Friday, March 11, 2016

6 tips for wheelchair travel for paraplegics

This article was first published on AbleThrive.

Emilio Choo, Singaporean wheelchair basketball player and travel addict hopes to convince you to start planning for that place you’ve always wanted to go to.

1. Research.
Google search ‘disabled travel’ for tips in the city or country. “There’s a lot of advice out there. Many people have been there and done the travelling. No matter how gung ho you are, you need to do some research. Because there are places that you really cannot go at all. There’s no point in going there and you cannot do anything.”

2. Plan the basics.
It’s also worth picking a place to stay and deciding how you plan to move around at your destination. “Things I plan in advance are hotels and transport. If you sort these out before your trip, I think you can have an enjoyable time.”

3. Reconsider flying on a budget.
Though budget airlines often advertise tempting promotions, Emilio no longer travels with these because of the costs of wheelchair assistance. “If you need help, you need to pay for it. When they travel to places without an aerobridge, you’re expected to pay for the wheelchair lift, which is another S$200 [US$140]. If you add up all the costs, it’s more than a normal air ticket. It’s no longer cheap for me.”

4. Pack everything you need.
Emilio’s basic essentials include: maps, itineraries, spare inner tubes for his tires, tools and a Swiss army knife, in addition to daily essentials like medication and a catheter.

5. Try something new.
Emilio discovered the joys of planning his own itinerary when he started driving on his trips. “I didn’t know that there are wheelchair-accessible vans and hand-controlled cars for rental. If I had known earlier, I could have travelled to even more places.”

6. Ask for help.
“Once you’re out there, don’t be afraid to ask for help. People overseas are friendly and will help you. You’ll be fine.”

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