Whether winter break, Spring break or Summer vacation, traveling can be a more enjoyable experience when you prepare. Those with disabilities are often discouraged from travel, especially by plane. The obstacles in the path of smooth sailing seem to be insurmountable at times. Medical equipment and EMS medical supplies can add weight and inconvenience to the best of travelers. Navigating through a busy airport with heavy luggage and medical equipment is a daunting task. Fortunately, when you know what to expect, your travel experience will become so much lighter, even with the weight of any type of physicians’ supplies.
The first thing to keep in mind is that most airlines, if not all, will not count your medical devices or medical training supplies (if you are a field practitioner) as a carry-on. You can rest-assured that your snacks, change of clothes, toiletries and prescription medications are still entitled to their own space in a separate carry-on, not to be shared with medical devices. It is necessary to have a note from your doctor detailing what your condition is and what medical equipment you require. This will help you to avoid any obstacles in getting your carry-on and your medical equipment on the plane.
For those traveling with a high-quality wheelchair or the like, you may be able to keep it safe at home. Make some inquiries to your travel destination to find out if they have similar wheelchairs available for use or for a nominal rental fee. This can save you the risk of damage to your own quality wheelchair and can also free up some space and weight for your trip.If you have a metal implant, be sure to request a hand security check as opposed to an x-ray screening. It is also helpful to have an ID card on your person to present to security personnel. For those requiring oxygen, check with your airline’s regulation policy and upgrade to a FAA approved oxygen concentrator if necessary. Medical supplies online can be ordered in a minute and last you a lifetime if you only use certain ones for travel. It is definitely worth the investment.
While you surely will remember to pack the items you literally cannot live without, remember to include extension cords and chargers if applicable. Phone numbers of doctors, taxis, and other services should also make their way into your carry-on or purse. If you plan to drive once you reach your destination, take your Handicap placard along.
Last but not least, splurge on a few items that will enhance your travel experience. A neck pillow, your favorite book and a comfortable pair of headphones are all extras, but for those with disabilities it pays to splurge on these comfort-enhancing items.
Don’t allow your medical needs to stand in the way of a long over-due trip. Knowing what to expect and planning accordingly will make travel a smoother experience than you ever imagined.