According to the Disability Compendium, from 2010 to 2016, the civilian population in the United States showed an increase from 11.9% to 12.8% in people with disabilities. This is a sign of the growing need for wheelchairs around the country. Though you may feel comfortable moving around at home, traveling is a different story. Here are some things to keep in mind when you travel.
Request Bulkhead Seating
If you're planning to travel by air, you must ensure that you call in and explain to the airline that you're in a wheelchair. You should also make it known that you'll need some assistance. Also, remember to request bulkhead seating if you want it. This is the front row of the economy class section. You'll find that these seats are usually quite spacious. This makes it easier for you to move around on the day you board. While bulkhead seats cost a little bit more for regular people, if you're a wheelchair user, you won't encounter any additional costs.
Make Sure You're Early for Your Flight
The majority of airlines require you to arrive at least an hour before domestic flights and up to two hours for international flights. If you're a wheelchair user, you should arrive at least an hour before everyone else. The last thing you want to do is run late and end up speeding to your gate with only a minute left to spare. This will not be any fun at all. Since you won't be able to walk through security, you'll likely get a pat down, and as you might imagine, this takes a bit more time. Security officers will need to wipe down your shoes, wheelchair, and more to check if there are any dangerous chemicals.
Make Sure You Know the Voltage at Your Destination
Are you traveling internationally? It's very important to make sure you know the voltage at your destination before you travel. For instance, in America, you'll mostly see 110-volt outlets while other regions have 220-volt outlets. If you use a power wheelchair, it means you will need to charge it at some point. Without the proper converter, you might not be able to plug your wheelchair in. Even if you can plug the wheelchair in, you run the risk of short-circuiting the charger. Another great idea would be to ensure that you have a charger that's compatible with 110 volts and another that's compatible with 220 volts.
These are some of the tips you should take advantage of if you're in a wheelchair and you're traveling. Make sure you talk to your wheelchair provider. They might have some more tips for your next vacation! Contact us at DME Hub today for some wheelchair accessories.