Last updated by meimeili at 2013-11-28
Disabled Travellers can go wherever they want in the world – whatever their challenges – and if you desire to travel for enjoyment now is the best time to do it. There are many options available for you to choose from and advancements in science has made it easy and cost-effective for you to have fun and travel and not be hindered just because you are handicapped.
It is getting easier day by day, as the world progresses and in most countries, it is considered to be a part of law to make arrangements for people with disabilities; it gives them a sense of comfort they can become travellers like normal people.
China has become fairly convenient for disabled travellers, with many hotels, airports, and some public areas in cities equipped with accessible facilities. Chinese people are besides very kind and friendly.
So far it is better to be prepared beforehand travelling and steer clear of surprises. The first thing that you should do is decide where you exactly want to go.
Plan your tour as attention to details and critical pre-planning are the keys to wonderful trips. Another good idea would be hire an agency that will make all the travel plans for you from flight reservations, hotel booking and arranging tours to view the place. An agent might help you in prepare your required things checklist as well.
Once you’ve have decided your destinations and stays, then look for the information about them especially related to handicap facilities available in that place and laws. Also, find out about hotels and if they offer adapted special facilities. You might too want to check if helpers or escorts are available for sight-seeing and touring as it is a good idea to have a helper.
The barrier-free environment in China is developing fast, in particular in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Seek information about your destinations and their accessible facilities. Services and/or facilities may be different from your home city, so follow a line of investigation and prepare yourself for a new environment.
A helper is also valuable because as a traveller you might have a lot of money with you and need protection as you can perhaps not defend yourself against robbers or thieves efficiently.
Furthermore, book well in advance for tickets and for hotel and question them a lot while booking. It is a good initiative to make a checklist of things you will need from the hotel and travelling services in order to make sure you know which of the things you will be able to get from there and which things you have to make do without.
Before booking an excursion, be specific and clear when describing your disability so that appropriate actions can be completed. Give as many details as you can about what you can and can't do, the more information a service provider has, the better they will be able to accommodate you.
If you are planning a visit to an amusement park or public facility, contact them ahead of time. Most places have special arrangements for those with disabilities. In fact, you may be able to request disability guidelines; this way, you can sketch your trip and know what to expect.
According to your disability, bring any appropriate equipment needed to enjoy & complete your travel such as canes, rolling walkers, wheelchairs, audiphones and mobility scooters. Do not forget to bring some spare parts and the toolbox to carry out emergency repairs. You may be required to dismantle a wheelchair for certain flights or activities; make sure you and your travelling companions know how to do this.
Airports in China made efforts to improve their equipments and are equipped with elevators and banisters to supply the easy access for the handicapped travellers. Wheelchairs and assistance is assured for disabled passengers.
If you are setting up to fly somewhere, the best is to check with the Travel Security Administration in order to see what you can and cannot bring. This way you will not have any surprises, when you get to the airport and you will not have to leave anything behind. Usually a plane can only allow one wheelchair.
If you book through a travel agent you must ensure you disclose the condition of your disability so that they can make the appropriate arrangements for you. If you travel with a group then notify others including your families, friends, companions and tour guides. They should be aware of the true situation so that they can look after you during your trip.
Make sure that you inform the airline of any and all of your disabilities. There are laws that provide for people that travel with disabilities, and you have certain rights. Before going through airport security, be aware of the TSA's rules for travellers with disabilities and medical conditions.
Go to the airport earlier to allow enough time for check in. It is always better to allow extra time, when flying. You might wish to add one hour to the recommended time for arriving. You might need extra time for the check in and screening processes. We would recommend arriving at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight, more if you're travelling at a peak time.
Avoid connecting flights and choose a nonstop fly as changing flight could bring a lot of hassles. As this is not always possible, allow at least one and one half hours layover time or two hours if you need to go through customs or security. Your plane could also be delayed, and you may need extra time to get to your connecting flight.
Another point is that wheelchairs are the last items to be checked into the luggage compartments, and thus first to be pulled off, flying direct can save you unnecessary waiting time. One exception: if you have trouble manoeuvring into airplane lavatories, long flights may become uncomfortable and a series of shorter flights might be a better option.
Check in with your flight attendant before your plane lands to make a plan for exit. Don't forget about transportation to and from the airport. If you have a wheelchair, make arrangements in advance to have an accessible vehicle pick you up in your destination city.
Health care abroad
No one wants to envision being sick or injured on vacation but if the worst happens, it pays to be ready. A few small precautions can save you considerable bother, time and money, and offer you peace of mind if you encounter health problems during your journey.
If possible, attempt to improve your body health and mobility before your departure. We invite you to have a complete physical check up, consult your doctor about your current physical condition and discuss the trip with your practitioner; ask for advice and suggestions on all aspects of your travelling.
Do not put all your medicine in your checked baggage. Put some in the hand luggage you are going to take on the plane in case of lost or emergency.
Take your regular doctor's name and telephone number with you so he/her can be contacted in any emergency.
Medical practices abroad may be very different than those you're used to at home, and language barriers can make matters more difficult. Between these factors and the fact that a new doctor won't be familiar with your medical history, it's crucial to prepare as much as possible for medical emergencies.
Investigate about type of medical services available after having selected your country and look for medical facilities and health information would be wise. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also has destination-specific health information.
Recheck your health insurance policy to ensure it covers the medical expenses incurred during trips overseas. Check that it covers pre existing conditions and, if in doubt, contact your insurers
before you travel, call your health insurance provider to see what coverage, if any, you will have in the destinations you're visiting.
Some insurance companies will not cover injuries or illness outside your home country, while others require that you pay for any treatment up front and then apply for reimbursement after you get home. If you're not satisfied with the coverage available to you, look into purchasing a travel insurance policy that will cover health care and emergency medical evacuation.
Collect health care contact information before you leave and keep the following information with you at all times in case you need to get approval for treatment (don't forget your insurance card).
All of this information should be with your primary identification in your carry-on luggage, wallet, purse or money belt so that, should you be incapacitated, whoever comes to your assistance will find it. If you have serious allergies or a medical condition such as diabetes, be sure to ask your doctor about medical emergency bracelets.
Common brand names at home may not be available or widely known where you are travelling. It's a good idea to bring along a list of any medications you're currently taking, but be sure to include the scientific name as well as the brand name. Know the generic names of your medications could also be supportive.
The best way that can be done is to be prepared ahead for what is coming. It might not be possible to know all problems in advance but knowing most can make you well-equipped to deal with them.
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