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5 Essential Things I Can’t Travel Without As A Wheelchair User

We all have those ‘can’t live without’ items in our daily lives – mobile phones, laptops, tablets etc. Pretty much anything that has a WiFi connection. That goes for when we travel too. Of course, these items come with me on my travels, but there are way more important things that make travelling a lot easier which I can’t travel without as a wheelchair user.

1. Arm Support Pillows

When I travel even if it’s for one night I always take my little arm support pillows filled with thousands of tiny polystyrene balls. I sleep on my back every night so these pillows help lift and support my arms, keeping them in a nice position so as not to put any strain on my chest and generally help me stay comfortable in bed.

I also sleep with pillows under my legs and one at my feet to stop my feet from dropping, but I usually just use the pillows in the hotel room for my legs or ask for more if there is not enough in the room.

2. Self- Inflatable Mat

Continuing with the bed theme leads me nicely onto my inflatable camping mat that I always travel with. What I love about this self-inflating mat is how easily it rolls up and fits in my holdall or suitcase without taking up much room.

I bought the inflatable camping mat after being fed up sleeping in uncomfortable hotel beds with hard mattresses and spending most of the night wide awake in pain. This is due to pressure building up in the pressure points while lying on my back.

If the bed is really uncomfortable then I’ll lay the mat on top of the mattress and lie on that instead as it’s much softer and filled with air, which gives a more comfortable and pain-free night’s sleep. This also lets my partner have a more restful sleep too – win-win!

The one I use is very similar to this *self-inflating mat.

3. Wheelchair Charger

I know this sounds like an obvious choice, but it’s absolutely one of the things I can’t travel without as a wheelchair user. Unlike buying a mobile phone charger replacement, it’s not so easy for wheelchair users if we forget to take our powered wheelchair charger, as without it our wheelchair is dead and we’re stuck.

If we’re lucky we might be able to hunt down a shop or supplier that sells a compatible wheelchair charger, but this can be time-consuming and eat into your precious holiday time, not to mention the expense involved.

It’s always a good idea to research local wheelchair supply shops that may be able to help if you experience a problem like this.

4. Cable Ties & Bungee Rope

I know what you’re probably thinking, “what on earth would she need cables ties and bungee rope for”. Well, we found they came in handy for securing things like footplates and my joystick controller to the seat of my wheelchair when it’s in the hold of the plane.

This ensures they aren’t going to get damaged or lost. We’ve also cable-tied my wheelchair charger to the back of my wheelchair in the past, which meant it didn’t take up space in our luggage and more importantly…we couldn’t forget it!

5. Research

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, planning is always key when travelling as a wheelchair user or with a disability. That is why I’ll never travel without doing accessibility research on the destination. I always like to research as much as I can on the accessibility of hotels, public transportation, tourist attractions and restaurants.

That way I’m prepared and know exactly what attractions are accessible and which mode of transport is more suitable for getting around. I’ll make sure I’m loaded with the information I need and take copies of any confirmation emails I have etc.

5 Essential Things I can’t travel without as a wheelchair user

These are just some things I take with me when I travel away from home. I’d love to hear what items you can’t travel without as a wheelchair user?

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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5 Responses

  1. I take a bed lever with me everywhere I go- I spent ages looking on the Internet to find one that would fit inside my suitcase and eventually I did. I bought it quite a few years ago so I can’t show you the exact one. It really helps me get from the bed to the wheelchair.

  2. Traveling to Orlando next June with our wheelchair using young people. Taking Nathan’s e-motion wheels so need to find out how to pack those. Assume we need to contact the airline.
    My daughter has just started to use a need sleep system that requires her to sleep on her back so I was interested in your comments on arm supports.

    1. Hi Denise! I’d definitely contact the airline about Nathan’s wheels to let me know and they’ll be able to advise. Have you check the airlines website for information on taking mobility equipment onboard?

      I sleep on my back with a sleep system too. I can’t imagine sleeping any other way now. It provides great support. Let me know if you have any questions in particular about my arm support pillows? 🙂

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