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Travel: Planning Ahead to Accommodate your Disability

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Travel: Planning Ahead to Accommodate your Disability

We tried something new for our vacation; we rented a 6-bedroom accessible house near Charleston, South Carolina and spent a week with five other couples, childhood friends of my husband and their wives.  We had a wonderful time sharing laughs, stories, and the glorious weather.

Because of my disability, vacationing is different for us. Things that I can do independently at home become difficult; even simple things like washing my hands can pose challenges because the sink is inaccessible or the faucet is too difficult to manage, or the soap dispenser is out of my reach. Nothing is as easy as it is in our home and we have to take along things that will make life easier. Here are a few things to consider taking the next time you leave home on vacation:

A reacher: Reachers, as their name implies, extend the reach of the user. With a reacher, things on that upper shelf are reachable; items dropped on the floor can be retrieved; and objects pushed into the middle of a table or the back of a counter can be pushed, pulled, or grasped easily. There are many kinds of reachers — sticky, magnetic, foldable, with different grips, and even lighted. For a list of my favorite reachers, visit MakingLifeEasier.com and search the Top Tips: Staying Independent section for 8 Ways to Get a Grip.”

A hanging toiletries bag: When I travel, I can never be sure if I will have a place for toiletries that I can reach. To meet this challenge, I take along a toiletries bag that can hang from a door knob or my wheelchair. When selecting a toiletries bag, consider one that has a snap or zip off section that can tuck into your carry on and clear plastic on the pockets so you can easily see what is inside. I like the Baggallini hanging cosmetics bag sold at Baggallini.com. 

An extension cord: If you are traveling with powered devices such as a cellphone, computer, air cleaner, C-PAP, or like me a power wheelchair, make sure that you are able to plug in to power and have what you need within reach. Often times the power outlets next to the bed in hotels are already taken with lamps, phones, radio alarm clocks and other devices. An extension cord will make sure that you have power where you need it most. If you have a number of powered items, you might want to add a power strip to your case.

Clothespins: Throw a few spring-type clothespins in your suitcase. They come in handy when there is a gap in the drapes, you want to keep papers or the pages of a book from turning in the breeze, or keep things from sliding off a slippery bedspread.

Packing List: To make sure that you have everything you need when you get to your destination, create a universal packing list where you can check off all your necessities as you pack them. Be sure to put the list in your suitcase so when you pack for the return trip you do not leave anything behind. I like to laminate mine and use white board markers to use it over and over.

For a sample packing list and my latest Top Tips List, “12 Things that Make Traveling with a Disability Easier” visit the Top Tips: Accessible Travel section of my Website: MakingLifeEasier.com

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For reprint permission contact Shelley@MakingLifeEasier.com

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