Yes I Can Travel

After home skills are mastered, for many, the next step in regaining their independence post injury is learning how to travel again. There is still a great big world out there to explore and with proper planning and some helpful tips from others who have gone before you, nothing should get in the way of your next trip to wherever your heart desires. Our Bardcare community has done their fair share of trips all over the world and by varying routes of transportation. Let us assist you on your journey to regaining your independence with these tips we have learned along the way.

Leslie says:

  • Call prior to your arrival and determine if there is accessible transportation to and from hotel.
  • Determine prior to your trip the nearest pharmacy and urgent care facility.
  • Pack an emergency supply kit with three days supplies (catheters, extra pair of clothes, medication, small tool kit for wheelchair emergency, card with emergency contacts) that stays with you as a carry on in airplane travel. I can't tell you how many times my luggage was lost and my emergency bag carried me for two days.

Mike says:

  • Always pack more supplies than you think you'll need.
  • Call ahead to hotels to check bed heights and understand everyone's idea of accessibility is different (from restaurants, to hotels, metro services, etc.) so be blunt when calling these services and explaining exactly what YOUR needs are.

Jenny says:

  • Learn humility. You may not like to accept help, but when terrain is rough, hills are steep, steps to be “climbed” and temperatures are extreme, just say, “Yes!” to help.
  • When traveling outside the U.S. the ADA (American Disability Act) no longer applies. Your chair may not fit into the bathroom; the place you stay may not have a ramp.
  • Travel with a group that understands your disability and can provide support. Explain what your needs may be (e.g., assistance in/out of buses, up/down steps, etc.).

Caroline says:  

  • Always ask about emergency evacuation procedures. It's a good idea to know before an emergency happens.
  • In the event something happens to your chair that you can't fix, is there a business in the area that can do repair?
  • If you are renting a modified vehicle make sure you cover what is needed and it's in the rental agreement. Get travel insurance!

Grandin says:  

  • Regarding short day trips (when traveling alone) always have a contact that you call when you depart and then call again when you arrive at your destination.
  • Become a member of AAA (American Automobile Association) so you can have road service available if you have car trouble.
  • Travel during the times that AAA offers wheelchair service in the event your car breaks down. If your car breaks down AAA will send a wheelchair accessible vehicle between the times of 8AM and 9PM.

Karen says:

  • Keep temperature in mind when planning vacation. Have alternate plans for extreme temps in either direction.
  • In heat, use cooling vest. In extreme cold, dress in layers.
  • Rest when you can and allow your body to recover. Don't fit so much in on one day that you have no energy for the next day. MS fatigue does not take vacation.

Amanda says:

  • Use online resources to find specialty equipment you may need on your trip. For example, when traveling to the beach, research where beach wheelchairs can be rented.
  • Call your destination prior to your trip and ask questions regarding your specific accessibility needs. I often inquire about the pools and if they are equipped with chair lifts.
  • Don’t be afraid to try fun excursions! Just do some online research (and make a few inquisitive phone calls) to find the best fit for your family before spending money on them.


The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. These individuals have been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0117/0382