How to Travel with a Disability


Traveling with a disability caused by chronic illness can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. In my experience of traveling with Muscular Dystrophy (MD), doing the right type of research and proactive planning (in advance) can help create a comfortable, enjoyable and memorable trip. Some of the simplest outings (a date, night on the town or happy hour) can pose major problems when it comes to moving about freely with a disability. I’ve had too many experiences not to learn how to make sure the venue and overall trip will be as comfortable as possible. There are a few suggestions I want to share with those who may be unsure of how to prepare for going out for a night or overnight while living with a disability of any type or cause. Here’s my best advice:

Do your research! The first thing I do when going out with friends or headed to another speaking engagement is to ask the following questions to make sure, I will be comfortable throughout the night or trip:

  1. Is the venue wheelchair accessible? You’d be surprised how many restaurants, bars, and even hotels will say they are wheelchair accessible and have broken door openers. It’s a bit ridiculous and can be a major pain for someone who struggles with physical energy and strength. Call ahead and have them check if possible.  
  2. Does it have a working elevator? This can seem like a silly question, but there are venues that may have upper levels, like balconies and sectioned-off areas of the space that don’t come with an elevator. Before you call, google the venue and see if any pictures pop up. If it looks questionable, ask.
  3. Is the ground/walking area flat? This is important to know when it comes to planning which equipment you may need to bring or leave home. For me, keeping my balance is critical to preventing falls. Make sure you know exactly what you’re dealing with so you know exactly how to prepare.
  4. Is there Handicap parking near the entrance/exit. This may seem like another silly question, but most nightclubs or lounges don’t have handicapped parking and some stores that have it still require at least 40 feet or more walk to make it to the main entrance which can seem like miles to someone in my shoes. Knowing this information is helpful when figuring out transportation (to Uber or not to Uber).
  5. Chat with others: This is where support groups really come in handy. When you are thinking about or preparing to travel, reach out to the groups you are a part of to see what others have done to make traveling doable (support groups, social media etc).

Image result for handicap room on cruise ship

On the flip-side, I also want to share some advice with restaurant owners, conference and event organizers on what to anticipate for patrons/attendees with disabilities. This is also a good list of requests to make if you are a speaker or featured guest at an event:

How to prepare:


  • Have a ramp (so the person can get in). Some accommodations are an easy fix. Having a portable ramp will help wheelchair or scooter users navigate easily on and off stage or through one area of a venue to the main exits or additional areas.
  • Have seating options that include higher chairs. Sometimes the hardest thing for me to do is to sit down and then find the energy to then lift myself back up again. Make this easier by providing seating that is higher (bar height) and more comfortable for those with different physical needs or limitations.
  • Send/google pictures/call ahead: If you are organizing an event, try to take pictures of entrances/exits, stage areas and any other key venue areas that your participant may have to travel through. If you are a traveler, don’t feel like calling ahead to hotels, conference venues or weekend destinations is an inconvenience. This is about your safety and comfort.
  • Roll-in shower – not just handlebars (hotels): One of the best experiences I’ve had in a hotel included a roll-in shower. Having this option in addition to the handlebars on the sides of the shower made one of the most normal routines (taking a shower) safe and comfortable. Ask for this accommodation if you are traveling. If you are the organizer/host, make sure to ask both your guest and the lodging location if a roll-in shower is a part of the disability-friendly rooms.
  • Handicap toilets with the bar rails/raised toilet seats. Another small, but important aspect of disability-friendly accommodations for travelers is another aspect of the bathroom. Being able to get on and off the toilet is a simple luxury that folks without a disability take for granted, but having the added touch of a raised toilet seat can make ALL the difference for someone who struggles with balance, strength and wanting to be as dependent as possible. Go the extra mile for yourself or your guest.

A Few More Items to Look for:

  • Back Cushions (for long periods of time)
  • Flying – call ahead and ask for a wheelchair ahead of time (cut the line, get there on time, curbside service)
  • Apartments: elevator, walk-in shower, total accessibility
  • Traveling on a cruise: you can rent scooters and appears to be handicap accessible – from personal experience (Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines)
  • Check for Medical Supply Stores: get what you need to travel – or use Amazon.

Best places I’ve been:

  • Foxwood Casino and Resort in CT
  • Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in CT
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Remember: Traveling IS possible for those of us living with a disability of any type. You can enjoy a night out with friends. You can go on a getaway overnight or out of town and still have a great time. Don’t let anything or anyone tell you that you can’t enjoy life. Be safe. Be smart. Be prepared. Do your research. Make plans and live your best life. See below for a few more suggestions on traveling safely and comfortably with a disability.

For more information on how to travel with a disability check out

Have any travel tips to share? Comment below!


