Dr. Roche’s Travel Tips
Dr. Ted Roche gave an excellent presentation on traveling with a handicap. Among the nuggets shared are the following:
1. When making air reservations, make them directly with the airline. Only by making the reservation directly can you be assured of getting the needed accessible seating. They will often try to put you in the bulkhead row. This is unsatisfactory because the arm rests do not go up making it difficult to sit down, get up, and even use an aisle chair
2. Hotels vary widely in what they consider to be a handicapped room. Work directly with the hotel to ensure you get what you need (e.g. a roll in shower or an elevated toilet). Also, check with the hotel before you leave home to make certain they haven’t changed your reservation.
3. You can rent a scooter in the city you are visiting. The hotel concierge may be of assistance. Otherwise, search the Yellow Pages. The scooter should be delivered directly to the hotel.
4. If you need a standard wheel chair, take your own. Use it in the airport and gate-check it. It will be brought up to the gate, and will be waiting for you when you deplane. Airport wheel chair services are unreliable, and do not use standard equipment.
5. If you need a minivan with a hand control, you will not be able to rent one. The rental companies are not willing to remove the air bag under the steering wheel, or use the bypass that is available. You can get hand controls on some SUV’s and sedans.
6. Convention centers can be challenging because of their size, and often a specific elevator needs to be taken to reach a specific area of the convention center.
7. Several travel aids:
a. A packable cane/crutch holder.
b. A Handybar – A device that gives a much needed handhold to assist getting in and out of vehicles. Both of these items, and many others, are available from Thomas Fetterman Crutches http://www.fetterman-crutches.com/
Many of you may have additional tips. Feel free to contribute them.