When it comes to traveling, anything can happen. Worrying about making a flight on time and not forgetting any important items is stressful enough but traveling with a compact electric wheelchair takes travel anxiety to the next level. What happens if your motorized wheelchair breaks down or gets damaged on the flight? What if you need to order a part? While certain problems are unavoidable, there are some things you can do to ease travel anxiety when traveling with a compact wheelchair.
Travel Anxiety Tip 1: Be Prepared
Even though life likes to throw surprises at us, being as prepared as possible is helpful if something unpleasant does happen. Being prepared includes planning for emergencies, researching your destination ahead of time to see what is accessible or inaccessible, and seeing what accessible travel apps there are available to make life easier.
If you aren’t sure where to start, check out our article about getting service for your wheelchair away from home to learn what information you may need in case of an emergency.
Travel Anxiety Tip 2: Get a Mentor
Talking to someone who has been there, done that and gotten the t-shirt is helpful when it comes to planning an accessible trip. Whether you talk to a friend who has a lightweight power wheelchair or follow an accessible travel blogger, you can learn from their experiences. Learning from somebody else takes the guesswork and some of the trial and error out of planning your own trip.
It’s reasonable to be anxious about traveling with your motorized wheelchair but talking to someone about your worries can help alleviate some of your travel anxiety. If you don’t know someone who is experienced in accessible travel, you can start with Yvette Pegues’s post about what to pack when traveling with a wheelchair.
Travel Anxiety Tip 3: Buy Travel Insurance
Travel insurance serves as plan to protect those who elect coverage with financial safeguards in various unanticipated events, both minor and major. This can include costs incurred before and during the trip, such as nonrefundable event tickets, lodging, delayed suitcases, last-minute cancellations, and in extreme cases, medical expenses. Different plans cover different situations. Because benefits vary by plan, we recommend choosing a plan that fits your needs, budget and travel plans.
Travel Anxiety Tip 4: Arrive Early
Airlines typically recommend that travelers arrive at the airport about three hours before an international flight and two hours before a domestic flight. However, you may want to consider arriving even earlier if you’re traveling with a lightweight power wheelchair. Medication and medical equipment can take more time to pass through security as they may need to be checked. It is also important to confirm with your airline beforehand that you’re able to fly with your compact electric wheelchair. Arriving early and being prepared won’t necessarily prevent any time-consuming activities from taking place, but it can give you assurance that if there is something unanticipated that you need to do, you can still make your flight in time.