Living Well with Parkinsons Disease

Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski

Overcoming travel challenges

Hotel Clerk 1

by Sheryl Jedlinski

When I started relying on my walking sticks to get around, hotels posed new challenges to overcome. The issue of accessibility had invaded my corner of the world and I was determined to overcome its new challenges.

Finding an “accessible” hotel can be the difference between a memorable and a disastrous vacation. Not all accessible hotels are created equal. Newer ones are more likely built to architectural standards that promote greater accessibility.

“Accessible” means different things to different people. On more than one occasion I have been told that all accessible rooms are located on upper floors only. How accessible is this in an emergency when the elevators are not in service?

Avoid surprises at check-in. Call the hotel directly; preferably at an off hour when fewer people are competing for attention. Speak to an on-site employee who knows every detail of the property. People taking calls at a remote reservation center may have never visited the site.

Make questions as specific as possible. Does the bathroom have a roll in shower that can accommodate an adult wheel chair or wheeled shower chair and/or wall mounted shower? A shower/tub unit necessitating I reach across the tub to cling to grab bars while climbing over the side and into the tub is neither safe nor accessible for my needs.

Worst of all are toilets so low to the ground they appear to have been designed for Lilliputians. Neither grab bars nor pogo sticks would provide enough help to get me up.

At the other extreme are beds so tall, I cannot get into them without a short step stool or a team of Sherpas to give me a leg up. As a last resort, I have considered taking a running leap from one corner of the room to the bed, but lacking natural athleticism, I predict a bad outcome and abort the mission.

To best ensure that your hotel room meets your specific accessibility needs:

  • Get a credit card guarantee and a confirmation number for an accessible room. This is preferable to a request for an accessible room if available at the time of check in.
  • Confirm your reservation with the hotel a few days before your arrival.
  • Look at your room before you check in, and make sure that everything is as agreed to.
  • Besides your confirmation numbers, have the names of employees, dates and times you spoke with them, and specific accessible items they promised would be available to you.


One comment on “Overcoming travel challenges

  1. Larry Williams
    May 21, 2017

    Such a practical blog….hope it reaches the MANY people who can use it…..and hotels who will, hopefully, be more considerate of individual needs. HAVE A GREAT TRIP! tem

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This entry was posted on May 21, 2017 by in Back to Normal, Coping Strategies, Family Life, Holidays, Parkinson's Awareness, Travel.

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