Thursday, April 28, 2011

Travel challenges in hotels for people with disabilities


Travel challenges in hotels for people with disabilities range from problems in the rooms, breakfast area and swimming pools. Because of these problems traveling with a companion is almost always a necessity.

My family has always been fortunate to be able to travel. Instead of mobility problems my disability is in other areas. Sometimes my health issues put limits on what I can or can’t do but I’m usually able to relax and enjoy myself.

Not everyone with a health issue can enjoy travel. People with mobility issues have a harder time in motels with their disability.

When my grandmother was alive we made good use of the handicapped rooms at different hotel chains. We never had to worry about not having enough room to maneuver a wheelchair. The accessible rooms have extra large bathrooms, showers and are usually smoke free which is great for anyone with lung problems.

One place where we commonly had difficulty with disabilities in hotels was in the breakfast room. Grandmother could almost never reach the food. Waffle irons, batter, toast and jelly were usually too high for her to reach easily.  

Most of the time, she was content to let either myself or one of the kids fix her breakfast. She was pretty picky so there was frequent conversations about what she liked or (more often) what she didn’t.

On the rare times when she could fix her own breakfast there were no trays to carry the food on. For someone with a disability it is impossible to hold a bowl of cereal and steer a wheelchair at the same time.

If you are traveling with a person who has a disability there is another area where you can plan on having problems. It’s as though the franchise owners have never heard of a swimming pool lift. I have only seen a few hotels that had one available.

Hotel swimming pools are almost never accessible for someone with a disability. Yet people with fibromyalgia, MS or joint problems might appreciate a swim at the end of the day.

Hopefully, some hotels executives will see this blog post. If they do I hope that they will look into getting a wheelchair lift so that someone with a disability can swim. The lifts are expensive but may help make the difference between full hotels and empty ones.