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Determined2Heal Tips:

Click Here — Learn more about travel and watch thousands of SCI videos on SPINALpedia!

Click Here — Check out our Wheelchair Travel Pinterest board

Click Here — Check out our Wheelchair Friendly Getaways Pinterest board

Traveling is different for every individual because of their unique situation. Level of injury and the number of people traveling with the injured person both have a huge influence on the traveling experience.

Traveling is a learning experience. Listed below are some of Determined2heal’s tips for traveling:

  • Make a traveling list and double check that list before leaving
  • The first few times you travel, you tend to over-pack, this is not a bad thing, it is better to over pack than to under pack.
  • Learn from your different traveling experiences and talk to others in similar situations, discuss your experiences

Helpful links for general information about traveling with a disability:

Ground Transportation:


  • This link provides access to several airlines information on traveling with disabilities
  • Liability: If the wheelchair is damaged, airlines are required to repair the wheelchair.  If the wheelchair is irreparably damaged, liability shall be the documented original purchase price of the wheelchair.
  • I have found that nonstop flights are preferable
  • A traveler with a disability must give at least 48 hours advanced notice to airline of his or her handicap
  • Questions to ask the airline before you book your ticket:
    • How will the wheelchair be transferred?
      • If it is a battery-operated wheelchair, check to see what type of battery you have and if it is a wet or dry battery.  If it is a wet battery, the airline must disassemble the battery from the wheelchair.
      • If the wheelchair must be disassembled, tell the airline at least 48 hours before departure so they can have the proper personnel available to perform the task.
    • What liability does the airline have if the wheelchair is damaged?
      • Although airlines are required by law to repair or replace damaged wheelchairs, I suggest getting the airline liability information in writing.
      • If the wheelchair has been damaged, report the damage immediately; several airlines have a limited time (4 hours after the flight lands) during which they will accept damage claims.
    • What type of care does the airline provide for quadriplegics with regards to going through security, boarding and departing the plane, and transferring from the airport wheelchair to your own wheelchair?

    Wheelchair Traveling Tips- Boarding Plane and Rental Car Video



  • When searching through the cruise lines website, look for the “special services” page
  • Questions to ask:
    • Does the cruise ship have?
      • Accessible elevators, wide doors,
      • Bathrooms with roll in showers, open bed frames
      • Accessible public bathrooms, seating in public spaces
      • Accessible shore tour boats (the smaller boats used to transfer from the cruise ship to the smaller land destinations)
      • Sand wheelchairs
      • Transfer tiers or hydraulic lifts at pool
      • Pre-boarding
      • Boarding/departure assistance
    • Does the cruise line require a letter from doctor confirming disability? (some cruise lines require this)
    • What is the cruise line’s assumed liability?
    • Does the cruise line offer special assistance or require attendant accompany for the handicapped person?
    • Does the cruise line have any restrictions on the type of wheelchairs allowed on board? (some cruise lines do not allow some wheelchairs on board)


  • Demand a wheelchair accessible room, with wide doors, and a bathroom with large shower and chair
  • Insure the hotel has elevators and/or wheelchair ramps

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