People with disabilities of all kinds are able to travel successfully by arranging for accessible travel. Accessible travel arrangements meet the specific needs of the person traveling. You have to be your own advocate, though, and make sure that your needs are accommodated. The acronym APPLE will help you remember what to do.

Ask for what you need. Ask for help. Ask for information. Most people don’t know how a person with disabilities wants to be treated, so you’ll have to ask. For the most part, people are willing to accommodate you if they know what you need.

Accessible travel takes extra planning. You must check every reservation to make sure it is accessible to you. You’ll need to plan to take care of your needs with airport security—they are trained and willing to help people with disabilities, but it takes them extra time and they need to be notified ahead of time.

You’ll need to put extra effort into planning your itinerary, too. You are not limited in where you can go, no matter what disability you have. You may, however, have to make special arrangements to get there or to experience it.

This doesn’t just apply to travel arrangements. It applies to everything on your accessible travel agenda. If you will need help bathing, pre-arrange it. If you will need medical care while traveling, pre-arrange it. If you need your wheelchair, pre-arrange how it will be transported. Think through what you will need, and pre-arrange things so that your specific needs are met.

Leave plenty of time in your schedule at every point. Leave plenty of time to get through any security checks. It takes more time for them to accommodate special needs, and they have to search any equipment you need to take along.

Leave plenty of time to get from one place to another. You may have to wait for special transportation.

Leave plenty of time for each activity. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed.

Leave plenty of time for rest. Travel can be exhausting, and if you are going through special accessibility arrangements and security checks, it will be even worse. Leave yourself time every day to get a full night’s sleep and a nap.

Enjoy yourself. The fact that you need some kind of special arrangements or that you have to arrange accessible travel should not prevent you from having the time of your life.

When you are preparing to travel, APPLE will help you take the steps you need to make sure you have accessible travel arrangements. That will allow you to relax and enjoy your travel.

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