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Accessible Travel Tips for Traveling with a POV/Mobility Scooter
(Click here to download the full color brochure.)
Everyone loves to travel! The following tips will help to assure a safe and enjoyable traveling experience.
Using a qualified accessible travel agent can be most helpful in planning a trip where the unknown could become a major barrier to enjoying a vacation. Accessible travel author Candy Harrington offers these tips to help find the right travel agent for you.
- Ask a friend who has recently used an accessible travel agent.
- Confirm that they're a true accessible travel expert.
- Do they travel themselves?
Lodging is another important part of accessible travel. Use these tips to secure an accessible sleeping space for your get-away.
- Use a hotel name you've had success with in the past.
- Read up on hotel access laws to know about design standards for different establishments (www.ada.gov).
- If using an online resource to a book a hotel room, call to confirm accessible offerings before booking, even if the site offers information about the room. Inquire about doorway widths, furniture height and restroom accommodations. Request to see photos of the rooms.
- Call to confirm your accessible room reservation before arrival
Many people choose to travel by car, bus or train as the least expensive options. Destinations for a quick getaway, extended weekend or mini vacation are reached relatively quickly, leaving enough time to relax and have fun.
Use these tips to make your travels as hassle-free as possible.
- Car. Use a portable mobility scooter, such as the TravelMate™, for quick and easy rest-stop breaks. Pack meals and snacks to reduce the number of necessary stops.
- Bus. Contact the carrier as far in advance as possible to make arrangements. Many offer assistance with boarding, luggage and retrieving mobility scooters.
- Train. Choose the carrier that best meets your needs and requirements. For overnight routes, request a private bedroom and confirm that your care has wide enough doorways and that switches are low enough on the wall for you to reach.
Flying the blue skies will get you to your destination the quickest. Airline and airport personnel are fully equipped and trained to assist you as needed.
- Review the airlines Contract of Carriage before booking your flight. Read the disability section carefully which informs of the airlines obligation to you upon purchasing a ticket.
- Visit www.seatguru.com for plane seat maps. Use this website to determine the best seat to reserve before booking your flight.
- Always try to get direct flights. If a transfer is necessary, it is easier for the airlines if you use their wheelchair and have your Amigo sent direct. Be sure to have your Amigo checked as "plane side" luggage so it will be delivered to you upon your arrival.
- Inform the airline that you will need special assistance. When making reservations, make sure the service personnel know exactly what kind of assistance you will need. The more they know, the more they will be able to help you.
- Airport accessibility. Call the airport ahead of time to determine which services are available to you.
You may want to request a bulkhead seat, which allows more legroom, and
may allow you to drive your Amigo directly to your seat. For easier
transferring, request a seat with folding arms or removable armrests.
- Transportation of batteries.
Non-spillable, sealed batteries are approved for commercial airline
travel by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). It is required that you
take lithium batteries/battery-pack onboard as carry-on luggage. Amigo
batteries are sealed lead acid or lithium-ion that are safe for airline
travel. Acid batteries are not allowed on airplanes.
- Special handling tags. If you travel frequently, it would be
helpful to have a special handling tag that states special handling is
required. Visit the support section of www.myamigo.com for a pre-designed tag. (Click here for a direct link.)
Navigating Airport Security
Security screening is required for all airline passengers. Your Amigo will be inspected first -- a mirror is often used to inspect underneath the platform -- followed by a series of questions regarding any recent maintenance (within the past 48 hours) of your Amigo. A TSA representative will then use a hand-wand and perform a security pat down. Upon passing the security screenings, drive through the metal detectors on your Amigo and you're on your way! If you are uncomfortable with these public screenings, feel free to request a private screening area.
If you are using lithium-ion batteries, you are probably wondering if they are safe to use when traveling by air -- and the answer is yes! Many laptops also use lithium-ion batteries, and though batteries rated over 300 watt-hours are forbidden, your Amigo batteries are approved at 250 watt-hours and are also safer than lithium batteries. For detailed information about traveling with lithium-ion batteries, click here.
Having gained worldwide popularity, cruises are relaxing with non-stop activities and culinary delights to indulge in. Cruise ships function as floating hotels with nearly everything included in the price. All the work is done for you, which allows you to fully relax and enjoy yourself.
Special cruises are available for those with serious media conditions and who use assistance animals -- complete with a vet on board. Many cruise lines now offer accessibility information right on their websites. Before reserving space on a cruise ship, contact the cruise line with any additional questions you may have.
Keep these questions in mind to help determine the best cruise line for you.
- Are cabins fully mobility scooter accessible?
- Do cabins have low or no sills?
- Are all public restrooms handicap accessible?
- Will my mobility scooter fit on the ship's elevators?
- Will my mobility scooter fit through doorways on the ship?
- Are ramps available on the decks?
- May I travel alone?
Mobility Equipment Rental
Other Helpful Tips
- Make it a habit to charge your batteries every night and even throughout the day if necessary. If traveling abroad, remember that you'll need to convert electrical outlets to 110 volts. A universal charger is available for purchase directly from Amigo. Pack an extension cord for hard to reach outlets.
- Always bring 2-3 spare keys with you in case one gets lost or broken.
- Accidents happen during travel. Bring a small set of tools just in case minor repairs are necessary.
- Contact Amigo at 1-800-MY-AMIGO or 989-777-0910 if you have questions or need service while traveling.
- Consider shipping baggage to your destination for hassle-free travel.
Useful Online Tools
- Candy Harrington's travel blog -- www.barrierfreetravels.com
- Airlines' Contract of Carriage -- http://seniortravel.about.com/od/transportationoptions/f/ContractCarriag.htm
- Accessible Travel Guide links -- http://theaccessibletravelguide.com/links.aspx
- Internet's premier disabilities travel publication -- www.gimponthego.com
- Americans with Disabilities Act accessible design - www.ada.gov