Skip to main content

Travel and mobility problems

A group of happy, confident travellers.
Click to enlarge

Travelling with a wheelchair, a walking frame or a broken leg is achievable if you plan ahead

People who have mobility issues, whether permanent or temporary, can and do travel all over the world with confidence. Whether you can walk for short distances with a cane, use a rollator or frame or rely on a wheelchair or scooter, travel is possible. Plan your journey with your needs in mind and you, too, can enjoy the benefits of travel.

Things to know before you go

Before you leave Canada, research your destination. Check traveller’s forums and review sites to find out what sort of experience you can expect as a traveller with a mobility issue. For example, in some less developed countries it may be harder to access public transport and taxis with a wheelchair or mobility scooter. Or you may find your destination has better access than you are used to.

You may also want to find out about local attitudes to disability. It is better to be forewarned about prejudice, though in many parts of the world you will find people kind and helpful and ready to meet your access needs. We recommend checking the Government of Canada’s Travel Advisories for cultural information about the country you plan to visit.

If you manage a health condition with drugs, there are some other considerations to take into account, which we covered in a recent blogpost about travelling with medications.

People travelling with a long-term condition may also want to research the healthcare provision at their destination, and may find having a medical emergency plan reassuring. For maximum peace of mind, travel medical insurance is a must – and there are providers out there who specialize in policies that cover additional needs, so it pays to shop around.

Get a health check before you leave

At your travel health appointment, as well as discovering what travel vaccinations you should get to protect yourself, you will find out what health risks you will be exposed to – for example insect bites, altitude or extreme heat. Before you travel, speak with your usual healthcare provider to find out more about the impact of these on your specific condition.

Travellers with mobility issues may be more susceptible to deep vein thrombosis on a long-haul flight. Your usual healthcare provider can help you to assess and manage this risk. We have an advice article about DVT, which may be of interest.

Safe and suitable accommodation when you have a mobility need

Research your accommodation to ensure that it is safe and suitable. You are the expert on your needs: do you require ramped or level access, for example. Would you prefer to be close to facilities like the pool and dining room? If the hotel has lifts, check reviews to see if they are usually working properly. Another thing to ask is whether the hotel has doors wide enough for a wheelchair.

When you book your hotel room or holiday apartment, think about your bathroom needs. Perhaps grab rails are enough for you – or is a wet room preferable?

Travel tips for people with mobility issues

The best thing you can do is check with your airline in advance of your trip abroad. Speak with the airline or your travel agent and let them know about your needs. Ask what support the airline offers – for example, they might give you a ride around the airport to save you a long walk to the departure gate. For more details about what airports do to ensure equal access, take a look at Toronto Pearson airport’s mobility offering. You could also use the airport’s website to check out facilities that you need, such as accessible kiosks, changing places and toilets.

Consider whether you need help with your luggage. Perhaps a service that delivers your luggage straight to your accommodation would be helpful.

Build in extra time for your journey, and think about what you might need to be comfortable, like drinking water, distracting entertainments and snacks.

Where can I get travel vaccinations in Edmonton?

If you need an appointment at a travel clinic in Edmonton, turn to Canadian Travel Clinics. It is quick and easy to book online or by phone on +1 888 672 0005.