Our Top 10 WAV Travel Tips
For disabled people, such as those who use mobility aids like wheelchairs, travel can take some extra planning to ensure that they get to where they need to go, have a successful trip, and can travel in safety and comfort. While travelling with a disability, or with a disabled person, can pose its extra challenges, there are some easy tips and tricks to consider that may help make your journeys more manageable and easier to plan.
Here are our top 10 disabled travel advice tips for people using a WAV:
1. Make sure you’re happy getting in and out of your WAV
Ensuring that you can from your WAV is really important. It’s worth practicing this somewhere close to home first so you know what you’re doing. Get to grips with your ramps, controls, straps, and any other equipment you need to load and secure your wheelchair and always make sure the wheelchair is safe and steady before setting off.
2. Plan to visit places with accessibility in mind
Whether you’re taking a short trip or a long holiday, think about where the easiest places for a wheelchair-user to visit will be. It might seem like a bit of a minefield (especially when accessibility is still so poor nationwide), but there are some handy tools out there, such as the incredible AccessAble App or Euan’s Guide – a reviews site featuring locations and venues across the UK all rated for their accessibility.
3. Plan where you’ll be parking and take your Blue Badge
Thinking about where you will be parking is really important because it’s key for safety reasons to ensure you’ll be able to unload your wheelchair when you arrive. Familiarise yourself with car parks and disabled parking locations near wherever you’re travelling and make sure you know what the rules are if you want to use a Blue Badge.
4. Do more research if you’re going abroad
If you’re planning on taking your WAV out of the UK, you may need to take out special travel insurance or arrange visas (depending on how far you’re going), and this will take an extra bit of research. Read our blog Taking a WAV Abroad. The best place for reliable information is direct from the government website guidance on travelling abroad as this will be kept up-to-date with current rules and regulations so you don’t get caught out. If you lease your WAV as part of the Motability Scheme, you have to let Motability know you’re taking your WAV out of the country.
5. Arrange an emergency contact
Make sure you have the details of a close friend or relative who isn’t coming on your trip and give them your itinerary, so they know where you’ll be. It’s a good idea to have these details accessible on a mobile device – you can set up an emergency contact and medical ID on an iPhone so someone can access this information easily if anything happens to you. It’s also good to have a physical copy of these details in your WAV just to be on the safe side, too.
6. Know roughly how long things will take
Speaking of an itinerary – it’s a good idea to work out roughly how long parts of your trip are going to be. Obviously, traffic can suddenly take a turn and you may find yourself on the road for longer than you planned to be. But that’s exactly why making a plan is a good idea – knowing how long you will be on the road for is a great way of planning what you need to take with you and when you might need to stop for a break.
7. Pack your mobility aids, equipment and medication
Once you know how long you’ll be out for, you can know what you’ll need to take with you. Always take spares if you have them, just in case you run out or find yourself on the road longer than anticipated. The great thing about WAVs is that they’re built with mobility aids in mind so you should be able to pack what you need for your travels.
8. Make sure you’re comfortable before you set off
Are you sitting comfortably? Make sure you’re happy and feel good before you set off. There’s no point putting yourself through hours of discomfort for the sake of just a few minutes of getting rearranged so that you’ll feel better. You can get some vehicle accessories designed to make your travels extra comfortable, such as fleece seatbelt pads and cushions.
9. Take as many breaks as you need
If you need to stop for food or drink – stop for food or drink. If you need to stop for a toilet visit – stop for a toilet visit. Don’t put yourself through any discomfort because it’s ultimately not safe to do so and you’ll probably not enjoy your lovely trip as much as you might otherwise. It’s your trip out – enjoy it!
10. Communicate your needs to your fellow travellers
Part of enjoying your trip to its fullest means that (going beyond telling the people you’re travelling with if you need to stop, take a break, have some food, or visit the toilet) you can tell the people you’re travelling with what you want to get out of the trip and if there’s any way they can help support you that would make your trip a more enjoyable experience. Never be afraid to say what you need.
If you’re looking to buy a WAV (either privately or through the Motability Scheme) or just want to have a chat with an expert for some advice about travelling in a WAV – don’t hesitate to contact us. At Cartwright Mobility, we specialise in wheelchair accessible vehicles and our friendly team would love to hear from you for a chat!
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