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Planning an accessible trip? These travel resources can help.

July 15, 2021
4 min read
Planning an accessible trip? These travel resources can help.
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Traveling with a disability poses challenges, and more research and planning are required to ensure a safe trip. Unfortunately, not everywhere you go will be accessible to people with disabilities, so picking where you go and when can make all the difference in your trip experience.

There are great tour companies and travel agencies out there that specialize in helping travelers book accessible trips catered to their specific needs. But if you do go the DIY route, there are also resources available to help you research where to book.

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Planning resources

AbleThrive

AbleThrive aggregates support resources to help people with disabilities. The site covers multiple topics related to living with a disability, including healthcare, parenting, employment, relationships and, of course, travel.

AccessibleGO

AccessibleGO is a full-service travel platform dedicated to helping people with disabilities make the most out of their travels. They offer articles written by community members who all have first-hand experience traveling with a disability.

You can use their booking tool to search for hotels and cruises that are accessible. You can also book trips through the website, but we recommend booking directly with a hotel or airline generally.

Handiscover

Similar to AccessibleGO, Handiscover allows you to book accessible accommodations. The site uses a unique classification system that lets you filter searches to your specific physical accessibility needs — from being able to walk up only a few flights of stairs to needing fully wheelchair accessible accommodations.

Handiscover also has community-contributed articles on the site to help you plan out your trip from start to finish.

Related: What does accessible travel mean to you?

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Tips for planning an accessible trip

The resources listed above all offer content created specifically to help people with disabilities — often with a focus on physical disabilities that impact mobility — plan out trips. But there are also some general tips everyone looking to book an accessible trip should keep in mind when mapping out a getaway.

Use a travel agent or tour company that specializes in accessible travel

Beginner travelers especially should consider taking advantage of tour operators and travel agents that cater to those with disabilities. They'll not only have resources to help make sure your trip fits your specific needs, but you also might get special rates or offers when going through an agency.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

The STEP program is a free government service that notifies you of security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate while you're abroad. STEP also helps the U.S. embassy better provide assistance during an emergency while you're out of the country.

This tip doesn't only apply to people traveling with disabilities — anyone traveling abroad should sign up — but those who are traveling with physical disabilities can also add relevant information about any mobility limitations.

Call ahead to arrange special assistance

Whether it's a hotel, a cruise or a flight, you should call ahead if you need special assistance. When you book, it's a good idea to call and note if there are any physical limitations you'll need help with — such as boarding a plane with a wheelchair. Also, call again 48 hours before your trip to confirm any assistance arranged at booking, and mention it again at the check-in counter.

Related: Air travel tips for wheelchair users

Research contingency plans before you go

Talk to your doctor before your trip to discuss any specific concerns, get any doctors' notes required for travel and arrange for any medication refills you may need before you go (you'll want to pack more than you need of any medication, and it should go in your carry-on bag for easy access).

Additionally, research the area where you're traveling, and have contact information for doctors' offices, pharmacies and hospitals in case of emergency.

It's also not a bad idea to look into comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical coverage while you're abroad.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023