Travel SOS: travelling with limited mobility

Bill wants some advice on how and where to travel with limited mobility.

Travelling with limited mobility

Bill has limited mobility but that doesn’t prevent him from wanting to travel. In Travel SOS, he’s asked Leon for some tips on how and where he can tour with his walking frame.

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Q. Bill
My knees are now shot and I have to use a walking frame to get around. I still want to travel with my wife, who also uses a walking stick. Do you know if there are any tour companies that specialise in trips for people with limited mobility? And how do I go about getting my walking frame on a plane.

A. It’s great that you’re not letting limited mobility stop you from getting about. Most airlines are usually quite accommodating with passengers who have limited mobility. As you can imagine, each airline has its own rules and guidelines. I suggest you figure out the airline with whom you’re flying, then google its mobility assistance guidelines.

For instance, Qantas will allow collapsible walking frames in the plane’s cabin, but not non-collapsible frames. It will also allow your wife to use her walking stick until she’s onboard, then it will need to be stowed until she lands. I’m unsure as to what happens if you need to move about the plane during a flight, but the disability laws should ensure that you’ll have the access you require onboard. Again, I suggest you contact the airline to find out exactly how you’ll be treated. Also, CHOICE has a great resource for knowing your rights to accessible tourism.

Here are a few places to start:

Airlines will also require you to contact them beforehand to book in any special assistance you may require.

As far as where to go, well, that’s up to you!

However, there are a few organisations that specialise in assisted travel. This can range from people with disabilities to people with limited mobility. A couple that come to mind are:

  

And most city tourism websites will show you all the places you can visit. NYCGO is a great resource, as is Visit London and Accessible NZ. Check wherever you’re going and google ‘accessible Paris’ or ‘accessible Singapore’ and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

I hope that helps. Happy trails, Bill!

Do you have any advice for Bill? If you have limited mobility, can you help Bill with some travel ideas?

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    SuziJ
    8th Feb 2020
    5:56pm
    I also have limited mobility.

    Wheelchair from Check-in to Arrival - When you've booked your travel, contact the airline to request assistance. They'll require your ticket information, so have it handy. Ask for assistance all the way from check-in to luggage collection. Some also have from car drop off to car collect at the terminal. I'm not sure about using even a collapsible walking frame during the flight. Have a folding walking stick on hand to use during the flight instead.

    I'd book a Business Class seat - Yes, I know it would be expensive, but think about this - you'll have a seat of your own with no-one to try to get past you or knock you about, a 6ft lie-flat bed for the night hours of your flight, a better menu, access to lounges for departure and on your stop during the flight, and some airlines have a 'Refresher Lounge' ready for you when you arrive so that you can have a shower and sit and relax and have breakfast and possibly a forearm massage before you even leave the terminal.

    If you bank with any Westpac Group banks - Westpac, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, you can apply for a Travel Money Card - you'll receive 2. You can transfer your spending money to this card via internet banking, and then transfer the funds to the currency you'll need. Eg if you're going to the UK & Ireland, you'll need GBP and Euro. You'll then be able to access your funds from the Global Alliance ATMs and not have to pay a withdrawal fee. There's a list of the countries & banks you can use on the bank's website.

    Virgin Australia & Qantas have a 'Global Wallet' attached to their membership cards. The only advantage of these cards is, they have your name on the card, not like most travel cards which have 'Valued Customer' or Pre-paid Travel Card, etc on them. You'll have to pay ATM fees to withdraw your funds from these cards.

    The cards I've mentioned have 11 currencies on them. There are others out there, but I have no experience of them. I'm not advocating for any particular card. It's your choice which one you use.

    Be aware that some hotels in the UK & Ireland have baths with showers above them for their accessible rooms. This is their 'standard'. Some hotels have shower-only rooms.

    I've contacted my favourite hotel chain in the UK and sent them a list of hotels that I may book in the future, so that they could send me their e-mails. I've contacted them to enquire if their rooms have a shower-only room. I now have a good list of hotels that I can book knowing that I can get the room I require.

    I book all the hotels I need in one booking & therefore payment (using my Global Wallet card), then I receive an individual e-mail from each hotel with the confirmation number. I can then contact each hotel by e-mail and request a shower-only room.

    It may take some time to do the bookings, and some agents may not process them correctly, so I'd prefer to do this myself rather than having someone else do it for me.

    Before you leave home, scan all your ID cards - licence, ATM card, credit card, Medicare card, Travel, and any other cards you're taking, and your passport. Just don't forget to do the reverse side of the card, too. Put these cards onto your phone & tablet, with your travel insurance and ticket confirmation. If you wish you can also scan your birth & marriage certificates 'just in case.


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