Travel is one of life’s great joys. While travelling with a disability or serious illness can feel daunting, don’t let it stop you from enjoying time away from home. You can see the world with fewer limitations than you think if you take these precautions.
Five tips to follow when preparing for travelling:
Visit your doctor
It’s a good idea to book a pre-travel medical consult four to six weeks before departure. Your physician will assess your health and advise you if you’re fit to go. It’s also an opportunity to update prescriptions and get a note describing your condition and medical needs. This could make it easier crossing borders and getting help if you need it.
Pack any medications as carry-on, while following airline guidelines, so your medications are always with you.
When booking flights and hotel, ask about your accessibility needs. Airlines are usually accommodating. However, hotels have varying standards of access—be specific about your needs.
Do your homework
Research the neighborhood you’ll be staying in and the sites you plan to visit. Your hotel may be accessible, but is the location also easy to access, (e.g. is it perched on a steep hill)? Check online resources so you can be prepared and make necessary plans in advance.
Purchase travel insurance
Travel insurance coverage should include:
- Trip cancellation: Refunds the cost of your trip if an illness forces a last-minute cancellation
- Travel health: Covers full medical expenses in other countries when needed
- Medical evacuation: Includes transportation by road or air to appropriate medical care, if not available nearby
Three tips to keep in mind for your travels:
Take a tour
More tour operators than ever before are specifically catering to people with disabilities. Take advantage of services that take into account your needs.
Take your time
While you may want to visit every museum and cathedral, it’s okay to save some for next time. Know your limits and listen to your body when it’s time for a break.
A disability or illness shouldn’t prevent you from seeing everything, going everywhere or trying everything that you want. But some places are better equipped than others to host visitors with different needs. Focus on what you can do to enjoy your trip. Also consider making helpful suggestions to your hosts along the way if you notice things that can be improved.
Note: Since each person’s situation is different, you may want to speak to an advisor who can help you with your insurance and investment choices before you make a decision. This article is for informational purposes only.
Note that some travel insurance may not be available to some travellers, depending on their state of health at the time of departure.
Read more on this topic:
Traveling with a disability, Centre of Disease Control and Prevention
Traveling with disabilities, Government of Canada
Tips for Travelers with Disabilities, Rick Steve’s Europe