Traveling Safely This Holiday Season

This week marks the start of the hustle and bustle of holiday travel season. Time spent with family and friends is an important part of our lives. In this first part of our two-part holiday/winter blog, we will be talking about special considerations while traveling throughout the season as Thanksgiving approaches. We hope that our tips help reduce some stress associated with holiday travel and visiting loved ones!

Be Open with Your Family and Friends About Your Accessibility Needs

Having clear dialogue with your family and friends about your functional mobility, (how you’re getting around these days), will be important for you comfort and safety. You may discuss needing furniture rearranged to accommodate mobility devices or a ramp rental if steps to enter present a barrier. Additional things to consider in a new environment are whether you will benefit from a chair with arms, push-button LED lights strategically placed throughout the home, or having throw rugs temporarily removed. Clear walking or wheeling pathways are always encouraged throughout the common areas of the home. If loud noise and too much social stimulation can at times be overwhelming, request that there be a quiet space to retreat to and take a break from the action.

Navigating Airports and Airplanes

Before you begin your visit, there is the journey to get there. Flying is the most popular form of transportation this time of year and there are actions you can take ahead of time to plan for the security lines and overall experience.  A call to the airline can help you get the services you require from the time you arrive for your flight to the time you get your checked baggage at your final destination. Each airline may have different requirements. For your convenience, here is a list of the links to the major airline’s information pages:

Delta    American    Southwest    United

Allow ample time when you arrive at the airport. Inquire beforehand if the airline will allow you to have an un-ticketed family member or loved one assist you through security and to your boarding gate.  This is also the time to request a wheelchair at your layover and final destination airports. If you have a specific seat on the plane that you prefer, request this well in advance.

You may be concerned with the TSA screening process. You will find it helpful to consult a TSA agent if you have questions about the screening process. You have the option to request a private screening. It may be necessary for TSA to swab down your mobility device or medical device to test for explosive residue. This is routine. Remember, if you have TSA PreCheck you do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, or light jackets for screening. The TSA has created a resource page for travelers who would like additional assistance and/or peace of mind.

Considerations at Hotels

If you are staying in a hotel versus with family, there are things to know before you go. Before you check-in, it is important to discuss your needs with the hotel so be sure to call ahead to ask questions and make requests. Whether you need a room that can accommodate wheelchairs, a roll in shower, visual alert systems if you are hearing impaired, or a refrigerator for medications, be sure to check that the hotel you choose will be able to accommodate your requirements.

Mobility Aides

Thankfully there are transport chairs, folding walkers, canes, and devices that can help you navigate the world more easily while traveling. At Oakley Home Access we can discuss what your needs might be and recommend products that help you travel easily (not just during the holidays, but all year!). Call our showroom at 401.429.3882, stop by for a visit at 322 S. Pier Road Narragansett RI, or visit our website for more information. Our Walpole, Massachusetts showroom is now open to the public by appointment. Please call 508.269.9227 to inquire.