How Women in Wheelchairs Can Prepare for Safe Travel Getaways

By Lucy Lawrence

Ten percent of the global population have disabilities, based on information from the UN Development program. With this statistic in mind, it’s not hard to see why there is a big market for accessible travel. Women who use wheelchairs, will benefit from learning how to prepare effectively before exploring new places. Even if they are already old hands when it comes to planning (and enjoying) accessible trips, proper preparation will boost the odds of pleasant and safe vacation experiences. The following safety tips will help mobileWOMEN feel confident before they go on new travel adventures.

Sign up for an Accessible Pre-planned Trip
Grabbing a ticket for a group travel experience will give you the opportunity to meet others and is safer because you will have them looking out for you. You’ll get a chance to see new places and will be an excellent way to reduce the amount of research and preparation that you need to do before embarking on your journey. So many important, accessibility-related details will be taken care of by the travel group. Destinations will have high accessibility rankings, transportation booked during the group trip will be suitable and accommodations and activities will be accessible.

Research Your Destination
Whether traveling in a group or not, research your destination thoroughly to learn what neighborhoods to avoid, where the closest hospital is, safety ratings for your hotel, whether there are there locks on the windows, especially if you are staying on the ground floor, what hotel services are offered in an emergency etc.
Also, consider investing in an inexpensive door alarm that sounds when your room door is opened.  

Avoid Posting your Travel Experiences to Social Media in “Real time”
It’s better to wait, because posting in real time gives people a lot of insight into where you are and basically alerts criminals that your home is vacant.
That being said, do notify trusted friends and family your itinerary, addresses where you will you be staying etc. The more details that you can share about your daily activities, the easier it is from them to track you, if needed.
Don’t Display Your Valuables
Traveling is not the time to wear expensive jewelry or even costume jewelry that looks real. Wear clothes to blend into your environment and avoid designer handbags. Keep belongings close to you, not on the back of your chair. There are wheelchair bags designed to sit in front of you or underneath your seat.

Back Up Your Important Documents
You need to keep all your documents such as a passport in a safe place. If for some unfortunate reason, you do lose them, make sure that you have copies backed up on somewhere like Google Docs so you can access your information from a computer.
Don’t Be Overly Trusting
Many criminals are professionals and can be convincing. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make friends or have a good time but don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position. Keep drinking to a minimum so you can remain alert and exercise good judgement.
Personal Portable Alarm

Trust your Gut and Be Aware
The most important security tip is to remain aware. Be alert and be observant. Don’t be talking on your phone or wearing earbuds listening to music when you are out.
If a situation doesn’t feel right, you are probably correct so act quickly to extricate yourself. For protection, you can carry a small personal, portable alarm so when you activate it, there is an extremely loud siren. (NOTE: In some countries you can not travel with pepper spray.)
Sometimes, it is ingrained in us to be polite, no matter the situation. Your safety comes first so do what is best for YOU.
Now that you know some practical travel tips, isn’t it time to plan an accessible adventure? When you do careful planning before you depart, you’ll find that your preparations help you to feel safe, secure and in control while you’re exploring. Precautions may be the key to enjoying the accessible trip of a lifetime, so keep that in mind while you’re planning things out.

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