Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Mobility USA

November 12th 2008

Looking for a truly life-changing continuing education opp and just didn’t know where to look? Check out http://www.miusa.org. Mobility International serves a wide cross-section of disabilities and their “mission statement” pretty much says it all;

Empowering people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

MIUSA has served as the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, sponsored by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State and managed by MIUSA since 1995.

Goals:

– inform/educate people with disabilities and related organizations about international exchange opps;

– increase participation in international volunteer, study, work and research programs;

– assist with international exchange organizations with ADA information and develop partnerships with everyone involved.

MIUSA Exchange Program will take you out of this world – well out of the country anyway – for 2-4 weeks.

Choose from80 countries; Live with a home stay family, attend leadership seminars, disability rights workshops, cross-cultural learning, participate in team building exercises like river rafting; develop strategies to change or enhance your life and your community. Special programs are available for all ages and backgrounds.

The International Development and Disability organization focuses their attention on getting everyone involved at all levels including development, beneficiaries, volunteers, trainers, field staff, make policies, use your admin skills or offer technical assistance in any one of 160 organizations world-wide.

Empowerment of women, equal opps and human rights for women and girls with disabilities around the world are the main goals of Women, Disability and Development.

Lastly, there is always an opportunity to volunteer be an intern assisting in virtually every area!

What a perfect excuse to take a trip! Continuing education at it’s best!

Posted by sharon under Fun & General & Travel | No Comments »

Booking an Accessible Cruise

January 10th 2008

Are you disabled and looking to book a vacation or spring break trip? Vacationing on a cruise ship is the perfect solution if you are looking to be pampered.

Before you book your cruise, one of the most important things you need to do is to research the cruise line and find out what accessibility features are available. Some of the options found on a cruise ship include: public bathrooms and staterooms large enough for a wheelchair or scooter, Braille-coded elevator buttons, room numbers and menus, guide dogs to assist individuals, and TTY kits. Employees working on the ship are available to assist individuals with embarkation, disembarkation and buffet services.

Things to consider before booking your cruise:

1. Are there accessible accommodations in the cabin such as wider doorways, modified bathrooms with roll-in showers and grab bars, toilets, door handles, light switches and closet rods? Are TTY/TDD kits available upon request?

2. Do the lounges, casinos and dining facilities have specific seating areas for guests with wheelchairs and scooters? Do the automatic doors and ramps provide accessible routes throughout the ship, including to the open decks? Is Braille and large-print located on the signs and menus?

3. Can all public rooms and elevators be accessed with a wheelchair or scooter?

4. Are the ports of call accessible? Does your itinerary include tenders? (small boats used to bring passengers to shore from the ship’s anchor point). These boats are usually not wheelchair accessible.

5. Request to view the ship’s deck plans or visit the cruise line’s website. This way you can see how the ship is laid out and what accessibility features are built in, helping you to reserve a room that meets your individual interests and needs.

Before you book your cruise, talk to a travel agent or look online so you can find out if the cruise ship will meet your accessibility needs.

Posted by Denise under General & Travel | No Comments »

Traveling with a Disability

December 26th 2007

A lot of time goes into planning your travels especially when accessibility is a concern. Interestingly enough, many folks spend a good amount of time searching for the best airfares and locating hotels that meet their access needs, very little thought is given to accessible ground transportation. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you sort out that very essential accessible vacation. Please feel free to pitch in some of your ideas to help make travel easier for others.

  • Find out if your hotel has a free airport shuttle. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, hotels that offer courtesy transportation must also provide free accessible transportation.
  • Many private airport shuttles also offer accessible service. For example, Super Shuttle can provide transfers in lift-equipped vans with advance reservations. Most airport websites list shuttle companies that serve them. Contact these companies to find out if they have wheelchair accessible vehicles.
  • Big cities are usually the best candidates for accessible public transportation systems. In fact, in many large cities like San Francisco and Boston, it’s easier to take public transportation than to drive.
  • Many cities like Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco have lift-equipped taxis. Inquire with the local taxi authority about their availability. Once you find an accessible cab, get the driver’s card so you can contact him directly.
  • Don’t overlook buses, trains and light rail systems. Many airports, like Ronald Regan Airport in Washington DC, San Francisco International Airport, and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport offer light rail service from the terminals.
  • If you opt for subway or metro transportation, familiarize yourself with the routes and consider alternate stops. These systems are accessed by elevators, and they have a back-up plan in case the elevators are out of service. You might have to get off at an alternate stop and take a bus.
  • Many transit systems also have print/on-line access guides or maps of their accessible transit routes. If you can’t find this information on-line, call the local transit authority and ask about it.
  • Rental cars can be equipped with hand controls if they have 48-hours advance notice. Alternatively you can install your own portable hand controls. Be forewarned, though, that your insurance may not cover you if you go that route.
  • Ask about the availability of an accessible shuttle if the rental car desk is not located in the terminal. If none are available, ask if an employee can bring the car to you.
  • Lift-equipped rental vans are available in many cities through specialty rental firms. For the most part, these companies are not airport based, so you’ll need to find accessible transportation to their location.
  • Finally, no matter what type of transportation you choose, take a cell phone with you when you travel. It comes in handy when waiting for that long-delayed hotel shuttle.

Finding an accessible room

  • Never just ask for an “accessible room.” Instead, list the access features you need.
  • In the U.S., look for properties constructed after 1992, the date the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect.
  • Always call the property directly. On-site reservation agents often have first-hand knowledge about access features at their property.
  • Ask the reservation agent to describe the access features of the room. Don’t settle for the broad description of “ADA Compliant.” Ask for specific access details.
  • Even within the U.S., not all accessible rooms have roll-in showers. Ask a lot of questions about the bathrooms. If you just reserve an “accessible room,” you’ll probably end up with a bathroom that has a tub/shower combination.
  • Make sure and ask about the availability of elevators. Some properties have what they consider to be an accessible room, but it can only be accessed by a stairway.
  • Many properties have raised toilet seats that can be installed in any bathroom. Accessible toilets are 17-19 inches high, so if you need a higher one, ask about a raised toilet seat.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for measurements. If door width is a concern, ask for that measurement. Don’t forget about the door width of interior (bathroom) doors too.
  • If room size is an issue, ask the reservation agent to fax you a floor plan of the accessible room(s).
  • Bed height is not regulated under the ADA, so make sure to ask for bed measurements. Many properties are replacing their standard mattresses with high pillow-top models.

Tips for Navigating Airport Security

  • Allow plenty of extra time to get through security, especially if you wear a prosthesis or use any type of assistive device.
  • Slow walkers should request a wheelchair at check-in. Even if you can walk, it will cut down on the fatigue and standing time.
  • You are not required to transfer from your wheelchair or scooter for any portion of the screening process.
  • If you can’t walk or go through the metal detector, tell the TSA agent. You will be hand-wanded and given a pat-down search. If you need help walking through the metal detector or assistance with your carry-on items, ask the screener.
  • Inform the screener if you cannot raise your arms or stand for a pat-down search.
  • If you need assistance, but are traveling by yourself, ask your airline for a gate pass for a non-ticked companion to accompany you through the security checkpoint.
  • Canes and walkers are allowed through security checkpoints. If they can fit through the x-ray machine they will be x-rayed, otherwise they will be manually inspected.
  • Prosthetic devices do not have to be removed for screening; however they will be manually inspected and swabbed for explosive residue. Tools needed to adjust prosthetic devices are allowed through security upon inspection.

Posted by Andon under General & Travel | No Comments »