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justolemom

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I will be traveling out of the country with my family in February. This will be my first family trip since my walking, standing has deteriorated. We have rented a Air BNB as I thought this would give me more privacy and space from our boys and my husband could help me with dressing and getting in and out of bed. Now i am totally second guessing the entire trip - from sitting on a plan for 6+ hours, using the tiny bathrooms on the plane, not getting a handicapped hotel room - bathroom handrails. I do not have a power wheelchair but will bring my transport chair and rent a power chair for the 2 days we have tours planned. Apparently there are lots of hills - and I hate listening to the huffing and puffing from behind me...makes me feel like i would rather stay home.

Anyway - to get to the point of my post - does anyone have good travel tips - things they brought with them or advice to things they have done that helped make a trip more enjoyable for everyone?

Thanks
 

wishmobbing

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Don't second guess your whole trip, but bring time. Tight schedules create stress and everything just takes longer. Plan to not plan too much.
When my PALS was newly diagnosed and could walk short distances with crutches we up and left to take a one month vacation. From Portland to San Diego, amazing all around, exhausting at times (me being the huffer and puffer on accessible trails uphill) but worth every minute.
A couple of phone calls helped upgraded us to economy plus for free, so at least the distance to the tiny bathroom was shorter and we had a lot of leg room on the 12th hour flight. You probably already talked to the airline about being in a wheelchair. They have a service to get you around the airport which can be important in the big ones where you need to go special ways on elevators that are not clearly labeled.
If you need handrails to transfer yourself maybe you could (still at home) practice with your husband doing transfers in any environment.

I also am interested in general travel advice. We'll drive to the south of France so this time we can bring all the gear he needs by now. Also two friends are coming who can help us. So I don't worry to much about the low beds in the airbnb. If the rental van will fit anymore luggage I'll bring some pillows to prop him up.

Where is your trip going? Do we get a postcard? ;-)
 

codyclan

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Don’t second guess yourself. We went on several trips with my husband after he used a wheelchair almost full time. We did both air bobs and handicapped accessible rooms. If you are going to a major city, there are rental companies for almost anything you could possibly need including shower chairs.

Definitely call the airline and make sure they know about the transfer issue. The only thing I found was that my husband felt more comfortable not having to worry about using the airplane bathroom. For him there were more options to avoid that, but you might want to look at options for you as a just in case.

Absolutely go, bring your sense of humor and patience and it will be great and give you and your family a ton of stories and warm memories!!!
 

swalker

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You have received good advice. Here are some things to consider when travelling to another country.

Make sure it is legal to take any medications you will be travelling with. Some countries have harsh penalties for travelling with some medication that are legal in the US. In some cases, special documentation will be needed to get your medication (and you) through.

Be sure to bring proper power adapters for the electrical of the country you will be travelling in.

Be sure all you paperwork is in order, including passports.

Follow the rules about getting to the airport early. As a disabled person being pushed through the airport, you will probably go to the head of some lines. But, you don't want to be stressing about catching the plane and you cannot run through the airport to make up time.

Take critical items (medicine, medical equipment, warm clothing, etc.) as carry on luggage. You don't want to arrive without things you cannot readily replace.

I find that airplanes are often cold, so I like to have a jacket with me in the airplane, even when travelling to destinations that don't require a jacket.

Don't get flustered by the unanticipated. Things can happen that will be out of your control. Sometimes it will even be your fault. Don't let it get to you.

I travelled extensively during my career (including lots of international travel). I have made just about every mistake in the book and then a few more. I have found that having patience and a relaxed attitude not only help me cope with those situations it also encourages the airline employees to go out of their way to give me a helping hand.

Good luck and enjoy the trip.

Steve
 

justolemom

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So I did cancel the AIR BNB because i was just a bundle of nerves about it. We found a accessible travel company in Barcelona and they have arranged our accommodations, power chair rental and shower chair rental too. They are picking us up from the airport and we even booked a full day travel day with them to visit a winery and Monserrat. I am feeling much more relaxed about the trip and ready to take on the adventure and make some good family memories.....if I can just stop worrying about that tiny airport bathroom:)

Thank you for all the tips and suggestions --- I will report back once we are back in NY.
 

wishmobbing

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Sounds like a solid plan to really kick back and not worry too much.
Looking forward to hear about Barcelona, we want to take a day trip there once we arrive safely in Perpignan.
 

KarenNWendyn

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Thanks for this thread. I googled “Accessibility travel” and “disability travel” and found numerous websites aimed at providing travel services and tours for people in wheelchairs — both in US and overseas. I was not previously aware of these kinds of services. Very cool.
 

Tedstehr

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Justolemom, Barcelona? Woo hoo! What a phenomenal place to visit. I am sure you will have a great time.
I am going to Salt Lake City for business on Wednesday. I will order wheelchairs/carts everywhere and have an accessible room. The main thing is not to rush. This will be my last flight for work.

We also have a trip to Orlando (Walt Disney World) and Aruba booked in late April. I am nervous about progression by then, but people in wheelchairs fly every day (I have seen them myself!)

I went to Aruba for business many years ago and I want to share the experience with my family. My sister and cousin from Germany will also be there. One of the things I loved about it was the Natural Pool. It is at least a 250 foot walk on rough terrain so my sons may need to prop me up to get there! Regardless, I am expecting we will have a great time despite any hurdles, as I know you will too.
 

justolemom

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We did it!!! So very happy that we worked with a accessible travel group. Having an accessible apartment with bed, power wheelchair, handicap taxi to and from airport along with a great full day tour made things smoother. We had some moments....stuck in metro stations without wheelchairs and lifts that would not accommodate a scooter.....but we enjoyed Barcelona and making some memories visiting our daughter while she studies abroad Barcelona.

I am not sure that I could do it again, I had some times that I was scared and tired but it is was humbling to have so many kind people willing to help us. The airport support, the flight crews, the taxi drivers, the accessible travel company and random strangers who helped us even - without words.

It was nice to sleep in my own queen size sleep number bed last night and have my comfort seat toilet with bidet seat today:)
 

wishmobbing

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Yeah, I'm so happy you guys did the trip and enjoyed it!

What grade would you give Barcelona accessibility-wise?
Any particular tips or tales of caution?

So welcome back, relax and cherish your comfortable home while having fond memories of your adventures!
 

swalker

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I am so glad to read your report. It is wonderful to hear that you were able to make the trip and enjoyed it.

Thanks for reporting back.

Steve
 

justolemom

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I would rate Barcelona a 8-9. Every single sidewalk was accessible, tour bus was accessible and so easy. Many Metro stops have lifts - but all are marked (you just have to read them...lol). There is a number to call to request a handicap taxi-we did not use. Yes some restaurants had a lip that was too high for a wheelchair to enter but there would be another option 2 doors down. All tourist attractions tried there very best - I was unable to see the Black Madonna on Monserat because the Stair lift was too small for the scooter. It would have been great if they had a smaller chair available for people to transfer to. This option was available at Palau Guell- thank God because it was beautiful. I was able to the musuem at Park Nou but unable to access the field and locker rooms - not an issue for me.
 

Romeosc

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Thanks for your wonderful review! I have been to Barcelona several times before my ALS appeared!

We have traveled extensively before condition and look forward to trying travel again! I will look at those travel sites!
 
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