10 Tips for Traveling With Physical Disabilities

There's no reason for a family member with a permanent or temporary physical limitation to stay home during a trip. Accessible travel is more popular than ever and with proper planning.

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Easy Razor Cover

Easy Razor Cover

Ever reached into your toiletries case and met the wrong end of a razor? Ouch. Place a ten-cent binder clip over the razor head to prevent any nicks.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Cool It

Cool It

Running late with a hot curling iron or hair straightener? Cool it down quickly with a cold, wet washcloth. Just be careful not to touch the hot part. If the tool is still warm, use an oven mitt as a sheath to insulate heat in your bag.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Store Small Amounts of Liquids

Store Small Amounts of Liquids

Going on a short trip and don’t want to pack large bottles? A contact lens case is great for storing concealer, foundation, lotions, lip color and more.   960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

No Loss Floss

No Loss Floss

No one likes to floss, so it stands to reason that no one will steal dental floss. The innards pop out easily and make a great place to stow valuables in your suitcase.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Keep Track of Bobby Pins

Keep Track of Bobby Pins

You can use a mint box to hold hair clips and bobby pins but a card takes up much less space in a toiletries bag. 960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Dollar Store Wine Sleeve

Dollar Store Wine Sleeve

Save money by packing your own wine. Keep it safe with a water floatie. We recommend this for road trips and cruises, not checked luggage.   960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Tangle-Free Necklaces

Tangle-Free Necklaces

Arriving at your final destination to find your necklaces tangled or broken can ruin the best of vacations. Before embarking, unlatch, string half the necklace through a drinking straw and re-clasp on the outside. Small ones work for thin gold chains while smoothie straws are great for thicker strands.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Makeshift Top

Makeshift Top

Smoothie straws also make a great sheath for both eye and lip liners, which frequently lose tops in handbags. Just use the bendy part of the straw to cover. If the pencil is narrower than the straw, clog the end with a little tissue.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Upcycled Jewel Box

Upcycled Jewel Box

A pillbox is great for medications, but it’s also a fine place to store and pack jewelry while traveling. The separate containers keep your bling organized, easy to see and not in one pile.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Extra Padding

Extra Padding

A simple padded mailer envelope gives your tablet or phone extra cushion and protection in a suitcase. Some are even waterproof.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Hat Trick

Hat Trick

Here’s another option if you don’t have a case. Keep your device cozy in a winter hat to prevent scratching.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

For the Shopaholics

For the Shopaholics

If you’re traveling with the intent of shopping, consider packing a suitcase within a suitcase. If you don’t, you’ll end of buying another (probably overpriced) suitcase for the return flight. And chances are you won’t use it again. We packed a week’s worth of clothes that fit into one carry-on bag within a 22-inch rolling suitcase. 960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight

Reuse sunglass cases for packing jewelry and other valuables. The hard shell absorbs shock and the ordinary item thwarts would-be thieves.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Tin Tip

Tin Tip

Reuse mint tins and soap tins to hold necessities like ear swabs and bandages.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Snack Hack

Snack Hack

Trying to stay healthy on your road trip? Protect fruits that are easily bruised or punctured with a Koozie. Plus, you’ll have an extra koozie for drinks when you get to your destination.   960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Passport Hideaway

Passport Hideaway

No safe? A DVD shell is a great spot to hide your passport as the inner clip holds it in place nicely.   960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Save Those Wine Gift Bags

Save Those Wine Gift Bags

Reuse a cloth wine bag for delicates, like lingerie and bathing suits. And if you need a hostess gift at your destination, consider it the gift bag that just keeps on giving.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Phone Boombox

Phone Boombox

Save real estate in your bag by leaving the Bluetooth speaker at home and using your phone. All you need is a glass from the mini bar. Place the phone inside and the sound amplifies.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Bonus Outlets

Bonus Outlets

Going abroad? Pack a power strip along with a three-prong adapter. Now you can charge multiple devices at the same time. 960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

