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 smart

Pack any medications as carry-on, while following airline guidelines, so your medications are always with you.

Call ahead

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:

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.

Stay positive

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 

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