These days, you can really go almost anywhere in a wheelchair. Most cities and hotels around the world are attuned to the needs of wheelchair accessibility. With a little research, you can have the honeymoon of your dreams.
Choose the Destination
First choose whether you want to go to another country, an all-inclusive resort, or just go on a road trip to see some sights. What’s in your budget? What are you comfortable doing? Do you want to hang out on a beach or look at nature?
Once you have an idea of where you want to go, begin researching that destination. It’s pretty easy to find information if you look up the place you want plus the search phrase, “wheelchair accessible.” For example, Disneyland has many procedures in place to make their parks accessible and a number of wedding and honeymoon plans. If you’re planning to visit a national or state park, look at the website to see which campsites are wheelchair accessible. Arches National Park lists three trails that are barrier-free where you can have a lovely wine-toast sunset.
Many resorts or resort towns also have services to help out, so check your destination. Cancun Accessible rents out amphibious wheelchairs so you can have some quality couple time in the pool or even the ocean. Hawaii offers beach wheelchairs through many of their Parks and Rec departments; call ahead.
Another option is using a travel agency that specializes in booking travel for those with disabilities. The agent will use pre-vetted hotels and tours so you can have the romantic holiday you want.
Picking a Place to Stay
Sometimes rentals may advertise a room as being “handicapped accessible” but travel bloggers with wheelchairs often run into repeated problems. When you book a room, don’t just choose “wheelchair accessible;” call them up and ask them some questions. Ask to speak to someone who’s been in a wheelchair accessible room at the facility.
- Does the bathroom have an entrance wide enough for a wheelchair (75 to 80 cm) or do they expect you to have an assistant?
- Is there at least 90 cm of space on the side of the bed for your wheelchair?
- Does the bathroom have a raised toilet and grab bars in the shower/tub?
- Are there any steps at all between the parking lot and the room?
Also make sure the reservation for a handicapped room is a GUARANTEE rather than a REQUEST, which means they could change it. Write down the name and title of the person you spoke with, as well as the date and time. Before you travel there, call back and reconfirm the room. When you get there, ask to see the room before check in so you can ensure it meets your needs.
If you’re doing a road trip, your number one consideration for which route you take may be which freeway has the most wheelchair accessible hotels along it.
No matter what, make sure the host knows you’re on your honeymoon so they can help you make it extra special.
Packing Gear with a Wheelchair
Wheelchair users have special considerations when traveling. First, you’ll want to pick the right travel gear. This may include luggage with wheels, a duffel bag, and a backpack. You can bungee cord these together, or put the backpack on the back of the chair and hold the duffel bag in your lap. If you have a lot of smaller bags, you can also bring a larger duffel bag to put them all in.
In a car, you may find it easier to separate your items by bag. Put all your wheelchair tools and items in one bag, your clothes in a backpack, your toiletries in another, and so forth. This makes it easy to find items.
Cars, Buses, Trains
Depending on where you’re going, you may want to rent a car or a van with a wheelchair lift. If your hotel is a ways away from the sights you want to see, it will likely work out to be cheaper to rent a vehicle instead of taking taxis.
Many cities, like Paris, have wheelchair accessible buses that make it easy to get around. If you’re staying in a city center, the bus may be the best option. If you want to have a kiss in the Eiffel Tower, you won’t be able to go to the top but you can visit the second-floor restaurant.
When traveling by train, you’ll have to do some prep work. If you’re in the US, your train service will probably be Amtrak; they’ll give you 15% off your ticket. Always try to book online ahead of your trip. Usually, there’s a way to request assistance when you book your ticket. If you’re in another country, you’ll probably just have to ask the station agent for wheelchair assistance, and they’ll get everything set up for you.
Traveling by plane can be a bit complicated because you’ll have to get out of the wheelchair and check it at the gate. When you book your ticket, there may be a box for you to check if you need assistance. Otherwise, you’ll have to call your airline ahead of time and let them know you’ll be using their accessibility services. Also, make sure to ask if your plane has an accessible bathroom; most planes do not but some of the wide-bodied ones do. Some of these also have an aisle chair for use if you cannot walk.
With all the options now available for wheelchair accessible honeymoons, choosing an itinerary might be the most difficult part. Plan ahead and then enjoy your honeymoon to its fullest.