TRAVEL

10 Tips for Traveling With A Wheelchair

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Christina Chambers

A little bit about me before I tell you my travel tips:

I was only 12-years old when I woke up paralyzed from the chest down not able to move or feel anything. I was only 12-years old when the doctors told me I had Transverse Myelitis. I was only 12-years old when they said I would probably never walk again and that my life would never be the same.

Now I am 21-years old and I've gotten Transverse Myelitis five different times effecting different parts of my body, but it hasn't stopped me in the slightest bit.

I am only 21-years old and I have been to Spain, Bali, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. I have traveled all around the world in my wheelchair even after many people told me "no" millions of times or that I couldn't do it and that it wasn't possible. I have defied all the odds against me and I have seen the most beautiful places, met met the most incredible people and have tasted the most delicious foods.

Everytime I reach a new place I feel a much greater appreciation than those traveling around me because it has taken so much more to reach the destination.

Tip 1:

Don't be afraid to ask for help. I have found that people in other countries are more than happy to lend me a hand or two or a leg or two!

Tip 2:

On the day of your flight, ask the clerk that checks you in if there is any way you can have an open seat next to you. I have always had an empty seat next to me on long flights and this helps me to stretch out and release pressure from my bum and stretch my spasming legs.

Tip 3:

Bring extra medical supplies in your carry-on ALWAYS! Sacrifice a shirt or two and bring those extra meds or catheters. My checked bag got lost on the way to Spain and I didn't have clothes or catheters. It is difficult to get medical supplies abroad!

Tip 4:

If you use a wheelchair, take at least two hours out of your busy traveler day to get off your bum. Pressure sores are horrible and difficult to treat and you don't want to miss a week of fun travel treating a sore.

Tip 5:

Look up hospitals, pharmacy's, and health clinics near where you are planning on traveling to. Medical care is different everywhere you go and emergency's happen when you least expect them at the most inconvenient times.

Tip 6:

Learn to Cath in the seated position so you can cath on long flights in your airplane seat, I usually wear a loose dress or leggings and use a blanket for privacy.

Tip 7:

Ask your doctor to prescribe you an antibiotic good enough to cure a UTI. I get a UTI every time I travel and my doctor's prescription from home fixes that up quickly

Tip 8:

Search for bike shops near where you plan to travel to. If you need any chair maintenance a simple bike shop can fix you in a jiffy. I have needed tire changes, air for my tires, and caster wheel maintenance. All were taken care of at a local bike shop.

Tip 9:

Pack as light as you can! You will have to haul your stuff around over and over again- do yourself a favor and pack light. You can always buy things when you arrive to your destination.

Tip 10:

Be prepared to adapt when needed and create your own accessibility as you travel the world. Every place is different and there is bound to be another bump along the road, literally!

My final message to you:

Travel as far as you can go where ever you want to go. I can promise that it won't be easy, but it will be worth it!

EMPOWER OTHERS!

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