4 tips for finding wheelchair-accessible home rentals

Jul 13, 2021

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If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that having your own space while on vacation is not only a luxury but sometimes a necessity.

Instead of booking stays in accessible hotels, I started switching it up and booking wheelchair-friendly cabins, beach houses and other home rentals. Having an entire home, as opposed to a hotel room, gave me a greater sense of peace and relaxation while traveling, and even in a post-pandemic world, I think I’ll continue staying in home rentals when possible.

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While accessible home rentals are great, the most difficult part can be simply finding one. There are a ton out there in the e-universe, but they’re spread out on a variety of sites and are often challenging to find.

After spending numerous hours scouring the web for accessible home rentals, I have compiled the below tips to make the process easier for you.

Use booking sites that specialize in accessibility

The easiest way to discover accessible home rentals is by looking for them on websites that specialize in accessible accommodations. This will undoubtedly cut your research time in half and you can quickly discover home rentals that work for your specific needs.

One of the best companies is Handiscover, as they have thousands of accessible accommodations listed on their website and many of those are home rentals. On Handiscover, you can even sort accommodations by your desired level of accessibility. There are a ton of fantastic properties in Europe listed on the website, but there are some wonderful options in the United States as well, making this a great place to begin your search for accessible home rentals.

Related: These are the most wheelchair-accessible cities around the world

Another option could be Airbnb. In recent years, the company has started focusing more on accessibility and making it easier to find suitable accommodations. You can now use an accessibility filter to choose what amenities and features you will need in a home rental, such as a roll-in shower, grab bars, no steps and more. While Airbnb doesn’t specialize in accessibility like Handiscover does, it can still provide some good options, depending on where you want to travel.

Make a quick phone call … even when a place seems inaccessible

If you are an experienced wheelchair traveler then you probably know that it’s important to call and double-check whether a place is wheelchair accessible or not, right? Even when accommodations seem accessible online, it’s important to call before booking and ask questions about accessibility just to be sure that it will work for you. However, it could also be beneficial to pick up the phone and call even when you don’t see accessibility information online.

Some of the best accessible home rentals that I have found have been from places that didn’t actually say they were accessible online. If you see a house that looks like it may work for you, or you find a company with multiple home rentals available, it could be worth it to call and ask them about accessibility. It could be accessible enough to work for you and maybe they’ve never thought to list that it’s wheelchair accessible online. If you call them, they may be inspired to finally put the accessibility information on their website.

Related: 5 ways to use points to book vacation home rentals

Ask fellow wheelchair users in accessible travel-focused Facebook groups

As a wheelchair user, nothing is as valuable as first-hand perspectives from other wheelchair users. That’s especially true when it comes to home rentals and accommodations in general. Facebook can be a bit of a time-suck, but one of its best uses is connecting with fellow wheelchair users and hearing their opinions about where to stay while traveling in various destinations. The easiest way to ask multiple wheelchair users at one time is in Facebook groups.

There is literally a Facebook group or five for almost everything. Some of the best groups for accessible travel are Accessible Travel Club and Accessible Travel USA/Canada. Whenever I’m looking for an accessible home rental, or any travel advice for that matter, I post in the groups. Most of the time, someone has a great recommendation for me. Getting these recommendations from other wheelchair users is extremely valuable and gives me the confidence to book trips.

Related: 7 air travel tips for wheelchair users

Support companies like Becoming rentAble

Yes, there are some amazingly accessible home rentals out there. But if you look at all of the home rentals currently on the market, only a tiny portion of them are wheelchair accessible. Becoming rentAble is hoping to change that.

Launched in 2021, Becoming rentAble lists accessible home rentals on their website (only three properties show right now, but more will be coming soon) and they have a TV show where they convert homes into accessible rentals. For the first time ever, a television program is showing exactly what makes a home accessible and is also creating more accessible home rentals for people with disabilities to enjoy. Becoming rentAble is a remarkable company and has the potential to totally change home rentals for the better.

Photo courtesy of Airbnb.

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