walk through the scanners, which types of planes can easily accommodate you and your particular issue, and even what to look for in a truly accessible hotel room.
Mapping out options
U.S.-based hotels, airports, cruise lines, and other travel properties are, by law, meant to accommodate people with limitations. For instance, hotels have wheelchair-accessible rooms that have features like wider doors, handrails in the bathroom, and some even have roll-in tubs or fold-down seats for showering.
Accessible travel agents know what to look for, and will steer you to the right hotel that can meet your specific needs. And if they don’t know the answers, they know what questions to ask a particular hotel in order to get the information for you.
They can provide travel advice for other countries
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), hotels, airlines, and U.S.-based cruise lines are able to help nearly everyone with any kind of limitation. However, the standards are very different in other countries, as they don’t have to follow the same laws.
So if you’re traveling out of the country on a business trip or vacation, the last thing you need is not being able to stay in a hotel room because the furniture makes it impossible for you to get to your bed! Or you may have trouble getting into a particular restaurant because it’s at the bottom of a flight of stairs and there’s no elevator to get to it.
Your accessible travel agent may not know the specifics of a particular restaurant or hotel overseas, but they can figure out how to find that information. Travel agents can help you understand what laws may be in place in foreign countries and tell you whether or not certain destinations will accommodate in light of that.
If you have mobility limitations, how do you navigate your way around your trips? Do you work with an accessible travel agent? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: Sylvia Longmire (SpinTheGlobe.net, Used with permission)