Also just another tip below:

handicap picture 1

Published by girlschronicallyrock

I was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My personality is friendly, strong work ethic, and great professional skills that makes her the hustler she is today. I graduated from Framingham State University with Bachelor’s in Fashion Design and Merchandising, a year after I graduated from Cambridge College with a Master’s degree in Business Management. While earning my degree I gained invaluable experience in the business/financial and Fashion Industry with working at different departments at Cambridge Savings Bank and many merchandising companies such as Motherhood Maternity, Tommy John, Spanx, Echo Design and Fossil Group. While in Framingham State University, I was in the Fashion Club and Black Student Union Club where I was able to meet new people and gain and learn a new experience in both groups with a different diverse of people. I knew I always had a passion for fashion from in middle school and new I wanted to be a Fashion Designer. I looked up to Fashion Designers like Kimora Lee Simmons and Betsey Johnson. I love their unique different styles and just two successful entrepreneurs who are making it in the fashion world and continuing to grow. My dream is to possibly meet both of them one day, even maybe do some business together. At the present time, I am working as a Merchandise Coordinator for Tommy John inside of Macy’s and Nordstrom within the Boston Area. I also owned my own t-shirt line business called Girls Chronically Rock which was inspired by myself because I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy back in graduate school so I wanted to make something inspirational, motivating for people who may have a chronic illness like myself or may be battling anything in their life, to let them know that they rock no matter what. With the wonderful work experiences over the years, I am really just an easy-going person where sometimes I love to be at home watching lifetime movies or many of my tv shows that I love to watch on a daily basis. I like spending time with family and friends whether its traveling, going out to eat and going to special events. Through my education and work experience, I have gained the knowledge and skills necessary to excel as a Fashion Designer and Visual Merchandiser. I am both qualified and eager to strive at my business Girls Chronically Rock and continue with dedication, and I know my hard work will pay off and I will reach my goals. I will soon hope to have my t-shirt line sold in department stores such as: local boutique stores, Macy’s, Karmaloop Foot Locker and many more. Here is a little more in depth detail about how I was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy: I have Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (MD); I was diagnosed at the age 24. I was born and raised in Cambridge, MA and went to high school in Cambridge. I received my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising and then furthered my education in getting my Master’s degree in Business. When I first discovered my symptoms of my MD, it was crazy to me because I started to get symptoms around 2009. While in graduate school I began to repeatedly fall, and my leg would just give out on me without notice. I would fall to the ground and not be able to pick myself back up, I would need assistance from someone to lift me up with all their might, because it was something I just wasn’t capable of doing on my own. I also began notice when I tried to reach for certain things in the kitchen cabinets or try to exercise I was unable to lift my right arm up all the way. I kind of just thought to myself maybe I need to go on a diet and lose weight, but in the back of my mind I knew it something more. So I went to see an orthopedic, but I was told that this was more of a neuro-muscular issue, so I then went to see a Neurologist. Once I saw the Neurologist, she then tested me and gave me muscle biopsy, MRI, an EMG and every other test you can think of. So after multiple tests, I was finally diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. Limb-Girdle is a form of MD that affects the limb of the shoulders all the way down to the legs, which progressively over time eventually gets worse. The first thing I thought was how long am I going to live will I be in a wheelchair soon, and what is my life going to be like from now on. I knew I had to be strong and continue to do what I have to do so I started doing some research on it and read what eating healthy and exercising would help. I joined weight watchers with my cousin and I lost over 36 pounds and I felt great. I’ve able to keep half the weight still off, and I am still determined to lose more. They have multiple types of Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, and 5 years later my doctor’s are still trying to figure which type I have exactly. The only thing they know at this point is from the types I may have can affect my heart which is why I often have to go get a echo-cardiogram test that tests my heart to make sure everything is ok. Living with Limb-Girdle Muscular dystrophy is still new to me every day. I wake up every day not knowing how my legs are going to feel or what pain I may have when leaving my house. I try to be very careful when walking because I don’t want to fall, because I won’t be able to pick myself back up. Although I am on my feet a lot for work, after a certain amount of hours, my legs start to weaken. I am currently a visual merchandiser at different locations a very popular clothing store. I enjoy my job because it keeps me and my legs active and I enjoy traveling to the different store locations and doing what I love and my part in the fashion industry. I have the wonderful support from my family and friends but at the ending of the day, they have NO IDEA what I go through on daily basis or what I’m feeling. I try to explain to them how my legs feel, but it’s just so hard to explain. I still go out and enjoy my life as normal, but sometimes I always have certain things in the back of my mind. When going out I find myself researching about where I am going first, like does this place have stairs?, does it have an elevator?, do they accommodate handicap people? So all of these things I worry about when I go out and my friends and family have no idea. Living with MD has made me realize how strong I am and knowing I have no choice but to deal with this. I sometimes get stares because people wonder what a young girl like me is doing either walking with a limp, with a cane, or parking in a handicap parking spot. But I don’t mind because they just don’t know me or know what I have. Although my MD has progressed over the years and getting worse, I have learned to except it and make certain changes in to my life such as now walking with a cane in order to keep my balance and helping me not to fall. At this point I am just taking everything day by day and staying strong. But there is one thing I want people to know by reading this quote. "There’s no “cure” or a pill will “fix it”, but at one point I thought it may help. And I thought the same with therapy and food. But it’s my endless support from family and friend that helps. It is hardest thing that I have ever done, and I found myself much stronger for doing it. Never, ever underestimate the power of your desire. If you want to live badly enough, you can live. The greater question, at least for me was: How do I decide I want to live? That is the question I’m still working on?" AS SEEN IN...

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