*This blog post was written by Catherine, a wheelchair user and member of our travel community*
As someone who uses a wheelchair full time, planning anything accessible can be a challenge let alone a multi-day trip. I thought I would share how I planned our summer vacation to be wheelchair friendly. Here are some quick details: (1) my parents and I are the ones traveling, (2) we are driving so we will have access to a car, and (3) since we are driving, I can bring both my power chair and my pushchair. If we were flying, I would only bring the push chair because... airlines.
The first thing we did was set a budget. Since all of us are employed, we can split costs three ways. We decided that a budget of $5,000 (USD) for everything would be reasonable. With many flight delays occurring overseas, we chose to travel within the United States to allow our budget to go farther. We talked about where we wanted to go and decided a fun road trip to Boston and Maine would be perfect. Next, we needed to decide when to go and for how long.
Our next decision was choosing where to stay. We were disappointed with the lack of accurate accessibility information on Airbnb so we started researching hotels. Although boutique hotels are cute, I felt safer looking for chain hotels to ensure they had a standard for accessibility. Once I found an accessible hotel, I went to the hotel’s actual website to book it so I could verify the room was accessible. I find that Marriott hotels have a lot of accessibility options and also let you specify whether you want a mobility or hearing accessible room. I was very impressed by this! If this process seems daunting, Wheel the World is a fabulous resource to use for booking hotels. If you create an accessibility profile on their website, you'll be matched with accessible hotels that meet your accessibility needs. Plus, you can see lots of hotel details including door width, bed height, and more. These details are extremely beneficial in knowing if you're wheelchair will fit comfortably.
Now that our hotel was booked, it was time to plan what we wanted to do. My family likes to try to experience destinations like the locals do. We’re huge fans of self-guided walking tours and just wandering. We also love history and eating and like to do things at our own pace. For our time in Boston we’re going to walk the Freedom trail and do a food tour, so we can really experience the area. It was a little bit tougher to find accessible things to do in Maine. We didn’t book any specific tours or activities and are going to play it by ear. I found several great blog posts where wheelchair users described their favorite things to do in Maine so we may check out some of those recommendations. The last part of planning was booking the tours in Boston. Once I booked our tours all time sensitive planning was done! As our trip gets closer, I will do more research into restaurants so we can make a list of places to try (did I mention we like food? LOL). However, we won’t make any advanced reservations because we don’t like to be overly scheduled.
I hope this insight into my planning process was helpful, and you discovered a few new resources to help you plan your next trip! I summarized my steps below so if you are a list person like me you can save it for future use. I also like to keep a google doc with important information in it pertaining to the trip like hotel confirmation numbers and such. This way I always have access to them and know everything is in one spot.
Step 1: Set a budget
Step 2: Identify where we want to go and for how long.
Step 3: Determine how you will get there.
Step 4: Book lodging.
Step 5: Find must-do’s in the places you're going.
Step 6: Book tickets for things that need tickets
There you have it! I hope to write a post about our trip so stay tuned to see if my planning helped!