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Thread: Traveling?

  1. #1
    Junior Member QUADPHONICS's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    Traveling?

    Hello everyone... I'm a c5 quadriplegic who drives around in a bounder plus power wheelchair and I am interested in traveling in the next couple of years anywhere just to get out of my small city that I have never pretty much left I have been injured for 17 years and the last time I left town was in 2004 to go to my sister's graduation in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. What I would like to know is can I get travel insurance and how easy is it to travel around being a quadriplegic with such a big chair and where are the good places to go? What people have been telling me and from what I hear taking a cruise would be my best bet although I want to actually see the world rather than just be on the ocean I do not have a wheelchair accessible vehicle either but I amlooking at purchasing a cheap used one can somebody give me advice on all of these topics please? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Yes, you can get travel insurance even with a SCI, but it is critical that you book your travel insurance within 24-48 hours after booking your travel (plane reservations, deposit for a cruise or tour, etc.). Within that time frame, pre-existing conditions are not excluded from the travel insurance policies, but they can be if you delay getting the travel insurance. Be sure to get a travel insurance that will pay to fly you home in the event of a major health problem as well...you don't want to be in some hospital in a Third World country with a SCI as well as an acute medical problem to deal with.

    Cruises are great, but I always recommend that if you take a cruise that you take both your power chair and a folding manual chair as well. In many ports you will not find good shore-side accessibility, and even if you need to have someone push you, in a manual chair you can be bumped up a step (or two) or over a curb, which you cannot do in a power chair. Look at routes that do not have many or any tender ports as well, or you will end up having to stay on the ship at these ports.

    Depending on the cruise, you have an opportunity to see a lot of the land side of places you cruise to as well (you probably want to avoid trips with a lot of "sea days"), but keep in mind that accessible transportation may be non-existant or very limited in many areas. So ports where you can see local signs on foot (or by wheelchair) alone are highly desirable, unless you can be easily transferred to a regular car cab and put your folding wheelchair in the trunk. A major advantage of cruising is that you don't have to try to find accessible hotel rooms...you take your "hotel" with you from port to port, and always know where you will be staying at night and how accessible it is.

    You might want to try a Canadian or USA cruise first since you are much more likely to find accessible transportation, and sometimes even accessible cruise ship excursions, in Canadian or USA ports. Think about an Alaska cruise out of Vancouver next summer, for example, or a fall color cruise out of the St. Lawrence Seaway next fall. There are also a few winter cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii or California and back.

    For other types of travel, you might want to consider a tour with a group through a travel agent that specializes in disability travel. There are a number that arrange group tours (both cruises and land tours) and they will take care of arranging both accessible transportation and hotels. Once you get some experience doing this with a group, it then is easier to branch off and start traveling on your own as well.

    As far as a used vehicle, check out www.disableddealer.com, eBay (search for "wheelchair van") and Craig's List. You may find something in the USA and need to arrange to take it to Canada if you cannot find something in your area.

    (KLD)

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