Tips on How to Plan an Accessible Road Trip

Planning an accessible road trip is getting a little easier for people with disabilities. There are more resources created by and for the disability community, and the tourism industry is beginning to recognize the value of accessible travel. As a neurodivergent, disabled, and chronically ill person, I take road trips every year and have learned a few tips and tricks along the way.

Most major automotive companies offer adaptive driving devices for their vehicles at no additional cost. CompanyFor example, it offers hand controls, left-foot accelerators, pedal extenders, and rotary knobs for easy steering. Budget can provide manual controls, rotary knobs, a panoramic mirror, swivel seats, and transfer tables. Please be prepared to request adaptive devices at least three business days in advance.

For a wheelchair accessible van with a ramp or lift, rent from a mobility company like BraunSkillone of the largest builders of wheelchair accessible vans in the country, with rentals in many locations. Mobilitya distributor of accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment, has rental locations in 34 states. AccessibleGO, which offers a one-stop shop for adapted car and wheelchair accessible van rentals, has agreements with 100 wheelchair van rental locations nationwide; Request a quote on their website. For AccessGO rental cars, you can request manual controls and a rotary knob at checkout.

You can use Google Maps, Waze, and MapQuest for initial accessibility research using photos and Street View. Google Maps provides directions for some wheelchair accessible sites pedestrian and transit routes.

Sites like Travellers and furkot You can map out a complete itinerary. While these websites are not specific to people with disabilities, they are invaluable tools. (Roadtrippers has a wheelchair accessible checkbox in the search function.) You can filter by destination types, such as national parks or museums, and search for hotels and campgrounds. Furkot lets you enter how long you want to drive each day, whether you want to travel on interstate highways or take more scenic roads. The app will determine the best route and time between stops, and suggest where to spend the night.

While hotels and other accommodations must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, many hotels do not meet all accessibility needs. Most booking sites list hotels with accessible rooms for people with mobility, hearing and vision needs, but this information is not always verified. Do additional research on review sites and look for photos. Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, and Fairmont hotels offer allergy-friendly and odor-free rooms in some locations. Please call the hotel to check accessibility and ensure there is a specific room reserved for you.

Vacation rentals are generally not required to be ADA compliant, but some do provide accessibility information. Airbnb recently launched a adapted category with accessibility search features and homes that have been scanned for accessibility. Please review the photos and contact the host for more information. Some hosts will make accommodations, such as changing cleaning supplies or changing furniture, but will document your request using the in-app messaging system so customer service can help you if you have problems.

The world rolls is an accessible travel agency offering reservations at over 3,000 verified accessible hotels in the United States. The hotels have been personally reviewed by trained assessors; Only those that meet the criteria are listed. Register as a disabled traveler or companion and complete a personal profile that includes options for a variety of disabilities and accessibility needs. The site will provide listings that match your profile with partial, suitable and outstanding match options.

There are a variety of options for keeping food or medications cold while traveling. Electric coolers can be plugged into your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet, but pay attention to the type of cooling mechanism: Less expensive versions are usually thermoelectric and will cool only to about 30 degrees below ambient temperature (if it’s 70 degrees in the car, it will cool down to 40 degrees). Compressor refrigerators are more expensive but maintain normal refrigeration temperatures.

Many hotels offer mini refrigerators. When you know you’ll be stopping somewhere with a cooler most nights, layer large bags of ice and supplies in a cooler, then cover them with another insulating layer, like a cooler bag. This keeps everything cold for a couple of days at a time.

It’s also a good idea to travel with a single-burner stove (electric for use indoors or propane for use at rest areas and campsites) and a mess kit so you can cook safely.

Some of the best apps for finding foods, restaurants, and grocery stores that suit dietary needs are Fig For allergy-specific options, happy cow for vegan options and Find me gluten free for places suitable for celiacs. Add your favorite options to the route planning app so you know where to stop.

In addition to the apps mentioned in the route planning section, state and local tourism organizations are good sources of accessible destinations.

National parks and monuments, which must meet federal accessibility guidelines, generally have visitor centers and recreation sites with accessible features. Website of each park. It has information, as well as programs and services within the park. While accessibility varies, you can usually find information about wheelchair-accessible trails and campgrounds, touch and audio features, assistive hearing devices, and American Sign Language interpreters.

At state parks, accessibility features may not be consistent, but you can usually find information on each park’s website.

Applications like All trails lists wheelchair-friendly trails throughout the country, but the information may not be verified, so contact the park or land manager for verification. Among the parks with notable accessible trails They are Redwood National and State Parks, North Cascades National Park, Badlands National Park, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Syren Nagakyrie, founder of the non-profit organization. Disabled hikers and the author of “The Disabled Hiker’s Guide to Western Washington and Oregon” and “The Disabled Hiker’s Guide to Northern California” among other guides, he leads group hikes and conducts assessments throughout the United States.

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