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Tips for Traveling With a Scooter or Wheelchair

A Wheelchair
Just because you have mobility concerns, it doesn't mean you have to stay indoors. Whether you get around with the aid of a wheelchair or a scooter, you can still travel and see the world. However, there are some factors you want to keep in mind to avoid damage to your equipment and to stay safe and comfortable throughout your journey.

Invest in Portable Equipment

All mobility equipment is not created equally, especially when it comes to weight. If you're an active person who travels and likes to get around a lot while at home, a lightweight scooter is going to be your best bet. For the people that travel with you, lifting a lighter scooter is a much easier task than heavy or bulky equipment, which they'll appreciate.

Lightweight equipment may also be less prone to damage when traveling by air, as it will be easier for the baggage handlers to carry. You should also look for a scooter with a narrow design, as it can navigate hallways and tight spaces easier than wider units. 

Arrive at the Airport Early

Aim to arrive at the airport early, whether you're traveling with the assistance of a scooter or a wheelchair. In addition to coming early for pre-boarding, airlines will require extra time to store your equipment in the luggage compartment to ensure the flight leaves on time.

Southwest Airlines, for instance, may request that passengers turn over their scooters to a baggage handler around an hour before the flight to prep and load the scooter. If you're late, the extra steps required to seat you and place the scooter in stowage could delay the entire flight.

Even if the airline doesn't have a specific timestamp on arrival, you should still arrive early to give yourself plenty of time to get around. 

Make Hotel Reservations Early

All hotels are required to provide accommodations for wheelchair accessibility. However, the number of accessible rooms vary based on the size of the property. For example, a hotel with 300 rooms must have at least ten accessible rooms, but a smaller hotel may only need 4 rooms.

To ensure you get a room that is comfortable and equipped to meet your needs, make your reservation as soon as you know for sure that you're making the trip. Additionally, since accessibility accommodations may vary between rooms, be sure you're specific about your needs.

For example, if you know you need a room with a roll-in shower, you need to make the request specifically. 

Research your Batteries

If you're traveling with an electric scooter or wheelchair and plan to go by air, you need to perform some research to discover what type of battery you have.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, if your unit has a dry battery, such as a gel cell battery, you can keep the battery installed in the scooter during the flight provided it is securely connected and equipped with short circuit protection.

However, if you have a powered scooter or wheelchair with a lithium battery, you must remove the battery before transporting the mobility aid by air and place it inside your carry-on luggage. You are also required to notify the pilot of the exact location of the battery.

Since airlines may have additional requirements, it's best to inquire about this information at the time of your reservation. 

In the same manner that you sat down and planned the itinerary for your trip, careful planning can keep your mobility equipment safe. If you need to update your equipment before your trip, Medic Pharmacy & Surgical is here to help. With a wide selection of medical equipment and supplies, we have what you need to stay safe and comfortable.