Get Ready to Hit the Road this Summer with our Road Trip Tips!
With spring just around the corner, it’s time to think about planning that accessible summer getaway. And to be honest, there’s no better way to travel than to just pack up the van and hit the road. This is especially true if you have any access issues. For a number of reasons.
- You can pack along all the equipment you need.
- You can take a restroom break whenever you need it.
- You can alter your itinerary if you’re having a bad day.
- You don’t have to worry about the airlines damaging your wheelchair.
- You’ll always have accessible transportation.
- You don’t have to buy an extra air ticket for your attendant.
- You can take things at your own pace.
Of course, advance planning is the key to a successful road trip; so with that in mind, here are a few tips to help your next one go off like clockwork.
- Make sure you have emergency road service before you leave home; however remember that very few towing companies have wheelchair-accessible tow trucks. To avoid being stranded on the highway, check out specialty services such as ADA Nationwide Roadside Assistance, (americandriversalliance.com) which also provides lift-equipped transportation to the garage.
- Don’t leave home without your cell phone and charger.
- Take along plenty of bottled water, because you never know when you will encounter a delay
- For the best accessible restrooms, look for newer fast food restaurants. Most fast food restaurants are consistent in their restroom design; so when you find a restroom that has the access features you need, stick with that fast food chain.
- Most Flying J truck stops (www.flyingj.com) have accessible shower rooms, complete with a roll-in shower, a roll-under sink and a toilet with grab bars. There is a charge for using the shower room, however it’s a good emergency alternative if you can’t access the shower at your hotel. They also have nice accessible restrooms, which are free.
- Get your America the Beautiful Access Pass. Not only does it give you free admission to all national parks, but it will also save you 50% on camping fees. It’s free and available at all national park entrances. Proof of disability is required.
- To fight off boredom on long drives, get some books-on-tape to play along the way. They’re free at you local library.
- A GPS navigation system is a handy tool, but remember to also pack along maps and directions as backups — especially in rural areas.
- There’s no need to unload and load heavy suitcases at every roadside hotel. Just roll up an entire set of clothes for each day when you pack; then simply remove one set at each stop.
- Look for Microtel Inn properties along the way, as they are constructed from the ground up with access in mind. They are conveniently located along interstate highways and they also offer very reasonable rates.
- Finally, don’t forget to take your parking placard with you, as it’s valid throughout the US, except in New York City.
Candy Harrington is the editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of Barrier-Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers (www.barrierfreetravel.net) . She blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.BarrierFreeTravels.com.