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Travelling with a disability is now commonplace and there is no reason why this should pose serious problems if good preparations are made. Adapting to unexpected situations is part of the challenge of travelling but advance knowledge of facilities available during travel and at the destination can be very important. Enquiries should be made about facilities available at the chosen hotel although accurate information may be difficult to obtain. Some organisations and tour companies arrange trips for disabled travellers using hotels which have been visited and where mobility problems are taken into account.
  • Choose destination with health care in mind.
  • Consider having a medical check up several weeks before departure. A drug review before departure should pay special attention to diuretics, insulin, hypnotics, H2 antagonists, anti-epileptics, corticosteroids and possible interactions with antimalarial medication or vaccines.
  • A doctor's letter detailing medical profile and current medications may be helpful if illness occurs.
  • Ensure adequate medical insurance cover including repatriation. Declare existing medical problems.
  • Take ample supplies of medications. Medical facilities en route and at the traveller's destination may be poor or different to those at home. Familiar medications may not be available or may be named differently, giving rise to confusion.
  • Essential medication should always be carried on the traveller's person or in hand luggage.
  • If over 65 or in a risk group consider vaccination against influenza and pneumococcal disease.
  • Advise airlines and airport authorities of special medical, dietary and mobility requirements.
  • Airlines are usually helpful and provide assistance, including transport around airports and special facilities on aircraft if advised in advance. Some airports have rest rooms for those with long intervals between flights connections. However this may not be the case with all airlines and in small airports especially in African, Asian and South American countries facilities may be poor.
  • It may be a requirement for travellers with disabilities and with serious, pre-existing chronic illness to inform the relevant airlines of their situation prior to departure. Further information at AllClear4You
  • Those with serious respiratory problems should consider asking for supplemental oxygen before undertaking air flights.
  • Preventive measures against deep vein thrombosis should be considered by the elderly and those with mobility problems to reduce risk during air flights. Consider pre-booking seats with additional leg room and exercise legs as much as possible.
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