Navigating Travel Arrangements w/a Disability

I have always had anxiety issues since I was a little kid. Most people would never know when meeting me; but I have social anxiety to this day! Through therapeutic methods over the years both talking and medication; I’ve pretty much learned how to deal with my anxiety.

At least I did, until my disability kicked in.

These last few years I’ve lost myself and trying to reestablish a balance in my life has been quite the project. One of my biggest anxiety triggers is travel. However, after a few fumbles over the last couple of years, I think I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety regarding travel so I’m going to share those with you all.

Prayer

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I understand everyone may not believe in God, or perhaps not be religious and that’s fine; but the number one thing I do is pray. Praying allows me the space to relinquish my concerns, anxieties and fears and leave them in the hands of the Almighty. This does much to calm my nerves and allows me to operate from a space of clarity.

Get All the Facts Then Ask for What I Need

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When traveling I have to take into consideration the method in which I will be traveling. Driving is pretty easy for me because most likely I’ll be driving with my husbae and he knows all the things I need to be comfortable.

However, when I’m flying there’s things that I need to know. So for my upcoming trip to New York, I will be flying. I researched the policies for obese passengers as well as policies for transportation assistance for passengers with disabilities.

It’s important for me to know in advance if I have to pay for an extra seat, and if wheelchair service to and from the gate is available as I have limited mobility.

Knowing this information in advance diminishes the chances for any surprises upon my arrival to my flight.

Accessibility at Hotels

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Something I never used to consider was my room at a hotel. That was until one of my last stays away from home. I was so exhausted from the walk to the room from the elevator and I didn’t have a motorized mobility aid available.

Now when I’m booking my room I make a request to have a handicap accessible room so that there is a shower chair available in my bathroom. I also make the request to have a room as close to the elevator as possible.

Ask About Event Space

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I touched on this in a previous blog post but I’ll say it again here. If I’m traveling for an event, I make it my business to know in advance what the layout is like. This helps me determine what type of mobility aid I will need. If there’s onsite parking, valet, paid parking offsite, the walking distance to the venue and even what the setup is like inside.

Often times when events are being planned, mobility is the last thing on coordinators minds. Knowing in advance helps me prepare properly. I may need to rent a motorized scooter and I need to know that there’s space for me to utilize that in the venue I’ll be visiting. Even knowing the location of the bathroom in proximity to the space where the event is being held is important for me to know.

Reminding Myself I Deserve to Take Up Space

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This may seem like an unnecessary step, but for me I’ve learned I need the reminder and I need it often. I’ve discussed what my journey has been like being in a fat body with a disability and all the negative implications it has in society. Sometimes I forget that my needs are not a burden to these businesses or establishments. It’s my right to ask for what I need and be accommodated accordingly within reason.

I have to learn to unpack my own hangups and learn that this is a need for me at this time in my life and that there should be no shame associated with it.

In Conclusion

As I often share, learning to navigate life with a disability, and one that causes pain in particular is no easy feat. But I know that it’s not impossible because millions of people do it everyday.

As I learn I just want to pass the knowledge on to anyone else who may need to learn too.

 

Until Next Time,

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