Road trips are an excellent vacation option for people with disabilities, says Candy Harrington, author of 22 Accessible Road Trips; Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. Travelers can go at their own pace, pack all the equipment they want and take restroom breaks on their own schedule.
Here are her tips and resources for planning an accessible road trip:
*Emergency road service is essential, but very few towing companies have wheelchair-accessible tow trucks. To avoid being stranded, check out ADA Nationwide Roadside Assistance, 800-720-3132, which provides lift-equipped transportation to garages.
*Pack along a can of Fix-A-Flat tire inflator. It's a quick and easy way to repair a flat, and it beats waiting for the tow truck.
*If you have an adapted van, carry along the phone number of your van conversion facility, in case you have any problems with the electronics or the lift. Although they probably can't fix the problem over the phone, odds are they can recommend a qualified repair facility near you.
*Look to newer fast food restaurants for the best accessible restrooms. Most fast food restaurants are consistent in their restroom design; so find a chain that has the access features you need, and stick with it.
*If your hotel bathroom wasn't as accessible as expected, stop by a Pilot — Flying J truck stop. Most have accessible shower rooms with roll-in showers; and although there is a charge for using them, it's a good alternative in a pinch.
*Get your America the Beautiful Pass, as it's good for free admission to national parks and monuments across America. The Access Pass is free to people with a disability, while the Senior Pass is just $10 for people over 62.
*Pack smart and leave your big suitcase in the car. Just roll up an entire set of clothes for each day when you pack; then simply remove one set at each stop. Couple that with a small overnight bag with your toiletries and you're good to go.
*Last but not least, don't leave home without your accessible parking placard, as it's valid throughout the US, except in New York City. Additionally, it's a good idea to consult the FIA World Parking Guide for disabled parking regulations in different states.
Click here for information on Harrington's book.