The next time you buy new sheets or pillow cases, save the zippered plastic cases. They're great for travel makeup cases.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Catch All

Catch All

Cord catchers are great for your tech gear but they're also great for organizing all the random things at the bottom of a purse or carry-on.  960 1280

Holly Aguirre  

Know Before You Go

Know Before You Go

This includes visiting the doctor before the trip and researching doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals at your destination. The American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation all provide comprehensive travel information. 960 1280

takasuu  

Plan Snacks and Meals in Advance

Plan Snacks and Meals in Advance

Holley Grainger, a registered dietitian and culinary nutrition expert, recommends bringing meals or snacks that are rich in fiber and protein, such as individual peanut butter packets with whole grain crackers, dried fruit and nuts, or string cheese. Conversely, depending on your destination, some of these items can also be found at airports and convenience stores. When eating out, Grainger says to be mindful of portion control, and choose meals that offer a balance of protein, fiber-rich carbs, healthy fat, and a vegetable. Beware of alcohol; the ADA has a tip sheet that covers specifics.

On international flights that include meals, request a diabetic meal in advance if possible, since Grainger says many airplane meals include too many carbohydrates. 
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bonchan  

Pack Enough Medical Supplies

Pack Enough Medical Supplies

“Be over-prepared in case of every scenario that you can think of,” says Dr. Amber Champion, director of The Diabetes Center at Mercy Medical Center. For example, she recommends pump users bring a spare pump and an extra supply of basal (or long-acting) insulin. Other necessary supplies, depending on the type of diabetes, might include insulin, medication, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, syringes, a blood glucose meter, and test strips. Be sure to pack these in a carry-on bag. A cooler for insulin is also necessary if traveling to the beach, an extremely hot destination, or for an extended period of time. Otherwise, Dr. Champion says insulin can last for 28 days at normal room temperature. 960 1280

zaretskaya  

Know Airport and Flight Procedures

Know Airport and Flight Procedures

Allow extra time for going through security and customs at the airport; review the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines for special procedures beforehand concerning medications, liquids, supplies, and more. Dr. Champion says the TSA doesn’t typically question items like pumps or syringes, but they’re less common in some foreign countries, so it’s best to bring a doctor’s letter. It’s equally important to be aware of what’s allowed through customs at your destination; certain prescription medications are illegal in other countries, like Dubai. The ADA provides a comprehensive guide to air travel and diabetes, as does the CDC.

During the flight, the altitude change during the ascent and descent can affect some pumps. Dr. Champion advises disconnecting it during take-off and landing to prevent it from administering extra insulin. However, speak with a doctor about your personal situation beforehand.
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Fertnig  

Be Alert for High and Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

Be Alert for High and Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

Signs of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can include nervousness, dizziness, and feeling shaky or light-headed. Grainger notes that symptoms can strike quickly and affect a person’s ability to think clearly, in which case the travel companion should carry glucose tablets as a quick fix. They’re easy to find at drugstores and supermarkets in the U.S., but carry extra when traveling abroad. Grainger notes that orange juice is a good backup too, and Dr. Champion says that small bags of candy such as Skittles or jelly beans are easy to carry and also work. For extreme hypoglycemia, a travel companion should know how to inject glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar. Dr. Champion recommends an app called Glucagon that walks you through the steps.

Signs of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, can include increased thirst, dry mouth, blurry vision, vomiting, shortness of breath, headache, and even stomach pain. Consult a doctor before a trip to discuss treatment options, which, depending on the severity, range from administering an extra dose of insulin to visiting an emergency room. Dr. Champion says to leave insulin injections to the paramedics.
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Aydın Mutlu  

