Just because you have a spinal cord injury does not mean you need to spend an exorbitant amount of money every time you travel. There are always exciting ways to travel cheaply even when you have a spinal cord injury and need a few extra accommodations. You just need to know the tricks, and there are several out there that can help. See what we mean below!
When to Buy Plane Tickets
You hear from travel experts to book at least one month out when buying plane tickets, sometimes more depending on where you are going. Recent studies looking at travel in 2017 has determined that the best time to book domestically is almost two months before you fly. For flying internationally, it is also a good idea to book two months out. Remember, you can fly with more affordable airlines like Frontier, but remember that they will not offer all of the disability perks that other, more premium airlines offer.
Always Request Bulkhead Seat when Flying
While most of us cannot afford to fly First Class, when you have a spinal cord injury, you can request to have your seat moved to the bulkhead area for free, which gives you double the amount of legroom, as well as more storage space for carry-on luggage. This is a huge bonus for someone with a spinal cord injury, as they need more room for transferring and will likely have a bit more luggage than the average traveler. To request a bulkhead seat, you can do so when booking your ticket or you can ask when checking-in for the flight.
Avoid Expensive Van Rentals with a Folding Power Wheelchair
Renting a wheelchair van can cost around $100 a day, which means if you're going on a week-long vacation, that is another $1,000 needed. To avoid this cost, consider purchasing a folding power wheelchair which is a new trend in the wheelchair industry. By purchasing one of these wheelchairs, you can avoid ever having to rent a wheelchair van again. This wheelchair allows you to still be independent, but you will need to get transferred into a cab or another kind of car. This is a good idea if you do not mind getting transferred during the day and absolutely cannot push yourself.
Consider Accessible Home Rentals
Airbnb recently acquired the accessible housing rental database called Accomable, which has made their database incredibly impressive when searching for an accessible property. While some of the homes are expensive, there are reasonable options on their website that are cheaper than hotels. Unfortunately, they do not offer anywhere near the amount of “normal” housing that is offered for the masses. Also, consider CouchSurfing.com or search for accessible hostels in the city you’re visiting.
Whether you're looking for a vacation package that includes airfare or you're looking for dining coupons, Groupon is an absolute must when planning any vacation on a budget and with a spinal cord injury. Many people swear by Groupon’s travel packages and only use them for traveling. Groupon will make accessible additions to any vacation package. Just be wary of additional charges that they may try to tack on for this.
Travel Where You Want
Travel is not for the rich anymore. People with spinal cord injuries travel all the time, and they do it smartly. Hopefully, this list will help you get there so you too can see that travel is for anyone no matter their budget or ability. Let us know in the comments which travel destination is on your mind for the near future.
Written by Tiffiny CarlsonSince 1998, Tiffiny Carlson has been a prolific commentator on all things SCI in a number of prominent magazines, blogs and websites. Hailing from Minnesota, she was the SCI Columnist for New Mobility Magazine for 13 years and she currently works as the Executive Director of SPINALpedia, one of the leading websites for people with SCI to share videos and stories. She has been a C5-6 quadriplegic since a diving accident 24 years ago. Tiffiny has also been a fierce advocate for SCI research. In 2016, the Morton Paralysis Fund honored her for her work. While all SCI topics interest her, dating, love and the business of relationships have always been where her passion lies the most.
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