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A Guide to Accessible Travel

Written by  Spreet Aulakh Monday, 03 December 2018 00:00

A guide to accessible travel infographic


Traveling with mobility issues can mean extra preparation and checks before embarking on your trip. To save you some of the hassle of trying to find the info you need, we’ve pulled together some key points.

We’ve looked at major travel providers around the USA, Canada, and Mexico to see what services they offer and who to contact should you require these. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) largely set the minimum standard for what has to be provided, but different operators meet requirements in different ways. Our guide below explains what you’ll find with different companies and different types of travel.

A guide to accessible travel infographic - Planes

Despite being one of the most common forms of transport for vacation, airplanes can still pose problems for those with mobility issues. To attempt to address this, the ACAA was introduced in January 2015. This legislation states that disabled people cannot be refused transport by an airline on the grounds of their mobility unless this poses a serious safety risk.

There cannot be a limit on the number of disabled people on a flight, and airlines are not allowed to demand prior notice that they are flying.

How airlines meet the standards of the ACAA is decided by the individual providers, so the degree of service can vary.

Although you are not required to notify the airline of your mobility issues or other disabilities, it can help if you do so, allowing them to make any necessary preparations. Try and contact the airline 48 hours before you travel and get to the airport around two hours before your departure, giving you plenty of time to get where you need to be.

A guide to accessible travel infographic - Cars

The ADA requires all car rental companies to make at least some provision for those with mobility issues. The minimum standard that must be met is the supply of controls and spinner knobs for those who need them.

Many operators provide other features, but this is on a case-by-case basis, so it’s worth checking before you book.

When making your booking, go straight to the provider, rather than using a third-party site. This will allow you to be clear and direct about your needs.

A guide to accessible travel infographic - Trains

Accessibility on trains varies from station to station. Check ahead of your travel time to make sure you will be able to get on and off the train safely, or that someone will be on hand to help you. Across Amtrak, you will find that there are areas of support for disabled travelers.

Assistance animals will be able to travel free of charge and, in some areas, there are discounted tickets for disabled travelers and their carers. Some accessible stations will have staff to help you board and disembark from the train. In these cases, arrive at the station well ahead of your train departure time. You’ll often be able to board before other passengers so you can ensure you have adequate space./p>

A guide to accessible travel infographic - Hotels

The two major points to consider when booking a hotel are the time of booking and the type of hotel you stay in. The further ahead you book, the better chance you have of finding an available and suitable room. Most hotels only have a limited number of accessible rooms.

Try to stick to well-known hotel chains, as these tend to be refurbished more regularly and should offer more in terms of help and support.