Traveling as a wheelchair user – Tips and Tricks

It is the beginning of a new year; for some, it means making resolutions, and for others, it may be looking for a reason to have a weekend "getaway!" We want to give you some ideas and tips for traveling safely as a wheelchair user. We also got great advice from our wheelchair-user friends in the Motion Composites community.

Traveling safely as a wheelchair user requires careful planning and consideration of various factors to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Whether you are a new wheelchair user who is getting ready to start traveling, a parent of a kid who uses a wheelchair, or just an avid traveler who is looking for fresh recommendations, we’ve got you covered! So, get ready to grab your luggage and start exploring the world!

Wheelchair-Friendly Destinations

First things first! We need to know where we are going!

Sadly, even though we are in 2024, not all cities are prepared to be accessible, and we need to consider that when booking a trip. Check online for wheelchair-friendly travel destinations and visit the city’s website for more information on that specific destination.

Look for accessible tourist attractions, parks, activities, and museums. Make sure you plan your itinerary to include accessible transportation options, wheelchair-friendly accommodations, and accessible activities. This will ensure that you can fully enjoy your trip since the planning stage will already be taken care of.

Tip from our friend, fellow traveler, and APEX C user, Paulo Silva:

“I always try to go to more urbanized places. The reality is that the big cities are the most accessible. So, remember that if you are trying to go to the beach, the forest, or places where Mother Nature is the main character, they will be less accessible.

However, I am a firm believer that if you want to go somewhere or do an activity, you should not restrict yourself from doing so just because you are afraid it won’t be accessible. It is also our responsibility as wheelchair users to push and ask for accessibility. This will guarantee that we will have more and more accessible places in the future”.


Transportation can be tricky, so choose wheelchair-accessible transportation options, such as airlines, trains, or buses that provide proper facilities.

Don’t forget to notify transportation providers of your needs “in advance” to ensure assistance and accommodation. You can always consider renting an accessible van or car if needed; of course, this comes with an extra cost, so be aware of how that can impact your budget.

Tip from our friend, brand ambassador, and APEX C user, Woody Belfort:

“When flying to your destination, make sure to always, always, always bring your cushion with you on the plane, especially to avoid pressure sores.”

Tip from Chris Collin, our US Territory Manager for the Northern New England region and APEX C user:

“Before giving your wheelchair to the airline, make sure to take off anything that can be easily removed that potentially could fall off and put it in the closet of the airplane. Including the cushion, side guards, armrests, etc.”


Book wheelchair-accessible hotels or vacation rentals with features like roll-in showers, ramps, and accessible rooms.

Even though their website might say that they are accessible, make sure to confirm accessibility details with the accommodation provider before booking.

Tip from our good friend, brand ambassador, and APEX C user, Cheryl Angelelli:

“Calling the hotel directly and asking specific questions is always best. Their idea of accessibility and yours are often very different. Specifically, I would ask whether there is a roll-in shower or if there isn’t one available; I will ask if the hotel has a shower chair. I prefer to always ask for a lower floor, especially if I am traveling by myself, so I have fewer stairs to navigate in case of an emergency where the elevators would be non-operable.”


Accessibility Apps and Websites

We are in an era of technology, and we need to use it to our advantage! Use apps and websites that provide information on wheelchair-accessible locations and routes, such as Google Maps, Wheelmap, Wheelmate or AccessAble.

Make sure that you have the most up-to-date information that will allow you to plan your day and avoid last-minute surprises.

Extra tip: The best website with all the information that you might need to start traveling, make sure to check John Morris Wheelchair Travel 

Travel Insurance

This may not seem like a big thing for many people, but it is essential!

Be sure to purchase travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and trip cancellations; also consider insurance that covers situations related to your condition, your wheelchair, or mobility equipment.

Tip from our good friend, brand ambassador, and APEX C user, Cheryl Angelelli:

“When I’m traveling out of the country, I always get travel medical insurance. It’s a nominal cost and covers medical emergencies.

Your wheelchair/mobility equipment

Just like you should check your car before embarking on a major road trip, you must consider what your wheelchair or mobility equipment will have to endure during your vacation.

Before starting your trip, make sure that your wheelchair or mobility device is in good condition. Check this blog on regular maintenance for your wheelchair to make sure that everything is ready to go.

Not everyone is comfortable adjusting their wheelchair, but if you are, don’t forget to pack any spare parts, tools, and repair instructions in case of breakdowns.

Finally, consider checking who the closest wheelchair provider to where you will be staying, in case you need extra help from a professional.

Tip from Chris Collin, our US Territory Manager for the Northern New England region and APEX C user:

“I always bring a small set of tools along with a spare tube for the tires and the tools to change the tire and a small pump. If you are comfortable performing adjustments, this could save you a lot of time”.

Packing – Carry-on + more!

Pack essential items in your carry-on bag, including extra medications and medical supplies, and important documents. If you need to, talk to your doctor to make sure that they can prepare your prescription to cover the time you will be away.

Keep prescriptions in their original containers with clear labels, and bring them with you; you don’t want to lose them in case your luggage gets lost or delayed.

Extra tip: Use an app to remind you to take your medications at the right time. Being out of your regular schedule could make you forget.

Also, make sure to label your wheelchair or mobility equipment with your contact information.

Tip from our friend, brand ambassador, and APEX C user, Woody Belfort:

“I try to always have my Newton backpack with me. It’s the best bag to travel with because it rarely gets caught with my wheels. It is easy to secure stuff in with easy access for me, but difficult for someone else to get to without me noticing (pickpocketing).”

Traveling with a wheelchair may involve unexpected challenges. Remain patient, and don't let obstacles stop you from enjoying your trip.

Remember that thorough research and preparation are key to traveling safely as a wheelchair user. Each destination may have unique accessibility considerations, so tailor your plans to suit your specific needs and preferences. Be aware of your physical limitations, and listen to your body. Nobody knows it better than yourself!

Finally, remember to have fun! Traveling is wonderful, and it opens our minds to new horizons, helps us discover things we never thought possible, and allows us to explore this marvelous world of ours.

Happy travels!

About Miriam Aguilar Garza

Digital Marketing Specialist at Motion Composites

Miriam holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Business from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (Mexico). She is passionate about writing, reading, traveling, and giving a voice to people in the wheelchair community.