The summer is quickly approaching, and that means it’s time to take a relaxing and accessible vacation to your favorite domestic or international destination. If you’re a person with a disability, you may need to make some extra arrangements to ensure that your trip is fun and successful and that you can stay healthy along the way.
Here are some tips for proper packing, ways that you can stay safe during your trip, and how you can incorporate some exercise along the way.
To have a successful trip, you need to start planning and preparing before you even load the car or purchase your plane ticket. If your enjoyment at this destination requires certain accessibility options, then research ahead of time to ensure that your hotel or attraction has what you need.
These days, it’s becoming easier for everyone to travel because many tourism businesses have learned the importance of accessibility, and they know that if they don’t make the proper adjustments, they’ll lose business. That’s why many tourist destinations are adding components that promote easier access, such as ramps, elevators, and wide doorways. Many establishments are also implementing strategies to help with sensory access by providing braille menus and audio guides. Before you book your trip, ensure that your destination has what you need to get around and enjoy your time.
If you have a disability and you need to fly to your destination, you may be concerned that the hassle isn’t worth the effort. However, things have changed drastically over the years. The fact is you have rights when you board a plane, and one of them is the right to ask for accommodations that may make your travel safer.
It is important to think about these rights when you’re packing for your trip. In addition to bringing your pill organizers and electric devices, if you use a wheelchair, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of bringing it along. While it may be convenient when you get to your destination, getting it there can be a struggle.
Know that airlines are required to provide assistance as you navigate through the airport, including providing a wheelchair. Research your destination to see if you can rent a wheelchair once you get to your final destination. If you can, you may be able to leave your personal wheelchair at home.
Once you arrive at your destination, it’s important that you continue to make your safety a priority. Regardless of your disability, practice the self-care and health practices that are necessary for your overall wellness. These include drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration, getting at least seven hours of sleep every night to avoid jet lag and overall discomfort, and continuing to eat a balanced diet during your trip.
You may not realize it, but just the fact that you are on vacation is good for your health. When you travel, you are more likely to get out into the fresh air, which is great for your body and your mental health. When you’re on vacation, your stress can melt away, and in turn, you could have lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. Plus, taking a trip allows you to get away from work and the pressures it can bring, so you have a reduced chance of experiencing burnout.
Even though vacation can be good for you, it is still important to be prepared for anything, and part of that is knowing how to find healthcare if an emergency were to occur. If you are traveling within the U.S., things may be a bit easier. Research to see what hospitals and urgent care facilities are near your hotel, and check if your insurance will be good at that location.
If you are traveling internationally, consider bringing a letter from your healthcare provider that explains your disability, just in case there is a language barrier. If you have any questions, consider contacting the U.S. State Department or embassy in that country to get reliable information about nearby services.
The best way to ensure a safe and healthy trip is to incorporate elements of exercise into your daily routine. If your condition allows, you can get that exercise by walking from your hotel to the beach or to the local shops. Take advantage of the swimming pool and swim a few laps. Swimming is a great way to fit in your required cardio in a fun way. Plus, swimming has also been found to help with arthritis and mental health, and it can reduce the risk of chronic illness.
Yoga can also do wonders for an aching body, and you can engage in yoga easily during your trip. If possible, lay out your mat in your hotel room and do some of your favorite stretches. You can even complete some relaxing neck and shoulder exercises while sitting on the plane.
There’s also adaptive yoga, which is accessible to everyone because it can be modified to your specific needs, which makes it ideal for those people with physical disabilities. By practicing adaptive yoga, you can work on your balance, improve your daily functions, and help your overall quality of life. If this type of yoga helps you, then consider finding a class near your vacation destination.
With proper planning and a bit of research, you can have the perfect vacation getaway. Consider these tips, and make it an adventure to remember!
By Katie Brenneman
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