Make Sure Travel Insurance Includes Medical

Make Sure Travel Insurance Includes Medical

Some travel insurance plans only cover financial losses. Check the U.S. Department of State for a list of recommended medical providers. Be sure to choose one that includes medical evacuation, or medevac, in case of an emergency; that option could be cost-prohibitive if insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s also important to research doctors and hospitals at your destination. 960 1280

alexandrumagurean  

Adhere to a Regular Schedule

Adhere to a Regular Schedule

Both Grainger and Dr. Champion advise sticking to a regular schedule as much as possible, both with meals and insulin, especially when changing time zones. Those with Type 1 diabetes need to time insulin injections with meals, and injections need to be at set times. Eating at least every three to four hours can also help prevent any blood sugar dips. 960 1280

lola1960  

Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Frequently

Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Frequently

An increased activity level, time zone changes, and eating differently can all affect glucose levels. Stay on track by checking glucose levels more than normal. Travel companions shouldn’t be afraid to remind those with diabetes to check it, since it can be easy to forget while on vacation.   960 1280

dolgachov  

Wear a Medical Alert Bracelet

Wear a Medical Alert Bracelet

It’s reasonable to assume that someone with diabetes will have periods when they’re alone, if even for a few minutes. In the event of an emergency, such as a rapid onset of hypoglycemia, a medical alert bracelet can help paramedics quickly identify the problem. In addition, Dr. Champion advises that everyone with diabetes should carry a card with them at all times that includes a list of medications, their doctor’s name and number, and medical conditions.   960 1280

Jill Fromer  

Avoid Going Barefoot

Avoid Going Barefoot

Dr. Champion says this is especially true for patients with neuropathy, a condition that causes numbness in the feet, which poses an infection risk if they step on something and cut their foot without knowing it. However, Dr. Champion notes even those with Type 2 diabetes don’t always realize they have neuropathy. It’s best to err on the side of caution and always wear footwear, whether indoors or at the beach. 960 1280

kieferpix  

Think Small

Think Small

Start with small trips close to home. As alluring as far-off places can be, sometimes all you need is short trip to quench your thirst for wanderlust. Think state parks instead of national parks for this one. An added bonus is they are significantly less crowded and have cheaper entrance fees. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Day Trips

Day Trips

It's easy to lose ourselves in the dreams of multi-day backpacking trips or plane rides halfway around the world, but when it comes to working a nine-to-five, chances are this isn't going to happen often, so try a day trip instead. You'll get out in nature, hopefully explore something new and still be home in time for dinner. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Travel With Friends

Travel With Friends

Solo trips are fun and rejuvenating, but bringing friends along can ease the burden of travel. Other people can bring new ideas for trips and different outlooks on how to travel to the table. Having an extra person or two to drive and split the cost of gas is always a big help too. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Travel for Work (If You're Lucky)

Travel for Work (If You're Lucky)

Unfortunately this is not something that my job allows but many people do have jobs where they travel. Friends of mine who have been bitten by the travel bug do their best to tack on an extra day to business trips so they can use that time to explore a new location. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Take Advantage of Long Weekends

Take Advantage of Long Weekends

Veterans Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day — these holidays offer most of us an extra day off from our desk jobs. Take this time to drive to that location that you've always wanted to go to that just seems a bit too far for a standard weekend. Don't worry, the couch will still be waiting for you on Tuesday. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Combine Locations

Combine Locations

Just because you can spend weeks at some national parks and still not see everything they have to offer doesn't mean you have to. Combining locations that are close to each other is a good way to make the most out of a limited amount of time. Not only will you still be able to see the most noteworthy sights, but the variation in landscape will leave you feeling more fulfilled in a short period of time. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Do Your Research

Do Your Research

Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations from the people who spend their time in the place you're visiting. Whether it's a local resident at a gas station or a park ranger, get the inside scoop on where to go and what to see from those who know the area best. This allows you to maximize your time during a short stay.  960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Be Cheap

Be Cheap

Yes you heard me. Buy plane tickets well in advance. Consider hotels, motels and cabins a luxury while traveling, relying on campgrounds or finding a friends couch to crash on instead. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned, and if it means the difference between another trip or not, then it is well worth it. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

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