Travelling with Limited Mobility
Travelling when you have mobility limitations can be daunting. You might worry about how you are going to get around a new destination which can cause added stress to your trip.
I personally have limited mobility due to cancer treatment. I suffer pain when I walk, and now I look well, I find it harder to get support as nobody realises I need help unless I ask and even then I sometimes get funny looks. I also travel a lot with my mum who uses a stick permanently due to arthritis and COPD.
Travelling doesn’t have to mean going abroad. If you have mobility limitations, it might be easier for you to explore your home country. I live in the UK and when I had even more limited mobility during treatment I travelled around the UK. It meant I could go by car and take all the things that I needed.
There are options to hire wheelchairs and scooters either just for your trip or long term but if you are going to require them long term, it might be best to invest in one. They are not actually as expensive as I thought and if my mobility decreases again it is definitely something I am going to look into as I still want to have my freedom of getting out and about.
Here are some tips for travelling if you have mobility limitations
Don’t push yourself: Know your limits, you might want to see everything in the new city you are exploring but it might not be possible, so prioritise what you really want to see and if you have the energy to see the rest then it is an added bonus.
Do your research: Look at accessible travel in the destination you are travelling to. There are so many websites now which offer great tips, or follow a blogger such as me (nothing wrong in a bit of self-promotion), who will offer support and advice based on their own experiences.
Use aids: I sometimes use a walking stick, I feel a little silly as I am only 37 and feel too young to be using a stick, but it does help. It gives me something to lean on which takes the pressure off my legs and it also helps me to walk when I am struggling, so I forget about how I look, as if it is helping me then that’s the main thing.
Make sure your aids are going to meet your needs for the trip: If you know your trip is going to have a lot of land to cover and you suffer, you might want to invest in a chair or a scooter to make the trip easier for you and those travelling with you.
A major concern with power operated mobility scooter is the batteries running out. You want to ensure that your battery is going to last the duration of your trip. If it is a new scooter that you are not used to then do some research on how long the battery will last. You can puchase batteries for mobility scooters here
You should also do research into where you can charge up your mobility scooter if this is a requirement. Look on trip advisor forums as its likely someone has asked the question before.
Hire a wheelchair: If you don’t have your own wheelchair, you needn’t worry as a lot of tourist attractions now have them for hire. I hired a mobility scooter when I visited Monkey World and it helped a great deal.
This is an animal park over vast grounds and there is no way I would have been able to walk around it, but hiring a mobility scooter meant I could enjoy all of the park without worrying about being in pain and getting tired.
Ask for help: If you require help then do not be afraid to ask for it. At the airport, you can get mobility assistance and it will make your trip so much easier. When visiting a tourist attraction, mention you have a disability or limitations and they will normally offer you assistance or can give you a more accessible route.
Also, a lot of tourist attractions offer a discount to people with disabilities and sometimes a free admission for their carer, so you can have support whilst you are travelling.
I always ask if they offer a disabled discount, the worst that can happen is that they say no!
When you book your hotel, mention you have mobility limitations. I always do to ensure that I am not miles away from the lift or even on a floor that doesn’t have lift access.
Look at mobility friendly options: If you want to go up the steep hill to see the amazing view and everyone is hiking up, look to see if there are other options. You might have to pay for a taxi ride up there if there is no public transport, but if it means you still get to experience the view then it will be worth the extra cost.
Look at accessible beaches if you want to go sunbathing and you are in a chair as they seem to be more popular than a few years ago.
Don’t let mobility limitations stop you from travelling. It does need to be done with extra care and planning but is still possible!