Accessible Getaway Tips

We asked our Health Leaders for some summertime advice: Do you have a summer vacation or getaway planned? What makes for the best, most refreshing, and most accessible vacation? Here's what they said:

Making the most of local festivals in the warm weather

SMA Advocate Mike Noon

Mike:
Suzanne and I enjoy the warm weather that happens in the North East during the summer. We both think it’s silly to travel during that time when the area we live in has so much to offer. We enjoy walks along the river and trips to the beach for the day. We live in an area that has a lot of festivals and outdoor entertainment.

Most of our “vacations” are visiting family. We both have family in the southern half of the United States. Visiting them during the winter months has been working for us. It gets us out of the harsh North East winters that can happen. We have been lucky at finding hotels that are accessible for me. Once we find a place that we like we keep going back.

I always keep track of room numbers so we can book the same exact room. The nice thing is after a few visits it begins to feel homey because we are comfortable there.

Day trips are easiest. Longer trips require planning

SMA Advocate Samantha Przybylski
Samantha:

I have a couple of day getaways or just overnight activities planned for this summer. Attractions nearby that allow you to go back home where all of your needs can be met at the end of the day tend to be the most refreshing types of getaways for me. They require almost no planning and you still get the feeling of seeing new things and experiencing things you haven’t experienced yet.

For longer distance travel a lot of planning ahead can help you have the most accessible vacation. Look into accessibility of the hotel, will you fly or drive, do you need an accessible rental vehicle, can you bring or rent equipment that you need in order for your needs to be met.

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Vacation and advocacy at the Cure SMA Conference

SMA Advocate Kellie Cusack
Kellie::

Do you have a summer vacation or getaway planned? Yes! I'm thrilled to share that I am going to going to the Cure SMA conference in June! I had to miss it last year due to health problems which are thankfully fixed now. It's in Florida this year and I haven't been there in forever, so I'm super excited to go back and see everything and everybody!

What makes for the best, most refreshing, and most accessible vacation? Great question! For mom and I, packing ahead as much as possible always helps. We obviously pack equipment the day of as well. If possible, I definitely recommend that you book an afternoon flight. We personally used United for our flights and we love them! Their website and app is very handy to plan ahead. They have a great disability program in place to help people in case something happens.

I also recommend that you label your chair with tags like fragile so they know what is super sensitive, definitely fill out the online wheelchair form online too! It's very helpful!

As far as the flight goes, bring your own food. I have a problem with harder foods, so I love softer foods like tuna or sushi. If you have a similar issue, definitely bring food or get food for the flight. The in-flight food is good, but doesn't satisfy me and I'm often hungry on the flight. The same goes with drinks. I love bringing books, magazines, and my Switch as things to keep me busy while waiting.

When you land as far as transportation, call accessible taxis before for that area and definitely check reviews! When mom and I went to California last year, we didn't get picked up by our taxi that we booked, thankfully we found help. A similar situation happened where in the same visit, we took a bus, but never got picked up and had to walk all the way back to our hotel (we went to a mall area).

Overall, I know that it's hard to pivot and there will bumps along the way, but they're a memory! I hope that wherever you go, you're able to enjoy it!

Beaches are my favorite

SMA Patient Leader Ainaa Farhanah

Ainaa:

Being a wheelchair user who wants nothing more than to explore this beautiful world of ours is a challenge at times.

I am a beach girl. I would like to visit an accessible beach. Is there anything better than soaking up some rays while enjoying the beach view? Unfortunately, beaches often don't come with accessibility. Especially in my country. They do not offer a beach that could be accessed by wheelchair. On my dream travel day, I would visit a beach that had an access road, a beach wheelchair, a big and accessible changing room, and also a beach access mat.

I don’t have a getaway planned yet but I do hope I will be traveling somewhere soon. In need of break time. In the meantime, I’m just gonna live life as it is.

Other articles on traveling with SMA:

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